Master of Arts in Special Education

Program Description

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:

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.

Clinical teacher: Program for individuals seeking their first endorsement in special education. Candidates must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate to enter the program.

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

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. 

APPLY now

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 5300 Introduction to Special Education 3
SPED 5330  Introduction to Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making in Special Education 3
SPED 5070 Seminar in SPED: Emotional Impairments 3
SPED 5750 Education of Learners with Emotional Impairments 3
SPED 6380 Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED 3
SPED 6370 Research in Special Education 3
SPED 6610 Consultation & Collaboration in SPED 3
SPED 6710 Field Experience in SPED: Emotional Impairments K-5 3
SPED 6711 Field Experience in SPED: Emotional Impairments 6-12 3
SPED 6740 Intern Teaching in Emotional Impairments 3
SPED 7150 Capstone 3
  Total Credits 33

* 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 6380 Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED 3
SPED 6356 Evidence Based Instruction ELA, Math, Science & Social Studies LD 3
SPED 6370 Research in Special Education 3
SPED 6040 Field Exp in SPED: Data Based Decision Making & Effective Instruction K-5 3
SPED 6815 Field Exp in SPED: Starting Intervention High Incd Learners LD 6-12 3
SPED 6560 Current Issues in SPED 3
SPED 6210 Advanced Assessment in SPED 3
SPED 6200 Curriculum Development in SPED 3
SPED 6380 Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED 3
SPED 6300 Clinical Teaching Practice in SPED 3
SPED 7150 Capstone 3
  Total Credits 33

* 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 autism
Must have an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and a special education endorsement to enter this program.

Program course requirements
Course numberCourse titleCredits
SPED 5300 Introduction to Special Education 3
SPED 5330  Introduction to Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making in Special Education 3
SPED 6112 Universal Design for Learning 1
SPED 6610  Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education 3
SPED 6380 Applications of Behavior Analysis in Special Education 3
SPED 6370 or
PSY 6080
Applications of Research in Special Education or Behavioral Research Methods 3
PSY 6750 Behavioral Approaches to Language Assessment and Training 2
SPED 6360 Advanced Topics in Autism 3
PSY 6570 Autism: Etiology, Assessment, and Behavioral Treatment 3
SPED 6390 Evidence-Based Instructional Practices: Autism 3
SPED 6740 or 6300 Internship Teaching in Autism or Clinical Practice in Autism 6 or 3
SPED 5040 Field Experience: Autism 2
SPED7115 Capstone in Special Education 3
  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

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 6200 Advanced Assessment for Except. Learners 3
SPED 6210  Curriculum Development for Except. Learners  3
SPED 6560 Issues in Special Education 3
SPED 6610  Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education 3
SPED 6370 Applications of Research in Special Education 3
SPED 6400  Organization and Administration of Services for Learners with Disabilities 3
SPED 6410 Supervision of Special Education Programs and Services 3
SPED 6430   Legal Aspects of Special Education 3
SPED 7120 Professional Field Experience (200 clock hours) 4
SPED7115 or SPED XXXX Special Education Capstone or COMPS and an elective course 3 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 6060 Advanced Systems Thinking 3
EDLD 6630 Personnel Administration 3
EDLD 6720 School Finance 3
EDLD 6800 Superintendency 3
EDLD 6810 Policy Development 3
EDLD 6850 Facility and Technology Systems for Learning 3
EDLD 7120 Field Experience 3

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 6020 Educational Leadership, Systems & Change 3
EDLD 6300 Data-Informed Decision-Making 3
EDLD 6610 School Law 3
EDLD 6620 School Business Management 3
EDLD 6640 Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment 3
EDLD 6670 The Principalship 3
EDLD 6730 Instructional Leadership and Supervision 3
EDLD 6740 School and Community Relations 3
EDLD 6793 Principal Internship 3

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 5470 Introduction to Emotional Impairments 3
SPED 5750 Education of Learners with Emotional Impairments 3
SPED 6710 Field Exp in SPED: Emotional Impairments K-5 3
SPED 6711 Field Exp in SPED: Emotional Impairments 6-12 3
SPED 6210 Advanced Assessment in SPED 3
SPED 6200 Curriculum Development in SPED 3
SPED 6560 Current Issues in SPED 3
SPED 6370 Research in Special Education 3
SPED 6300 Clinical Practice in SPED 3
SPED 6380 Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED 3
SPED 7150 Capstone 3
  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 6380 Applications in Behavior Analysis in SPED 3
SPED 6356 Evidence Based Instruction ELA, Math, Science & Social Studies LD 3
SPED 6370 Research in Special Education 3
SPED 6040 Field Exp. in SPED: Data Based Decision Making & Effective Instruction K-5 3
SPED 6815 Field Exp. in SPED: Starting Intervention High Incd. Learners: 6-12 3
SPED 6560 Current Issues in SPED 3
SPED 6210 Advanced Assessment in SPED 3
SPED 6200 Curriculum Development in SPED 3
SPED 6380 Applications of Behavior Analysis in SPED 3
SPED 6300 Clinical Teaching Practice in SPED 3
SPED 7150 Capstone 3
  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 6380 Application of Behavior Analysis in Special Education 3
PSY 6570 Autism: Etiology, Assessment, and Behavioral Treatment 3
SPED 6390 Evidence-based Instructional Practices: Autism 3
SPED 6360 Seminar Advanced Topics in Autism 3
PSY 6750 Behavioral Approaches to Language Assessment and Training 3
SPED 5040 Field Experience: Autism 2
SPED 6300 Clinical Practice in Special Education 3
SPED 6370 Field Exp. in SPED: Data Based Decision Making & Effective Instruction K-5 3
SPED 7115 Capstone in Special Education 3
  Electives 3 - 6 credits 3 - 6
***LS 5160 Professional Symposium in Reading 3
  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 6380 Applications in Behavior Analysis in Special Education 3
SPED 6381 School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports 3
SPED 6382 Intensive Interventions for Challenging Behaviors 3
SPED 6655 Coaching 3
SPED 6300 Clinical Practice in SPED *optional* 3
SPED 6112 Universal Design for Learning 3
SPED 6113 Culturally-Responsive Practices in Special Education 3
SPED 6370  Applications of Research in Special Education 3
SPED 6430 Legal Issues in Special Education 3
SPED7115 Capstone in Special Education 3
  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.