Special Education MA/MS/MEd

Degree Requirements

For the master’s degree programs in Special Education, both thesis and nonthesis options are available. The following are examples of typical tracks:

Master of Arts/Master of Education/Master of Science in Special Education - Option I Thesis

A candidate for the Master of Arts degree must meet the language requirement outlined in the requirements for the Master's/Specialist degree section of the Graduate catalog.   

Core courses (12 semester hours)
SPED 520Introduction to Exceptionalities3
SPED 553Cognition, Learning, and Development3
SPED 580Current Topics in Special Education3
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
Characteristics (6 semester hours)
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
or SPED 540 Autism Spectrum Disorders
Law (3 semester hours)
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Methods (6 semester hours)
SPED 563Positive Approaches and Strategies for Effective Classroom Management and Behavioral Interventions (**)3
SPED 583Content Area Instruction for Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 586Inclusion: Strategies and Accommodations (O9)3
or SPED 597 Special Topic
Thesis (9 semester hours)
SPED 605Single Subject Designs3
or PSY 612 Psy Ed Statistics
SPED 518Thesis (6 semester hours required)3-6
Only 6 semester hours of credit for 518 per degree will be given upon satisfactory completion of the requirement
** Courses Needed for EBD/Autism Emphasis--540 and 563
Total Hours36

Master of Arts/Master of Education/Master of Science in Special Education - Option II Non-Thesis

Core Courses (12 semester hours)
SPED 520Introduction to Exceptionalities3
SPED 553Cognition, Learning, and Development3
SPED 580Current Topics in Special Education3
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
Characteristics (6 semester hours)
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
or SPED 540 Autism Spectrum Disorders
Law (3 semester hours)
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Methods (6 semester hours)
SPED 563Positive Approaches and Strategies for Effective Classroom Management and Behavioral Interventions3
SPED 583Content Area Instruction for Students with Mild Disabilities3
Research (6 semester hours)
SPED 605Single Subject Designs3
SPED 595Research Literature & Techniques (3 semester hours required)3
Elective
3 semester hours3
Total Hours36

Master of Arts/Master of Education/Master of Science in Special Education - Option I Thesis 

(Educational Diagnostician professional certification)

Foundations and Professional Role
SPED 520Introduction to Exceptionalities3
Select 1
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
SPED 540Autism Spectrum Disorders3
Law
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Assessment and Evaluation
SPED 572Principles of Assessment and Measurement3
SPED 573Principles of Cognitive Assessment3
or PSY 573 Intellectual Assessment I
SPED 574Principles of Psycho-Educational Assessment3
PSY 635School Based Interventions3
Curriculum and Instruction
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
SPED 553Cognition, Learning, and Development3
SPED 586Inclusion: Strategies and Accommodations3
Practicum
PSY 691Clinical Practicum Psych3
Thesis Option 1
SPED 518Thesis (6 semester hours required)3-6
Only 6 semester hours of credit for 518 per degree will be given upon satisfactory completion of the requirement
Total Hours39

Master of Arts/Master of Education/Master of Science in Special Education - Option II Non-Thesis

(Educational Diagnostician professional certification)

Foundations and Professional Role (6 semester hours)
SPED 520Introduction to Exceptionalities3
Select 1
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
SPED 540Autism Spectrum Disorders3
Law (3 semester hours)
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Assessment and Evaluation (12 semester hours)
SPED 572Principles of Assessment and Measurement3
SPED 573Principles of Cognitive Assessment3
or PSY 573 Intellectual Assessment I
SPED 574Principles of Psycho-Educational Assessment3
PSY 635School Based Interventions3
Curriculum and Instruction (9 semester hours)
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
SPED 553Cognition, Learning, and Development3
SPED 586Inclusion: Strategies and Accommodations3
Practicum (3 semester hours)
PSY 691Clinical Practicum Psych3
Research (6 semester hours)
SPED 605Single Subject Designs3
SPED 595Research Literature & Techniques (3 semester hours required)3
Total Hours39

Special Education Minor

SPED 520Introduction to Exceptionalities3
SPED 528Special Education Law3
SPED 583Content Area Instruction for Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 586Inclusion: Strategies and Accommodations3
Total Hours12

Notes

In addition to the course requirements, students must satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Application to take the comprehensive examination should be submitted upon completion of 18 semester hours in Special Education. Comprehensive examinations are scheduled once each fall and spring semester through the special education secretary.

Students will be approved for graduation and the degree after they have completed all degree requirements satisfactorily and been approved by the Graduate Committee of the department and the Graduate School.

SPED 518 - Thesis
Hours: 3-6
Thesis. Six semester hours. This conference course introduces the candidate for the Master of Arts or Master of Science (Option I) degree to the theories and techniques of educational and psychological research and leads to the completion and acceptance of the thesis.

SPED 520 - Introduction to Exceptionalities
Hours: 3
The purpose of SPED 520 is to familiarize teachers with characteristics and learning differences of pupils with exceptionalities. It includes training in informal assessment and a survey of research-based instructional strategies. Emphasis will be given to state and federal legislation guiding eligibility determination, services provided, placement decision-making, and development of individualized education programs in the least restrictive environment.

SPED 524 - Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities
Hours: 3
SPED 524 examines characteristics, causes, and research-based instructional strategies for students identified with mild intellectual disabilities, behavioral/emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, and other mild disabilities. Legal and historical foundations are addressed. The inclusive learning environment, positive classroom management procedures, social skills training, and family partnerships are included in this course.

