Master of Education in PreK-12 Special Education

Become a highly skilled and progressive teacher in special education by earning your Master of Education in PreK-12 Special Education from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Our 33-credit program addresses the challenges of today’s schools and prepares you to teach effectively in pre-kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school settings. Upon graduation, you will be eligible for the Instructional I Special Education PreK-12 teaching certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and will also receive a Master of Education (MEd) degree. Ignite learning in your education and accelerate your career through our MEd in PreK-12 Special Education.

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: Summer/Fall/Spring
  • Time Commitment: Full Time 
  • Term of Enrollment: Summer Start (late June)
  • Course Requirements: 33 credits
  • Format: Majority of courses are in person
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE exam not required

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Program Details

Our program meets the latest regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the special education PreK-12 teacher certification. Through our comprehensive curriculum and student teaching experience, you will learn how to deliver evidence-based instructional methods for school-age children with disabilities. This includes high leverage instructional practices to improve learning outcomes for all students, developing and implementing individual education plans, and understanding applicable laws and policies. Our goal is to help you develop into a principled teacher who is committed to equity, justice, and innovation, and strives to support student, family, and community success.

Curriculum Overview - 33 credits

Core Curriculum (18 credits)
IL 2509 - Applied Behavior Analysis/Positive Behavior Support (3 credits)
IL 2575 - Special Education Procedures Transition Processes and (3 credits)
IL 2513 - Academic Interventions and Progress Monitoring (3 credits)
IL 2511- Intensive Interventions for Students with Disabilities (3 credits)
IL 2522 Classroom and Behavior Management for Students with Disabilities (3 credits)
IL 2512 Assessment and Instructional Planning for Students with Disabilities (3 credits)

Student Teaching and Practicum (6 credits)
IL 2861 Special Education Practicum (1 credit)
IL 2552 Student Teaching – Special Education (4 credits)
IL 2824 Student Teaching Seminar (1 credit)

Educational Research (6 credits)
EDUC 2201 Intro to Research Methodology or IL 2405 Intro to Action Research Methods (all 3 credits)
IL 2590 Research Seminar in Special Education or IL 2290 Research Seminar for MEd Students (all 3 credits)

Electives (3 credits)
Students work with their advisor to choose an elective course to enhance their teaching preparation in alignment with specific career goals.  This course may be from the fields of Reading Education, STEAM education, Human Development or Social Justice. Elective courses must be approved in advance by the advisor.

Degree Requirements

Completion of coursework, fall practicum experience, full-time student teaching (spring), and a comprehensive exam.

Certification

The program satisfies the requirements for the Instructional I Special Education PreK-12 teaching certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, pending:

  1. Earning a passing score on the following ETS exams: Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (5354) and Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge (5511); 
  2. Completing the Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430);
  3. Demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and required field experiences

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in any area of study.  Candidates can have degrees in education, psychology, and various social science majors. We also welcome students who have worked in different fields.
     
  • Two prerequisite courses (which can also be taken as co-requisites):
    • Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)
    • Teaching English Language Learners (3 credits)

 

Career Pathways

Special education is a high-need sector within educator that provides strong employment prospects in a variety of settings, including:

  • Special education teacher in grades PreK-12 
  • Special education teachers in co-taught, inclusive or self-contained learning models
  • Special education teachers in public, charter and approved private schools
  • Special education careers in private organizational settings
  • Future roles in school administration