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Master of Science in Special Education

Program Coordinator:
Master's Degree: Ximena Suarez-Sousa, Ph.D, suarez@mnstate.edu
School of Teaching and Learning
Lommen 211D, (218) 477-2007


Master of Science in Special Education

Description
The Master of Science in Special Education is designed to further professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the areas of Special Education and related research. The program focus is to understand advanced pedagogical and disability specific concepts, and critically review research. An expected outcome will be to apply these concepts and research to professional practice through ongoing, systematic professional development. Within the Master's Degree, a student may choose to study a specific area of disability in one of the following areas: Specific Learning Disabilities, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Physical and Health Disabilities, or Early Childhood Special Education. The degree includes the option of completing requirements leading to special education teaching licensure in MN. Students wishing to pursue special education licensure most hold a valid MN teaching license in any area of teaching.

Admission Requirements

Information on admission requirements can be found on the Graduate Studies webpage.

Student Learning Outcomes

Candidates who complete the Master of Science Degree in Special Education will be able to:

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the principles of teaching and core content knowledge in special education.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge about assessment, teaching, and evaluation of learners with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to assume the professional role of a Special Education teacher and demonstrate appropriate dispositions for teaching.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan and conduct intervention related research 
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze, report on, and connect results to K-12 students, teaching practice, and the field of special education
  • Demonstrate advanced application of a variety of learning strategies to address the needs of culturally diverse students
  • Demonstrate the ability to make assistive technology decisions within a Universal Design for Learning framework 

Core Requirements ( 20 credits )

Students must have taken or complete upon admission SPED 225:  Individuals with Exceptionalities or its equivalent.  Additionally, students seeking special education licensure must have taken or complete upon admission approved reading courses to meet the Minnesota reading course requirements.  Students can satisfy this requirement by completing SPED 430/530 and SPED 445/545 or by providing evidence of prior completion of course equivalents.  Students who need to meet this requirement can take these courses concurrently with other program requirements.

SPED 606 Research and Applications in Behavior Analysis (3)
SPED 613 Inclusive Teaching Practices (3)
SPED 620 Perspectives and Policies in Special Education (3)
SPED 664 Theory and Process of Consultation and Collaboration (3)
SPED 601 Advanced Assessment in Special Education: Birth-Age 21 (3)
SPED 604 Intervention Research (3)
SPED 696 Intervention Research Project (2)

Program Requirements

Additional Requirements:
3.0 grade point average required for courses submitted for the degree
Written comprehensive examination
Oral defense of intervention research project


Emphasis in Developmental Disabilities (DD)

Program Requirements

SPED 519 Biomedical Aspects (3)
SPED 570 Secondary Services and Transitional Planning (4)
SPED 641 Special Education Methods: ECSE, DCD, and PHD (4)

Restricted Electives

Students seeking special education licensure in DD will need to complete appropriate practicum requirements.  One or two practica will be required depending on if the student holds a current special education license or not.

SPED 567A Special Education Core Practicum (3)
SPED 668D Graduate Licensure Practicum:  Developmental Disabilities (DD) (3)

For students not seeking special education licensure or who only need to complete one practicum, they may choose from the following options:

Any other SPED 500 or 600 class not in emphasis
MATH 502 Mathematics for Special Education (4)
ED 632 Curriculum, Instruction, and Learning Theory (4)


Emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

Program Requirements

SPED 519 Biomedical Aspects (3)
SPED 526 Infant/Toddler Strategies (3)
SPED 641 Special Education Methods: ECSE, DCD, and PHD (4)

Restricted Electives

For students seeking special education licensure in ECSE, two practica will need to be completed:

SPED 668I Graduate Licensure Practicum: Infant/Toddler (3)
SPED 668E Graduate Licensure Practicum: ECSE (3)

For students not seeking ECSE licensure, they may choose from the following electives:

Any other 500 or 600 SPED class not in emphasis
MATH 502 Mathematics for Special Education (4)
ED 632 Curriculum, Instruction, and Learning Theory (4)


Emphasis in Emotional/Behavior Disorder (EBD)

Program Requirements

SPED 555 Characteristics of Students with Learning and Behavior Problems (4)
SPED 578 Educational Interventions: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (3)
SPED 570 Secondary Services & Transitional Planning (4)

Restricted Electives

Students seeking special education licensure in EBD will need to complete appropriate practicum requirements.  One or two practica will be required depending on if the student holds a current special education license or not.

SPED 567A Special Education Core Practicum (3)
SPED 668C Graduate Licensure Practicum: EBD (3)

For students not pursuing licensure in EBD or who only need one practicum, they may choose from the following electives:

Any other 500 or 600 level SPED class not in emphasis
MATH 502 Mathematics for Special Education (4)
ED 632 Curriculum, Instruction, and Learning Theory (4)


Emphasis in Physical/Health Disabilities (PHD)

Program Requirements

SPED 519 Biomedical Aspects (3)
SPED 641 Special Education Methods: ECSE, DCD, and PHD (4)
SPED 570 Secondary Services & Transitional Planning (4)

Restricted Electives

Students seeking special education licensure in PH/D will need to complete appropriate practicum requirements.  One or two practica will be required depending on if the student holds a current special education license or not.

SPED 567A Special Education Core Practicum (3)
SPED 668P Graduate Licensure Practicum:  PH/D (3)

Students not seeking special education licensure  or only needing one practicum may choose from the following electives:

Any 500 or 600 SPED class not in emphasis
MATH 502 Mathematics for Special Education (4)
ED 632 Curriculum, Instruction, and Learning Theory (4)


Emphasis in Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)

Program Requirements

SPED 555 Characteristics of Students with Learning and Behavior Problems (4)
SPED 575 Informal Assessment/Teaching Strategies: Students with Learning Disabilities (3)
SPED 570 Secondary Services & Transitional Planning (4)

Restricted Electives

Students seeking special education licensure in SLD will need to complete appropriate practicum requirements.  One or two practica will be required depending on if the student holds a current special education license or not.

SPED 567A Special Education Core Practicum (3)
SPED 668B Graduate Licensure Practicum: SLD (3)

For students who are not seeking special education licensure or who only need to complete one practicum requirements, they may choose from the following electives:

Any 500 or 600 SPED class not in emphasis
MATH 502 Mathematics for Special Education (4)
ED 632 Curriculum, Instruction, and Learning Theory (4)