Special education major displays a sensory toy in her autistic support classroom

Special Education (M.S.) (M.Ed.)

There's a high demand for dually certified special educators and for special education-related field supervisors nationally across many settings to include 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.

We offer Special Education Teacher Certification programs at the graduate level with the option of taking additional coursework for a master's degree:

  • Initial Teacher Certification - Special Education (PK-12) and Early Childhood Education (PK-4) Dual Cert 
  • Advanced Teacher Certification - Special Education Certification in either PK-12 or 7-12
  • Special Education Supervisory Certificate - For those graduate students who already have a special education teacher certification 

We also offer a Master of Science in Special Education that does not lead to teacher certification.

  • The M.S. in Special Education is for graduate students who want to pursue the master’s degree in special education without acquiring initial or further teacher education certification. This program is for graduate students who already have their special education certification, or do not want teacher certification.
  • This program is also offered to graduate students seeking a master’s degree in special education while pursuing their Special Education Supervisory Certificate.

Courses and Curriculum

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

  • A one‐page letter of intent stating professional background, experience, and rationale for wanting to be admitted to the department
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A resume
  • An interview with the chair or graduate advisor
  • A copy of a valid PA teaching certificate, if applicable
  • An official transcript(s)
  • 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.

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.

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.

For graduate students seeking initial teacher certification, the graduate program of study is the Special Education (PK-12) and Early Childhood Education (PK-4) Dual Certification (with the option of earning a M.Ed. in Special Education).

Admission Requirements
 

Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program must satisfy the general admission requirements for the School of Graduate Studies and the Special Education Program. The following criteria are required:

  • A one-page, handwritten letter of intent stating professional background, experience and rationale for wanting to be admitted to the department
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A resume
  • An official transcript(s)
  • An interview with the chair or program advisor
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students with a GPA of 2.7 – 2.99 will be considered for provisional acceptance. (No Cs may be earned during a probationary period.)

The College of Education requires up-to-date documentation on file in the Department of Exceptionality Programs Office of all clearances (i.e., criminal record, child abuse and FBI), TB results and liability insurance coverage prior to enrollment in a course(s).

Retention

Students must complete the criteria listed in the Teacher Education - Special Education Initial Program packet prior to the completion of 24 graduate credits. Required GPA, child abuse, FBI and criminal clearances, TB results and liability insurance coverage is described within the PRP 3810 - Admission, Monitoring and Exit Procedures for Teacher Education Initial Certification Programs and the program of study packet.

Some requirements must be completed before course work can be initiated (e.g., all clearances, TB results and liability insurance coverage). See Initial Teacher Certification Graduate Program Packet.

Certification and Graduation Requirements

Students may complete certification course work to access teacher certification prior to completion of the M.Ed. Some pre-requisite courses or their equivalents are required. A diversity experience (see packet) is also required for the completion of the program. 

Pre-Certification Requirements

Initial Certificate Program Worksheet

Completion of the following undergraduate courses/equivalents is required.
SPECED 101/516
Intro to Individuals with Exceptionalities/Orientation to Exceptionalities
SPECED 202 Technology for Individuals with Disabilities/may substitute UG Education Technology Equivalent
PROFSTUD 494/594 ELL Strategies/Methods OR AUDSLP 432/532 Communication/Education ELL

Core Course Requirements for M.Ed. (15 credits)
SPECED 502 Principles of Special Education Law
SPECED 547 Technology Applications for Individuals with Disabilities
SPECED 565 Special Education Research Methods I
SPECED 567 Special Education Research Methods II
SPECED 575 Seminar in Current Issues in Special Education

Certification Courses (equivalent courses may be considered)
ELEMED 526 Methods/Materials in Science and Math
ELEMED 532 Fine Arts/Play in the Early Childhood Education Classroom
ELEMED 537 Methods/Materials in Language Arts/Social Studies
READING 540 Introduction to the Teaching of Reading
SPECED 506 Introduction to Early Intervention
SPECED 517 Foundations of Behavior Intervention and Support
SPECED 530 Effective Instructional Practices for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities
SPECED 533 Literacy Instruction for Students with Disabilities
SPECED 544 Academic Assessment for Instruction
SPECED 550 Effective Instructional Practices for Students with Mild Disabilities PK-8
SPECED 557 Linking Assessment and Instruction
SPECED 558 Methods of Instruction
SPECED 588/589/SPECED 561 Student Teaching/Seminar

Note: PROFSTUD 500 Graduate Professional Seminar is required at the beginning of any COE Graduate Program of Study (0 credits; no fee).

For graduate students who already have a teaching license in a discipline other than special education and are seeking an advanced teacher certification in special education, the two programs are Special Education (PK-12) Certification and Special Education (7-12) Certification. Both programs have the option of also earning a M.Ed. in Special Education.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have an initial teacher certification to add on the special education certification. Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program must satisfy the general admission requirements for the School of Graduate Studies and the Special Education Program. The following criteria are required:

  • A one-page, handwritten letter of intent stating professional background, experience and rationale for wanting to be admitted to the department
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A resume
  • A copy of a valid PA teacher certificate
  • An official transcript(s)
  • An interview with the chair or program advisor
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students with a GPA of 2.7 – 2.99 will be considered for provisional acceptance. (No Cs may be earned during a probationary period.)

