2017-2018 Catalog

Special Education

Special Education Program Learning Outcomes

College of Education                    

Division of Teacher Education

Master of Arts - Special Education

Education Specialist Instruction Credentials

Preliminary Credentials in Special Education

Early Childhood Special Education

Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Moderate/Severe Disabilities

Clear Education Specialist Credential

Authorization/Certificate

Assistive Technology Specialist Certificate

Early Childhood Special Education Added Authorization

Faculty

Ann Selmi, Chair
Kelli Beard, Kate Esposito, Saili Kulkarni, Caron Mellblom-Nishioka

Department Office: COE 1401, (310) 243-3496

Emeriti Faculty

Carrie Ann Blackaller, Judith Jackson, Karl Skindrud

Special Education Program Description

The Special Education Program is designed to offer candidates both core and advanced specialization training in the delivery of special education services from infancy to adulthood. The program meets the needs of college graduates who wish to pursue careers in special education. Candidates can obtain the following: Master of Arts degree in Special Education, Education Specialist Instruction Preliminary Credentials (Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, and Early Childhood Special Education), Education Specialist Instruction Clear Credential, Early Childhood Special Education Added Authorization, and Assistive Technology Certificate. Credential, authorization, and certificate coursework combines theory, methods, and field experiences that enrich candidates teaching practices. Master degree level courses combine theory, field assignments, and a culminating experience that enhances candidates' professional expertise.
The following information is described in detailed on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) website at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/CREDS/special-ed.html: The Education Specialist Instruction Credential authorizes the holder to conduct Educational Assessments related to candidate's access to the academic core curriculum and progress towards meeting instructional academic goals, provide instruction, and Special Education Support to individuals in the area of specialization listed on the credential in the following settings:

  • Resource rooms or services
  • State hospitals
  • Special education settings
  • General education settings
  • Special schools
  • Development centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Non-public, non-sectarian schools and agencies
  • Home/hospital settings
  • Alternative and non-traditional instructional

The Education Specialist Instruction Credentials require specific course work to meet competencies established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). CSUDH Special Education programs are accredited by CCTC and the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, California Curriculum Framework and Standards, and California Reading Initiative also serve as underpinnings for instruction, field supervision, and evaluation. 

Master of Arts in Special Education

The MA program prepares candidates to assume advanced roles in the field of Special Education. Current research and best practices in the field of Special Education underpin the curriculum. The program consists of a core of advanced coursework, electives, and a culminating experience (thesis or comprehensive exam) that support advance study in the field of Special Education. There are 30 units of course work with a minimum of 21 semester units completed in residence. Candidates who apply to both the Master of Arts Degree and the Clear credential must adhere to the requirements for both programs (e.g., GPA and course grade requirements).

Preliminary Credentials

The program offers the following Education Specialist Instruction Credentials:

  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities (M/M), includes autism spectrum disorders, specific learning disabilities; mild to moderate intellectual/developmental disabilities; other health impairments; serious emotional disturbance; and authorizes service in grades K-12 and classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.
  • Moderate/Severe Disabilities (M/S), includes autism spectrum disorders; deaf-blindness; moderate to severe intellectual/development disabilities; traumatic brain injury; multiple disabilities; serious emotional disturbance; and authorizes service in grades K-12 and classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.
  • Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), includes the mild/moderate and moderate/severe disabilities listed above and traumatic brain injury; and authorizes service to infants, toddlers, and young children from birth to age 5 with stated disabilities and their families.

Candidates can obtain these credentials via two options: Intern and Student Teaching. Both options, designed to be completed in two years, consist of pre-service, general and special education coursework, field experience, and a culminating Program Portfolio. 

The Student Teaching Option is a traditional credential pathway that allows student teachers to teach in public school P-12 classrooms under the guidance of a Master Teacher while completing university coursework. The program has formal agreements with school districts.

The Intern Option is an alternative credential pathway that allows candidates to work in P-12 schools as teachers-of-record while they complete university coursework necessary to become fully credentialed teachers. The Special Education program has formal agreements with school districts, non-public school (NPS), or charter schools where interns are employed.

Clear Credential

The Commission has a two-tier special education teaching credential structure. A five-year Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential is the first document issued after an individual has met basic credential requirements. The Clear credential is issued once all credential requirements have been completed. The Clear credential program is based on completion of a CCTC approved Special Education Induction Program that focuses on the teacher's needs to expand and deepen knowledge, skills and abilities targeted to the teacher's employment and career goals in their development as a special education teacher. An individual with special education preliminary teaching credentials may complete the Clear credential requirements through the development of an Individual Induction Plan (IIP). The IIP includes appropriate professional development and/or coursework designed to expand and apply the candidate's skills and knowledge based on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. The IIP identifies the coursework, experiences, and/or tasks that must be completed and assessed while guiding the activities to support growth and improvement of professional practice.  

Admission Requirements

Below are the requirements for entry into the Special Education programs. General program admission requirements common to all programs are listed below followed by additional program specific requirements. Candidates may apply to the Preliminary or Clear credential, the MA, or the MA and Clear credential; candidates may not apply to the MA or Clear credential unless they hold a Preliminary credential. Candidates who choose to apply to the Clear credential and MA are advised to do so simultaneously. In addition to the admission requirements listed below, candidates are advised to follow the detailed requirements on the Special Education program application. 

General Program Admission Requirements

  1. Admission to the university;
  2. Application (with resume) to specific credential and/or MA degree program;
  3. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university; official transcripts of all college course history including degree posted;
  4. Acceptable grade point average (GPA): Preliminary credential programs require a 2.75 GPA in the last 60 semester units of upper division and the Clear credential and MA degree require a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units of upper division and post baccalaureate work;
  5. Three professional references from supervisory individuals acquainted with the applicant's professional work with children or adolescents and his/her ability to complete successfully a graduate level program;
  6. Evidence of attendance at a special education orientation session before or during the first semester of classes;
  7. Satisfactory evaluation of file materials.

