5-Year Program with Certification in Special Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-6)

    Program Overview




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    The 5-Year Program with Certification in Special Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-6) prepares students to address the instructional needs of students with mild and moderate cognitive disabilities and explores foundational topics in elementary education including the principles of classroom learning and organization, evaluation and assessment, literacy development, and educational psychology. Through the required core coursework, students will develop competencies in the assessment and remediation of students with learning disabilities, learn collaborative teaching and consultation skills, and consider principles of New Jersey special education law. In alignment with the GSE’s mission, all teacher preparation programs and courses prepare teacher candidates to be culturally responsive practitioners and effectively teach diverse learners by fostering a deep understanding of students from historically underserved linguistic, economic, and cultural backgrounds and communities. Successful completion of this program will lead to a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree in education, and initial teacher certification in special education (K-12) and elementary education (K-6). Graduates can expect to be effective practitioners knowledgeable about current research in learning, teaching, and child development, and prepared to make informed decisions about their educational practice.

    To complete the program in 5 years, Rutgers undergraduates must complete specific pre-admission coursework and field placements during their sophomore and junior years. Students then apply for the 5-year program before the Spring semester of their junior year and if admitted, enter the professional education sequence in the summer before senior year. After senior year, students qualify to have their bachelor’s degree awarded by the undergraduate liberal arts college and continue with the professional sequence in the summer after graduation. Students will return in the fall to complete a full-time student-teaching internship and continue with full-time graduate study, including a field-based research project in the spring. 

    After the master’s degree is awarded, the GSE will make a recommendation to the New Jersey State Department of Education on behalf of the graduate to receive their Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) as a teacher.

    Program Goals as of 2022-2023
    (Last updated: 7/28/2022)


    • Teacher candidates will build deep understanding of how their students learn and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually (across cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical domains) and are shaped by diverse cultures, communities, and experiences. 
    • Teacher candidates will develop, expand, and deepen content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, drawing on current research to plan and implement high-quality P-12 instruction and design effective learning environments. 
    • Teacher candidates will understand the historical and philosophical contexts of the discipline that they are teaching and how their curriculum and pedagogy can support equity and justice. 

    Communication/Community Building 

    • Teacher candidates will develop strategies for communicating and collaborating with their students, families, community members, and other educators to support inclusive learning environments that empower each learner.  
    • Teacher candidates will participate in professional, scholarly, and community-engaged networks and activities using all modes of communication, while centering the experiences of their students, families, and communities (e.g., research, presentations, and service) 

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) 

    • Teacher candidates will examine social justice issues and act guided by the importance of the role of social justice in educational settings. 
    • Teacher candidates will strive to ensure educational equity by creating an environment where diverse backgrounds and perspectives (personal, social, economic, educational, linguistic, cultural, immigration, racial/ethnic) are an integral part of the learning experience. 
    • Teacher candidates will develop an understanding of what culturally responsive teaching is and how instruction can be responsive, consequential, and just for their students. 
    • Teacher candidates will seek to proactively interrupt practices, policies, and curriculum that silence, discount, or harm the diverse students in their classrooms. 

    Research/Professional Practice 

    • Teacher candidates will conduct original research and use that research, as well as interpret and evaluate evidence from other research studies, to inform their professional practice and address problems of practice that may require change in policy, programs, and practice.
    • Teacher candidates will engage in inquiry/research experiences to better understand how discipline-specific knowledge develops.
    • Teacher candidates will develop knowledge of how to apply the results of current research to their practice.  


    • Teacher candidates will evaluate, identify, and use models and approaches that will be effective in the successful design and implementation of assessment.   
    • Teacher candidates will use multiple methods of standards-informed assessment and data sources in making educational decisions and in the monitoring of student learning progress.   

    Professional Development/Self-Reflection 

    • Teacher candidates will proactively seek out opportunities for continuous professional learning and development, including reflective self-inquiry, in order to improve their practice and contribute to the teaching profession. 
    • Teacher candidates will understand their intersectional identities and positionality, recognizing the implicit biases that may result from that positionality, and mitigate how implicit bias can adversely impact their planning, instruction, and assessment.  

