Special Education



Develop the skills and competencies you need to educate exceptional children and adolescents through graduate studies in Special Education at Hofstra University. Prepare to teach in one of three development levels of special education: early childhood (birth - grade 2), elementary (grades 1-6), and secondary special education (grades 7-12) or seek out specialties in behavior analysis and more through our many certificate level programs. Gain hands-on experience through fieldwork and student teaching in a variety of school settings, including high-needs school districts. Deepen your education through professional and student organizations, such as the International Association of Special Education and Special Education Graduate Association. Our programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Select from any of the programs below to learn more. If you have questions please contact our graduate admission team at 516-463-4723 or

Program Highlights

Program Details

Visit the Hofstra campus or connect with the graduate admission team. We will answer your questions and put you in touch with program faculty or degree candidates to learn more. Contact us at, or call 516-463-4723.

To be considered for the Special Education programs, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Advanced programs may require a master’s degree/additional experience. Click the links below to learn more.

Start your application online where you can upload the following documents:

  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities. You may initially submit unofficial copies of your transcripts for your application review, but official transcripts will be required once you are accepted into the program.
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement of interests and career intentions.

An interview with a faculty member is required.

If you are a current Hofstra student interested in pursuing undergraduate/graduate dual-degree enrollment, please contact your academic advisor. Direct any additional questions to

International students: Please review additional admission requirements.

Apply to Special Education programs at any time with our rolling admissions policy.

The Special Education programs are between 13 - 49 credits.

Visit the program pages to learn more (see accordions on this page).


Applied Behavior Analysis
Early Childhood Special Education (Birth - Grade 2)
Elementary Special Education (Grades 1-6)
Secondary Special Education (Grades 7-12)
Advanced Certificate Programs
Literacy and Special Education Dual Program
TESOL and Special Education Dual Program


Office of Field Placement

Faculty Profiles

Mary McDonald

Mary McDonald

Dr. Mary E. McDonald is an expert in autism and applied behavior analysis. Dr. McDonald is a Professor in the Special Education Department at Hofstra University. She directs the Applied Behavior Analysis including the Master of Science and Advanced Certificate. Dr. McDonald serves as the Associate Executive Director of Long Island Programs for Eden II/Genesis Programs. She has over 30 years’ experience directing programs for students with autism from early intervention through adulthood. She completed her Ph.D. in Learning Theory at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral Level and a licensed behavior analyst in NY and Connecticut. Dr. McDonald serves on a number of advisory boards and journal editorial boards.

Field of Study: Ph.D. in Learning Processes

Research Interests: Using video modeling to teach students with autism, increasing creative responding in students with autism

Meet Dr. McDonald

Stephen J. Hernandez

Dr. Stephen Hernandez, Associate Professor and the Director of Early Childhood Special Education, and Elementary Special Education holds an EdD from Hofstra. He has been a faculty member at Hofstra since 2004 and served as an adjunct professor at other area colleges, teaching courses in special education, disabilities, child development, psychology, and non-profit management. In addition to Dr. Hernandez's work in academia, he has worked for over thirty years serving individuals with special needs.

Meet Dr. Hernandez

Gloria L. Wilson

Gloria L. Wilson

Professor Gloria Lodato Wilson is the Director of the Graduate Programs in Secondary Special Education at Hofstra University, NY. She received a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology at New York University (1993), MS Ed in Special Education at Hofstra University (1977), and BA in Speech Therapy (Hofstra University, 1973)

Meet Dr. Wilson
Mary McDonald
Stephen J. Hernandez
Gloria L. Wilson

Take the Next Step

How to Apply

Earn the professional recognition and personal achievement you seek with a graduate degree from Hofstra University. Whether you study online or on campus, full or part time, you will benefit from small class settings with nationally recognized faculty and a community of peers all contributing to a transformative learning experience. Questions? Call 516-463-4723 or email our graduate admission team at