Master of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certificate (MOSAIC)

Build the skills you’ll need to teach adolescents both with and without disabilities in the Pitt School of Education's Master of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certificate (MOSAIC) program. MOSAIC offers the unique opportunity to earn dual certification in Special Education and a Secondary Content Area, making graduates stand out in the job field. This rigorous 12-month program blends challenging coursework with full-time student teaching, giving candidates not only the knowledge but the experience to thrive in the classroom.

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration:  12 months over four terms (Summer II, Fall, Spring, and Summer I)
  • Time Commitment: Full time
  • Term of Enrollment: Summer
  • Course Requirements: 42 credits
  • Application Deadline: Rolling; Priority given to applications received by January 15
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE Exam Not Required


Apply Now

Program Details

The Master of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certificate (MOSAIC) program provides future teachers with the skills, knowledge, and experience to effectively teach adolescents with and without disabilities.

Candidates graduate with dual teaching certification for grades 7–12, in Special Education and one of the following Secondary Content Areas:

  • English Education
  • Math Education
  • Science Education
  • Social Studies Education; or
  • Foreign Language Education

The program’s rigorous academic curriculum centers on evidence-based practices in Special Education and Content Area coursework. Candidates develop their teaching skills through practical experiences in a variety of public middle- and high-school classrooms.

View Program Curriculum >>

Degree Requirements

Practicum Experiences: Requires a full-time practicum experience (5 days per week) at a local school district in both the fall and spring terms. Fall practicum includes content area and low-incidence disabilities placements. Spring practicum includes content area and high-incidence disabilities placements.

Certifications

MOSAIC satisfies the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in Special Education Grades 7–12, pending:

  • Earning a passing score on Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) Special Ed 7–12 exams; 
  • Completing the Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430);
  • Demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and the student teaching earning a passing score on the national PRAXIS II Exam;

MOSAIC also satisfies the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in a Specified Content Area Grades 7–12, pending:

  • Earning a passing score on the national PRAXIS II Exam;
  • Completing the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430); and
  • Demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and the student teaching

Prerequisites

The MOSAIC program has the following requirements for all applicants:

  • Foundations of Special Education course (3 credits)
  • Teaching English Language Learners course (3 credits)
  • 30 hours of experience working with children. Typical experiences include work at summer camps, tutoring, community involvement, or other volunteer or paid work with children
  • Interview with a program faculty member following the submission of your application

In addition, based on the academic subject area, there are the following additional prerequisites for applicants.

English Education
  • 3 credits of Foundations of Special Education
  • 12 credits of English Literature
    • This area requires a minimum of 4 three-credit courses. Courses must include reading, analysis, interpretation, and writing about literatures which reflect a diversity of genders, races, and cultural perspectives. A single course may satisfy more than one of these required foci. Examples include, but are not limited to literature courses such as, American, Women’s, African American, Native American, African, Latino/a, Caribbean, LGBTQ, Asian, World, British, or Adolescent.
  • 3 credits of English Composition
    • This area requires a minimum of 1 three-credit course. This courses must have a composition or writing focus. Examples include, but are not limited to, Fiction Writing, Journalism, Poetry, or Prose.
  • 6 credits of English Electives
    • This area requires a minimum of 2 three-credit courses. Courses should focus on writing, English language, or English-related areas. Examples: Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Uses of Literacy, Fiction, Non-fiction, Journalism, Poetry, Media Studies, Theater Arts, Film Studies, Film Production, Film Analysis, or Rhetorical Studies.
Foreign Language Education
  • For Latin Language Students Only:
    The following prerequisites must be fulfilled:
    • ​Latin Area 1
      • Roman Civilization (3 credits)
      • Latin Prose Composition (3 credits)
    • Latin Area 2
      • At least 24 credits above intermediate Latin with a maximum of 144 credits
         
  • For Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish Language Students:
    A total of 30 credits are necessary, with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 credits in each of Area 1 and Area 2
    • Area 1: Languages and Linguistics (12 - 18 credits)
      • Conversation and Advanced Conversation (3 credits)
      • Composition/Writing (3 credits)
      • Stylistics (3 credits)
      • Phonetics (3 credits)
      • Grammar (3 credits)
      • Syntax (3 credits)
      • Structure of the Language (3 credits)
      • Dialects (3 credits)
      • Morphology (3 credits)
      • Listening Comprehension (3 credits)
      • Advanced Reading (not a literature course) (3 credits)
      • Professional Translation (3 credits)History of the Language (3 credits)
      • Introduction to Linguistics (may be taught in English) (3 credits)
         
