Early Childhood Special
& General Education Dual Degree

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

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

Become certified in Early Childhood Education and in Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth through second grade

Sue CarbarySue Carbary
Program Director

Early Childhood Special and General Education Dual Degree is a comprehensive program allowing you to earn master's degrees both in education (48 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. You will develop the understanding and skill to work with young children from pre-school through grade two who are developing typically and atypically.

In this curriculum-rich program, you will discover exciting ways to engage young children in active learning. You will learn to differentiate learning experiences for a wide range of young learners, including children with specific disabilities.

Through studying the ongoing cycle of observation, assessment and instructional planning, you will be able to help young children realize their full functional and educational potential. You will learn to understand the relationships among culture, language and learning in families, communities, and educational program settings.

Practical experiences will help you learn how to collaborate with families, other teachers and professionals in your work. You will discover ways to recognize and nurture individual learning styles and build home/school connections.

In order to graduate you need to complete all the requirements of both master's programs.

For more information on the program at Columbia School of Social Work, contact Karma Lowe at knl3@columbia.edu.

Distinctive Features

  • Learn about importance of play in children's development.
  • Help children learn through discovery, exploration and inquiry.
  • Learn to build on children's strengths while addressing their areas of weakness
  • Discover how to help all children find joy and excitement in learning.


When you graduate from both Bank Street College and from Columbia University School of Social Work, you will be eligible for New York State initial certification in Early Childhood General Education and in Teaching Students with Disabilities, birth through grade 2.

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. See Columbia School of Social Work.


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 Early Childhood Special and General Education dual degree program.

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

Taken concurrently with coursework, supervised fieldwork is designed to foster the integration of theory and practice. During your supervised fieldwork experience 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 at three age levels within the early childhood range (pre-k, kindergarten, and grade 1 or 2), and in general education, inclusive, and special education settings.
    • Working teachers and assistants (in approved settings) who stay with a particular grade in the age range may use their own classrooms for their fieldwork setting. These students will gain additional experience through summer supervised fieldwork/ advisement during a July (summer 2) term.
  • 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 early childhood general education, special education, or inclusion classrooms in public, charter or independent schools.
  • Work as an early-interventionist in social service or education-based agencies, as well as in hospitals or daycare settings.
  • Work one-on-one as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) in home or center-based programs.

Admission Requirements

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