Master of Science in Education in Special Education

The Department of Special Education offers graduate online and face to face education for students interested in teaching, research, and professional service related to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and their families. Since the 1970s, the department has received national and international recognition. The faculty is known for its leadership to the field, commitment to high-quality education for children and youth with disabilities, innovative field-based research, and preparation of highly effective program graduates. The annual U.S. News and World Report graduate program survey consistently ranks KU's Department of Special Education at the top when compared to more than 200 graduate programs in this field. As one of the most comprehensive special education preparation programs in the country, the department attracts students from many states and countries.

 Students may pursue a master’s degree emphasizing teaching in one of 5 areas:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Early Childhood Unified (ECU, birth through kindergarten)
  • High-incidence disabilities
  • Low-incidence disabilities
  • Secondary transition education and services

Students seeking Kansas State Department of Education teaching licensure can complete requirements for special education endorsement in the following areas:

  • Early Childhood Unified (ECU, birth through kindergarten)
  • High-incidence disabilities
  • Low-incidence disabilities

With the exception of Early Childhood Unified (birth through K) licensure program, all endorsement areas require current Kansas licensure in elementary, secondary, or early childhood unified (birth through grade 3 or birth through K).

Students seeking initial licensure or an endorsement to an existing license must review their individual state licensure requirements with the appropriate licensing or regulatory authorities prior to enrolling.

Graduate Admission to the School of Education

Graduate programs in education are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate and graduate degrees whose academic records indicate that they can do successful work at the graduate level. Regular admission requires a grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in prior degrees. Individual departments may require additional information and may have more stringent admission requirements.

Some departments may offer special provisional admission categories to students who may not qualify under regular admission criteria. Departments that offer provisional admission require a grade-point average of at least 2.5.  Applicants must provide evidence of ability to work successfully at the graduate level, including experience in and commitment to the profession. Exceptions to established policies must be sought individually by petition to the Graduate Division of the School of Education.

See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for more information.

Each department in the School of Education sets its own application deadlines.  Prospective graduate students should contact their departments for more information.

 


M.S.E. Degree Program

Graduates are employed as general educators, special educators, or consultants in a wide range of settings.  Many complete course work required for the Kansas special education teaching endorsements or teaching license. Some students from related fields (e.g., speech therapists, occupational therapist, social workers) pursue this degree to expand their professional knowledge and skills by for teaching children and youth with disabilities. These students may choose to complete a Masters and not complete KS endorsement/licensure requirements.

The M.S.E. program ranges from 30 to 36 credit hours, depending on whether one pursues a thesis/project (30-hour) or nonthesis (36-hour) program option.  The addition of professional endorsements may lengthen a student’s program to 42 credit hours, depending on the endorsement(s) chosen by the student.  The degree requires courses in the area of study (plus any endorsement-related courses); a research class; and completion of a project, thesis, or written examination.

Further information is available from the department.

Low-Incidence Disabilities Curriculum 

Low-Incidence Provisional Kansas Endorsement Requirements:

SPED 730Characteristcs, Methods & Assessment:Intro Struggling Learners & Studnts High-Incidence Disabilities3
SPED 742Assessment and Methods of Teaching Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities in Inclusive Settings3
SPED 775Practicum with Children and Youth with Disabilities: _____ (Practicum with Children and Youth with Disabilities: __) Fall 1 credit; Spring 2 credits1,2

Low-Incidence Endorsement Requirements (In addition to the above courses):

SPED 735Introduction to Teaching Learners with Low-Incidence Disabilities in Inclusive Settings3
SPED 743Methods: Functional Behavioral Assessment, Positive Behavior Support and Classroom Management3
SPED 842Methods in Access and Inclusion in the Core Curriculum3
SPED 844Advanced Methods in Access and Inclusion in the Core Curriculum3
SPED 854Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education3
SPED 856Transition Education and Services from Childhood through Adulthood3
SPED 875Practicum with Children and Youth with Disabilities: _____ (Low-Incidence) Fall 1 credit; Spring 2 credits1,2

Additional Courses Needed to Complete the Master's Degree:

EPSY 715Understanding Research in Education3
Elective course outside dept. or program area3

Master's Thesis or Project Option:

To complete a Masters degree in Special Education (M.S.E.), students must have a total of 30 credit hours.  Within these 30 credit hours a majority of the hours must be taken in Special Education.  In addition, students must also enroll in 3 credit hours of either Master's Project or Master's Thesis and 3 credit hours of EPSY 715.