    • Area 2: Literature and Culture (12 - 18 credits)
      • Civilization I (3 credits)
      • Civilization II (3 credits)
      • Major Cultural Periods (3 credits)
      • Cultural Heritage Courses (3 credits)
      • Literature Surveys (3 credits)
      • Author Courses (3 credits)
      • Genre Courses (3 credits)
      • Literary Period Courses (3 credits)
      • Cultural Period Courses (3 credits)
      • Thematically-based Literature Courses (3 credits)
Mathematics Education
  • A major in mathematics or a mathematics-related field (e.g. physics, engineering, economics)  
  • Completion of the college-level Calculus Sequence (Calculus 1,2 & 3, or its equivalent) 
  • College-level experience in Abstract Algebra, Number Theory, Linear Algebra, Geometry, probability, Statistics, and the History of Mathematics (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents)  will be required to make a case for approval).  
Science Education

The Science Education program has different requirements based upon different subject matters.

Biology Applicants

  • ​A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Biology or related fields (e.g., Biochemistry, Environmental Science, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships; 
  • Foundations of Biology I and II (with labs); General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Organic Chemistry I (with lab); Calculus I (not included in 38 credit total) 
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Molecular or Cellular Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, and Environmental Biology or Ecology (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval)

Chemistry Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Chemistry or related fields (e.g., Biochemistry, Geochemistry, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships;
  • Foundations of Biology I (with lab); General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Organic Chemistry I and II (with labs); Introduction to Physics I; Calculus I and II (not included in 38 credit total);
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Analytic Chemistry or Instrumental Analysis; Physical Chemistry; Biochemistry, Environmental Science, or Geochemistry;  (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).

Earth and Space Science Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Earth and Space Science or related fields (e.g., Physics, Geochemistry, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships;
  • General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Introduction to Physics I (with lab); Calculus I (not included in 38 credit total);
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Astronomy; Physical Geology; Historical Geology; Oceanography; Earth Systems Science or Meteorology; Environmental Science; and Geological Laboratory Techniques;  (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).

General Science Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in the natural sciences and/or mathematics (at least 9 credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships
  • Foundations of Biology I and II (with labs);
  • General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Organic Chemistry; Introduction to Physics I and II; Physics Lab; Calculus I (not included in 38 credit total)
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Molecular or Cellular Biology, Environmental Biology or Ecology, Geology, and Astronomy (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).  

Physics Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Physics or related fields (e.g., Biophysics, Mathematics, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships;
  • Introduction to Physics I and II (with labs); General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Calculus I, II, and III (not included in 38 credit total);
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Mechanics (above introductory level); Electricity and Magnetism (above introductory level); Optics; Wave Motion; Ethical, Human, and/or Environmental Applications of Contemporary Physics; (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).​​
Social Studies Education

Area 1: Content Prerequisites (15 - 18 credits)

This area requires a minimum of 5 three-credit courses. Courses must directly address content in the following topic areas. A single course may satisfy more than one of these required foci. If regional, period, and/or topic specific courses are used to meet these prerequisites, up to 3 additional credits will be required in order to meet content expectations. 

  • U.S. History; 
  • Western European History; 
  • World History (non-Western); 
  • Ancient History; 
  • Geography; and 
  • World Cultures 

Area 2: Civics (3 credits)

The course must focus on general themes of political science, particularly those related to democracy, civic engagement, American political systems, or related topics. 

Area 3: Economics (3 credits)

A course in basic or advanced Economics is required.

Area 4: Sociology and Social Foundations (3 credits)

This prerequisite may be satisfied by a course in either the humanities, social sciences, or education that examines how socially constructed categories create advantages and disadvantages in social or educational institutions. 

Examples include courses that explore the history, nature, or implications of: 

  • classism and capitalism; ​
  • heterosexism, homophobia, genderism, and sexism; 
  • racism, xenophobia, and ethnocentrism; 
  • religious oppression; 
  • ableism; and/or  
  • other, interrelated forms of subordination

Career Pathways

MOSAIC alumni are employed as high school and middle school English, Science, Math, Foreign Language, Social Studies, and Special Education teachers in Pittsburgh, across Pennsylvania and around the country.