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Master of Science in Special Education

Master of Science in Special Education - Program Overview

The Master of Science in Special Education Degree program is an advanced academic program which is aimed at developing advanced skills and knowledge of current research in special education and demonstration of the ability to engage in reflective inquiry. In our graduate coursework, we provide candidates with multiple opportunities to build upon their critical thinking and writing skills with those skills being applied in the capstone experience of a comprehensive exam or a thesis.

With a Master of Science in Special Education, our graduates have been able to serve in leadership positions in their school districts, pursue and earn a Doctorate Degree in Education at top-tiered universities, and teach as part-time lecturers at CSULB and other higher education institutions. 

The Master's program is comprised of 6 core courses and a thesis or comprehensive exam for a total of 30 units. Typically students complete the program in 2 years. Highlights of our program include:

  • Highly personalized advising from the program advisor and Graduate Studies Office
  • Face-to-face instruction and hybrid courses
  • Evening classes for full-time professionals
  • Opportunities to participate in research projects with faculty

* The Master of Science in Special Education Degree does not result in a credential for teaching individuals with disabilities. Prospective applicants to the Master of Science in Special Education program are expected to already hold a teaching credential in Special Education or have equivalent experience. Candidates who want to teach special education must earn their Preliminary Education Specialist credential.

Program Faculty

Special Education Team of Faculty

Master of Science in Special Education Faculty

The faculty in the Master of Science in Special Education Degree program bring a wealth and variety of practical and research experience to the program. Program faculty have had experience as teachers or support personnel in a variety of special education public school programs. They have experience in large scale longitudinal research as well as smaller scale qualitative research. Program faculty have published textbooks in a variety of areas including inclusive educational models, transition, and sheltered instruction. They also have published research in a variety of journals across the spectrum of special education. These papers address social aspects of inclusive educational models, the adaptations of families of children with disabilities, and issues of assistive technology. Faculty bring a wide variety of interests and expertise into our broad and collaborative advanced academic program.

Program Goals

Highlights of the Master of Science in Special Education program include:

  • Individualized Education
  • Collaboration
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Evidence-based Practices
  • Advocacy & Leadership

Student Learning outcomes include:

  • Effectively apply theory to practice
  • Analyze data to guide instructional decision-making
  • Determine effective behavioral, emotional, and environmental supports for student learning
  • Effectively plan for transition
  • Effectively collaborate and consult with teachers, parents, and other school professionals
  • Demonstrate leadership skills in systems change efforts
  • Analyze and synthesize research in special education through written communication

Applying to the Program

While a preliminary Education Specialist credential is not an eligibility requirement for the Master's degree in Special Education, core courses in the program are at an advanced level and build on coursework in our initial credential program. Candidates who have not had this coursework will work with the program advisor in developing their program plan.

Other special education programs in the CSULB College of Education