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.

Admission Requirements

Applicants intending on enrolling in this program, whether online or on campus, must be California residents and must complete the formal application process with all required documents, which include:

  1. Two letters of recommendation along with the waiver forms. From individuals who are familiar with the applicant's academic/professional ability to undertake graduate study.
  2. Possess a current valid Special Education Teaching Credential or take and complete the prerequisite course of EDUU 511.

Admission Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements:

Option One – GPA required 3.00 or Higher

  • A 3.0 grade point average (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. All credits used for GPA calculation must be from a regionally accredited institution.

Option Two – A GPA between 2.50 and 2.99 (MAE/MAT requires 2.75 – 2.99)
calculated over the most recent graded 30 semester (45 quarter) credits in either a baccalaureate or post baccalaureate program, including credits earned toward a credential. All credits used for GPA calculation must be from a regionally accredited institution. In addition, a satisfactory score on an accepted graduate admissions exam such as GRE, GMAT, CSET or MAT (consult program for acceptable tests and scores)

  • 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 – GPA below 2.50, Portfolio

  •   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.

Core Courses (18 credits)

EDUU 600 Research and Evaluation Methods 3
EDUU 630 Leadership and Policy in Special Education 3
EDUU 631 Program Development and Organization in Special Education 3
EDUU 632 Advanced Assessment and Program Evaluation in Special Education 3
EDUU 661 Collaborative and Cooperative Teaching 3
EDUU 633 Special Education Capstone 3


Emphasis Area courses (12-18 credits)
When applying, students must select one emphasis area from the options listed below and complete all courses under the chosen emphasis.

Advanced Methodology: EDUU 638, EDUU 660, EDUU 650, CSPU 639  
Autism: EDUU 575, EDUU 675, EDUU 676, EDUU 677  
Early Childhood Special Education: EDUU 665, EDUU 666, EDUU 667, EDUU 668, EDUU 669, EDUU 670  
Behavior Analysis: EDUU 636, EDUU 637, EDUU 656, EDUU 657, EDUU 658, EDUU 659  
Total Credits (not including prerequisites) 30-36


Demonstration of Mastery
Candidates must successfully complete an action research project in EDUU 633.


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