A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.

Special Education - Mentally/Physically Handicapped

Master of Education (M.Ed) - Special Education: Credits:  33-63

M.Ed. with K-8 Certification (currently certified in Elementary Education) – Credits: 33 (program code: 0146)

M.Ed. with 7-12 Certification (currently certified in Secondary Content Area) – Credits: 33 (program code: 0147)

M.Ed. with Autism Spectrum Disorders (currently certified in Special Education) – Credits: 33 (program code: 0149)

M.Ed. with Dual Pre-K-4/K-8 Certification  (no current teaching certification) – Credits: 63 (program code: 0148)

Certification-only in Pre-K to Grade 8 Special Education (currently certified in Elementary Education) – Credits: 27 (program code: 0446)

Certification-only Grade 7-12 Special Education (currently certified in Secondary Content Area) – Credits: 27 (program code: 0447)

Certification - Autism Spectrum Disorders – Credits: 12 (program code: 0444)

Program Description

The Master of Education in Special Education program is available to students seeking a master’s degree along with coursework making the student eligible for Pennsylvania teaching certification. There are several different program options that are dependent upon an applicant’s undergraduate degrees. These options are as follows:

M.Ed. with K-8 Certification (currently certified in elementary education): This program is intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in elementary education, Pre-K to grade 4 or grade 4 to Grade 8. Upon completion, the student will hold a master’s degree in special education and will be eligible to add Pre-K to grade 8 special education endorsement to his/her current teaching certificate.

M.Ed. with 7-12 Certification (currently certified in secondary content area): This program is intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in a secondary education content area. Upon completion, the student will hold a master’s degree in special education and will be eligible to add grade 7-12 special education endorsement to his/her current teaching certificate.

M.Ed. with Autism Spectrum Disorders (currently certified in special education): This program is intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in special education. Upon completion, the student will hold a master’s degree in special education and will be eligible to add autism spectrum disorders (ASD) endorsement to his/her current teaching certificate.

M.Ed. with Dual Pre-K-4/K-8 Certification (no current teaching certificate): This program is intended for applicants who do not already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification. Upon completion, the student will hold a master’s degree in special education and will be eligible for dual certification in Pre-K to Grade 4 and Pre-K to Grade 8 special education.

Candidates for Pennsylvania certification must have completed undergraduate or graduate coursework that include the following:

College-level mathematics (6 credits) English composition and English/American literature (3 credits/3 credits) Health and wellness (3 credits) Citizen: Geography, political or economy (3 credits) English language learners (3 credits) Instructional technology (3 credits) U.S. history (3 credits) Physical science (3 credits) Environmental/earth science (3 credits)

Students entering the program without all, or part, of the undergraduate requirements may meet them with additional coursework or by competency tests while they are taking the graduate classes.

Certification:

The certification only programs in special education are available to students seeking to be eligible to add special education endorsement to a current Pennsylvania teaching certification. These options do not lead to a master’s degree. There are several different program options that are dependent upon an applicant’s undergraduate degrees and prior certification. These options are as follows:

  • Certification - only in Pre-K to Grade 8 Special Education (currently certified in elementary education): This program is intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in elementary education, Pre-K to grade 4, or grade 4-8. Upon completion, the student will be eligible to add Pre-K to grade 8 special education endorsement to his/her current teaching certificate.
  • Certification - only in grade 7-12 special education (currently certified in secondary content area): This program is intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in a secondary education content area. Upon completion, the student will be eligible to add grade 7-12 special education endorsement to his/her current teaching certificate.

  • Certification - Autism spectrum disorders (not certified in special education): Students who do not currently hold special education certification, including educators with certification in any area, other education professionals, family members of individuals with ASD and others, can complete the four-course, 12 credit online program for professional development, but will not be able to apply for ASD certification.

Program Objectives

The following goals form the basis for measuring the achievement of early, middle and special education candidates as they develop into beginning Pre-K-grade 8 early and middle school teachers, and Pre-K-grade 12 special education teachers.
  • Knowledge of Subject Matter - The early, middle and special education candidate understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
  • Knowledge of Human Development and Learning - The early, middle and special education candidate understands how children learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development.
  • Adapting Instruction for Individual Needs - The early, middle and special education candidate understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  • Multiple Instructional Strategies - The early, ,middle and special education candidate understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem-solving and performance skills.
  • Classroom Motivation and Management Skills - The early, middle and special education candidate uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation.
  • Communication Skills - The early, middle and special education candidate uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  • Instructional Planning Skills - The early, middle and special education candidate plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community and curriculum goals.
  • Assessment of Student Learning - The early, middle and special education candidate understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.
  • Professional Commitment and Responsibility - The early, middle and special education candidate is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
  • Partnerships - The early, middle and special education candidate fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and well-being.
  • Diversity - The early, middle and special education candidate understands the influence of culture on personal growth and recognizes and respects cultural differences, and believes that all human beings possess capacity for thought, feeling and learning.
  • Field Experience - The early, middle and special education candidate understands the importance of completing and documenting early field experience and recognizes the importance of a steady progression from being an “observer” to becoming an “active participant.”

Delivery Mode

Traditional (on-ground, face-to-face delivery, with some online/distance elements)

Accreditation

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Admissions Criteria

Minimum 2.80 GPA, or 3.00 GPA in the last 48 credits, in a baccalaureate verified with official transcripts  from an accredited institution

Current Act 24, 34 151 and 114 clearances or proof of submission

Copy of teaching certificate

Graduate Application for Admission plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

Curriculum

M.Ed. with K-8 Certification (currently certified in Elementary Education):

Core Courses
 Course
Credits
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3 crs.
ESP 620 Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3 crs.
ESP 739 Field Experience in Special Education3 crs.

