MASTER’S OF EDUCATION DEGREE (M.ED.) IN SPECIAL EDUCATION (SPED)
This program is intended for students who have concentrated their previous academic work in the field of Education and are interested in gaining the knowledge and skills to meet the diverse educational needs of learners with disabilities. Applicants must submit an application and participate in either a screening interview or instrument to determine if the applicant’s knowledge, experience, skills, and aptitude meet program admission standards.
A minimum 3.0 GPA on cumulative record (or 3.0 GPA in Education-Related Courses or final 60 undergraduate credit hours) prior to admission. Applicants are screened based on the quality of their application and the candidate’s potential for success in the program via the assessment of the special education program admissions committee. Students must include the following in their application:
- Curriculum Vitae/Resume
- Statement of intent (including their intent for selecting their concentration)
- Two professional letters of reference
- Official undergraduate transcripts
The two specialization areas within the SPED Master’s Program are:
- High Incidence Disabilities
- Low Incidence Disabilities
The applicant should confer with his/her faculty advisor to determine which specialization he/she will pursue.
- The High Incidence Disabilities specialization area coursework will focus on topics related to the characteristics, assessment, and instruction of students with learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), emotional and/or behavioral disorders, speech or language impairments, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Special attention is given to the areas of response to intervention (RTI), positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), and culturally responsive practices.
- The Low Incidence Disabilities specialization area coursework will focus on topics related to the characteristics, assessment, and instruction of students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, multiple disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, hearing, visual, health, or orthopedic impairments, deafness, and deaf-blindness. Special attention is given to the areas of assistive and instructional technology (AT/IT), communication strategies, and inclusion.
Students will be required to conduct research and develop a project relevant to their local community or schools with regard to the education of students with special needs. The research project should reflect adherence to professional ethical research standards.
Below are the course requirements for students pursuing the M.Ed. in Special Education. All applicants should meet with their program adviser who is assigned to them by the College of Education’s Graduate Programs office before committing to a specialization area and course of study.
CORE REQUIREMENTS (21 hours)
The following courses are required in all SPED Master’s programs, for all specialization areas.
Please make a note of any listed prerequisite requirements. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are restricted to SPED or DIAG majors and do not require additional departmental approval for majors.
EDPC 5310: Applied Research Design for Educators
This course focuses on the use of qualitative research methods in educational settings that serve diverse and/or special populations. Research design will include descriptive statistics, single-subject and qualitative research methods.
SPED 5320: Special Education: Historical & Legal Basis
This course covers special education laws and history with an emphasis on litigation, legislation and laws pertaining to definitions of exceptional children including learning and behavior disorders, physical, mental, and sensory disabilities and the exceptionally gifted and talented student.
SPED 5321: Topics in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education for Learners with Special Needs
In depth exploration of strategies and instructional services for students with disabilities who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Nationally recognized issues and practices for these individuals will be reviewed.
SPED 5330: Early Intervention for Young Children and Their Families
Focuses on recommended intervention strategies for children from birth to eight years of age who have disabilities or who are at risk of having developmental delays; emphasizes typical and atypical development, family involvement, assessment, and natural setting interventions.
SPED 5347: Working with Parents of Learners with Special Needs
Relevant approaches and techniques for professionals to work with parents of learners with special needs such as strategies for developing knowledge and skills associated with facilitating child growth by cooperative home-school planning.
SPED 5361: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
This course provides an in-depth examination of functional assessment and behavioral intervention planning based on positive behavior support. Instructional interventions applying ABA principles and techniques to students with autism and emotional/behavioral disorders will be highlighted. This is restricted to SPED and DIAG majors.
SPED 5378: Research and Applications in Special Education
(Prerequisite: EDPC 5310)
Designed as a capstone course, this course will require students to conduct research and develop a project relevant to their local community or school with regard to the education of students with special needs. The research project should be suitable for distribution in the schools.
Departmental approval is required to register for this course; contact your assigned graduate adviser.
High Incidence Disability Concentration (15 hours)
EDPC 5334: Culturally Responsive Classroom Based Assessment
This class covers theories and uses of norm and criterion referenced instruments in the classroom with an emphasis on curriculum-based, performance and informal assessments. Emphasis will be placed on response to intervention and working with culturally and linguistically diverse students.
SPED 5337: Assessment: Disability and Cultural/Linguistic Factors
Course content will focus on language acquisition, assessment of cultural variance in educational settings, selection of appropriate norm referenced assessment tools, administration and analysis of selected tests as it applies to students with, or suspected to have, a disability.
SPED 5340: Learning Theories across the Lifespan
Analysis and application of learning theories, including cognitive, behaviorist, social and emotional learning processes in human development, with special emphasis on children and adolescents.
SPED 5345: Interventions for Students with High Incidence Disabilities
This course focuses on the role of the special educator in providing services to students with high incidence disabilities. It will incorporate strategies in team building, collaborative planning, and implementation as well as instruction in curricular and instructional modifications.
SPED 5369: Teaching Reading to Learners with Mild Disabilities
This course provides information on assessment of learners with mild disabilities who have reading difficulties. It will include information about strategies in teaching decoding, word attack, comprehension, and other reading skills.
Low Incidence Disability Concentration (15 hours)
SPED 5331:Alternative Classroom Based Assessments
This course focuses on alternative classroom assessments for students with low incidence disabilities. Six alternative assessment methods: naturalistic, focused, performance, portfolio, dynamic, and curriculum-based language will be discussed. Additionally, clear guidelines for linking assessment results with intervention and providing effective collaboration with others will be covered.
SPED 5336: Motor Dev/Adapted PE
This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the developmental and functional aspects of motor development in low incidence disabilities. This course will also provide professionals with the essential knowledge for understanding intervention strategies, specialized motor equipment, motor therapy, and adapted physical education programs.
SPED 5363: Current Trends and Issues in Addressing Challenging Behaviors
Focuses on the theories and methods for promoting behavioral change for students with challenging behaviors. This course will address current research and best practices in behavioral interventions and support.
SPED 5371: Teaching Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
Characteristics of students with severe disabilities, including assessment, program development, teaching methodology, and design of learning environments; focuses on inclusionary/mainstreaming educational and community settings.
SPED 5374: Language Disorders in Students with Autism
This course provides an overview of the foundations of language acquisition for understanding language and communication problems in students with autism spectrum disorders. Formal and informal assessment and intervention techniques/strategies for facilitating language and communication are emphasized. Additionally, assistive technology in fostering communication will be explored.