One of the following courses to complete the Master's Thesis or Project Option:

SPED 898Master's Project3
SPED 899Master's Thesis3

Written Exam Option:

Students complete 36 credit hours of graduate coursework, a majority of the hours in Special Education and a written comprehensive exam.  Students must be enrolled in graduate credit hours the semester they complete the exam, typically during the final semester.  This option is only available with approval from your advisor.

Early Childhood Unified (birth through Kindergarten) Curriculum 

Early Childhood Unified Kansas License Requirements: 

SPED 752Overview of Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education3
SPED 750Curriculum and Methods in Early Childhood3
SPED 755Inclusive Strategies and Interventions for Preschoolers: _____3
SPED 731Supporting Children with Significant Learning and Behavioral Concerns3
SPED 854Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education3
SPED 734Inclusive Strategies and Intervention for Infants and Toddlers: _____3
SPED 753Assessment in Early Education3
SPED 739Special Education Early Childhood Unified Practicum (Inclusive Kindergarten/Preschool)3
SPED 739Special Education Early Childhood Unified Practicum (Inclusive Infant/Toddler)3

Additional Courses Needed to Complete the Master's Degree:

EPSY 715Understanding Research in Education3
SPED 898Master's Project3
OR
SPED 899Master's Thesis3
Total Credit Hours33

High-Incidence Disabilities

The Department of Special Education is not currently accepting applications for graduate admission to the on-campus Master's in High Incidence Disabilities.  Individuals interested in the fully online Master's in High Incidence Disabilities offered at KU can learn more here.  

Masters of Science in Education - On-line programs

The Special Education online graduate programs, with Master's and endorsement-only options, equips students to meet the challenges of being a special educator by building skills to assist both at-risk students and those with identified disabilities.  

High-Incidence Curriculum

Courses required for the program:

SPED 730Characteristcs, Methods & Assessment:Intro Struggling Learners & Studnts High-Incidence Disabilities3
SPED 741Methods & Assessment:Literacy Interventions Struggling Learners&Students High-Incidence Disabilities3
SPED 743Methods: Functional Behavioral Assessment, Positive Behavior Support and Classroom Management3
SPED 775Practicum with Children and Youth with Disabilities: _____ (High-Incidence)3
SPED 841Advncd Methds&Asmnt:Learng Stratg&Contnt Mastery Struggling Learners&Stdnts High-Incidence Disabilit3
SPED 843Advanced Methods&Assessment:Strategies for Students with Significant Behavior, Social&Emotional Need3
SPED 854Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education3
SPED 856Transition Education and Services from Childhood through Adulthood3
SPED 875Practicum with Children and Youth with Disabilities: _____ (High-Incidence)3
EPSY 715Understanding Research in Education3
SPED 898Master's Project3
Total Credit Hours33

Secondary Special Education and Transition Curriculum

Courses required for the program:

SPED 856Transition Education and Services from Childhood through Adulthood3
SPED 858Assessment for Transition Planning3
SPED 857Career Development for Youth3
SPED 861Blending Academics and Transition3
SPED 862Work-Based Learning3
SPED 863Student Engagement in School and Community3
SPED 859Interagency Services for Transition to Adulthood3
EPSY 715Understanding Research in Education3
Elective Course3
SPED 898Master's Project3
Total Credit Hours30

Autism Spectrum Disorders Curriculum

Courses required for the program:

SPED 760Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders3
SPED 860Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder3
SPED 785Application of Assessment Information for Exceptional Children and Youth: Autism Spectrum Disorder3
SPED 790Methods for Learners with Higher-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder3
SPED 800Teaching Language and Communication Skills to Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities3
SPED 854Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education3
EPSY 715Understanding Research in Education3
Elective course determined by track3
Elective course determined by track3
Elective course determined by track3
SPED 871Advanced Practicum with Exceptional Children Needing an Autism Spectrum Curriculum3
SPED 898Master's Project3
Total Credit Hours36

Program Tracks:

Students will complete three (3) elective courses from a single elective track for their program of study. There are three tracks to choose from: the Behavior track, the Leadership track and the Secondary/Transition track.  Courses for each track will be determined in consultation with your advisor.