Highlights


Apply Now Visit Request Information

Academic Master Plan

spacer image

College of Education & Human Services

Office of Dean
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
coehs@ship.edu
(717) 477-1373
College Site

Department of Educational Leadership & Special Education

1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
pfdill@ship.edu
(717) 477-1591
Department Website 

spacer image

Contact Information:

Graduate Admissions:

Graduate Admissions Office
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
Phone: 717-477-1213
Fax: 717-477-4016
GradAdmiss@ship.edu

Graduate Dean's Office:

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

spacer image

Master of Education in Special Education

The Special Education Program

Shippensburg University’s MEd in Special Education 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). Ship’s Special Education programs are now nationally recognized by NCATE/CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation).

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 dialogues 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 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
  • Behavior disorders

Graduates of the Special Education program 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
  • Practice meeting the academic, personal, and social needs of their unique clientele

Specifically, students will be equipped with knowledge about characteristics of children and adolescents with mild/moderate/severe learning disabilities intellectual disabilities/autism, and emotional/behavior disorders, and methods and strategies appropriate for instruction in the least restrictive environment regardless of the exceptionality category.

Our PA master’s in special education program combines theory, research and experience. This helps mold students into well-prepared teachers who can meet the needs of 21st-century learners.

Special Education Tracks

Students who pursue a master’s in special education have a diverse range of interests. Our program gives students the opportunity to specialize in a specific area. Faculty focus on detailed, individualized curriculum. Each track’s curriculum better prepares students for a future special education career.

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 in PA. 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:

  • 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 Mental Retardation/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.

Special Education Admission Requirements

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.

Students are encouraged to begin this process six months before they begin classes.

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 credits)

  • 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

Degree Requirements without Certification

Behavior Disorders Emphasis (33 credits)

  • 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 credits)

  • 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 credits)

  • 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 Education 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 for the master's in special education program:

  • Textbooks
  • Multimedia kits
  • Films and filmstrips
  • Audiotapes and records
  • Other media

A Reading Center provides materials for teaching reading and language arts. Departmental and university microcomputers have curriculum software for various areas of study. Two student computer labs 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, the university network of educational facilities includes schools accommodating students with special circumstances such as those for the migrant workers community.

Special Education Faculty

The Special Education faculty at Shippensburg University 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. The Shippensburg faculty continuously adjust the special education master’s degree curriculum to meet the needs of 21st century students.