MA, Special Education

Master of Arts in Special Education

Special education teachers are an exceptional group of educators that serve as advocates for social justice and seek to uphold the dignity of all people including those with disabilities. The Master of Arts in Special Education degree provides you with advanced knowledge based on the Council for Exceptional Children's Advanced Content Standards to enhance student performance by addressing educational learning problems and improving teaching strategies.  It is possible to complete the degree with more than one emphasis, options include:

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Leadership and Policy: Advocate for policy and curriculum development by utilizing the breadth and depth of special education history, pedagogy, and latest research.
  • Program Development and Organization: Apply and expand content and professional knowledge to enhance instructional programs and curricula through evidence-based and innovative practices that reflect the needs of diverse populations.
  • Research and Inquiry: Evaluate current research studies and methodologies using evidence-based educational research to improve curricula, instruction, or interventions.
  • Student and Program Evaluation: Evaluate and analyze student achievement and program effectiveness utilizing nonbiased instruments and knowledge of research-based practices.
  • Professional Development and Ethical Practice: Exemplify professional, legal, and ethical behavior by participating in and providing opportunities for professional development that best support children with special needs, their families, schools and communities.
  • Collaboration: Implement culturally responsive collaborative and consultation students to enhance the opportunities for students with exceptional learning needs.

Students completing this program will not have met the requirements for the preliminary education specialist credential.

Applicants must complete the formal application process and all required documents, which include:

  1. Two letters of recommendation along with two waivers from individuals who are familiar with the applicants academic/professional ability to undertake graduate studies. 
  2. Must hold a valid Education Specialist Credential or successfully complete the prerequisite courses.

You must satisfactorily fulfilling one of the following admission options:

Option One
A 3.0 GPA calculated over the most recent 30 graded semester (45 quarter) credits completed in either a baccalaureate or post baccalaureate program, including credits earned toward a credential.

Option Two
A GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 (MAE/MAT requires 2.75-2.99) calculated over the most recent graded 30 semester (45 quarter) credits completed in either a baccalaureate or post baccalaureate program, including credits earned toward a credential. In addition, a satisfactory score on an accepted graduate admissions exam (GRE, GMAT, CSET, or MAT).

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE): achieve the required minimum scores on two out of three of the subsections of the GRE. (Minimum score for Quantitative: 141, minimum score for Verbal: 150, minimum score for Analytic Writing: 4.5)
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT): achieve a minimum scaled score of 400.
  • Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT): fulfill the formula GMAT + (GPA X 200) > 1000.
  • Subject Matter Competency Examinations: successfully complete all subtests of the appropriate California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). Exceptions are Foundational Level General Math where only subtests I and II are required and Foundational Level General Science where only subtests I and II are required.

Option Three
An earned master's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution.

Option Four
A GPA below 2.5, submission of a portfolio of evidence that shows adequate preparation for graduate studies. The portfolio will contain: writing samples that show graduate level communications and analytical skills; a detailed resume showing professional development and achievements; awards; professional recognition; letters of reference from persons who can attest to the applicant’s ability to do graduate level work; and a letter of explanation detailing the reasons the student believes he or she is a good candidate for graduate study in the discipline requested.

Candidate must hold a valid Education Specialist Credential or successfully complete the following prerequisite courses.

PSYU 323 Child Development (3) or PSYU 324-Adolescence 3
EDUU 510 Introduction to Teaching or a valid teaching credential 3
EDUU 511 Collaboration for Inclusive Schooling 3
EDUU 602 Positive Behavior Supports 3
EDUU 649 Data-based Decision Making in Special Education or EDUU 655 Individualized Education Plan Development and Special Education Law 3


Core Courses (9 credits)

EDUU 519 Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3
or EDUU 560 Teaching Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities 3
EDUU 600 Research and Evaluation Methods 3
EDUU 661 Collaborative and Cooperative Teaching 3


Advanced Electives (24 credits)

Select from the emphasis areas described below. At least 12 credits must come from one Emphasis area. Students may select courses from other emphasis areas or transfer in appropriate courses to meet the credit requirement.

Brandman University awards 6 semester credits towards Advanced electives for successful completion of an Education Specialist Clear Induction Program. The Education Specialist Clear Induction program must be completed prior to the student being awarded these 6 units, and will be evaluated for credit hour compliance. If students use these 6 units of block transfer, they will be allowed 6 additional units of transfer for the entire program.

Students admitting into Option 1 must select one emphasis area when applying. The remaining advanced electives credits must be decided upon with an advisor and communicated to the Teacher Accreditation Department so the credits can be added to the student’s official program.



  1. Content Strategies: EDMU 520, EDMU 521, EDMU 523, EDMU 524, EDMU 525, EDSU 530, EDSU 531, EDSU 532, EDSU 533, EDSU 534 OR any appropriate graduate level course in general education as approved by a special education faculty or associate dean
  2. Advanced Methodology: EDUU 638, EDUU 660, EDUU 650, CSPU 639, EDUU 687, EDUU 688
  3. Autism: EDUU 575, EDUU 675 , EDUU 676, EDUU 677
  4. Early Childhood Special Education: EDUU 665, EDUU 666, EDUU 667, EDUU 668, EDUU 669, EDUU 670


Total Credits 33
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