May 31, 2023  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Special Education (M.A.)


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Admissions Information  

Typically students seek the Master’s degree in Special Education while pursuing certification in one or more areas. A degree of flexibility provides additional opportunities for those not needing or wanting certification. Students wishing to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Special Education must select from the following specializations: Advanced Specialist in Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, or Multicategorical Special Education K-12. Students are encouraged to discuss program specializations with an advisor at the time of admission to the program.

NOTE: Students who do not hold either elementary or secondary education certification may only pursue the Multicategorical specialization and will need to complete additional coursework and certification requirements for initial teacher certification. A series of Praxis tests are required for successful completion of the program and to earn initial teaching certification in the state of South Dakota. Students pursuing initial teacher certification will need to pass the Praxis II Special Education Core Knowledge, and the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam for successful completion of the program and teacher licensure. Students who do not possess certification will need to have completed all of the admission requirements for teacher education at the University of South Dakota. Students who are seeking teacher certification are encouraged to meet with an advisor for clarification.

Master of Arts, Special Education Plan B (non-thesis): Total 30-34 credit hours


M.A. in Special Education - Advanced Specialist in Disabilities (ASD) Specialization: Total 30 credit hours


Supporting Area Coursework


Accelerated Master’s Program: B.A. or B.S./M.A.


Up to 12 credits applied toward the B.S. program may be used to satisfy graduate credit in the Special Education, M.A.-Advanced Specialist in Disabilities (ASD) specialization, M.A., Plan B (non-thesis) option.  

The following restrictions apply:

  1. Dual-listed courses taken at the 500-level can be applied to both the B.A. or B.S. and M.A. degrees. Dual-listed courses must be taken at the 500-level.
  2. The student must apply to, and be admitted to, the acceleratedogram prior to taking courses to be credited toward the accelerated program.
  3. No courses taken prior to admission to the accelerated program may be counted toward an accelerated graduate degree.
  4. Courses that are “double counted” must be approved by the program coordinator for inclusion in the program of study prior to registration for the course or the credits will not be applied toward the accelerated graduate degree.
  5. Only courses taken at the student’s home institution are eligible for accelerated program credit. No transferred courses from other institutions will be allowed to count toward the accelerated master’s degree.
  6. Students admitted to the accelerated M.A. Program may be allowed to register for all courses included in his/her program of study and these credit hours may apply to both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.

M.A. in Special Education - Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Specialization: Total 33 credit hours


Supporting Area Coursework


M.A. in Special Education - Multicategorical SPED K-12 (MSEK-12) Specialization: Total 33-46 credit hours


Supporting Area Coursework (6-9 credit hours)


Field Experience (3-6 credit hours required)


Complete one of the following combinations listed below:

Combination 1 Multicategorical Specialization + Endorsement in Special Education & Initial Teacher Certification (3-6 credit hours):

Courses for initial certification

Combination 1 Multicategorical Specialization + Endorsement in Special Education & Initial Teacher Certification - 0-15 credit hours

The School of Education Certification Officer will be a resource to audit coursework related to teacher certification. Students are expected to confirm the needed coursework for certification with the School of Education Certification Officer prior to completing a program of study.

*Certification courses taken at the undergraduate level may be considered equivalent to the below courses needed for certification.

Combination 2 Multicategorical Specialization without endorsement (3-6 credit hours):

Student Learning Outcomes


  1. Candidates will understand and apply knowledge and skills appropriate to their professional field of specialization. 
  2. Candidates will demonstrate understanding of principles of learning that are appropriate to their field of specialization. 
  3. Candidates will demonstrate professional dispositions that are appropriate to their field of specialization. 

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification


The University of South Dakota as of July 1, 2020, cannot confirm whether any particular course or program meets educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification in states other than South Dakota. If you are planning to apply for licensure/certification in a state other than South Dakota after completion of your program, contact the academic department offering your major or CDE at 605.658.6152 or by email at cde@usd.edu. USD is working to comply with these requirements and will provide up-to-date information as it becomes available.

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference the State Authorization webpage below.

Information about State Authorization & Professional Licensure

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