Master of Arts in Special Education Admission Requirements

In addition to the General Program Admission Requirements the following MA requirements must be met: 

  1. Valid initial and/or advanced Special Education credential (e.g., California Level I/II, Preliminary/Clear, LH, SH, or Life Special Education Teaching Credential; out of state candidates must have equivalent credentials);
  2. Candidates who are applying to both the MA and Clear Credential must do so simultaneously;
  3. Successful admission to the university with the following conditions:
    1. Candidates who satisfy all the requirements for university and program admission will be admitted fully with Classified Standing;
    2. Candidates accepted with Conditional Standing will have one semester to meet the conditions for Classified Standing;
  4. Completion of the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) before or during the first semester of classes. Candidates who do not obtain a GWE test score of 8 or higher must enroll in ENG 350 or an equivalent approved course during their second semester.  

Preliminary Credentials Admission Requirements

In addition to the general program admission requirements the following requirements are common for all Preliminary credential candidates (Intern and Student Teaching Options): 

  1. A passing score on the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST);
  2. Demonstration of Subject Matter Competency for M/M and M/S only (NOTE: not a requirement for the ECSE credential) - see application for additional subject matter details;
  3. Evidence of passing U.S. Constitution requirement by course/test with minimum grade of C;
  4. Certificate of Clearance;
  5. Tuberculosis test and vaccinations verifications;
  6. Verification of 45 hours of Early Field Experience NOTE: Early Childhood Special Education candidates' Early Field Experience must be in general education Pre K (public and/or nonpublic).  

In addition to the general program admission requirements the following are specific for the Intern Option only: 

  1. Verification of full time employment in an appropriate teaching position in a public school district, non-public school (NPS), or charter school with CSUDH Memorandum of Understanding (Intern Agreement);
  2. Successful completion of the two pre-service courses (SPE 480 - Educating Exceptional Children and Youth and SPE 481- Educating Diverse Learners with Exceptionalities) with a grade of "B-" or better is required for advancement to Intern status. Candidates who hold a Preliminary or Level I credential in another specialization or General Education may take the Pre-services classes in the first semester of their Internship;
  3. Proof of advisement from the Intern Coordinator prior to applying for the Intern Credential;
  4. Submission of Intern Credential Application at the Student Services Center AND obtaining verification of the Intern Credential issued by CCTC.  

Clear Credential Admission Requirements

In addition to the general program admission requirements the following are specific for the Clear Credential: 

  1. Valid initial Special Education credential (e.g., California Level I or Preliminary; out of state candidates must have equivalent credentials);
  2. Certificate of Clearance;
  3. Tuberculosis test and vaccinations verifications.

Program Requirements

All programs require candidates to adhere to specific requirements throughout the length of the program. Foremost, candidates must adhere to all ethical and professional standards required by the university, professional organizations, and/or accrediting affiliations associated with the degree and credential. Candidates must, at all times, demonstrate high quality interpersonal skills with faculty, staff, fellow candidates, and others. If candidates fail to meet this requirement, they are subject to disqualification from the program. The following are the requirements for the MA degree and credential programs. 

Master of Arts in Special Education Program Requirements

  1. A minimum GPA of "B" in all coursework. Candidates must maintain a "B" average in all coursework. No course grade lower than a "C" may be used toward the MA. However, candidates who are simultaneously in the Clear and MA, no course grade lower than a "B-" may be used toward the Clear credential.
  2. Continuous Enrollment. Candidates are required to maintain enrollment throughout their MA program. Candidates who have completed the maximum number of required units but have not completed their culminating activity (e.g., thesis or comprehensive examination) must enroll in SPE 600 every semester. In order to enroll in SPE 600, candidates must submit an application form (available online) prior to enrollment (see University Policy on Continuous Attendance Requirement).
  3. Transfer Credit. A maximum of 9 units of coursework from an accredited college or university; coursework must be no older than seven (7) years from the date of MA degree completion.
  4. Time Limit on Coursework. Candidates must complete all of the requirements for the degree or credential within seven (7) years. This time limit commences with the semester of the earliest course used on the candidate's program of study. Outdated course work must be repeated and validated (see University Policy on Outdated Course work).
  5. Capstone Requirement for the Master's Degree. Candidates must complete a comprehensive examination, project or thesis and are required to make this decision when applying for classified standing. Candidates may retake the comprehensive examination one time provided the retake is within the 7-year limit. The thesis is not an option for someone who selected the exam option, but was unable to pass.  
  6. Candidates completing a thesis must enroll in SPE 599 for a minimum of two semesters. To satisfy the continuous enrollment policy, students are expected to enroll in SPE 600 unless they are enrolled in other courses.

Preliminary and Clear Credentials Program Requirements

  1. A minimum GPA. Candidates must maintain an overall "B" average in all Special Education coursework. No course grade lower than a "B-" may be used toward any credential. NOTE: TED courses in the Preliminary credential may have a grade of WC."
  2. Field Experience. Candidates must have access to classrooms to complete field experience course work.
  3. Transfer Credit. A maximum of 9 units of coursework from an accredited college or university; coursework must be no older than seven (7) years from the date of credential completion.
  4. Time Limit on Coursework. Candidates must complete all of the requirements for the degree or credential within seven (7) years. This time limit commences with the semester of the earliest course used on the candidate's program of study. Outdated course work must be repeated and validated (see University Policy on Outdated Course work).