Childhood Special & General Education Dual Degree

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  • Master of Science in Education: 43-46 credits
  • Master of Social Work at Columbia: 48 credits

Earn your master's degrees both in Education and in Social Work

Become certified in Childhood General Education and in Teaching Students with Disabilities in grade 1 through grade 6

Mimi RosenbergMimi Rosenberg
Interim Program Director

Childhood Special and General Education Dual Degree is a comprehensive program allowing you to earn master's degrees both in education (43 – 46 credits) from Bank Street College, and in social work (48 – 54 credits) from Columbia School of Social Work for fewer total credits than if you were to earn the degrees separately. In order to graduate you need to complete all the requirements of both master's programs.

The Bank Street portion of this dual degree program prepares you to work in educational settings and to understand the educational tools and perspective needed when working with children. It provides you with the preparation you need if you wish to combine social work and education to meet with needs of the wide range of learners in grades 1 through 6. In this curriculum-rich program with its focus on developing the whole child, students learn to create exciting ways to engage children in active learning.

As you engage with this program's emphasis on rich and engaging curriculum development across all subject areas (math, science, reading, social studies and the arts), you will learn to differentiate curriculum in order to reach all learners. You will develop classroom management techniques that will allow you to engage all learners, while developing safe and nurturing relationships with children and their families.

You will also learn to work collaboratively with parents and other educators to devise an educational plan that supports the whole child. 

For more information on the program at Columbia School of Social Work, contact Karma Lowe at

Distinctive Features

  • Meet the needs of diverse learners by building on students' strengths and interests.
  • Prepare to work creatively and effectively in general, special education and inclusion settings
  • Earn New York State certification in both general and special education
  • Develop specific strategies to promote learning in children with disabilities

Certification in Education

After you graduate from both Bank Street College and from Columbia University of Social Work, you will be eligible for New York State initial certification in Childhood Education and in Teaching Students with Disabilities (grade 1 - 6), allowing you to work with children in grades 1 through 6 in general education, special education and inclusive settings.

After teaching for three years you will be eligible for professional certification.

You will also be eligible for certification as a School Social Worker after completing both degrees.


Courses at Bank Street provide students with the opportunity to engage in readings, discussions, direct experience, and reflection, encouraging a constant interplay between theory and practice. Explore the courses for the Childhood Special and General Education dual degree program with Columbia.

Supervised Fieldwork / Advisement

Taken concurrently with coursework at Bank Street, supervised fieldwork is designed to foster the integration of theory and practice. You will:

  • Work in classroom settings as a full-time assistant, head teacher or as a student teacher (3 days each week):
    • Student teachers will be placed both at the grade 1 through 3 level, and at the grade 4 through 6 level, covering both general and special education settings.
    • Working teachers or assistant teachers who stay with a particular grade in the age range may use their own classroom as their setting for fieldwork. These students will gain additional experience through a summer practicum.
  • Be supervised by your advisor, a core graduate faculty mentor, as you work with children in your fieldwork setting.
  • Participate in a weekly conference group of 5-7 students and your advisor.
  • Meet individually with your advisor twice each month.

Career Opportunities

  • Work as a school social worker.
  • Work as a psycho-therapist in private practice.
  • Teach in general education classrooms.
  • Teach in inclusive and self-contained special education classrooms.
  • Tutor or work as a learning specialist in schools or in private practice.
  • Work in special education teacher support services (SETSS) roles such as hospital settings.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants apply to the Graduate School at Bank Street College and to Columbia University School of Social Work separately.
  • Applicants to the Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification program need an academic background in the liberal arts and sciences. 
  • See the Admissions Criteria.