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What is a Master of Arts in Special Education Degree?
Learn to make education more accessible to all students with your Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC). In this special education master’s program, you will be provided with meaningful learning experiences based on the ways that exceptional students develop. Learn to design and implement curricula for exceptional students. Collaborate with families, fellow educators, and communities to address the needs of exceptional students. Create an environment that cultivates learning for all.
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Degree Completion Journey
Your online courses in the Master of Arts in Special Education cover research, assessment, collaboration, and behavior management. Through embedded video observation, simulations, and interviews with professionals in the field, students’ online courses will guide them to apply what they learn in classroom settings. Graduates will come away with foundational knowledge as well as insights on laws, assessment, classroom instruction, and best practices for communication. They will also build an ePortfolio to showcase their learning through the program.
This course provides an introduction to the education of students in the school setting with exceptional needs, specifically those with mild to moderate disabilities, who qualify for services under one or more of the eligibility criteria covered by special education federal laws. Special education key terms and common strategies that influence learning and behavior as well as ethical and legal privacy rights of families of children with disabilities are introduced. Additionally, variations, characteristics, and patterns of individual differences in learning and academic progress are investigated.
Law & Ethics in Special Education explores the fundamental civil and legal principles and pivotal legislation that contribute to the placement, instruction, service delivery, and privacy issues of those who have a qualifying disability under federal laws. Learners will identify critical issues that may lead to ethical and legal conflicts of interdisciplinary team participants as well as proactive strategies for resolution. Furthermore, the course offers multiple opportunities for analysis of personal biases regarding professional ethics and practice standards. Prerequisite: ESE 601.
Assessment and Evaluation of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities provides a comprehensive examination of the assessment and evaluation cycle employed within the special education process. During this course, learners will distinguish the special educator’s role within the multidisciplinary assessment process including how the evaluative data drives the planning and development of an individualized program. Additionally, the mandatory safeguards that assure ethical evaluation and assessment practices do not discriminate on the basis of human difference, identity, or social group difference (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, or (dis)ability).
This course focuses on collaboration strategies for special educators in the school environment who work with other professionals, services providers, and families of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Emphasis is placed on educators who provide academic support for various service delivery models. Communication, teamwork, and strategies for dealing effectively with conflict are emphasized. Prerequisite: ESE 601.
This course explores the methods of evidence-based instructional planning, lesson design, and instructional strategies and supports for students with exceptionalities. Learners will create an instructional design and lesson plan portfolio that incorporates individualized goals and objectives across skill domains and progress assessment, as well as aligned quality differentiated instruction techniques, assistive technologies, collaborative planning, and scaffolded supports for learning activities assisting students in various inclusive learning environments. Prerequisite: ESE 601.
This course introduces the underpinnings of behavior theory and offers real-world strategies for the 21st-century classroom that assist today’s educators in meeting the needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Behavior functions and modifications as well as various methods of observation and documentation are emphasized. Diverse cultural and environmental factors contributing to student behavior are also examined. Prerequisite: ESE 601.
This course fosters awareness of individual learner characteristics that impede successful achievement. Milder forms of learning disabilities, emotional disorders, and dysfunctional social conditions that are prevalent in typical instructional situations are evaluated. Alternative pedagogies utilizing computer technology applications to alleviate such barriers are explored. Prerequisite: EDU 673 or ESE 601 or ECI 601
In this course, learners will explore multiple aspects of curriculum design and delivery, apply their knowledge of the characteristics of varying disabilities, and create meaningful classroom instruction that aligns with curriculum, standards, and individualized education program goals. Data-driven instruction derived from individualized assessment results will be accessed and applied to instructional methods. Emphasis will be placed on evidence-based instructional strategies including collaboration with service providers to best meet the academic needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Prerequisite: ESE 601.
