Applicants for admission to any area of specialization in the Special Education program must meet the specific requirements for the area of specialization in addition to the general requirements for admission to graduate study including:
- Have a prior certification in education (or are in progress of acquiring one) for admission to the Comprehensive Certification program. All candidates seeking certification in special education are required to obtain a second Pennsylvania teaching certification prior to completion of the program.
- Have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- Present an official transcript showing at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average for undergraduate studies. Those who do not qualify will be required to take either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) prior to admission. Conditions for continuance in the program may be made at time of admission.
- Have relevant experience working with individuals with disabilities and demonstrate dispositions appropriate to respectfully collaborating with others.
Each applicant will be required to:
- Appear for an interview with special education faculty. Faculty interviewing the candidate will make observations relating to: experience in the field, maturity, career goals and appropriateness of our program for these goals.
- Collaborate with faculty to develop a plan to meet specific requirements for full admission to the program (e.g., providing clearances, evidence of prior certification/requirements).
- Respond to a writing prompt at the time of the interview to demonstrate ability to write clearly and logically.
- Agree to a program of study developed during the interview process and sign a memorandum of understanding that changes in state regulations could impact degree requirements.
- Submit three reference forms.
- Fill out a questionnaire about his/her background and goals for the future.
- Submit a resume.
You are encouraged to begin this process six months before they begin classes.
You will be provisionally approved until you provide evidence that the following are on file with the Office of Field Studies:
- Pennsylvania Police Clearances
- FBI Child Abuse
- Pennsylvania Teaching Certification
- Passing Praxis I and Praxis II scores
Special Education Tracks
Students who pursue a master's in special education have a diverse range of interests. Our program gives you the opportunity to specialize in a specific area. Faculty focus on detailed, individualized curriculum. Each track's curriculum better prepares you for a future special education career.
The Master of Education in Special Education degree has four tracks. You can earn comprehensive certification in special education while earning your master of education degree. Alternatively, someone holding special education certification or other educational certifications can pursue work in the specialty areas of behavior disorders, learning disabilities, or intellectual and developmental disabilities without certification.
The department offers the following graduate degree specializations in special education:
- MEd in Special Education with Comprehensive Certification (PK-8 or 7-12)
- MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in Behavior Disorders
- MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities
- MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The master's degree with certification requires a minimum of 33 credits of course work plus 9 credits 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 the following courses or their equivalents have been taken at an undergraduate or graduate level:
- Introduction to Exceptionalities (EEC273)
- Inclusion of Students with Disabilities (EEC423)
- Assessment of Students with Disabilities (EEC483)
- English Language Learners (RDG413)
Additionally, applicants 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)
The master's degree without certification requires a minimum of 33 credits. This program is primarily for teachers who already hold special education certification or for regular education teachers who wish to develop skills for working with students who have disabilities who are in the general classroom. The special education master's degree without certification provides flexibility in tailoring a graduate program based on the past learning experience of the student as well as his or her future personal and professional goals.