The College of Education requires up-to-date documentation on file in the Department of Exceptionality Programs Office of all clearances (i.e., criminal record, child abuse and FBI), TB results and liability insurance coverage prior to enrollment in a course(s).

Retention

Students must complete the criteria listed in the Teacher Education - Special Education Advanced Program packet prior to the completion of 24 graduate credits. Required GPA, child abuse, FBI and criminal clearances, TB results, and liability insurance coverage is described in the packet. Some requirements must be completed before course work can be initiated (e.g., all clearances, TB results and liability insurance coverage). See Advanced Teacher Certification Graduate Program Packet and COE Policy 3.1 for more details and additional requirements.

Certification and Graduation Requirements

Students may complete certification course work to access teacher certification prior to completion of the M.Ed. Some pre-requisite courses or their equivalents are required. A diversity experience (see packet) is also required for completion of the program.

Pre-Certification Requirements

Advanced Certificate Program Worksheet

Completion of the following undergraduate courses/equivalents is required.
SPECED 101/516 Introduction to Individuals with Exceptionalities/Orientation to Exceptionalities
SPECED 202 Technology for Individuals with Disabilities/may substitute UG Education Technology Equivalent
PROFSTUD 494/594 ELL Strategies/Methods OR AUDSLP 432/532 Communication/Education ELL

Core Course Requirements for M. Ed. (15 credits)
SPECED 502 Principles of Special Education Law
SPECED 547 Technology Applications for Individuals with Disabilities
SPECED 565 Special Education Research Methods I
SPECED 567 Special Education Research Methods II
SPECED 575 Seminar in Current Issues in Special Education

Special Education PK-8 Certification Courses (equivalent courses may be considered)
SPECED 506 Introduction to Early Intervention
SPECED 517 Foundations of Behavior Intervention and Support
SPECED 530 Effective Instruction Practices for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities
SPECED 533 Literacy Instruction for Students with Disabilities
SPECED 544 Academic Assessment for Instruction
SPECED 550 Effective Instructional Practices for Students with Mild Disabilities PK-8
SPECED 557 Linking Assessment and Instruction
SPECED 558 Methods of Instruction
SPECED 591 Practicum in Special Education

Note: PROFSTUD 500 Graduate Professional Seminar is required at the beginning of any COE Graduate Program of Study (0 credits; no fee).

Special Education 7-12 Certification Courses (equivalent courses may be considered)
SPECED 517 Foundations of Behavior Intervention and Support
SPECED 526 Transition Services for Students with Disabilities
SPECED 530 Effective Instructional Practices for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities
SPECED 533 Literacy Instruction for Students with Disabilities
SPECED 544 Academic Assessment for Instruction
SPECED 551 Effective Instructional Practices for Students with Mild Disabilities 7-12
SPECED 557 Linking Assessment and Instruction
SPECED 558 Methods of Instruction
SPECED 591 Practicum in Special Education

Note: PROFSTUD 500 Graduate Professional Seminar is required at the beginning of any COE Graduate Program of Study (0 credits; no fee).

The Special Education Supervisory Certificate program is for graduate students who already have special education teacher certification and includes the option of also earning a MS in Special Education.

This program is designed for graduate students seeking to develop the skills and knowledge required to provide administrative leadership in educational settings that serve individuals with disabilities. The completion of this program, in addition to select criteria identified by the PA Department of Education, will qualify an individual for certification as a Supervisor of Special Education.

It is designed to prepare entry-level leaders in the field of special education administration. Graduates may be found in leadership roles in state departments of education, school districts, intermediate units, approved private schools, detention centers, colleges and universities, social service agencies, and consulting firms.

The focus of this program is directed toward the practical application of administrative theory and school governance. This program is unique in that it will extend beyond the limits of the university classroom, into the interdisciplinary realm of the public school. A collaborative instructional design will be utilized during the summer course offerings to provide for a collegial and cooperative educational experience.

This program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Exceptionality Programs and the Department of Educational Studies and Secondary Education at Bloomsburg University. This integrated approach to instruction between regular and general educators is highly useful for professionals entering the public school domain where similar collaboration is central to success.

Design

This program was redesigned to address the evolving role of the special education supervisor within the public school setting. The core content and instructional design are based upon the recommendations of practicing administrators from across Pennsylvania, as well as state and national professional standards.

The program involves a one-calendar year design for completion. It also may be integrated into a graduate student’s current course of study. Students must have completed, or plan to complete, all Pennsylvania certification requirements for Special Education.

Admission Requirements

This program sequence may begin at any time. Application is made through the School of Graduate Studies. General admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies and the Special Education Program include:

  • A one-page, handwritten letter of intent stating professional background, experience and rationale for wanting to be admitted to the department
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A resume
  • An interview with the chair or program advisor
  • A copy of a valid PA teacher certificate
  • An official transcript(s)

Interested students who are currently enrolled in a BU graduate program must notify the School of Graduate Studies and submit a letter of intent to the graduate program advisor prior to enrollment.

