Frequently Asked Questions
What if I do not have an undergraduate degree in special education?
Most of our graduate students do not. Many have undergraduate degrees in Elementary or Secondary Education, Business, Marketing, Journalism, Communication, Sociology, Psychology, or some other field. That is why Hofstra offers programs for which neither an undergraduate degree in education nor existing New York State teacher certification is required for admission.
Other programs are tailored to respond to the needs of students who do come with certification in one or more areas.
How long does the application process take before I can begin classes?
You may begin immediately. University rules permit students to take as many as four (4) courses without becoming matriculated. Nonetheless, we strongly encourage students to formally apply as soon as convenient. Every effort is made to assist you in the application process. You may obtain application information as well as information on Special Education programs from Hofstra's Graduate Admissions Office, or online at www.Hofstra.edu. Counselors in the Graduate Admissions Office are available to address your questions about the application process. However, questions specific to Special Education should be directed to the Coordinator of Special Education.
Approximately three weeks after you have completed and submitted your one page application to Hofstra's Graduate Admissions Office, you will receive a letter asking you to contact the Department of Counseling, Research, Special Education, and Rehabilitation (CRSR) for an appointment. That letter is sent to you at the same time as your records are transferred from Admissions to CRSR. During your appointment with CRSR, a faculty member will review your records and answer questions, after which a decision on admission will be made. If the decision is to admit you, the faculty member will prepare a Plan of Studies. Your transcripts will then be reviewed by Hofstra's Teacher Certification Office. You will be advised about any undergraduate courses you may need to take to satisfy State Education Department requirements. The entire process usually takes approximately six weeks.
May I take classes as a non-matriculated student?
Yes. You may complete up to 12 semester hours as a non-matriculated student prior to admission into a Special Education program. In order to attend classes as a non-matriculated student, you must submit a one page application for admission as a non-matriculated student. You must also pay the required application fee. That fee will be applied to your account if and when you apply for matriculated status. However, as mentioned earlier, the faculty in Special Education encourage you to seek advisement so courses you take as a non-matriculated student will apply toward a degree.
When are your classes offered?
With the exception of several field experiences, the Special Education program is primarily an evening program in order to facilitate those candidates who are working full time. All of our graduate classes meet once a week, Monday through Thursday evenings, with classes commencing at 4:25 and 6:15 p.m. The exceptions are in Summer Session II (July) and III (August), when classes may be held during daytime hours.
What programs do you offer?
We offer a variety of Special Education programs, in order to accommodate the needs of teachers with existing New York State certification, candidates with undergraduate degrees in areas other than education, and persons seeking a change of career. Programs include: Special Education; Early Childhood Special Education; Inclusive Early Childhood Education; Inclusive Elementary Education; and Inclusive Secondary Education. In addition, advanced certificates are offered in Early Childhood Special Education, Special Education Assessment and Diagnosis, Teaching Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities, Transition Specialist and Gifted and Talented Education. Required courses and semester hours needed for completion vary among programs. The admission interview is a good time to determine which program is appropriate for you.
How will I know which program is right for me?
Upon acceptance into the Special Education program, you will meet with a faculty member or the program coordinator to select a program which is appropriate for you based upon your professional career goals, your undergraduate background, and whether you are a teacher with existing New York State teacher certification. Once you have chosen a program, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will assist you in developing a plan of study in order to ensure that the necessary requirements are met for degree completion and teacher certification. Your Special Education program advisor will be the same individual throughout your attendance, in order to provide you with someone familiar with you and your plan of study, and to whom you can address any questions or concerns.
How long will it take me to finish the program?
The length of time that it will take you to complete your plan of study and obtain your degree will depend upon the specific Special Education program in which you are enrolled, and the semester hour requirements of that particular program. It will also depend upon whether you decide to pursue your program part-time (3-6 semester hours per term) or full time (9 semester hours per term). Since courses are offered during each of the Fall, January, Spring and three Summer terms, you may complete your program quickly if you attend full time. The average time period in which students complete a program is two years, although you have up to five years to complete a plan of study and obtain your degree.
What can you tell me about your faculty?
The Special Education program has four full-time faculty members, with two more lines currently open for which interviews are being conducted. We also have an outstanding staff of adjunct professors. Detailed information about our faculty members can be found on their individual webpages on www.hofstra.edu.
Where are your students from?
The majority of the graduate students enrolled in the Special Education program live on Long Island, although we also have students who commute from New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania.
What can you tell me about your alumni?
Hofstra University has prepared thousands of special educators since 1964. Many still work in schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties, New York City, Westchester, and surrounding areas. A large number hold administrative positions in public and private schools. Others are specialists in curriculum development, program evaluation, and assessment.
Do you offer assistantships and scholarships?
Yes. Departmental scholarships are offered each semester to dozens of students in Special Education. Hofstra also offers a variety of assistantship opportunities for interested students, the majority of which involve working up to 25 hours per week performing a variety of responsibilities on campus in return for a stipend and tuition remission. Some graduate students also work up to 12 hours per week as a graduate fellow for a faculty member within the Special Education program. This type of position may be applied for by contacting the Coordinator of Special Education directly. Further information and requirements regarding scholarships can be found in the Hofstra Bulletin, which may be obtained from the Hofstra's Graduate Admissions Office, or is available online at bulletin.hofstra.edu.
What does the employment market look like for special education?
There has been for many years and continues to be high demand for special educators in New York State and throughout the nation. Here on Long Island, the market for K-12 public school teachers is highly competitive. Our graduates have been very successful in securing positions in public, private, independent, and parochial schools, and, in both self-contained special education settings and inclusive classroom settings.
Can I afford to change careers at this time?
A large percentage of our students seek and procure financial aid in the form of student loans. Both full-time and part-time students are eligible to apply for financial aid. However, you must be a matriculated student to qualify for financial aid. The availability of financial aid decreases the hardship that many of our students would otherwise experience, as a large percentage of our students are married, have one or more children, and have housing and living expenses. Further information with respect to the types of, and requirements for, financial aid, can be obtained from Hofstra's Office of Financial Aid, or, found in the Hofstra Bulletin or online at www.Hofstra.edu. As noted above, a limited number of departmental scholarships are available to qualified candidates.