What is Inclusive Childhood Education?

Our Inclusive Childhood Education program provides you with the opportunity to become certified in both Childhood Education and Special Education grades 1-6. With a foundation set in liberal arts, it also incorporates coursework in a professional manner and experiences that involve you in local elementary schools.
While the course load is packed with content and numerous field placements, the IEC program will promote lifelong learning skills, experiences to collaborate with teachers and families as well as equity and excellence in education.
Through a combination of childhood education and special education, you will learn several tools and strategies that benefit all students and will contribute to your success in a classroom.

Tips for Incoming Freshman

Language Requirement

Candidates must complete the 102 level in a foreign language. There is a chart in the CARP (Cortland Advisor Resource Packet from Advisement and Transition) that can help you decide what level of language courses you may need. If you have any questions, you can contact the Modern Languages department directly. One option is to take American Sign Language (ASL), but SUNY Cortland’s sections tend to fill quickly. You may choose to take ASL 101 at a community college elsewhere. If you have completed 101, it is often possible to pick up ASL 102 here, which would then fulfill the requirement.


IEC candidates must be fingerprinted before taking FSA 212, which includes a field experience. All local school districts require candidates to be fingerprinted before you will be allowed to set foot in their schools. Fingerprinting is no longer offered on campus. Candidates must have a TEACH account, and then apply through MorphoTrust’s certification website or by calling 877-472-6915. The cost to be fingerprinted is currently $101.75. Once fingerprints are submitted, these become part of a NY State database, and you will not have to be fingerprinted again.

TEACH Account

Candidates are required to make a TEACH account in order for fingerprints to be processed. You will also use your TEACH account to obtain your certificates and throughout the course of your professional career.

Create a NY.gov TEACH account. (In order to create an account you must have your social security number on hand, and it is free to make an account.)

General Tips

Course Retakes

If you fail a course and need to retake it, a course retake flag must be lifted by the department offering the course before you can register for it again. You may also retake a course because of a low grade, even if it is not an E. Re-taking a course for a higher grade is a useful strategy for improving GPA, because the new grade replaces the old grade.

Transfer Credit

You may have entered the IEC Program with Advanced Placement (AP) credit or college course credit. If you think you should have credit for something that does not appear on your DegreeWorks audit, call or visit the Advisement and Transition office for help.

If you would like to take a course elsewhere (for example at a community college over the summer) and transfer the credit here, you should first make sure that the credit will count. On the transfer equivalencies chart, you will find a list of both SUNYs and private colleges. Select the college where you want to take (or have taken) a course. If the course has an equivalent at SUNY Cortland, the chart will list it. In the unusual circumstance that a course does not appear in the list that you believe should count, you can obtain a syllabus and ask the appropriate department on our campus to evaluate whether or not they will accept the course as equivalent.

Before taking a course elsewhere, you should complete the permission to Transfer Credit process. Once coursework elsewhere is completed, you must arrange to have an official transcript sent to our Registrar before the credit will appear in DegreeWorks. There are limits on the amount of credits that can be transferred in, but they are high and only likely to affect transfer students. One purpose of the form is to allow the Advisement and Transition Office to evaluate the request and make sure the credit will count.

Registering for Courses

Registering for courses your first time can be confusing and stressful. To look at potential classes for the upcoming semester, go to MyRedDragon, select the Student tab and then browse to Public Course Schedule. Check off the semester you are looking at courses for and then pick the course prefix, or subject.

Summer or Winter Sessions

Many online courses are available during summer or winter sessions. If it is a SUNY Cortland version of the course, you can register for it just as you would for a spring or fall semester course (except that you will have to pay additional tuition). When you log in to MyRedDragon, select the Student tab and then select Register (Drop and Add Courses), which is located on the left-hand side of the screen. If you take another institution’s course, either online (e.g., through Open SUNY) or at a community college, follow the procedures above for transferring credit.

SPE 270

Transfer students—both internal (from another major) and external transfers (from another school)—may enter the program having completed SPE 270: Introduction to Special Education or its equivalent. Please note that this is not considered an equivalent course to FSA 212: Introduction to Inclusive Education.