Specialized Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 502 Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 503 Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching
3 crs.
ESP 607 Early Intervention: Special Education 3 crs.
ESP 612 Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 622 Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
Elective: ESP 740, 741, 742 or 743 3 crs.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Course or Approved Elective
3 crs.

Capstone Courses
 Course
Credits
ESP 800 Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design  3 crs.
Comprehensive Examination  

Total Credits: 33

M.Ed. with 7-12 Certification (currently certified in Secondary Content Area):


Core Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3 crs.
ESP 620 Special Education History Theory, and Exceptionality 3 crs.
ESP 739 Field Experience in Special Education 3 crs.

Specialized Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 502 Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 503 Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3 crs.
ESP 506 Transition Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 613 Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 623 Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3 crs.
Elective ESP 740, 741, 742 or 743 3 crs.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Course or Approved Elective 3 crs.

Capstone Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 800 Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design 3 crs.
Comprehensive Examination 3 crs.


Total Credits: 33

M.Ed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (currently certified in Special Education):

Core Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 740 Nature/Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 crs.
ESP 741 Communication, Behavior and Instruction: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 crs.
ESP 742 Life Transitions and Partnerships: Autism Spectrum Disorders
3 crs.
ESP 743 Navigating the Social World: Autism Spectrum Disorders
3 crs.


Specialized Courses: Must have 18 credits from the following list:
Course
Credits
ESP 502 Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 503 Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3 crs.
ESP 506 Transition Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 607 Early Intervention: Special Education 3 crs.
ESP 612 Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 613 Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 622 Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 623 Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 620 Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3 crs.
ESP 739 Field Experience in Special Education 3 crs.

Capstone Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 800 Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design
3 crs.
Comprehensive Examination  

Total Credits 33

M.Ed. with Pre-K-4/K-8 Dual Certification (no current teaching certificate):

Core Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Principles 3 crs.
ESP 620 Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3 crs.
ESP 739 Field Experience in Special Education 3 crs.

Specialized Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 502 Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 503 Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3 crs.
ESP 607 Early Intervention: Special Education 3 crs.
ECE 703 Literacy Development 3 crs.
ESP 612 Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 622 Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
ELE 702 Teaching and Assessment in Reading 3 crs.
ELE 701 Teaching and Assessment in Language Arts 3 crs.
ELE 731 Teaching and Assessment in Social Studies 3 crs.
ELE 711 Teaching and Assessment in Mathematics 3 crs.
ELE 718 Teaching and Assessment in Expressive Arts 3 crs.
ELE 721 Teaching and Assessment in Science 3 crs.
ECE 707 Leadership and Management in Early Childhood 3 crs.

Capstone Courses
Course
Credits
EDE 795 Student Teaching Internship 3 crs.
ESP 800 Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design 3 crs.
Graduate Comprehensive Exam  

Total Credits 63

Certification-only Pre-K-8 special education (currently certified in Elementary Education):

Core Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3 crs.
ESP 620 Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3 crs.


Specialized Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 502 Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 503 Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3 crs.
ESP 607 Early Intervention: Special Education 3 crs.
ESP 612 Evidence based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 622 Advanced Evidence based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion


Capstone Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 739 Field Experience in Special Education 3 crs.

Total Credits 27

Certification-only Grade 7-12 Special Education (currently certified in Secondary Content Area):

Core Course
Course
Credits
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3 crs.
ESP 620 Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3 crs.


Specialized Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 502 Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3 crs
ESP 503 Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3 crs.
ESP 506 Transition Planning and Instruction 3 crs.
ESP 613 Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3 crs.
ESP 623 Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3 crs.

Capstone Courses
Course
Credit
ESP 739 Field Experience in Special Education 3 crs.

Total Credits 27


Autism Spectrum Disorders (currently certified in special education) and Autism Spectrum Disorders Certification (not certified in special education)


Core Courses
Course
Credits
ESP 740 Nature/Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 crs
ESP 741 Communication, Behavior and Instruction: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 crs.
ESP 742 Life Transitions and Partnerships: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 crs.
ESP 743 Navigating the Social World: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 crs.

Total Credits 12


Advisement

Students in the special education program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator and program faculty. Each student is assigned to an academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Advisers work with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

Application Questions

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Eberly 202B
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419
724-938-4187
gradschool@calu.edu


Program Coordinator

Kalie R. Kossar, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.E.d. (California University of Pennsylvania), B.S. (University of Pittsburgh), Associate Professor;
Specializations: Collaboration, Assessment, Inclusion, Applied Behavior Analysis
Research Interests: Teacher Preparation, Evidence-based Practices, Applied Behavior Analysis
Web Page: http://www.calu.edu/academics/faculty/kalie-kossar.aspx
E-mail:kossar@calu.edu
Phone: 724-938-4982

Graduate Faculty

For faculty bios, visit: http://www.calu.edu/academics/faculty/index.htm.

James Burton, Ed.D. M.A. (West Virginia University), B.A. (Fairmont State University), Assistant Professor; Specialization: Life Skills, Transition and Assistive Technology

Jason Kight, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), Assistant Professor; Specializations: Behavior Disorders, Co-Teaching, Classroom Management and Autism

Katherine Mitchem, Ph.D., BCBA-D (Utah State University), M.Ed. (Drury University ), B.S. (Manchester University), Professor; Specializations: Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism and Special Education Technology

Mary Seman, Ed.D. (West Virginia University),  M.Ed. (University of Vermont), B.S. (California University of Pennsylvania), Professor; Specializations: specializes Applied Behavior Analysis, Direct Instruction, Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines

Sherrill Szalajda, M.Ed. (University of Pittsburgh), B.S. (Grove City College). Assistant Professor; Specializations: Special Education Pedagogy and Trends