Master's Degree in Special Education
The Master's Degree in Special Education provides students with advanced understanding of contemporary research and practice issues in special education. Applicants to the Master’s program are typically interested in pursuing enhanced professional competence, career advancement, leadership roles, advocacy and systems change, or preparation for doctoral-level study. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in education or special education). Applicants should be motivated to develop a deeper understanding of the field of special education.
The aim of the Master’s Degree in Special Education is to graduate students who:
- Have advanced skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating research-based practices that meet the special educational needs of learners with disabilities;
- Understand the historical and conceptual underpinnings of special education, as well as policies that guide its implementation in school and community settings;
- Are able to analyze contemporary issues surrounding special education and the impact of exceptionality on individuals and their families;
- Understand the roles that research plays in special education theory, practice, and policy.
What Master's Degree Options are Available?
Students interested in pursuing a Master’s Degree in Special Education have several different concentrations to choose from:
- American Sign Language/English Interpreting Concentration (Temporarily suspended) - Prepares students to work with children and adults who have hearing loss or are deaf in both educational and community settings.
- Deaf Education Concentration – Focuses on needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, preschool to grade 12 (ages 3-21).
- Early Childhood Intervention Specialist Concentration – Focuses on needs of young children with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities, birth to grade 3 (birth to 8) and their families.
- General Special Education Concentration- Provides a broad focus on special education across ages and types of student need. Students interested in the General Special Education Master’s degree will work with a Graduate Advisor to develop a personalized Plan of Study.
- Mild/Moderate Educational Needs Concentration – Focuses on needs of students with mild to moderate educational needs who most often participate in the general education academic curriculum with SPED supports, kindergarten to grade 12 (ages 5-21).
- Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs Concentration – Focuses on needs of students with moderate to intensive educational needs who most often require modifications to general education academic curriculum and/or other extensive SPED supports, kindergarten to grade 12 (ages 5-21).
- Transition-to-Work Concentration – Focuses on needs of students with disabilities transitioning to adulthood, High School (ages 14/16 to 21).
Graduate Certificates and Endorsements
Students may choose to integrate a Graduate Level Certificate (Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavioral Intervention Specialist, Early Intervention) or a Graduate Level Endorsement (Pre-K Special Needs, Transition to Work) with the Master’s in Special Education degree. Students may also choose to integrate a Non-Degree Graduate Licensure Preparation Program (Deaf Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Mild/Moderate Educational Needs, or Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs) with a Master’s in Special Education degree. Please contact Dr. Sonya Wisdom for more information on Special Education Graduate Programs.