Special Education

Special Education Program

The Special Education Program is designed to meet the needs of college graduates who wish to pursue careers Special Education with a preliminary and/or advanced credential, and/or Master degree. Credential and master's level course work combine theory, methods, and field experiences that enrich candidates teaching practices and enhance professional expertise. The Special Education program consists of preliminary and advanced credentials and a Masters degree. Additional information appears in the Special Education Handbook [PDF].

Preliminary Education Specialist Credential Programs/Pathways

Preliminary Credential Programs

Mild/Moderate Disabilities (M/M) includes: specific learning disabilities; mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities; other health impairments; serious emotional disturbance and authorizes service in grades K–12 and classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.

Moderate/Severe Disabilities (M/S) includes: autism; deaf-blindness; moderate to severe intellectual and development disabilities; multiple disabilities; serious emotional disturbance and authorizes service in grades K–12 and classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) includes: mild/moderate and moderate/severe disabilities (listed above); traumatic brain injury and authorizes service to infants, toddlers, and young children with stated disabilities and their families.

Preliminary Credential Pathways

Intern Option: The Special Education Intern Program (SEIP) is an alternative credential pathway that allows candidates to work in P-12 schools as teachers-of-record while they complete university coursework necessary to obtain their credential. The SEIP is a collaborative effort with school districts, Non-Public School (NPS), or Charter Schools. Interns receive assistance from school site support providers and university supervisors.

Student Teaching Option: The Student Teaching Program is a traditional credential pathway that allows student teachers to be placed in public school P-12 classrooms under the guidance of a Master Teacher for fieldwork experiences while completing university coursework necessary to obtain their credential.

Advanced Programs

The Special Education advanced credential programs Masters degree prepares candidates to assume leadership roles in the field of Special Education. Current research and best practices in the field of Special Education underpin the curriculum.

Level II Education Specialist Credential Program: This program is designed for holders of a Preliminary Level 1 Credential (M/M; M/S; ECSE) and includes advanced coursework and Individual Induction Plans.

Master's Degree: The Master's degree program is based on curriculum that prepares candidates to assume advanced roles in the field of Special Education. The capstone experience for this degree includes a thesis or a comprehensive essay exam.

Special Education Program Goals

The Special Education Program adopted in 2010, the following goals which reflect our approach to special education teacher preparation:

  1. Communicate the legal and historical foundations of special education as they relate to the current populations served and the dynamic relationship within general education.
  2. Communicate the empirical and psychological foundations of special education as they relate to current motivational and instructional methods used in special education today.
  3. Demonstrate representative formal and informal assessment techniques, their strengths and weaknesses, essential to individualized and group special education services.
  4. Exhibit cultural and linguistic sensitivity toward learners from diverse backgrounds.
  5. Encourage the use of critical teaching behaviors derived from current teacher effectiveness research appropriate to students with mild/moderate/severe disabling conditions.
  6. Extend special education services downward via early intervention and upward via transition training demonstration projects.
  7. Promote professional interpersonal relations appropriate to the roles and responsibilities essential to comprehensive special education services.
  8. Use training methods derived from current training effectiveness research appropriate to methods and field supervision courses.
  9. Meet the changing demands of the profession as determined by periodic state and local needs assessments, reviews of the professional literature, attendance at professional conferences, and faculty participation in the classroom.
  10. Balance theory, research, and practice.

Special Education Program Knowledge Base

The knowledge base emphasizes the work and scholarship of educational philosophers researchers, and practitioners that support the school and division goals and is composed of the following categories:

Knowledge Base Category

Theorists, Researchers, Practitioners

Learning Disabilities & Learning

Bos, Deshler, Forness, Fuchs, D. & L, Hammil, Kavale, Kirk, Kaufmann, Lerner, Piaget, Schumaker, Swanson, Vaughn, Vygotsky, Wong

Developmental Disabilities

Beirne-Smith, Boswell, Greenspan, Ittenbach, Koegel Macmillan, Odom, Patton, Volkmar,


Rutherford, Morse, Lovaas, Adler, Maslow

Low Incidence Disabilities

Chen, Ferrell, Fraiberg,

ELL & Cultural Diversity

Bacca, Chen, Eschevaria, Guralnick, Ortiz,

Early Intervention & Families

Guralnick, Hanson, Linder; Lynch, Turnbull & Turnbull,


McLoughlin & Lewis, Overton, Salvia, Ysseldyke,


Artilles, Coe, Cook, Friend

Assistive Technology

Behrman, Edyburn,

Special Education Program Support