Aug 10, 2022
This master’s in special education is intended for individuals who wish to work with students with special needs. You will learn about effective teaching strategies and ways to create meaningful learning experiences for these children. Each student’s interests, background and needs are considered when developing the program of study. Areas of specialization include advanced specialist disabilities, early childhood special education and multicategorical special education K-12. This degree is flexible and provides additional opportunities for those not needing or wanting certification. Students who wish to pursue initial teacher licensure and/or special education certification may pursue the multicategorical specialization. Students are encouraged to discuss program specializations with an advisor at the time of admission to the program. Students who are seeking teacher certification are encouraged to meet with an advisor for clarification.The USD School of Education has been accredited by CAEP (formerly NCATE) since 1956. Learn more at usd.edu/ci.
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 must:
- Pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test for admission to the Teacher Education Program. Students may be fully admitted to the Special Education Multicategorical program, however, admission to Teacher Education is provisional until the content knowledge test is successfully passed.
- Pass the Praxis subject-specific Content Knowledge test to be eligible to student teach.
- Pass the Principles of Learning Test (PLT) for successful program completion and teacher
- Students who are seeking teacher certification are encouraged to meet with an advisor in Teacher Education for clarification of requirements for initial teacher certification.
DELIVERY: On campus
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:
- 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.
- The student must apply to, and be admitted to, the acceleratedogram prior to taking courses to be credited toward the accelerated program.
- No courses taken prior to admission to the accelerated program may be counted toward an accelerated graduate degree.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- Completed application
- $35 application fee
- Official transcripts*
- Letters of recommendation*
- Admission test scores*
- Statement of purpose
*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. For specific program requirements and submission deadline, visit: catalog.usd.edu.
Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification
The educational curriculum for your academic program may or may not meet 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, please review that state and your program on USD’s Licensure-Track Programs webpage. Licensure-Track Programs
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 USD’s State Authorization webpage.