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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 or agencies, pursue and earn a Doctorate Degree in Education or related fields at top-tiered universities, and teach as part-time lecturers at CSULB and other higher education institutions. The Master's program is comprised of a total of 30 units. Typically students complete the program in 2 years.

There is an exciting new opportunity beginning Fall 2020.  Credentialed teachers may be eligible to transfer up to four post-baccalaureate credential classes (12 semester units) from an accredited institution with approval into the Master of Science in Special Education program. For more about this opportunity, please review the Master of Science in Special Education Program Flier (PDF).

The Fall 2021 application cycle opened October 1, 2020. The Fall 2021 application deadline is April 15, 2021 for domestic applicants (deadline for international applicants is April 1, 2021).

Request to be added to the prospective student list for this program.

Highlights of Our Program

  • 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
  • Grant opportunity for admitted MS students who are Special Education middle school or high school teachers to apply for the Multicultural Secondary Transition Services for Students with High Needs Disabilities (CASA) Grant. This grant will award 3 students, who will receive full funding for the entire Master's degree program. To learn more about this this grant opportunity, please review the Grant Opportunity (PDF) brochure. For more information, please email Dr. Edwin Achola at

Program Goals

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

Student Learning Outcomes

  • 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. Candidates who want to teach special education must earn their Preliminary Education Specialist credential.

We acknowledge the diverse work and lived experiences as well as relevant coursework from other disciplines. Therefore candidates with experience working with populations with disabilities who are not educators (ABA therapists, for example) are encouraged to apply. 

Teaching Special Education

Please note: The Master of Science in Special Education Degree does not result in a credential for teaching individuals with disabilities. Candidates who want to teach special education must earn their Preliminary Education Specialist credential.


Welcome from the Program Coordinator, Dr. Nat Hansuvadha

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