Master of Arts in Special Education

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Program Description

teaching sitting with students

Students may focus their studies on obtaining a special education teaching or administration endorsement, in depth study of special education content for personal growth, or preparation for advanced graduate training. Program concentration options include:

Clinical teacher: Program for individuals seeking their first special education endorsement in either autism, learning disabilities, or emotional impairments. Candidates must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate to enter the program.

Master teacher, additional special education endorsement: Program for current special education teachers to earn an additional endorsement in autism, emotional impairments, or learning disabilities. Candidates must hold a current elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement to enter the program.

Master teacher, behavior intervention specialist: Program for general or special education teachers to pursue advanced preparation in positive behavior intervention supports and coaching behavior management. Candidates include general or special education teachers, principals, school psychologists, school social workers, speech pathologists, or other ancillary school staff.

Master teacher, initial teaching certification: Program for individuals pursuing their initial teaching certification with a focus in special education and endorsement in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), emotional impairments (EI), or learning disabilities (LD). 

Administration: Program for individuals pursuing leadership positions as central office administrators, supervisors, or directors of special education within a school district or ISD. Candidates must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement or related area certification to enter the program. Admissions are currently suspended.

Admissions

WMU has a new online graduate application system that allows all students (domestic and international) to submit required information into one system. General application information for the University, as well as specific requirements for individual programs, are captured into this one system. 

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Applicants are asked to include some program-specific information:

Applicants are encouraged to bookmark this information for quick reference while working through the graduate application process.

Applicants are evaluated on:

  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Special education experience
  • Congruence of goals and requested program option
  • Writing skills

Degree Options

All options are based on competencies from the Council for Exceptional Children and/or the Michigan Department of Education. Upon admission, students are assigned an advisor. Prior to taking classes, students must meet with their advisor to develop a graduate program of study and complete and endorsement evaluation

Clinical teacher option

First Endorsement in Emotional Impairment
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate to enter this program.

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 5300Introduction to Special Education3
SPED 5330 Introduction to Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making in Special Education3
SPED 5070Seminar in SPED: Emotional Impairments3
SPED 5750Education of Learners with Emotional Impairments3
SPED 6380Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED3
SPED 6370Research in Special Education3
SPED 6610Consultation & Collaboration in SPED3
SPED 6710Field Experience in SPED: Emotional Impairments K-53
SPED 6711Field Experience in SPED: Emotional Impairments 6-123
SPED 6740Intern Teaching in Emotional Impairments3
SPED 7150Capstone3
 Total Credits33

* LS 5160 is a course requirement to move from a provisional to professional teaching certificate which may be needed.

Clinical teacher option

First Endorsement in Learning Disabilities
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate to enter this program.

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 5300Introduction to Special Education3
SPED 5330Introduction to Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making3
SPED 5340Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education-Evidenced Based Practices3
SPED 6380Application of Behavior Analysis in Special Education3
SPED 6356Evidence-Based Instruction 6-12 ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies - Learning Disabilities3
SPED 6040Field Experience in Special Education - Learning Disabilities3
SPED 6815Field Experience in Strategic Intervention with High Incidence Learners: Learning Disabilities3
SPED 6610Consultation and Collaboration in Special Education3
SPED 6370Research in Special Education3
SPED 5080Seminar in Special Education2
SPED 6740Intern Teaching in Learning Disabilities6
SPED 7115Capstone in Special Education3
 Total Credits38

 

Clinical teacher option

First endorsement in autism
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate to enter this program.

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 5300Introduction to Special Education3
SPED 5330 Introduction to Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making in Special Education3
SPED 6112Universal Design for Learning3
SPED 6610 Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education3
SPED 6380Applications of Behavior Analysis in Special Education3
SPED 6370 or
PSY 6080
Applications of Research in Special Education or Behavioral Research Methods3
PSY 6750Behavioral Approaches to Language Assessment and Training2
SPED 6391Advanced Topics in Autism3
PSY 6260Behavioral Assessment3
SPED 6390Evidence-Based Instructional Practices: Autism3
SPED 6740 or 6300Internship Teaching in Autism or Clinical Practice in Autism6 or 3
SPED 6041Field Experience: Autism2
SPED7115Capstone in Special Education3
 Total credits:35-41

* LS 5160 is a course requirement to move from a provisional to professional teaching certificate which may be needed.

Special Education Administration

(Admissions are suspended)

Must have an elementary, or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement or related area certification to enter this program.

