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Degree Requirements

The Master's program is comprised of a total of 30 units. Students typically complete the program in 2 years.

Eligibility to Apply 

The following are required for admission to the program:

1. Minimum 2.85 overall grade point average in last degree (not credential or certificate) earned from an accredited institution of higher education. Applicants whose overall GPA is less than 2.85 but meet the University minimum GPA requirement and who present compelling evidence of academic and professional potential either through recent academic performance and/or experiential background, may be considered for admission at the discretion of the program admission committee.

2. Special education teaching credential, or equivalent experience.

3. International applicants have additional university application requirements including meeting the English language proficiency requirement. Please visit The Center for International Education (CIE) website at for more information.

4. Demonstrate proficiency in the area of human development through coursework and/or experience.


Completion of the following prerequisite courses or an equivalent (prerequisite courses may be taken after admission to the program, but must be taken during the first year of the program):

  • Human Development: EDP 301 or 302 (or equivalent)
  • Research Methods: EDP 400 (or equivalent)
  • Individual Differences: EDSP 350, EDSP 355A/B (or equivalent)
  • Special Education Assessment: EDSP 564 (or equivalent)

Program Requirements

At the mandatory orientation meeting, candidates will complete a program planner with the Masters degree program coordinator. This program planner will assist candidates in taking courses in their appropriate sequence. Course offerings are somewhat limited at the Masters degree level so it is important that candidates take courses in the advised sequence. Candidates will therefore need to be available to take courses on whatever night, day, and semester they are offered. Core courses are typically offered on weeknights beginning at 4:00PM or 7:00PM, subject to change. Students typically take two courses during regular fall and spring semesters. Summer enrollment is optional; please note there is limited availability of summer courses.  

A minimum of 30 units of upper division and graduate courses with a minimum of 21 units at the 500/600-level taken at CSULB. Degree requirements include the following courses:

Foundation Courses (9 units):

  • EDP 520 Quantitative Research Methods (3 units) or EDP 595 Qualitative Research Methods (3 units)

  • EDSP 546 Practicum in Special Education (3 units)

  • EDSP 550 Emerging Perspectives in Special Education (3 units)

Specialization Courses (9 units):

  • EDSP 535  Collaborative Partnerships and Effective Communication in School Settings (3 units)

  • EDSP 525 Advocacy and the Social Context of Disability (3 units)

  • EDSP 582 Research in Special Education: Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction (3 units)

One of the following Advanced Methods Courses (3 units):

  • EDSP 577 Instructional Methods and Strategies for Individuals with Mild/Moderate Disabilities OR
  • EDSP 578 Instructional Methods and Strategies for Individuals with Moderate/Severe Disabilities

Culminating Experience (3-6 units):

Students select one of the following in consultation with faculty advisor:

Comprehensive Exam

  • EDSP 695S Seminar in Special Education (3 units) (Spring semester only), and
  • Written comprehensive exam (Spring semester only)



  • EDP 698 Thesis (6 units, completed over 2 semesters)

Electives (3-6 units):

Elective courses to meet the required minimum of 30 units selected with a special education faculty advisor.

Course Descriptions

Please see the University Catalog for course descriptions.