Course Requirements

This is a fully online program. This program consists of five (5) courses and a six-credit internship. The sequence of courses required for completion of this program includes:

Administration
EDL 500 
– Introduction to Educational Leadership
SPECED 501 – Administration and Supervision of Special Education

School Law
SPECED 502 – Principles of Special Education Law

Curriculum Development
SPECED 503
– Curricular Design and Instruction for Inclusive Education

Current Knowledge
SPECED 575
– Seminar in Current Issues in Special Education

Practicum Field Experience
SPECED 595 – Internship in Special Education Administration

Note: Students who have completed select courses within this sequence during previous graduate work will be provided with an adapted course sequence as appropriate. To determine the course of study you must complete, see the graduate program advisor.

Note: The supervisory program (21 credits) can be imbedded within the program of study of the Master of Science in Special Education.

Pennsylvania Requirements for Certification

(As taken from the PDE website *)

Issuance of the Single Area Supervisory Certificate requires a minimum of five years of professional school experience in the area for which the certificate is sought (i.e., Special Education). Preparation for this professional certificate is at the graduate level and presumes in-depth study in the area of supervision. A person prepared as a Single Area Supervisor may be eligible for certification provided the applicant:

  • Has completed an approved program of graduate study preparing him/her for the responsibilities of supervising in the specified single program area and of directing the activities of certificated professional employees. (Preparation completed out-of-state must meet Pennsylvania standards for certification.)
  • Is recommended for certification by the authorized certification officer of the institution where such education was obtained, or holds a comparable certificate from another state (for out-of-state graduates only).
  • Provides a chief school administrator's verification of the completion of five years of satisfactory professional school experience as mentioned above. (22 PA Code Section 49.111).
  • Has provided evidence of satisfactory achievement on assessments prescribed by the Department under Section 49.18(a). [PRAXIS Specialty Area Test: 0411 (Paper) and 5411 (Computer); Qualifying Score of 143]
  • Is able to meet all other requirements provided by law.

(*) Please see the PDE website for additional requirements for PDE certification and for any updates as certification requirements may change over time.

Supervisory Certification Documents

This program is for graduate students who want to pursue the master’s degree in special education without acquiring initial or further teacher education certification.

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program must satisfy the general admission requirements for the School of Graduate Studies and the Special Education Program. The following criteria are required:

  • A one-page, handwritten letter of intent stating professional background, experience and rationale for wanting to be admitted to the department
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A resume
  • A copy of a valid PA teacher certificate, if applicable
  • An official transcript(s)
  • An interview with the chair or program advisor
  • An undergraduate cumulative QPA of 2.8. If average is below 2.8, the student may be admitted provisionally. No Cs may be earned during a probationary period.

The College of Education requires up-to-date documentation on file in the Department of Exceptionality Programs Office of all clearances (i.e., criminal record, child abuse and FBI), TB results and liability insurance coverage prior to enrollment in a course(s).

Retention

Students must complete the criteria listed in the College of Education, Policy 3.1 for Advanced Programs prior to the completion of 24 graduate credits. Required GPA, field/diversity experiences, TB screening, child abuse, federal criminal history and criminal record clearances, and liability information is described within the policy. Some requirements must be completed before course work can be initiated (e.g., all clearances, TB results and liability insurance coverage).

Graduation

Students seeking the M.S. in Special Education must complete requirements as listed below as well as a diversity experience. 
M.S. in Special Education Program Worksheet

Requirements — Special Education (M.S.)

  • Choice A: Thesis option — 30 hours course work plus six credits for thesis OR
  • Choice B: Department paper option — 36 hours of course work plus department paper

Core requirements (15 credits)

SPECED.502 Principles of Special Education Law
SPECED.565 Special Education Research Methods I
SPECED.567 Special Education Research Methods II
SPECED.575 Seminar in Current Issues in Special Education
SPECED.591 Practicum in Special Education
Note: PROFSTUD 500 Graduate Professional Seminar is required at the beginning of any COE Graduate Program of Study (0 credits; no fee).

Specialization Area requirements (12-18 credits)

Students enrolled in the M.S. in Special Education program will be required to specialize in a graduate program content area. Depending on their selected specialization students will be required to take 12 to 18 graduate credits in that area.

The approved specialization areas are:

  • Special Education (12-15 credits)
  • Special Education Supervisory Certification (18 credits + 6 cr. within core requirements = 21 cr. total)
  • Behavior Intervention and Support (12 credits)
  • Counseling (12 credits)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (12 credits)
  • Early Intervention (12 credits)
  • English Second Language Certificate (12 credits)
  • Instructional Technology (12 credits)
  • Literacy and Reading (12 credits)

See Program of Study Worksheet for specific courses within Special Education and other areas of specialization.

Thesis

PROFSTUD.599 Master's Research Paper (for graduate students electing Choice A only)

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.

  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  • 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:

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)

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).

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

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Clubs and Organizations

 

Best Buddies: is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Student Council for Exceptional Children: provides opportunities not only for special education majors 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

Trinity Learning Community: is 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.

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Special Education Program Contacts