Master's students teaching young learners in a classroom.

Special Education (MS) (M.Ed.)

There is high-demand for dually certified special educators and for special education and special education related field supervisors nationally across many settings — including public schools, intermediate units, private schools, state centers, and hospitals.

Degrees & Offerings
  • M.Ed.
  • M.S.
  • M.Ed. + Certificate
  • Certificate
Format Option(s)
  • Hybrid (Online + In Person)
Department
College
Program Contact
Graduate Program Coordinator of Exceptionality Programs, Associate Professor
Department Secretary
illustration of Carver Hall

Students enrolled in our graduate level special education programs experience a combination of content knowledge as well as practical application through in-class practice coupled with numerous field experiences. Depending on the program of study, graduate students also apply content knowledge, skills and dispositions while:

  • Student teaching in the public schools
  • Completing internships with supervisors of special education in school districts
  • Serving in other educational settings or through internships and practicums in public schools or in related service environments.

Program Options

Admission Requirements

  1. General admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies and the Special Education Program:

    a) A one‐page letter of intent stating professional background, experience, and rationale for wanting to be admitted to the department
    b) Two letters of recommendation
    c) A resume
    d) An interview with the chair or graduate advisor
    e) A copy of a valid PA teaching certificate, if applicable
    f) An official transcript(s)
    g) An undergraduate cumulative QPA of 3.0. If average is below a 3.0, the student may be admitted as provisional. This may be eliminated after completion of 6 semester hours in which a QPA of 3.0 or better is earned. No Cs may be earned during a probationary period.
  2. All graduate students must satisfy the following requirements* of the Special Education Program prior to enrolling in courses. These documents must be submitted to the Office of the Department of Exceptionality Programs.

    •  Documentation of valid Act 34 (Criminal Record), Act 114 (Federal Criminal History) and Act 151 (Child Abuse) clearances. Clearances are valid for one year from the date of issuance (see Graduate Resources).
    •  Possession and documentation of a professional liability insurance policy is required. Three available sources to university students include, but are not limited to: a) CEC; b) PSEA; c) own personal policy.
    •  Documentation of TB screening results.
  3. Students must satisfy the following requirements prior to completing 24 credits of coursework:

    •  Completion of the 10‐Day or 5-Day Field Experience, or documentation of valid field experiences (required for teacher certification (Special Education PK-4; ECE, Special Education PK-8, or Special Education 7-12 programs of study only).
    •  Submission of completed packet to graduate advisor which includes documentation of field experience ( if applicable) and copies of all up-to-date clearances, TB results and liability insurance. Advisor will review the packet, and make a recommendation to the chairperson regarding admission to the program.

* All graduate students must have documentation of current clearances, professional liability insurance policy, and TB screening on file in the Department of Exceptionality Programs prior to enrolling in any education course that requires a field experience. For courses that assign field experiences there is a deduction of points for noncompliance related to the documentation of up-to-date clearances, TB results and liability insurance policy. These documents must be on file in the Department of Exceptionality Programs Office.

Retention

Maintenance of a QPA of 3.0 as required for retention in the program. A maximum of two Cs is permissible. A "C minus" is not acceptable. If a C is earned in a practicum course, it must be repeated with a grade of a B or better within a time frame determined by the area of concentration.

  • Maintenance and documentation of Act 34 (Criminal Record), Act 114 (Federal Criminal History), and Act 151 (Child Abuse) clearances
  • Maintenance and documentation of professional liability insurance and TB screening
  • Demonstration of satisfactory performance as outlined in the program of study and consistent with the Professional Competencies listed in PDE 354.33 and PDE Specific Program Guidelines
  • Continuation of field and clinical experiences as outlined in the curriculum and/or program of study including hours completed in diverse settings and with diverse populations

For detailed description and additional requirements, see applicable Program of Study Packet (Initial or Advanced Programs) and/or Policy 3810 for the Initial Certification Program or the College of Education Policy 3.1 for all Advanced Programs (with or without certification).

All graduate students must have documentation of current clearances, professional liability insurance, and TB screening on file in the Department of Exceptionality Programs prior to enrolling in any education course that requires a field experience.

Exit Procedures for Special Education Graduate Program

  1. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  2. Completion of all other requirements as identified in Policy 3810 and College of Education Policy 3.1 and the Initial Teacher Certification Graduate Program and the Advanced Teacher Certification Graduate Program Packets.

