Special education professionals play key roles in the lives of school-aged children. These educators lead richly fulfilling careers and are increasingly in demand.
Whether you are currently working in education or new to the field, the Saint Mary’s Special Education program will prepare you to become a licensed special educator.
Options are available for both licensed educators and those seeking an initial teaching license. Licensure preparation is available for Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (EBD), Learning Disabilities (LD), and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Are you already a licensed teacher looking to add an EBD, ASD, or LD license?
Educators who already hold a general education teaching licensure can add preparation for LD, ASD, and/or EBD licensure.
Are you looking to obtain your first teaching license?
Those who are not currently licensed can prepare for LD, ASD, and/or EBD licensure by taking 19 credits of foundations coursework in addition to the special education curriculum.
After obtaining your licensure(s) you can also finish your master’s degree!
By completing six additional credits of the master’s completion sequence, learners can earn an M.A. in Special Education.
This program is based on Minnesota Board of Teaching standards. All standards and requirements must be satisfactorily completed prior to recommendation to the state for licensure.
Schedule & Format
This program offers two formats to meet the various learning and schedule needs of adult learners. Courses are offered in a blended learning format utilizing both face-to-face and online instruction. Alternatively, learners can choose to complete the entire program within a supportive online learning community, via the new Online M.A. in Special Education program.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Courses
The M.A. in Special Education program now offers preparatory courses for Autism Spectrum Disorder licensure!
For those students working toward their initial teaching license, the following courses are required for licensure in Learning Disabilities, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Standards of Effective Practice Courses:
This course focuses on how to apply measurement theory to classroom evaluation. Analysis, administration and interpretation of standardized assessment instruments, performance assessments using the Minnesota Graduation Standards model, teacher-constructed assessment tools, and evaluation and grading are examined.
This course examines the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education, including such topics as schooling in a changing pluralistic society, human relations and the discrimination issues in education, legal and political forces which impact American education, and the teacher's professional roles and responsibilities; and 2) educational psychology, including (a) child and adolescent cognitive, social/emotional, and moral development; (b) psychology of exceptional children, federal and state laws and policies regarding assessment, free appropriate public education and inclusion of students with disabilities; and (c) motivation, learning theories, classroom management, and principles of effective teaching.
Students learn and apply the principles of educational psychology, including (a) child and adolescent cognitive, social/emotional, and moral development; (b) motivation, learning theories, classroom management and principles of effective teaching; and (c) psychology of exceptional children, including knowledge of exceptional educational need areas as defined by Minnesota, Wisconsin and federal law, the major characteristics of the disability areas in order to recognize their existence in children, and knowledge of various alternatives for providing the least restrictive environment for children with exceptional educational needs.
Middle and secondary school philosophy, classroom management, motivation, and student developmental differences are examined. An emphasis is placed on unit development, daily lesson planning, interdisciplinary planning, teaming, cooperative learning, exploratory learning and a variety of teaching strategies appropriate for grades 5-12.
This course focuses on how to assess reading and written language skills of middle and high school students, the cognitive and skill levels required by various content-area materials and written tests, use of alternative testing strategies, and instructional strategies for developing strategic readers and competent writers in all content areas. Adaptation of course materials, teaching strategies, and testing for students with exceptional educational needs are featured.
This course provides an introduction to technology-based learning. Major topics include 1) information literacy, i.e., criteria for web-based research; 2) discipline-specific software and technology; 3) presentation systems (Hyperstudio, projection microscopes, PowerPoint); and 4) assessment and grading tools.
Students work under a cooperating teacher in an area school for a significant field experience. Translation of learning theory to classroom practice and preparation for student teaching are featured.
This course is designed to sensitize students to issues which can cause discriminatory and prejudicial behaviors in students, teachers, administrators, parents, and members of the community at large. Emphasis is placed on developing the skills and dispositions of an inclusive, multicultural teacher in today's diverse classrooms. A particular focus is placed on Minnesota Indian cultures.
Special Education Core Courses:
Orientation introduces learners to the tools, technology, policies, and expectation for the Master of Arts in Special Education. The delivery approach, instructional methods, and use of technology are reviewed. Program expectations are discussed, including APA style for written academic work, practicum parameters, and placement. Orientation is a requirement prior to beginning the first class (EDSE 631).
