Master of Science in Special Education

Available Online

The Master of Science in Special Education is designed for educators and other professionals who want to gain knowledge and skills in working with students who have disabilities and other special needs. Students will learn about educational learning problems and teaching strategies to enhance the performance of students. The master’s in special education program is aligned with the Education Specialist Authorizations and standards of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Students may obtain a California Teaching Credential in Special Education while completing their master s degree. Please see completion requirements under Education Specialist in the School of Education's Credential Programs section.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate competence in the application of research methods including critiquing and synthesizing current educational literature.
  2. Demonstrate appropriate standards of conduct; practice within legal and ethical parameters.
  3. Develop skills to become a change agent and advocate for exceptional individuals, including diverse learners.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of federal and state laws, legislation and judicial decisions regarding exceptional individuals.
  5. Demonstrate competence in instructional design including adaptations required to assist diverse special education learners achieve the state standards for curriculum.
  6. Demonstrate competence in positive behavioral support.
  7. Demonstrate expertise in use of adaptive and augmentative technology.
  8. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions to actively and creatively engage and support all students in learning.
  9. Strive to become a continuous learner, a scholar, a collaborative community service member and a responsible citizen.


(16-17courses; 72-76.5 quarter units)

To receive a Master of Science in Special Education students must complete at least 72 quarter units of graduate work.  A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and if the units were not used in earning another advanced degree.  Course equivalence cannot be granted for life experience.  Students must complete all coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or better within seven years.  Any courses taken more than seven years ago must be repeated.

Core Requirements (12 courses; 54 quarter units)
Core Requisite(s):
Requirements for the Specialization (4-5 courses; 18-22.5 quarter units) All students must choose one specialization defined below.