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

Characteristics (9 semester hours)
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
SPED 540Assessment and Interventions for Social Communication Impairments3
Core courses (6 semester hours)
PSY 635School Based Interventions3
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
Law (3 semester hours)
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Methods (9 semester hours)
SPED 563Secondary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
SPED 583Elementary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
SPED 586Collaboration, Transition, and Diversity3
or SPED 597 Special Topic
Thesis (9 semester hours)
SPED 605Single Subject Designs3
SPED 518Thesis (6 semester hours required)6
Only 6 semester hours of credit for 518 per degree will be given upon satisfactory completion of the requirement
Total Hours36

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

Characteristics (9 semester hours)
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
SPED 540Assessment and Interventions for Social Communication Impairments3
Core Courses (6 semester hours)
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
PSY 635School Based Interventions3
Law (3 semester hours)
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Methods (9 semester hours)
SPED 563Secondary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
SPED 583Elementary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
SPED 586Collaboration, Transition, and Diversity3
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 Education/Master of Science in Special Education - Option I Thesis 

(Educational Diagnostician professional certification)

Foundations and Professional Role (6 hours)
SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
Law (3 hours)
SPED 528Special Education Law3
Assessment and Evaluation (12 hours)
SPED 572Principles of Assessment and Measurement3
SPED 573Principles of Cognitive Assessment3
or PSY 573 Intellectual Assessment I
SPED 574Principles of Psycho-Educational Assessment3
SPED 540Assessment and Interventions for Social Communication Impairments3
Curriculum and Instruction (9 hours)
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
SPED 586Collaboration, Transition, and Diversity3
SPED 563Secondary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
or SPED 583 Elementary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities
Practicum (3 hours)
PSY 691Clinical Practicum Psychology3
Research (9 hours)
SPED 605Single Subject Designs3
SPED 518Thesis (6 semester hours required)6
Only 6 semester hours of credit for 518 per degree will be given upon satisfactory completion of the requirement
Total Hours42

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 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
SPED 526Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities3
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
SPED 540Assessment and Interventions for Social Communication Impairments3
Curriculum and Instruction (9 semester hours)
SPED 535Applied Behavior Analysis3
or PSY 535 Applied Behavior Analysis
SPED 563Secondary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
or SPED 583 Elementary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities
SPED 586Collaboration, Transition, and Diversity3
Practicum (3 semester hours)
PSY 691Clinical Practicum Psychology3
Research (6 semester hours)
SPED 605Single Subject Designs3
SPED 595Research Literature & Techniques (3 semester hours required)3
Total Hours39

Special Education Minor

SPED 524Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities3
or SPED 526 Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
SPED 583Elementary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities3
or SPED 563 Secondary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities
SPED 528Special Education Law3
SPED 586Collaboration, Transition, and Diversity3
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 the characteristics of students with mild disabilities. Emphasis is placed on etiology, ethics, contributing factors, conditions that affect learning, the challenges of identifying students with disabilities, and the need for academic, social, and emotional accommodations, assistive technology, and support.

SPED 526 - Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
Hours: 3
SPED 526 examines the characteristics of students with moderate to severe disabilities. Emphasis is placed on etiology, ethics, contributing factors, conditions that affect learning, the challenges of identifying students with disabilities, and the need for academic, social, and emotional accommodations, assistive technology, and support.

SPED 528 - Special Education Law
Hours: 3
SPED 528 provides 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 be exposed to issues of diversity and become familiar with how such factors have shaped 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 provides a focus on the basic principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). While wide application of ABA principles will be discussed, the application of ABA to the field of education is highlighted. The overarching goal of this course is to provide advanced training in proactive and scientific-based approaches to behavioral assessment, behavioral management, and behavioral aspects of education. In order to meet this overarching goal, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of the course objectives, or learner outcomes. Issues related to the importance of professional ethics as related to the use of behavior change programs and working with vulnerable populations will be reviewed at length. (Same as PSY 535)

SPED 540 - Assessment and Interventions for Social Communication Impairments
Hours: 3
SPED 540 addresses the (a) process of verbal, non-verbal, and paralinguistic communication skills; (b) assessment of communication competence, including social skills; and (c) research-based intervention strategies and effective practices for promoting effective communication for learners with social communication impairments, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. Language development, communication and language-based assessments, social skills training, alternative/augmentative modes of communication, assistive technology devices, and the impact of contextual factors affecting communication competence will be discussed and investigated.

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 - Secondary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities
Hours: 3
SPED 563 presents evidence-based strategies and interventions for students with disabilities. A focus on quality reading, mathematics, writing, and behavioral assessment, strategies, and interventions to support students with disabilities is provided.

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. (Same as: PSY 573)

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 - Elementary Instructional Methods To Support Students with Disabilities
Hours: 3
SPED 583 provides students with an understanding of effective reading, writing, and math instruction, with emphasis on the challenges faced by children (K-6) with a wide array of disabilities. Major approaches to informal 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 handwriting, spelling, and conceptual writing. Prerequisites: SPED 524.

SPED 586 - Collaboration, Transition, and Diversity
Hours: 3
SPED 586 explores models of inclusion and transition practices to support students with disabilities. Models of consultation and collaboration are presented for effective inclusion and transition practices. Accommodation strategies for supporting the academic/behavioral and social/emotional needs of students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms will be presented. Culturally competent and responsive practices will be emphasized. Home/school/community collaboration to prepare exceptional students for post-secondary environments through transition programming is emphasized.

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. (Same as: PSY 605) Prerequisites: SpEd or PSY 535.