The admission option:

  • Is designed for certified and experienced special education teachers or related service personnel.
  • And provides coursework and field-based experiences necessary for State of Michigan Central Office Administration Certification and approval as either a Director of Special Education or a Supervisor of Special Education.
Program course requirements: Special education
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 6200Advanced Assessment for Except. Learners3
SPED 6210 Curriculum Development for Except. Learners 3
SPED 6560Issues in Special Education3
SPED 6610 Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education3
SPED 6370Applications of Research in Special Education3
SPED 6400 Organization and Administration of Services for Learners with Disabilities3
SPED 6410Supervision of Special Education Programs and Services3
SPED 6430 Legal Aspects of Special Education3
SPED 7120Professional Field Experience (200 clock hours)4
SPED7115 or SPED XXXXSpecial Education Capstone or COMPS and an elective course3 or 0/3
 Total credits:31

*LS 5160 is a course requirement to move from a provisional to professional teaching certificate which may be needed.

For students pursuing an administrative position as central office administrative, supervisor or director of special education position with a school district or ISD a Masters Degree in Special Education Administration is needed as well as the following courses within the Educational Leadership program.

Michigan Central Office Certificate with Special Education Director or supervisors approval requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
EDLD 6060Advanced Systems Thinking3
EDLD 6630Personnel Administration3
EDLD 6720School Finance3
EDLD 6800Superintendency3
EDLD 6810Policy Development3
EDLD 6850Facility and Technology Systems for Learning3
EDLD 7120Field Experience3

For students pursuing an administrative position as a principal, supervisor or director of special education with a school district or ISD a Masters Degree in Special Education Administration is needed as well as the following courses within the Educational Leadership program.

Requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
EDLD 6020Educational Leadership, Systems & Change3
EDLD 6300Data-Informed Decision-Making3
EDLD 6610School Law3
EDLD 6620School Business Management3
EDLD 6640Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment3
EDLD 6670The Principalship3
EDLD 6730Instructional Leadership and Supervision3
EDLD 6740School and Community Relations3
EDLD 6793Principal Internship3

Master teacher option

Additional endorsement in emotional impairment
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement to enter this program

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 5470Introduction to Emotional Impairments3
SPED 5750Education of Learners with Emotional Impairments3
SPED 6710Field Exp in SPED: Emotional Impairments K-53
SPED 6711Field Exp in SPED: Emotional Impairments 6-123
SPED 6210Advanced Assessment in SPED3
SPED 6200Curriculum Development in SPED3
SPED 6560Current Issues in SPED3
SPED 6370Research in Special Education3
SPED 6300Clinical Practice in SPED3
SPED 6380Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED3
SPED 7150Capstone3
 Total credits:33

*LS 5160 is a course requirement to move from a provisional to professional teaching certificate which may be needed. 

Master teacher option

Additional endorsement in learning disabilities
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement to enter this program

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 6380Applications in Behavior Analysis in SPED3
SPED 6356Evidence Based Instruction ELA, Math, Science & Social Studies LD3
SPED 6370Research in Special Education3
SPED 6040Field Exp. in SPED: Data Based Decision Making & Effective Instruction K-53
SPED 6815Field Exp. in SPED: Starting Intervention High Incd. Learners: 6-123
SPED 6560Current Issues in SPED3
SPED 6210Advanced Assessment in SPED3
SPED 6200Curriculum Development in SPED3
SPED 6300Clinical Teaching Practice in SPED3
SPED 7150Capstone3
 Total credits:33

*LS 5160 is a course requirement to move from a provisional to professional teaching certificate which may be needed.

Master teacher option

Additional endorsement in autism
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement or related area certification to enter this program.

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 6380Application of Behavior Analysis in Special Education3
PSY 6260Behavioral Assessment3
SPED 6390Evidence-based Instructional Practices: Autism3
SPED 6391Advanced Topics in Autism3
PSY 6750Behavioral Approaches to Language Assessment and Training3
SPED 6041Field Experience: Autism2
SPED 6300Clinical Practice in Special Education3
SPED 6370Field Exp. in SPED: Data Based Decision Making & Effective Instruction K-53
SPED 7115Capstone in Special Education3
 Electives 3 - 6 credits3 - 6
***LS 5160Professional Symposium in Reading3
 Total credits:32

***The LS 5160 class is a requirement for a professional teaching certificate.

Master teacher option

Behavior specialist concentration
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate or a special education endorsement or related area certification to enter this program.

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 6380Applications in Behavior Analysis in Special Education3
SPED 6381School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports3
SPED 6382Intensive Interventions for Challenging Behaviors3
SPED 6655Coaching3
SPED 6300Clinical Practice in SPED *optional*3
SPED 6112Universal Design for Learning3
SPED 6113Culturally-Responsive Practices in Special Education3
SPED 6370 Applications of Research in Special Education3
SPED 6430Legal Issues in Special Education3
SPED7115Capstone in Special Education3
 Total credits:30

Graduate Teaching Assistant Opportunities

The Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies typically hires 3-4 teaching assistants to assist faculty with teaching during the fall and spring semesters. Graduate students wishing to be considered for one of these positions should send a letter of interest and a resume to the chair.