This course evaluates the fundamental, philosophical, and organizational history of learners with exceptionalities. Content includes current issues and trends in the field of special education, organizational structures, available service and placement options, disability classifications, stereotypes of individuals with exceptionalities, and ethical considerations regarding special education. Field experience is required.
This course emphasizes current knowledge of individuals with exceptionalities within the context of human growth and development. Content includes historical factors; legislation; etiology; characteristics; needs; educational strategies, including existing and emerging technologies; assessment; and support services for individuals with exceptionalities. The course covers the impact of disabilities on academic and social/emotional performances. Field experience is required.
Students participate in constructivist learning experiences to master the knowledge, dispositions, and skills needed to teach literacy from kindergarten through middle school. National and state standards and curriculum guides are used to develop appropriate teaching plans for primary, intermediate, and middle school students. Students master lesson planning and performance assessments using the Minnesota literacy content standards. Field experiences augment classroom readings, discussion and activities of developmental stages of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in children.
This course emphasizes the use of evidence based instruction and grade-level content standards. Content includes implementation of Assistive Technology to meet the needs of learners with exceptionalities. Field experience is required.
This course examines concepts and strategies of behavior in special education settings for learners with exceptionalities. Content includes behavioral and affective approaches with a focus on basic behavioral principles, preventative techniques, behavior enhancement and reduction techniques, and use of rewards. Additional topics include functional behavioral assessment, preparation and implementation of behavior intervention plans, and the classroom environment. The course addresses research-based behavioral interventions and interventions based on behavioral, psycho-educational, and ecological theories.
This course provides an in-depth study of theoretical principles of measurement, assessment, and evaluation procedures to determine special education eligibility and identify needs for implementation of educational plans for learners with exceptionalities (including 8 hours of assessment practice). Non-biased assessment practices are discussed. Field experience is required.
This course provides an in-depth study of special education due process as it relates to individual education plan (IEP) development and service delivery. Content includes collaboration with other professionals, legal and ethical issues in special education, the development and implementation of technically adequate IEPs, working with families, scientifically-based interventions, and current best practices.
This course covers the background, knowledge base, experience, and personal contact necessary to work collaboratively with professionals and parents. Content includes learning consultation and collaboration skills to ensure that the needs of individuals with exceptionalities are addressed throughout their school careers. The course enhances the view of special educators as specialists and a resource to colleagues for instruction, inclusion, transition, and collaboration with outside agencies.
Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities Courses:
This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with emotional disabilities. Special emphasis is given to definition and identification procedures. An additional focus on current research and critical issues and trends in the field of EBD is provided. Field experience is required.
This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in behavioral intervention, for learners with emotional/behavioral disorders. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.
Learning Disabilities Courses:
This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Special emphasis is given to definitions and identification procedures, including Response to Intervention (RtI). An additional focus on recent research and critical issues and trends in the field of SLD is provided. Field experience is required.
This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with learning disabilities. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Courses:
This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with autism. Special emphasis is given to identification and classification, recent and historical developments in the field, and critical issues and trends. Field experience is required.
This course examines instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with autism. Content includes basic psychometric principles of administering, scoring, and interpreting informal and formal norm- and criterion-referenced tests used in special education identification and program planning.
Field Placement Courses:
This course provides the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of state standards.
The clinical field experience highlights the translation of learning theory to classroom practice and preparation for EDSE689 Field Experience for Practicing Educators. A minimum of 5 full days with learner contact is required. The practicing educator will be expected to work with small groups of learners under the supervision of a cooperating educator(s).
The field experience is a supervised, structured teaching experience in a school setting with learners with emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and/or learners on the autism spectrum. School placements vary based on program setting (co-teaching, inclusion, resource, self-contained). Learners complete a minimum of 15 weeks in two settings: one 10-week session and one 5-week session. The field experience consist of placements in two of the following grade levels (depending on grade level of experience in EDSE688): elementary, middle/junior high school, and high/senior high school.
Kristin Branlund-Girod | firstname.lastname@example.org | (612) 728-5122
Gainful Employment Information
Effective July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education requires institutions with non-degree programs defined as “Gainful Employment programs” to disclose certain information about these programs.
Graduate Certificate in Special Education (Learning Disabilities) Gainful Employment Report (PDF)
Graduate Certificate in Special Education (Emotional Behavioral Disorders) Gainful Employment Report (PDF)
Request more information about the Online M.A. in Special Education program.