Although the IEC program seems to have little space for electives, you will need at least one elective course to meet the total credit requirement of 126 credit hours. Also, many IEC majors enter SUNY Cortland with some college credit, or they place out of some requirements (such as language or CPN), which allows space for more electives. Below are ideas you might consider when deciding on electives to add.

Feed a Passion

So much of college coursework is taken in order to satisfy a requirement. An elective is an opportunity to take something simply for the joy of it! Go further in a GE category that you find intriguing, or to try something new or creative.

Improve GPA

If you are concerned about meeting our GPA requirement (at least a 2.80), an elective can be chosen strategically, as a course where you expect to be highly successful.

FSA Electives

Faculty in our department offer many courses that candidates may wish to consider as electives. Those at the 500-level are considered grad courses, but juniors and seniors are permitted to take them as well. A 500-level course can work well for the fall semester of juniors in the spring student teaching cohort (just before Block I), or for the final semester of candidates in the fall student teaching cohort (see the Program Plans section).

  • FSA 205 - Contemporary Issues in Education
  • FSA 250 - Foundations of Peace Education
  • FSA 333 - International and Comparative Education
  • FSA 347 (also listed as POL 347) - The Politics of Educational Policy
  • FSA 505 - Sociology of Education (usually offered every other year)
  • FSA 515 - Introduction to Disability Studies in Education, an online version of which is being developed
  • FSA 525 - Teaching the Inner City Child
  • EDU 552 - Gender Issues in Education
  • FSA 560 - Supporting Students with Autism

ENG 373 - Literature for Children

A worthwhile course for anyone teaching in an elementary school. Note that the course has prerequisites, specifically CPN 101 and any 200-level ENG course. If you take an intro to a literature course (such as, ENG 200, 202, 203 or 204) for GE7, the prerequisite requirement for this class can be satisfied for any concentration. There is also a course PWR 323 (Writing Children’s Literature). While there is no prerequisite, it is offered occasionally.

Psychology Courses Related to Students with Disabilities

Consider choosing coursework from the PSYX minor. These courses offer rich information about the needs of students with disabilities. If you are able to take many electives, consider adding the PSYX minor.

REC 293 or 330

These have an inclusion focus and make excellent electives for IEC majors. Note that you must register for the 700-level sections (600-level ones are reserved for Recreation majors).

Laying the Groundwork for an Additional Certification

After graduating from our program, it is possible to apply for an additional certification for “grade 7-12 generalist, teaching students with disabilities.” With the IEC coursework on their transcript, a candidate generally only needs an additional 6 credit hours of college coursework related to adolescent education and an additional certification test related to adolescent education to qualify. Please note that it is not SUNY Cortland that offers this certification pathway, and the additional coursework must be evaluated by the NYS Education Department. We cannot guarantee that any specific course will be accepted. However, Cortland courses that have been allowed in the past include PSY 232 Adolescent Psychology and LIT 449 Literacy in Middle and Secondary School, so these are good choices for candidates who might have an interest in teaching at the secondary level.

An additional certification for “teaching students with disabilities, birth to grade 2” is similarly possible, but early childhood coursework on our campus is not currently offered to non-majors. Candidates interested in an additional certification for early childhood can take relevant coursework in the summer at a community college, and then transfer those credits here as electives.

For any questions about additional certifications, the best place on campus to get good information is the Career Services Office.

Progress Through the Program

Program Plans

There are five color-coded IEC program plan packets, one for each concentration. These packets include two idealized four-year plans, one with student teaching in semester eight, and the other with student teaching in semester 7 (better for those potentially interested in student teaching in Australia – see student teaching section below). Please note that your program does not need to exactly match the ones in the packet. The program plans in the packets are meant as a starting place only, and will change based on prior credit, electives, need for re-takes, etc. It is wise to take the time to plan with your advisor. The program plans can be found in the FSA Department office, located in Cornish Hall, Room 1213.

