College of Education & Human Services

Office of Dean
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
coehs@ship.edu
(717) 477-1373
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Department of Educational Leadership & Special Education

1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
pfdill@ship.edu
(717) 477-1591
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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371
provost@ship.edu 

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The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016
GradSchool@ship.edu

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Special Education


The special education program at Shippensburg University has been designed to conform to the Special Education Standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and to the standards and regulations for graduate education at Shippensburg University, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Faculty members are highly sensitive to the impact of cultural diversity on the growth and development of children. While these factors are important in the development of curriculum in any educational program, they are especially critical in the educational planning for students with disabilities. The curriculum consistently demands the critical examination by students of the assumptions, both implicit and explicit, made in the selection and use of measurement instruments and instructional procedures and materials for any particular child.

Purpose

The purpose of the program is to equip special education teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to instruct students from several categorical areas (learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and behavior disorders). Participants completing the program of study will possess the necessary skills to provide instruction to students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Students’ learning will reflect historical and contemporary knowledge, research, theory, experience, and practice meeting the academic, personal, and social needs of their unique clientele. Specifically, students will be equipped with knowledge about (1 cr.) characteristics of children and adolescents with mild/moderate/severe learning disabilities intellectual disabilities/autism, and emotional/behavior disorders, and (2 crs.) methods and strategies appropriate for instruction in the least restrictive environment regardless of the exceptionality category.

The special education program is designed to reflect the current knowledge base, including existing and envisioned practices in educational institutions, and clearly delineated models. Curricular coherence is strengthened through faculty study and dialogue on purpose, course content, and intended student-learning outcomes. The program also uses procedures and problem-solving techniques indicative of the reflective educator model.

The Programs

The Master of Education in Special Education degree 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 disorders, learning disabilities, or mental retardation/developmental disabilities without certification.

The department offers the following graduate degree specializations in special education:

  • M.Ed. in Special Education with Comprehensive Certification (PK-8 or 7-12)
  • M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in Behavior Disorders
  • M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities
  • M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in Mental Retardation/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:

  • 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 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.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the special education program is a process requiring application materials, credentials, references, an on-campus interview, and a writing sample. Students are encouraged to begin this process six months before they begin classes. 

Applicants for admission to any area of specialization must meet the requirements for the special education program 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.  Form here [PDF]
  • Fill out a questionnaire about his/her background and goals for the future. Form here [PDF]
  • Submit a résumé.

Students will be provisionally approved until they 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
Degree Requirements with Certification

Comprehensive Certification (39 crs.)  

    • EEC535    Special Education Processes in a Standards Aligned System
    • EEC545    Applied behavior Analysis/Positive Behavior Supports
    • EEC548    Direct Instruction
    • EEC550    Instruction for Students with High Incidence Disabilities
    • EEC551    Subject Area Content Access for Students with Learning Disabilities in a Standards Aligned System
    • EEC561    Instruction for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
    • EEC565    Instruction for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • EEC571    Programming and Instruction for Individuals with Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorders
    • EEC600    Research in Special Education
    • EDU495    Student Teaching and Professional Practicum

            For Students Seeking a 7-12 Certification: 

            •  EEC 546    Transition to Adult Life for Students with Disabilities

              Total Program Hours for Comprehensive Certification 39 crs.  

              Degree Requirements without Certification

              Behavior Disorders Emphasis (33 crs.)  

              • EEC535    Special Education Processes in a Standards Aligned System
              • EEC545    Applied behavior Analysis/Positive Behavior Supports
              • EEC548   Direct Instruction
              • ELP510    Special Education Law
              • EEC571   Programming and Instruction for Individuals with Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorders
              • EEC590   Practicum I in Special Education
              • EEC600   Research in Special Education
              • Electives (9 hours with advisement)

              Learning Disabilities Emphasis (33 crs.) 

              • EEC535  Special Education Processes in a Standards Aligned System
              • EEC545   Applied behavior Analysis/Positive Behavior Supports
              • EEC548  Direct Instruction
              • EEC550  Instruction for Students with High Incidence Disabilities
              • EEC551  Subject Area Content Access for Students with Learning Disabilities in a Standards Aligned System
              • ELP510  Special Education Law
              • EEC590  Practicum I in Special Education
              • EEC600   Research in Special Education
              • Electives (9 hours with advisement)

              Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Emphasis (33 crs.) 

              • EEC535   Special Education Processes in a Standards Aligned System
              • EEC545   Applied behavior Analysis/Positive Behavior Supports
              • EEC548   Direct Instruction
              • EEC561   Instruction for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
              • ELP510   Special Education Law
              • EEC590   Practicum I in Special Education
              • EEC600   Research in Special Education
              • Electives (9 hours with advisement)
                      Special Resources

                      Shippensburg University has been educating public and private school teachers for more than 120 years; thus, teacher education is part of the very fabric of the university. A number of specialized curriculum laboratories are located on campus. A Curriculum Materials Center provides a wide range of teaching resources: textbooks, multimedia kits, films and filmstrips, audio tapes and records, etc. A Reading Center provides materials for teaching reading and language arts. Departmental and university microcomputers have curriculum software for various areas of study. Two computer labs for use of students are located in Shippen Hall. One is reserved exclusively for graduate students.

                      On campus, the university maintains the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School, one of the finest demonstration laboratories in the country. The school serves a heterogeneous group of children from preschool through fifth grade.

                      Additionally, schools accommodating special situations such as those for migrant workers are a part of the university network.

                      Amid the excellence of educational facilities, there exists a professional camaraderie among faculty, administrators, and students--a sincerely personable academic environment.