Master of Science in Special Education

Program contact:  Judith Falaro, JD, 203-582-8868

The Master of Science in Special Education program has received approval from the Connecticut State Department of Education. The School of Education offers two tracks in special education. One leads to cross-endorsement Connecticut #165, Comprehensive K-12 Special Education for those already holding an initial endorsement, and the second track is for anyone who is interested in doing research in special education.

Program Description

The field of special education requires an in-depth understanding of the laws that frame it, particularly the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The program provides certified teachers with opportunities to better understand the purposes and protections of these laws, as well as their implications for teaching and working with students with special needs and their families. Through these lenses, program candidates will understand how students identified with special needs learn, how their particular special needs impact their lives inside and outside of school academically, socially and emotionally. The knowledge and understanding developed through the program will enable graduates to design individual programs of learning for students, with supports that allow all identified students to access the curriculum together with their non-disabled peers in inclusive settings. 

The program will provide graduate candidates with two options to achieve their professional goals. Teachers already holding a valid teaching certificate will be able to pursue a cross-endorsement in comprehensive special education along with their master of science in special education in accordance with the requirements and regulations of the Connecticut State Department of Education. Graduate candidates who are not planning to teach but still desire an MS in Special Education will complete a similar course of study culminating in a research-centered capstone experience.  

MS in Special Education Curriculum

SPED 545Introduction to the Exceptional Child4
SPED 565Specific Learning Disabilities: Identification, Instruction and Assessment (LD)4
SPED 566Autism Spectrum Disorders4
SPED 571Emotional and Behavioral Disorder Identification, Management, and Assessment3
SPED 574Understanding and Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities3
SPED 570Special Education Law3
SPED 573Reading Disorders: Assessment, Planning and Instruction3
SPED 568Assessment/Program Planning and Evaluation of Children With Special Needs3
SPED 581Research in Special Education (Masters only)3
Optional Course Work
Educating Young Children with Special Needs
Working with Gifted and Talented Students
Implementing Assistive Technology and Screen Capture Tools
Total Credits30

MS in Special Education Leading to Cross-Endorsement

SPED 545Introduction to the Exceptional Child4
SPED 565Specific Learning Disabilities: Identification, Instruction and Assessment (LD)4
SPED 566Autism Spectrum Disorders4
SPED 571Emotional and Behavioral Disorder Identification, Management, and Assessment3
SPED 574Understanding and Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities3
SPED 568Assessment/Program Planning and Evaluation of Children With Special Needs3
SPED 570Special Education Law3
SPED 572Educating Young Children with Special Needs3
SPED 573Reading Disorders: Assessment, Planning and Instruction3
SPED 579Practicum in Special Education I3
SPED 580Practicum in Special Education II 13
Optional Course Work
Working with Gifted and Talented Students
Implementing Assistive Technology and Screen Capture Tools
Total Credits36
1

Both SPED 579 and SPED 580 are required for candidates seeking a cross-endorsement in Connecticut #165 Comprehensive Special Education K-12 

Admission

Applications for the online Master of Science in Special Education program are considered on a rolling basis. Students may apply to enter during the fall or spring semester. We encourage candidates to submit applications as early as possible to ensure consideration for the semester desired.

To qualify for admission to the program, students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a preferred minimum GPA of 3.0. Candidates must submit:

  1. completed application form
  2. resume
  3. letter of intent
  4. official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work completed
  5. two letters of recommendation (professional and/or academic)

Foundations

The 18 credits of foundation courses are designed to provide an in-depth study of the characteristics and outcomes of four of the areas identified under IDEA.  In addition, students are required to take 12 credits of course work, that introduces them to special education law, policy and ethics; assessment, program planning and evaluation; and provides assessment, planning and instruction in reading disorders. Those seeking the cross-endorsement also are required to take a 3-credit course in educating young children with special needs.

Capstone Experience

Candidates following the cross-endorsement track are required to successfully complete the capstone project consisting of two 3-credit practicums, each in a different area of special education. Those completing the master's-only track will complete a 3-credit thesis based on research in special education as their capstone project

Optional Courses

Several courses are available but not required.

Retention

To remain in the program, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0. A student who receives a grade of C+ or below in a course may be asked to retake the course to earn a minimum grade of B-. Students who fail to maintain the minimum GPA in any semester may be allowed to remain in the program with probationary status at the discretion of the dean of the School of Education; however, granting of probationary status is subject to the dean’s approval and is neither automatic nor guaranteed.

The School of Education is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges and departments of education.