MEd in Special Education
The Master’s Credential Cohort Program is designed to prepare effective special education teachers through coursework and field experiences leading to an MEd in special education and preliminary education specialist teaching credential with an authorization in mild to moderate disabilities. The program emphasizes the connection between theory and practice, weaving together university-based coursework and thoughtfully designed field experiences. Candidates in the program develop the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to flourish in their own classrooms, as well as the critical habits of mind and reflective practice that will allow them to grow as educators throughout their careers.
The program includes two semesters of student teaching at two different grade levels and a cohort-based curriculum designed to foster collaboration and community. This program is offered as a 2-year, cohort-based program of study with July, most of August, and intersession (January) periods free.
The program currently offers discounted graduate tuition for all incoming students.
Upon graduation, our students are recommended to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for the preliminary education specialist teaching credential with an authorization in mild to moderate disabilities.
What can I do with this degree?
Graduates of the program go on to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities. The California Commission on Teacher Credential defines this specialty area as: "Includes specific learning disabilities; mild to moderate mental retardation; other health impairment; serious emotional disturbance; and authorizes service in grades K–12 and in classes organized primarily for adults through age 22."
Graduates may teach in special education classrooms or they may co-teach with other instructors in classrooms in which special education students learn with the general student body. Some graduates also work outside the traditional classroom setting, with organizations serving students with disabilities. The preliminary education specialist teaching credential enables students to teach in the California public and private schools and may be transferred to other states (regulations vary by state).
Who should apply?
- The University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Application.
- One official sealed transcript from all colleges and universities attended, including community colleges. Foreign transcripts must be accompanied by a Course-by-Course transcript evaluation fromWorld Education Services (WES).
- A minimum of two professional letters of recommendation from a current supervisor or a professor attesting to both academic and personal skills, and if possible, to teaching abilities.
- A current resumé or curriculum vitae.
- The Statement of Purpose. Address each of the following three questions. Each response has a maximum length of 250 words, for a total maximum length of 750 words for the Statement of Purpose. When writing your response please remember that this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing skills and academic readiness.
- Describe your purpose for becoming a teacher. How do you hope to influence students? What do you want to contribute to the profession?
- There is much concern about issues of access, equity, and privilege in education. What do these concepts mean to you? Describe an experience you've had with these issues. How did you respond? What did you learn from the experience?
- To become effective educators, teachers need to be willing to persevere through challenges and learn from their experiences. Describe a time when you encountered a significant challenge. How did you respond to the challenge? What did you learn from the experience?
- California state law requires that all credential-seeking students receive passing scores on the CBEST and CSET prior to student teaching. We strongly encourage all applicants to our MCC program to have passed the exam requirements prior to the application deadlines. If you are unable to sit for an administration of these exams prior to applying, you are encouraged to submit proof of registration for a future test date. Please note, enrollment into our programs will only be granted if all required examinations are successfully passed and reportable scores are received by the deadlines indicated below.
- If admitted to the MCC Special Education program be prepared to submit a copy of your official score report for both the CSET and CBEST by last day of your fall semester classes, December 15, 2017in order to enroll in the following semester.
- Some program applicants may qualify to waive the CBEST requirement.
Special Information for applicants who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents
For an application to be considered for review, international applicants must complete the requirements listed below prior to submitting the application. These items are required by the state of California in order to participate in a Teacher Preparation Program, receive a teaching credential, and are considered part of our regular admission requirements. Please note: the application fee is non-refundable.
If you are an international applicant on a student visa, a non-U.S. citizen, or a non-U.S. permanent resident, please note the following: in order to be eligible for student teaching, all applicants must complete a Certificate of Clearance through the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) prior to enrolling in our program.The Certificate of Clearance application requires a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), or an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).For information on obtaining an SSN or ITIN, visit the IRS website. All international applicants must obtain a Certificate of Clearance before the application deadline to be eligible for admission.
Student teaching is a mandatory component of our credential programs and is required in order to complete the required coursework and obtain a teaching credential. If a student is not able to begin student teaching, he/she will need to withdraw from the program. Applicants who are ineligible to obtain an SSN or ITIN should not apply to this program. If you have questions, please contact the SOLES Admissions and Outreach Office.
