2012-13 Graduate Catalog 
    May 09, 2021  
2012-13 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, Master of Arts

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Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Special Education is an advanced academic degree that offers a Clear Education Specialist credential along with a choice of one of the following Added Authorizations: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disturbance,  Early Childhood Special Education, Adapted Physical Education,  Deaf-Blind and Orthopedic Impairment. A total of 36 semester units are required for the degree. The curriculum for this degree provides a deeper specialization in contemporary issues in the field of special education.

Program Learning Outcomes

The program learning outcomes for the M.A. in Special Education are built on and related to the School of Education outcomes that are symbolized in three themes: equip, transform, and empower.  The M.A. in the Special Education program then applies these major themes to this program.

Candidates who complete the Master of Arts in Special Education program will be able to:


  • Promote the success of all students by being a servant leader that serves collaboratively and effectively with professional excellence, honesty, integrity, and sensitivity.


  • Engage in ways of thinking and being to embrace the positive power of diversity and advocacy for universal social justice within the classrooms, schools, districts, and communities.
  • Apply faith-based influences and beliefs within educational organizations.


  • Reflect and engage in on-going scholarly, professional, and spiritual growth.
  • Serve as research-based transformational leaders within their classrooms, schools, districts, and communities.

Program Eligibility to the Master of Arts in Special Education

  • Education and Grade-Point Average:  Candidates must have completed a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.000 is required to be admitted into the Master of Arts in Special Education program. Candidates with a cumulative grade point average less than 3.000 may apply for “Admission under Exception;”
  • Two or more letters of recommendation from appropriate persons who have the knowledge of the applicant’s character and ability to work with children or youth. (References from friends or relatives are not appropriate.);
  • Master of Arts in Special Education interview: All candidates must complete a personal interview with an admissions chair.

Graduation Requirements

  1. A completed Application for Degree Candidacy (online or in the Records Office, Point Loma campus);
  2. Satisfactory completion of the prescribed course of study with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.000 or higher;
  3. Completion of the approved graduate program consisting of a minimum of 36 units;
  4. Recommendation from the program coordinator and director of the Regional Center;
  5. All accounts paid in full;
  6. All requirements for graduate degrees must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of initial enrollment in the program.

The Master of Arts in Special Education builds on the foundation of the Preliminary Education Specialist credential. M.A. candidates develop advanced level knowledge, skills, and dispositions aligned with professional standards and directly apply research-based theory and “best practices” as they teach students with special needs in their own classrooms.

The Clear Education Specialist credential requirements are incorporated into this advanced degree and are strategically aligned and blended with Induction requirements to equip special education teachers in Induction programs to address the Clear (Level II) credential proficiency requirements as they complete their Induction requirements.

The Master of Arts in Special Education is an evidence-based program. Candidates develop differentiated learning plans for their graduate level coursework, building on the evidence of prior knowledge, skills, and dispositions that they bring into the program. This customized instructional design is focused on significant transformation along the California Standards for the Teaching Profession’s Learning to Teach Continuum and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Professional Standards.

Up to six units of post- baccalaureate coursework aligned with the course of study below may be transferred from other institutions toward this degree. Candidates seeking transfer credit should make this request during the first semester of enrollment. Candidates who completed their preliminary Educataion Specialist credentials through PLNU may apply up to 12 units of this coursework toward the MA in Special Education.

Total Required: 21 Units

Approved Coursework

Candidates with their preliminary coursework from this university may apply up to 12 units of approved coursework.

Total: 36 Units

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