Special Education

Special Education Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) With Pre-K - 8 Certification

About Special Education Master of Education with Pre-K - 8 Certification

Expand your teaching expertise and career potential with an online special education M.Ed.

For Pennsylvania teachers currently certified in elementary or middle level education, this fully online master of education degree in special education will give you in-depth knowledge of teaching children with cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional problems and multiple physical disabilities.

Cal U's special education master's degree provides comprehensive training within a non-categorical, behavior analytic model. Upon completion of this master's degree program and successful completion of the Special Education PK-8 PECT Exam Modules 1 and 2, you'll be eligible to add Pre-K to grade 8 Special Education Pennsylvania endorsement to your current teaching certificate. Individuals interested in grades Pre-K - 8 Special Education Pennsylvania endorsement only can do so in this program without earning a master's degree.


Top Faculty: With real-world knowledge and expertise, Cal U's faculty will prepare you to distinguish yourself in the special educational field. Professors understand the changing needs in special education and will train you not only for a top career, but for leadership in the field.

Fieldwork: As a special education M.Ed. student, you'll have one semester of hands-on special education field experience, where you can apply your learning in a real-life setting.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Cal U's education programs have also been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.

Learn more about applying.

100% Online 
Cal U's Global Online courses are asynchronous, so you can complete your classes anywhere and at any time.
160+ years 
Cal U has a 160-year reputation of producing top-quality teachers in Pennsylvania and beyond.
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Degree Benefits

As a master's degree student in special education you will:

  • Have the flexibility to complete your online master's degree while still teaching full time.
  • Learn how to create and execute programming for the academic, social, motor, vocational and emotional needs of a diverse population of exceptional learners.
  • Apply interventions to students in your field courses and student teaching.
  • Collect data and determine your effectiveness and impact on students.
  • Benefit from career support from faculty and Cal U's Career and Professional Development Center.
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Graduate Outcomes

Cal U's special education program has very high pass rates on certification exams, and our program has a local and statewide reputation for producing graduates who are well trained and prepared to teach students with disabilities. Our graduates have high rates of employment right after graduation, and they can be found working in public and private special education across Pennsylvania and the United States.


Curriculum and Admission Requirements

From behavior analysis to early intervention and more, this 30-credit master's degree program covers a wide range of special education topics and is delivered 100% online.



Course Credits
ESP 602  Life Skills Planning and Instruction 3
ESP 603  Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3
ESP 607  Early Intervention: Special Education 3
ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3
ESP 612  Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3
ESP 620  Special Education History, Theory and Exceptionality 3
ESP 622  Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion 3
ESP 639  Field Experience Seminar in Special Education 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 800  Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design 3
Total 30

ESP 610 and 701 are pre-requisite courses for all other ESP courses.


Admission Requirements


Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or a 3.00 in last 48 credits earned (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • MEd or MEd plus Certification ONLY:  Copy of teaching certificate
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate ONLY:  Copy of teaching certificate is not required if certification is not desired.

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

Program Requirements

How to Apply:

                  School of Graduate Studies and Research
                  California University of Pennsylvania
                  Box 91
                  250 University Ave. 
                  California, PA 15419 

For additional information:
Email: gradschool@calu.edu  
Phone: 724-938-4187 

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.



An education student attends class.

Top Accreditation

Cal U's teacher education programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, Cal U education programs have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

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Technology Lab

Practice the integration of technology within your intervention and instruction for students with disabilities. Cal U's Technology Lab allows you to use iPads to collect data, provide video modeling, and use applications on students in the field as you're completing your field placements in local schools.

Special Education Faculty

Dr. James Burton
Associate Professor


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Dr. Peter Heh
Assistant Professor


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Dr. Jason Kight
Associate Professor and Chair


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Dr. Kalie Kossar
Associate Professor


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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.