The following Exit criteria apply to students enrolled in the Initial Teacher Certification Graduate Program:

  1. Demonstration of competency in Student Teaching as described by PDE 354 Standards and supported by:
    - Written evaluations by cooperating teachers
    - Written evaluations by university supervisors
    - Grades of "C" or better (C minus does not meet this criterion)
  2. In order to receive Pennsylvania Department of Education Instructional Level I certification*, candidates must successfully complete the following Pennsylvania Educators Certification Tests (PECT):
    Special Education PK-8 (Modules 1 & 2) 
    Grades PK-4: Core and Professional Knowledge (Modules 1, 2 & 3)

If you plan on teaching in a state other than Pennsylvania, make sure you are aware of the state's certification test requirements. It's suggested you complete certification in Pennsylvania first. Reciprocal agreements exist with many other states. If you do not have the initial certificate there exists no agreement.

Advanced Certification Graduate Program: If you are currently certified in education, your culminating course will be the practicum. Depending on which advanced certification* you are seeking, you will only need to take the PECT Special Education PK-8 (Modules 1 & 2) or the PECT Special Education 7-12 (Modules 1 & 2).

* Note: Achieving the Master of Education is separate from teacher certification.

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Practical Learning

Student Teaching

Eligibility for student teaching or practicum will be determined at the scheduling period prior to the semester of student teaching or practicum and is contingent upon:

  1. Submission of a current resume
  2. Possession of an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better
  3. Completion of all required Special Education methods or program of study courses. All exceptions require the approval of the Department Chairperson, student teaching supervisor (for student teachers) and graduate program advisor (for practicum students).
  4. Continuation and documentation of professional liability insurance. This policy shall be a minimum of $1,000,000.00 per claim and $3,000,000.00 aggregate. This policy must remain in full force and effect for the duration of the student teaching or practicum assignment.
  5. Possession and documentation of valid Act 34 (Criminal Record), Act 114 (Federal Criminal History) and Act 151 (Child Abuse) clearances. Clearances must be valid for the duration of the student teaching or practicum assignment.
  6. Possession and documentation of a TB screening that will be valid through the student teaching or practicum assignment.

To maintain and to insure proper supervision for ALL student teachers, student teaching placements are limited to those areas specified on the student teaching application form and approved by the Special Education supervisory faculty.

Student teaching and practicum placements (for graduate students not currently in a full-time teaching position) are limited to the following counties:

  • Columbia-Montour Counties
  • Lackawanna County
  • Luzerne County
  • Lycoming County
  • Snyder-Union Counties
  • Northumberland County
  • Schuylkill County

Students are responsible for obtaining their own transportation to and from student teaching or practicum placements.

Practicum

BU’s Danville Area School District PDS Practicum is a K-12 program designed to provide undergraduate and graduate education majors with practical school-based experiences during the fall semester prior to spring semester student teaching.

An emphasis is on the inclusion of students in the general education classroom. Practicum students spend the fall semester in Danville schools (Grades K-4 are in classes at Danville Primary School and Liberty Valley Intermediate School) on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week.

BU practicum students and the DASD first-year induction teachers attend modules together on various professional development topics such as:

  • Ethics
  • SAS
  • Technology-interactive whiteboards
  • Teacher webpage development
  • Classroom and behavior management
  • RtII and differentiated instruction
  • Gifted education

Practicum students attend additional modules on curriculum-based assessment (CBA) and measurement (CBM), progress monitoring, portfolios, resumes, and interviews. School district administrators and practicum supervisor teach these modules.

Each BU student also spends time working closely with one mentor (current full-time teacher) to observe, plan and teach lessons in their classroom. This mentor becomes one of the BU student’s co-operating teachers during spring semester student teaching.

The practicum coordinator assists BU students during this school-based experience. All candidates must meet practicum objectives with their mentor teacher and students with whom they are working by completing reflective journals, lesson plans, progress monitoring graphs, and self-assessments on a pre/post basis that match the conceptual framework. 

Clubs and Organizations

Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC)
Student Council for Exceptional Children provides information and opportunities not only for special education duel major but students interested in working with exceptional children. Our organization provides valuable interactions to learn form and to teach students with exceptionalities. This includes multiple volunteer events and organized meetings that provide information for current and popular topics in special education. SCEC is active in Special Olympics in the Town Park and provides child care at monthly meetings for parents of children with autism.

Best Buddies

Special Olympics
The mission of Special Olympics PA is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Trinity Project
A collaborative endeavor developed by parents, adults with disabilities, BU and Columbia County Corporation that addresses the critical need for housing options and creative supports for adults with disabilities. Our efforts have resulted in a plan to create a unique housing opportunity that will directly improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, provide learning experiences for university students and enhance our community. The plan involved the conversion of the former Trinity Church into housing units for individuals with disabilities and housing for BU students in two adjacent homes.

The Husky Difference

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is one of only two nationally recognized accrediting bodies for educator preparation
Accreditation
CAEP accreditation ensures we prepare new teachers to know their subjects, their students, and have the clinical training that allows them to enter the classroom ready to teach effectively.

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