English Language Proficiency Requirements
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international applicants and may only be waived if English is the applicant’s primary language or if he or she obtained a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia.
- TOEFL minimum scores:
- Internet-based test: 83
- Computer-based test: 237
- Paper-based test: 580
- IELTS minimum score:
- Band score 7
The Master's Credential Cohort Education Specialist Program is designed to prepare effective special education teachers. The program emphasizes the connection between theory and practice, weaving together university-based coursework and thoughtfully designed field experiences. Candidates in the program develop the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to flourish in their own classrooms, as well as the critical habits of mind and reflective practice that will allow them to grow as educators throughout their careers. Faculty and students in the program are committed to teaching for social justice and promoting educational excellence and equity in all school settings.
The SOLES faculty enrich all programs and course offerings with the values, concepts, and themes that we all believe will help students become ethical, civic-minded and committed leaders in their chosen fields.
The Master’s Credential Cohort Program for Special Education consists of 45 units taken in a prescribed sequence over two years, beginning with the fall semester. Students who wish to add a multiple subject credential to their course of study may do so by adding additional coursework.
At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally.
For many students, this experience will include a one- to two-week, faculty-led course abroad. For students who prefer to stay in southern California, this experience may be fulfilled through research or coursework on international issues. Service trips and site visits across the border in Tijuana are offered regularly.
Learning and Teaching courses with an international component include:
- Cognition and Learning in Japan (Summer 2016)
- Comparative and International Education in England (Summer 2016)
Outcome 1: Special education MEd candidates will integrate grade appropriate subject matter content aligned with CA content standards into lesson design and delivery that clearly delineates evidence-based differentiated instructional practices for students with special needs in general education settings.
Outcome 2: Special education MEd candidates will use problem-based learning to identify and develop a solution for an issue related to inclusion in the classroom grounded in cited evidence-based practices.
Outcome 3: Special education MEd candidates will apply research grounded inclusive theories of pedagogy into lesson plans designed to actively engage students with special needs and English Learners in learning experiences.
Outcome 4: Special education MEd candidates will select, administer and report on the use of formal and informal assessment techniques that persuasively validate the argument for selecting specific theories, models and delivery options for students with special needs in inclusive settings.
Outcome 5: Special education MEd candidates will reflect on lesson design, delivery and formative assessment of individual student performance and gain an understanding of how to support the development of diverse learners through their curricular and instructional decisions.
Foundations in Learning Theory, Grounding in Academic, Social-Cultural, and Behavior Diversity Context Found in Inclusive Environments
Outcome 6: Special education MEd candidates will identify the systems (political, cultural, social, and economic) and the relative strengths of each of those on school and classroom decisions.
Outcome 7: Special education MEd candidates will write a literature review research paper that investigates a global perspective of the needs and characteristics of a specific subset of a high needs area disabilities within the field of special education. The paper will include a persuasive perspective of the assessment of the academic, social, and transitional needs of individuals within this subgroup based on learning theories, equity and the principles of inclusivity and social justice.
Outcome 8: Special education MEd candidates will keep a running self-reflective professional development e-journal (electronic text &/or video journal) in which a candidate reflects upon developing understanding, knowledge, and use of grounded theories of pedagogy. The e-journal will provide insight into candidates’ emerging professional development which will ground the final Individual Induction Plan and Self Reflective Evidence-Based Pedagogy of Practice essay completed as culminating evidence products for the master's degree.
Synthesize and Apply Contemporary Research
Outcome 9: Special education MEd candidates will critique research articles and develop well-considered summaries of the research applicability to needs of instruction, learning, families and broader community.
Outcome 10: Special education MEd candidates will use the strategies of recursive action research design principles to design, implement and apply the three-tier pyramid concepts of the RTI model (response to intervention) for an English Learner and individual with special needs within a general education setting.
Outcome 11: Special education MEd candidates will integrate inclusive theories and models within the culminating research project paper and presentation that demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and ability to apply research methodology to special education.
Graduates of this program go on to receive their preliminary education specialist credential with an authorization in mild to moderate disabilities from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Our credential analyst works with each of our students one-on-one to guide them through the process of completing the requirements for the credential. USD career services staff also assist students and alumni by helping them to identify and apply for teaching positions.
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Last updated December 11, 2017