This is a graduate program that leads to a Master of Education degree in Special Education is offered. Applicants are required to present evidence of previous successful experience in working with children and display a commitment to teaching children with disabilities through an interview.
Those candidates who apply for the teacher certification program in special education and hold no educational certification in another field must complete additional requirements that are determined after a review of their official transcripts. A maximum of 9 credits in special education may be accepted when non-matriculated students make application to the special education program.
Each student is required to have a program-planning sheet approved by their advisor on file. A candidate is required to obtain a minimum grade of B in each course. Courses with a grade less than B must be repeated. A grade of F in any course will automatically dismiss that student from the program.
The Master of Education degree programs are designed to serve these groups:
- Those who wish to add special education certification to the teaching certificate they presently hold in another field.
- Certified Special Education teachers who wish to pursue advanced study in one area of their field (i.e., learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or behavior disorders).
- Elementary and secondary classroom teachers who are interested in increasing their professional competencies in working with children with special needs in the general education classroom.
There are four options in the Master of Education special education program:
- Learning Disabilities
- Intellectual Disabilities/Developmental Disabilities
- Behavioral Disorders
Note: While it is possible to complete the program as a part-time student, the practicum will require extensive work in schools during the school year.
The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education has four tracks. One can earn comprehensive certification in Special Education while earning the Master of Education degree. Alternatively, someone holding Special Education certification or other educational certifications can pursue work in the specialty areas of behavior disabilities, learning disabilities, or intellectual disabilities without certification. The Department offers the following graduate degree tracks in Special Education:
- M.Ed. in Special Education with Comprehensive Certification (PK-8 and/or 7-12)
- M.Ed. in Special Education with an Emphasis in Behavioral Disabilities
- M.Ed. in Special Education with an Emphasis in Learning Disabilities
- M.Ed. in Special Education with an Emphasis in Intellectual Disabilities/Developmental Disabilities
The Master’s degree with certification requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of course work plus 9 credit hours of student teaching. It is designed for individuals who already hold either a Pennsylvania elementary (K-6, PreK-4) middle (4-8), secondary (7-12), or reading specialist (K-12) teaching certification. Applicants interested in special education certification must present transcripts that demonstrate that the following courses or their equivalents have been taken at an undergraduate or graduate level:
If the applicant’s transcript does not show evidence of having taken these or comparable courses, the courses will be treated as a deficiency (i.e., required background course that must be taken before receiving full admission to the program). Additionally, applicants for the program must hold a current Pennsylvania teaching certificate prior to applying for the Special Education certification. Applicants from other states must obtain a Pennsylvania certificate prior to applying for Special Education certification from PDE. The following certifications are approved as prerequisite teaching credentials for the Special Education certificates:
- Early Childhood (PK-4)
- Elementary (K-6)
- Secondary (7-12)
- Middle Level (4-8)
- Reading Specialist (K-12)
Candidates who apply for the Master’s degree with Special Education certification program who do not hold Educational certification in another field must complete significant additional requirements to meet the above requirements. Those requirements are determined after a review of their official transcripts.
Applicants are required to participate in an interview with a faculty member and to present evidence of previous successful experience in working with children and display a commitment to teaching students with disabilities.
A maximum of 9 credits in Special Education may be accepted when non-matriculated students make application to the Special Education program. Each student is required to have a program-planning sheet approved by their advisor. A candidate is required to obtain a minimum grade of B in each course. Courses with a grade less than B must be repeated. A grade of F in any course will automatically cause dismissal from the program.
The program of study appropriate for the individual’s professional goals will be developed during the applicant’s admission interview from the following course organizations.