Special Education

Special Education Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) With Grade 7 - 12 Certification

About Special Education Master of Education with Grade 7 - 12 Certification

Have a lifelong impact on children with learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities.

Grow your teaching skills and expand your career with a master's degree in special education from California University of Pennsylvania. Intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in a secondary education content area, this program will give you a comprehensive education in teaching students with cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional problems and multiple physical disabilities.

Upon completion of this master's degree program and successful completion of the Special Education 7-12 PECT Exam Modules 1 and 2, you will be eligible to add a grades 7 - 12 Special Education Pennsylvania endorsement to your current teaching certificate. Individuals interested in pursuing a grades 7-12 special education Pennsylvania endorsement only can do so in this program without earning a master's degree.


100% Online: Earn your master's degree while continuing to teach full time. Cal U's special education M.Ed. courses are delivered asynchronously online, so you can complete your classes from anywhere and at any time.

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.

Best Online 
U.S. News & World Report has listed Cal U's graduate education program as a Best Online Program three years in a row and counting.
is the mean annual salary for special education teachers in secondary schools. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
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Degree Benefits

As a master's degree student in grades 7 - 12 special education, you will:

  • Learn how to create and execute programming for a diverse population of exceptional learners.
  • Actively apply interventions to students in your field courses and student teaching.
  • Collect data and determine the effectiveness of your teaching.
  • Benefit from career support from faculty and Cal U's Career and Professional Development Center.
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Graduate Outcomes

Teachers who are qualified to instruct students with special needs are in demand, and special education positions often lead to a higher salary than general education roles. Cal U program graduates have a high job placement rate in public and private schools across Pennsylvania and the United States.


Curriculum and Admission Requirements

From evidence-based practices to advanced behavior analysis and more, this 30-credit master's degree program covers a wide range of special education topics in secondary education and is delivered 100% online.



Course Credits
ESP 602  Life Skills Planning and Instruction  3
ESP 603  Assessment and Prescriptive Teaching 3
ESP 606  Transition Planning and Instruction 3
ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3
ESP 613  Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3
ESP 620  Special Education History Theory, and Exceptionality 3
ESP 623  Advanced Evidence-based Practices for Secondary Inclusion 3
ESP 639  Field Experience in Special Education 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 800  Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design 3
Total 30


Admission Requirements


Regular Admission Requirements

  • The graduate school requires a 3.0 cumulative GPA for regular admission. However, applicants under a 3.0 may be considered for conditional admission and are encouraged apply.
  • 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

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email (gradschool@calu.edu) or fax (724-938-5712)

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 online student learns on a computer from a cafe.

Top-Quality Online Courses

Online courses at Cal U have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.

A Cal U ementary classroom gains fieldwork for students.

Hands-on Fieldwork

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

Students work together in classroom.

Student Organizations

Cal U's special education department has two active student organizations. The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) hosts group home dances on campus, tutors students and participates in a variety of community fundraisers. Sigma Pi Epsilon Delta (SPED) is a special education honors fraternity that participates in volunteering and tutoring initiatives for individuals with disabilities.

Related Programs

Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees

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.