The Master of Science in Special Education program of studies allows both general and special education instructors to improve their individual instructional skills to meet the new demands of the 21st century classroom. In today's inclusive educational arena, regular education teachers must be prepared to provide instruction and accommodations for special needs students in regular classroom settings, while special education teachers must acquire advanced skills to work with regular education instructors in co-teaching classroom models. The program develops talents in teaching which will allow all students to learn from content experts in their field of expertise, while receiving the assistance needed from the instructors trained the area of special education. The special education master's courses were designed with assistance from practicing public school professional in the field of special education. This provides graduate students with the most relevant coursework available in an effort to improve classroom practices and student learning. The program continues the graduate programs in education's philosophy to develop competence in careers that balance practitioner based instruction, and theoretical knowledge with rigorous application in professional practice.
We offer students a core curriculum of special education courses with the choice of three specialization areas, including:
- Assistive technology
- Transition education skills
- Supervisor of special education certification
Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices and practices for students with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating and using them across all academic settings, as well as for use under the domains of independent living, accessing the community and leisure activities.
Transition services are a current necessity of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students services under IDEA outlining transition goals and services for all students exiting K-12 education. This specialty area allows graduate students to gain the required knowledge, skills and competencies to assist youth and young adults with disabilities as they transition to postsecondary opportunities. Graduate students will learn to design and implement transition and career assessment strategies to help ensure the success of youth as they transition to adult life, as well as gain expertise necessary to guide families, schools and districts through this process.
The supervisor of special education certification track includes the Pennsylvania Department of Education required 360 internship hours that are completed in the University's advanced fieldwork class. Advanced degree-holders can earn the PDE certificate or a DelVal specialization certification by completing select courses in those areas.