SPED 526 - Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
Hours: 3
SPED 526 focuses on educational programming and other services for students with moderate to severe disabilities. Content in this course focuses on school, home, and community partnerships; student-centered classroom management; assessment; the inclusive instructional environment, including instructional strategies and functional and academic skills; social skills; motor, health, and self-care functioning; and transition to adulthood.

SPED 528 - Special Education Law
Hours: 3
SPED 528 will provide students with a history of special education litigation and legislation. Specifically, students will gain a deep understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, the major legislation governing the provision of special education services. Students will become familiar with federal statutes and regulations concerning assessment and evaluation procedures, due process and mediation, discipline, individual education plans (IEPs), free appropriate education (FAPE), and least restrictive environment (LRE).

SPED 535 - Applied Behavior Analysis
Hours: 3
SPED 535, an introductory course, focuses on the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Attention is given to the history and philosophical assumptions, identification of factors that contribute to challenges and improved performance, and procedures that can be used to evaluate student performance in school and clinical settings.

SPED 540 - Autism Spectrum Disorders
Hours: 3
The focus of SPED 540 is autism spectrum and related disorders. This course examines interdisciplinary assessment, trends in diagnosis, parent partnerships, and effective inclusive practices. SPED 540 emphasizes characteristics of disorders within the spectrum, including related disorders, and subsequent research-based interventions in the areas of communication, play, social-emotional development, sensory motor issues, and health care.

SPED 553 - Cognition, Learning, and Development
Hours: 3
SPED 553 is designed for professionals providing learning and transition services to students with special needs. Consideration is given to cognitive abilities and styles, information processing, memory, and development. Prerequisites: SPED 520.

SPED 563 - Positive Approaches and Strategies for Effective Classroom Management and Behavioral Interventions
Hours: 3
SPED 563 is designed for students to become knowledgeable of principles and best practices of effective classroom management and individual behavioral intervention strategies. Students will analyze diverse techniques using proactive, positive, and instructional approaches to translate theoretical perspectives into effective practice. This course will incorporate the evidence-based practices relevant to developing safe and effective learning environments, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and functional behavior assessments / behavior plans.

SPED 572 - Principles of Assessment and Measurement
Hours: 3
(Same as PSY 572) SPED 572 is the first required course in the sequence of assessment courses and is planned to provide a framework for the development of assessment practices. Attention will be given to issues of measurement, identifying appropriate sources of diagnostic information, reliability, validity, identifying and selecting test instruments, conducting the assessment process in an ethical and considerate manner, interpreting norm references and criterion-referenced test scores. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.. Prerequisites: Graduate standing.

SPED 573 - Principles of Cognitive Assessment
Hours: 3
The purpose of SPED 573 is to introduce students to principles of cognitive assessment. This course integrates the skills of administration, scoring, and interpretation of major cognitive assessments in the context of recent cognitive theories and research.

SPED 574 - Principles of Psycho-Educational Assessment
Hours: 3
SPED 574 explores a variety of methods to assess students’ academic and behavioral achievement. Test administration, scoring, and interpretation of evaluation results are emphasized. Prerequisites: PSY/SPED 572, SPED 520, SPED 528 and Psy/SPED 573.

SPED 580 - Current Topics in Special Education
Hours: 3
This course addresses current topics and issues in the special education field. The student will develop an understanding of the role of convergent research evidence in addressing current issues in special education practice and policy. Emphasis will be placed on the use of research to support practitioner decision-making.Prerequisites: SPED 520. Depending on program selected ONE or BOTH from 524 and 526.

SPED 583 - Content Area Instruction for Students with Mild Disabilities
Hours: 3
SPED 583 will provide students with an understanding of effective reading, writing, and math instruction, with emphasis on the challenges faced by children and adolescents with a wide array of disabilities. Major approaches to assessment and remediation in reading and math will be reviewed, enabling students to develop diagnostic-prescriptive programs. In addition, this course will provide students with methods of remediation in oral language, handwriting, spelling, and conceptual writing. Students will be enabled to provide appropriate strategies to meet a wide range of individual differences across age levels. Prerequisites: SPED 520 and SPED 524.

SPED 586 - Inclusion: Strategies and Accommodations
Hours: 3
A brief history of special education law and inclusive practices are presented, with comparison of the full inclusion model and the continuum of services. Characteristics of students with mild and moderate disabilities are examined, as well as considerations for placement in the least restrictive environment. Collaboration models, peer assistane techniques, behavioral intervention, and accommodation strategies are presented to prepare teachers to provide necessary supports in inclusive settings.

SPED 589 - Independent Study
Hours: 3
Individualized instruction/research at an advanced level in a specialized content area under the direction of a faculty member. Note: May be repeated when the topic varies. Prerequisites: Consent of department head.

SPED 595 - Research Literature & Techniques
Hours: 3
SPED 595 introduces students to fundamental research concepts, methods, and practices to address problems in the students’ field of interest. Emphasis is placed on review and critique of the literature and the role of research in applied settings.

SPED 597 - Special Topic
Hours: 3
Organized class. May be repeated when topics vary.

SPED 605 - Single Subject Designs
Hours: 3
SPED 605 is an introductory level course concentrating on single subject data designs, visual inspection and inference of data and statistical analysis for educational and behaviorally therapeutic interventions and data collection processes. Prerequisites: SpEd or PSY 535.