    For more information about this program:

    Program Details

    Application Deadline

    APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED! Contact academic.services@gse.rutgers.edu for assistance

    Entry Term(s)


    Program Level


    Program Type

    Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree + Teacher Certification





  • What You’ll Learn

    Students enrolled in the 5-Year Program with Certification in Special Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-6) will graduate with an understanding of learning as an active process in which students construct their own knowledge and understandings. They will possess a vision of teaching that recognizes children’s individual and cultural differences, and promotes depth of understanding and problem solving rather than mere curriculum coverage. Through required coursework and guidance from expert faculty, they will also be equipped with the skills needed to identify and assess student learning disabilities and to execute a plan to address and meet the instructional needs of students with mild and moderate cognitive disabilities. Graduates exiting the program will be teacher-researchers who reflect on their practice, and that are armed with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to act as change-makers in the schools and communities they serve.

    For more information about the courses in this program, please visit the course catalog and online schedule of classes.

  • Program Requirements
    • 45 Undergraduate Course Credits
      • 9.5 Credits – Completed Pre-admission in Sophomore or Junior Year
      • 6 Credits – Completed in the Summer Before Senior Year
      • 14.5 Credits – Completed in the Fall of Senior Year
      • 15 Credits – Completed in the Spring of Senior Year
    • 2 no-credit Course Modules – Completed in the Summer Before Senior Year
    • 33 Graduate Course Credits
      • 6 Credits – Completed in the Summer Before the 5th Year
      • 15 Credits – Completed in the Fall of the 5th Year
      • 12 Credits – Completed in the Spring of the 5th Year
    • Portfolio 
      • Students will archive artifacts from various GSE courses via an online instructional and evaluation system as directed by faculty

    Graduates are expected to complete the required course sequence and satisfy their general education requirements and liberal arts credits, as well as complete HIB training, an edTPA performance-based assessment, capstone project, and their portfolio concurrently through completion of their coursework.

  • Careers and Outcomes

    Graduates exiting this program will be prepared for immediate employment as K-12 education practitioners in New Jersey public, private, and charter schools. Students often go on to pursue roles as special education teachers, special education consultants, or curriculum development specialists, but may also pursue positions as art, theater, physical education, history, and other subject-specific educators. Beyond roles as practitioners, graduates of this program may also pursue positions such as school administrators, intervention specialists, education consultants, math or literacy coaches, private tutors, education advisors, or consultants in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors.

  • Admissions Requirements
    • Personal Statement
    • One Letter of Recommendation
    • Passing Praxis Core test scores* in Reading, Writing, and Math
      • or SAT scores* greater than 50th percentile in both Math and Verbal or both Math and Reading
      • or ACT scores* greater than 50th percentile in both Math and English
      • or GRE scores* greater than 50th percentile in both Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
    • Official Undergraduate Transcripts**

    *Any test scores submitted must be less than 5 years old as of the application deadline
    **The New Jersey Department of Education requires a minimum GPA of 2.75 to be admitted to a teacher education program

  • How to Apply
    1. Collect the materials required for admission
    2. Submit your application online at http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/
    3. Submit supporting materials online
    4. Any supporting materials that cannot be submitted electronically should be mailed to Graduate Admissions’ New Brunswick office. Their mailing address can be found here: https://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/about/contact-us
  • Tuition & Financial Assistance


    For tuition and fees information please visit the tuition landing page.

    Financial Aid:

    While students are encouraged to apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a number of other merit- and need-based support options, including loans and college work-study programs within and external to Rutgers. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid website.

    Scholarships, Fellowships & Assistantships:

    Generous GSE alumni, friends, and community members have established and continue to donate to more than one dozen fellowships and scholarships to help deserving students reach their goals. These awards are granted on the basis of academic achievement and or financial need. While these awards are competitive, interested students are encouraged to apply for consideration and submit the required materials. Students must also submit a FAFSA application to be eligible.  

    To review all current awards and learn more about the donors that established them, please click here

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