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, Intellectual disabilities, Physical disabilities, and Behavior disorders. Graduates of the Special Education program 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 characteristics of children and adolescents with mild/moderate/severe learning disabilities intellectual disabilities/autism, and emotional/behavior disorders, and 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 dialogues 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 in Special Education degree has four tracks. One can earn comprehensive certification in special education while earning the master of education degree in PA. Alternatively, someone holding special education certification or other educational certifications can pursue work in the specialty areas of behavior disorders, learning disabilities, or mental retardation/developmental disabilities without certification.
The department offers the following graduate degree specializations in special education: MEd in Special Education with Comprehensive Certification (PK-8 or 7-12), MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in Behavior Disorders, MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities, MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities.
The master’s degree with certification requires a minimum of 33 credits of course work plus 9 credits of student teaching. It is designed for individuals who already hold either a Pennsylvania elementary (K-6, PreK-4), middle (4-8), secondary (7-12), or reading specialist (K-12) teaching certification. Applicants interested in special education certification must present transcripts that demonstrate the following courses or their equivalents have been taken at an undergraduate or graduate level: Introduction to Exceptionalities (EEC273), Inclusion of Students with Disabilities (EEC423), Assessment of Students with Disabilities (EEC483), English Language Learners (RDG413). Additionally, applicants must hold a current Pennsylvania teaching certificate prior to applying for the special education certification. Applicants from other states must obtain a Pennsylvania certificate prior to applying for special education certification from PDE. The following certifications are approved as prerequisite teaching credentials for the special education certificates: Early Childhood (PK-4), Elementary (K-6), Secondary (7-12), Middle Level (4-8), Reading Specialist (K-12).
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 special education 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 for the master's in special education program: Textbooks, Multimedia kits, Films and filmstrips, Audiotapes and records, and Other media. A Reading Center provides materials for teaching reading and language arts. Departmental and university microcomputers have curriculum software for various areas of study. Two student computer labs are located in Shippen Hall. One is reserved exclusively for graduate students. 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.
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).
International Student Requirements:
The recommended score for the TOEFL is 68 for the internet-based test or 500 for the paper-based test. (Shippensburg University's test code for the TOEFL is 2657). The recommended score for IELTS is 6.0. International applicants from a country where English is the native/official language may be exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS requirement, however the GRE or GMAT is required.
Facts & Figures
Financial Aid: No
International Financial Aid: No
# of Credits Required: 33 (45 with cert)
Average Cost per Credit (Graduate): $454 PA resident; $681 non-resident/$463 non-resid USD
Classification: Master's College or University I
Locale: Distant Town
Size & Settings: 6,000-9,999