Structure of the Concentrations

The last page of each of IEC program plan packet lays out requirements for that concentration. Generally, all have a similar structure: four courses to fulfill specific categories at the lower level (100-200) and six courses with more freedom of choice at the upper level (300-400). Math is an exception; all but one of the courses in the math concentration are prescribed.
Each concentration has some quirks and these are described in a bit more detail below. The sooner you have a clear sense of which concentration will work for you, the easier it is to determine what courses to take in a given semester. We ask that you commit to a concentration when applying to the program, that is, after completing FSA 212 and are ready to change from IECW to a “full-fledged” IEC major.

Note: To be eligible for student teaching, two-thirds of your concentration courses should be completed. Exceptions to this rule can be made, but no more than four concentration courses should be saved for the semester following student teaching for candidates in that fall student teaching cohort. All the program plans with fall student teaching list three concentration courses in that final semester. That final semester can also include HLH 265, some GE work, or electives.

Tips Related to Each Concentration

See individual color-coded program plan packets to learn about each concentration in more detail. All of the concentrations “double dip” in various ways with other program requirements. Here are a few concentration-specific tips:

English Language Arts and Writing Concentration (ELWC)

  • Two of the intro to writing options (PWR 212 - Writing Fiction and PWR 213 - Writing Poetry) are also GE8 courses. Those taking the ELWC concentration can save 3 credit hours (not need another GE8) if you take one of these two courses.
  • Anyone with the ELWC concentration should try to include ENG 373 Literature for Children as one of their upper-level concentration courses!

Environmental Sciences Concentration (ESTC)

  • EST 100 Environmental Studies is required for this concentration, and often does not have many seats. Once you choose ESTC, start looking for this course.
  • Many suitable courses in this concentration have prerequisites, so some careful planning may be required to be able to take the courses of your choice.

Humanities Concentration (HUMC)

  • One lower-level requirement is for a Philosophy course. Lots of students seem to go for PHI 140 - Prejudice, Discrimination and Morality. However, there is much content overlap with FSA 103, and you could learn more by choosing a different course. Also, some upper level philosophy courses require PHI 201 or above as a prerequisite, so using one of those 200-level courses for the philosophy requirement will create more options later.
  • Many suitable courses in this concentration have prerequisites, so some careful planning may be required to be able to take the courses of your choice. For example:
    • If you might want upper level philosophy courses, take PHI 201 or above for the philosophy requirement
    • If you might want upper level art history courses, take ATH 121 or 122 at the lower level.

Mathematics Concentration (MATC)

  • There is very little choice for courses in this sequence; the only math elective is one upper-level course at the end of the sequence.
  • The first course in the sequence is MAT 121 - Calculus A, which has a prerequisite (“MAT 115 or four years of high school mathematics”), so if you do not bring in this pre-calc equivalent, you will need an additional course for the concentration.
  • If you bring in the equivalent of MAT 135 - Calculus I, it can be substituted for Calculus A. The content of the two courses is similar; Calculus I and II are for math majors, and Calculus A and B are for everyone else.

Social Sciences Concentration (SOSC)

  • Although GE5 is optional for everyone else, it is still required for SOSC.
  • This concentration is fairly friendly with regard to prerequisites. The only upper level courses where you are likely to have missed the prerequisite are for Economics courses. So, if you are interested in economics, we recommend ECO 105, 110 or 111 as your final lower-level course.

Moving from IECW (“Waiting”) to IEC

In order to apply to the IEC program, candidates listed as IECW must complete FSA 212 with C or above, have a minimum overall GPA of 2.80 and otherwise be in good standing. At the close of FSA 212, all eligible IEC candidates are provided applications to the program. The application packet includes a “Change of Major” form on which you request a change from IECW to IEC. A concentration is also added to the program on the same form, if it had not been added previously. Once this paperwork is processed, the “W” is dropped. If a candidate has not met all requirements (for example, if you do not meet the GPA requirement), you can apply later, once all requirements have been met. If you think your major should have changed from IECW to IEC and has not, please let your advisor, the Department Chair or Department Secretary know.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad has phenomenal benefits! SUNY Cortland offers several opportunities to study abroad in numerous countries all year round. Want to study abroad in a specific country but Cortland does not have a program for it? Not a problem! Thanks to the SUNY system, you have access to ANY study abroad program at ANY SUNY School. To get started you must attend a Study Abroad 101 information session held every Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and every Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. in Old Main, Room 220. Please note that because of the strict program process, there are specific courses that must be taken at specific times within our major, specifically your block semester courses. Therefore, it is recommended that when studying abroad, you take courses that fulfill GEs or concentration credits. Remember, you can also study abroad over the winter or summer as well. For more information, visit the Study Abroad website.