Capstone I: Educational Research guides students through the process of becoming an effective change agent by applying action research principles to current educational challenges and issues. Students will locate and evaluate research articles for scholarship, relevancy, and ethical neutrality. The topics covered during this course include implementing change in an education-based organization, evaluating the impact of the applied intervention, communicating outcomes, collaboration, and 21st-century leadership practices. Prerequisite: ECI 685, EDU 620, or ECE 673
Capstone II: Culminating Project is a course in which students will demonstrate their attainment of the program outcomes through a spiraled process of skill demonstration including reflection, application, and evaluation. First, students will reflect on patterns in academic work as well as design and development challenges associated with previous coursework so as to take control of one’s professional growth and become a more self-directed learner. Next, students apply the framework of 21st century teaching and learning to redesign prior coursework and then evaluate how 21st century skills influence program learning outcomes. Last, students will use digital tools to showcase their scholarly artifacts through the creation of a digital portfolio for both courses, and for professionally related purposes. Prerequisite: EDU 694 or ECE 660.
To be awarded the MA in Special Education degree, all students must complete 30 credits, with a 3.0 minimum grade point average in all coursework attempted at UAGC.
An online degree from the University of Arizona Global Campus does not lead to immediate teacher licensure in any state. If you want to become a classroom teacher, contact your state’s education authorities prior to enrolling at the University of Arizona Global Campus to determine what state-specific requirements you must complete before obtaining your teacher's license. The University of Arizona Global Campus graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a state-by-state basis that will include one or more of the following: student teaching or practicum experience, additional coursework, additional testing, or, if the state requires a specific type of degree to seek alternative certification, earning an additional degree. None of the University of Arizona Global Campus online education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which is a requirement for certification in some states. Other factors, such as a student’s criminal history, may prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure or employment in this field of study. All prospective students are advised to visit the Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD) and to contact the licensing body of the state where they are licensed or intend to obtain licensure to verify that these courses qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits in that state prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s policies and procedures relating to licensure as those policies are subject to change.
Alabama Students Education Preparation: State authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P–12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at www.alsde.edu.
Hawaii Residents: An education degree offered through the University of Arizona Global Campus' online modality does not lead to teacher licensure in the state of Hawaii. In Hawaii, an alternative route to certification is not available.
Iowa: An education degree offered through the University of Arizona Global Campus online modality does not lead to teacher licensure in the state of Iowa.
Kentucky Residents: Please be advised that although the University of Arizona Global Campus College of Liberal Arts & Education offers a variety of programs aimed at preparing potential educators in diverse settings, our K–12 educator preparation programs are NOT accredited in Kentucky by the Education Professional Standards Board and are NOT recognized for initial, additional, or renewal of certification or salary enhancement (rank change) for K–12 educators in Kentucky. For more information, please visit the Education Professional Standards Board’s website at http://www.epsb.ky.gov/mod/page/view.php?id=220.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.
The Online Teaching Support Certification recognizes programs that require all online faculty to undergo training in best practices for online course delivery, provide faculty with ongoing pedagogical support, encourage faculty professional development to increase their knowledge and skill in online teaching, emphasize instructor availability and feedback to learners, and collect and use feedback from learners to improve online teaching. Learn More
Careers in Special Education
Already-credentialed teachers may pursue a Master of Arts in Special Education degree in order to advance or add a specialization to their career. Additional career options and fields may include:
- Teaching Assistants
- Special Education
- Special Services
- Tutoring Services
- Test Preparation
The Master of Arts in Special Education is not CAEP**, TEAC or NCATE accredited, which is a requirement for certification in some states, and successful completion of the Master of Arts in Special Education by itself does not lead to certification or licensure in any state. Other factors, such as a student’s criminal history, may prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure or employment in this field of study. All prospective students are advised to visit the Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD) and to contact the licensing body of the state where they are licensed or intend to obtain licensure to verify that these courses qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits in that state prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the states’ policies and procedures relating to licensure as those policies are subject to change.
** The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the resulting entity from the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
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*Residents of California are only eligible to receive up to six (6) credits due to state regulations.