The purpose of the program is to equip special education teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to instruct students from several categorical areas (learning disabilities, mental retardation, and behavior disorders). Participants completing the program of study will possess the necessary skills to provide instruction to students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Students’ learning will reflect historical and contemporary knowledge, research, theory, experience, and practice meeting the academic, personal, and social needs of their unique clientele. Specifically, students will be equipped with knowledge about (1) characteristics of children and adolescents with mild/moderate/severe learning disabilities, mental retardation/developmental disabilities, and emotional/behavior disorders, and (2) methods and strategies appropriate for instruction in the least restrictive environment regardless of the exceptionality category.
The special education program is designed to reflect the current knowledge base, including existing and envisioned practices in educational institutions, and clearly delineated models. Curricular coherence is strengthened through faculty study and dialogue on purpose, course content, and intended student-learning outcomes. The program also uses procedures and problem-solving techniques indicative of the reflective educator model.
The master of education degree in special education has four tracks. One can earn comprehensive certification in special education while earning the master of education degree. Alternatively, someone holding special education certification or other educational certifications can pursue work in the specialty areas of learning disabilities, behavior disorders, or mental retardation/developmental disabilities without certification.
The department offers the following graduate degree specializations in special education:
- master of education degree in special education with comprehensive certification.
- master of education degree in special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities.
- master of education degree in special education with an emphasis in behavior disorders.
- master of education degree in special education with an emphasis in mental retardation/developmental disabilities.
The master’s degree in comprehensive certification is a 33-credit program with no electives. It is designed for individuals who already hold either elementary or secondary teaching certification. For individuals interested in special education certification, the following course will be treated as a deficiency (i.e., required background course) if it does not appear on the students’ transcripts: a course in the introduction to exceptionalities.
The master’s degree without certification requires a minimum of 33 credits. This program is primarily for teachers who already hold special education certification or for regular education teachers who wish to develop skills for working with students who have disabilities who are in the general classroom. The master’s degree without certification provides flexibility in tailoring a graduate program based on the past learning experience of the student as well as his or her future personal and professional goals.
Shippensburg University has been educating public and private school teachers for more than 120 years; thus, teacher education is part of the very fabric of the university. A number of specialized curriculum laboratories are located on campus. A Curriculum Materials Center provides a wide range of teaching resources: textbooks, multi-media kits, films and filmstrips, audio tapes and records, etc. A Reading Center provides materials for teaching reading and language arts. Departmental microcomputers have curriculum software for various areas of study. On campus, the university maintains the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School, one of the finest demonstration laboratories in the country. The school serves a heterogeneous group of children from preschool through fifth grade. For decades, the university has developed and maintained a network of public schools, offering a diversity of educational situations—from inner city schools to rural schools, from very small institutions in the Appalachians to large consolidated districts, from schools for the gifted to schools for those who have learning differences. Additionally, schools accommodating to special situations such as those for migrant workers are a part of the university network. Amid the excellence of educational facilities, there exists a professional camaraderie among faculty, administrators, and students—a sincerely personable academic environment.
The program has been designed to conform to the Special Education Standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and to the standards and regulations for graduate education at Shippensburg University, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
Admission to the special education program is a process requiring application materials, credentials, references, an on-campus interview, and a writing sample. Students are encouraged to begin this process six months before they begin classes. Interviews are conducted three times per year. Applicants should have relevant experience working with individuals with disabilities and demonstrate dispositions appropriate to respectfully collaborating with others.
# of Credits Required:
33 (45 with cert)
Tuition & Financial Aid
Cost Per Credit Hour:
$442/PA resident; $663/non-resident; $451/online USD
Financial Aid Offered: No
Classification: Master's Colleges & Universities I
Institution Sector: Public
Locale: Distant Town
Size & Settings: 5,000 - 9,999