Block Semesters

Are you ready for the block semesters? To enter Block I, a candidate should be in good academic standing, have no incompletes, have completed FSA 103, 212 and 340 with grades of C or above, and have an overall Cortland GPA of 2.8. Ideally, you should also have completed at least two-thirds of the course work in your concentration (21 credit hours), as this is required for student teaching. If you have not, a summer or winter coursework in the concentration may be required.

Block I

  • EDU 373 - Teaching Elementary School Mathematics
  • EDU 374 - Teaching Elementary School Science
  • FSA 400 - Foundations of Education: The School in American Society
  • FSA 411* - Planning and Instructional Strategies for Special Educators (register for 1 section plus the associated lab)
  • LIT 371 - Teaching Elementary School Reading and Language Arts I

Block II

  • EDU 315 - Critical Media Literacy: Values, Education and Society
  • EDU 375 - Teaching Elementary School Social Studies
  • FSA 437 - Assessment of Learners with Diverse Needs
  • FSA 479* - Social Curriculum and Behavioral Support (register for 1 section plus the associated lab)
  • LIT 372 - Teaching Elementary School Reading and Language Arts II

* includes 75 field hours that are shared between all five courses; the associated lab section allows all block courses to make up hours of class time that would otherwise be lost during the immersion weeks.

Both block semesters use an immersion model, meaning you will be placed full-time in a school Mondays through Thursdays for at least 16 days. Additional Friday “lab” classes, both during and before immersion, allow the affected courses to make up the hours in the college classroom that would be missed during the immersion.

Block semesters consist of 15 credit hours of coursework. Although a maximum of 18 hours is allowable in a semester, the scheduling of the immersion experience makes it quite challenging to include a sixth course. Block semesters are also fairly demanding in general, so it is not advisable to add a course, even when possible. If for any reason, one more course is necessary to complete the program, consider looking at summer or winter options.

Block students are placed in PDS partner schools. Our goal is to give every candidate a variety of experiences during their two block semesters. Each candidate should have one of their immersion experiences in an urban classroom, as well as having at least one placement in a classroom that serves a student with an IEP.


Before student teaching, IEC majors must complete three workshops: CARR, SAVE and DASA. These are all offered on our campus, and candidates can register for them just like registering for a course. Even though the workshops are required, they carry no college credit. Each workshop is a one-session experience, and the SUNY Cortland versions are scheduled on weekends. SUNY Cortland’s DASA workshop also includes an online component that precedes the face-to-face meeting. You may choose to complete any of the workshops elsewhere, but if you do not take them at SUNY Cortland, you must have an official transcript sent to our registrar, as the workshops are a program requirement. These workshops must be paid for. The prices at Cortland are: CARR ($35.00), SAVE ($35.00) and DASA ($100.00). If you register for a workshop on campus, the cost is automatically folded into your tuition payment. For more information, visit the Mandated Workshops page.

Certification Tests

Descriptions of NY State certification tests, prep materials, info about registration, etc. are all available at the New York State Teacher Certification Exam website.

Candidates must pass all the exams listed below to become certified. You can retake most of the exams as often as desired, although you must pay the fee again. Retaking the edTPA is tricky, because you also need a classroom placement to do it. A candidate who needs to retake all or part of the edTPA can register for EDU 597 - Student Teaching Extension: edTPA, which provides a field placement under the direction of a faculty member and/or a student teaching supervisor where the candidate can complete the edTPA tasks required for resubmission.

The total expense for fingerprinting, all workshops, and all certification exams is approximately $1,000. Some vouchers for certification exams may be available to reduce cost; check with the Associate Dean. All the tests except for the edTPA are timed assessments offered in a computer format only. Memorial Library on our campus is one of the sites where the tests are offered.

Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

The edTPA is completed during student teaching. In theory, our students can choose to take either the childhood education or special education edTPA. We recommend (and prepare students for) the special education version. It has three parts: (1) Planning, (2) Instruction, and (3) Assessment. A “Watermark” account is required during the block semesters for practice, and during student teaching for submission. The cost for the edTPA is $300; a candidate who does not pass the first time may choose to retake one or two parts for $100 each, or pay the full fee again. Note that completing the edTPA is required for the program as well as for NY State teacher certification.

Educating All Students (EAS)

The EAS includes content about diverse students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.

Two Content Specialty Tests (CSTs)

  1. Multi-subject: Teachers of Childhood (#221, 221 and 245): A content knowledge test in three areas: Literacy and English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Arts and Sciences. Each part can be taken separately or you can take them all altogether. Note, taking them all at once is a little more than a 5-hour exam, but can be done if you wish.
  2. Students with Disabilities (#060): This is a test based on different disabilities, appropriate services and special education law.

IEC Student Teaching

To be eligible for student teaching, a candidate must be in good academic standing, have no incompletes, completed all prerequisite education courses (FSA 103, 212, 340 and all Block courses), an overall Cortland GPA of 2.8, and have no grade lower than a C in required education courses. You should also have completed two-thirds of the course work in your concentration (21 credit hours).

Student teaching consists of two placements, one for seven weeks and the other for eight. You should register for FSA 493: Student Teaching as a Special Educator, FSA 494: Student Teaching as a Childhood Educator, and FSA 495: Student Teaching Seminar. Our student teaching supervisors all hold dual certification in NY State, and you will have one supervisor for both courses. Because IEC is a dual certification program, both certification areas are addressed during student teaching. However, the placements might come in either order; FSA 493 does not have to precede FSA 494. Also, note that one of the placements must be at the grade 1-3 level, and the other at grade 4-6.

Candidates may request certain kinds of settings, such as an urban classroom, an inclusive classroom, or a self-contained special education classroom (just for the experience). You may also request specific cooperating teachers or teaching teams. Please be clear that we cannot guarantee to accommodate such requests, but we do consider them.

Planning is underway to hire more supervisors to increase the options for venues where our candidates can student teach. Currently we can support student teaching in four regions:

Central New York

Student teachers can live in Cortland and commute to their schools, usually within a radius of up to an hour’s drive from Cortland. Candidates should know that their placement could very well be a full hour’s drive from campus. You will need a car for this option and gas money is up to the responsibility of the candidate.

New York City

Candidates can choose to apply to the SUNY Urban Teacher Education Center (SUTEC) to student teach in New York City. The Field Experiences and School Partnerships Office (Education Building 1105) facilitates this process. FESP typically schedules an informational meeting about student teaching in the city early in the semester, but candidates can always make an appointment to discuss their interests.

Long Island

A new option starting spring of 2018 is student teaching in a few schools in Suffolk County on Long Island. We expect to expand these options over time.

Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia through the University of the Sunshine Coast

This is a wonderful program, which offers an opportunity to learn about education in a different cultural context. The schools compete for our students and the placements are of extraordinary quality. The program also includes some exciting associated travel opportunities. The cost is in the ballpark of $20,000, counting all program fees, living costs, and travel. Some financial assistance is available. The calendar for this placement is unusual. Student teachers participate in the program from mid-June through mid-September (winter in Australia). The program represents only one of the two student teaching placements. The other placement must happen in New York State, as candidates receive state certifications.

Program participants have the choice to be registered for:

  • Spring: US/NY student teaching placement will take place January-March before Australia student teaching.
  • Fall: US/NY student teaching placement will take place October-December after Australia student teaching.

We strongly recommend that the Fall option is chosen, so that your NY State placement is second. This is because the edTPA must be done during the NY State placement. You will return from Australia as much more capable teachers, and have a much easier time with the edTPA. Read more about student teaching in Australia.