Graduate Programs in Special Education

Special education teacher working with a student

 

The Special Education Program currently offers three types of post-baccalaureate degrees and programs: two graduate degrees, the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) and the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), as well as an add-on Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) licensure program. Courses in both the M.A.Ed. and the M.A.T. programs are offered online.

M.A.Ed. in Special Education

The M.A.Ed. program is for those teachers who have an “A” level license in education. Teachers with licenses in areas other than special education may have to take some prerequisite courses. The program consists of a professional core, a special education core, and a concentration in one of the following areas: behavioral disorders, gifted creative and innovative education, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or severe/profound disabilities.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • 3.0 average on last half of undergraduate program or 2.85 overall GPA
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School

Program: 30 - 33 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 12 semester hours professional core
  • 18 - 21 semester hours in the concentration area
  • Exit portfolio

M.A.T. in Special Education

The M.A.T. program is for those who do not have an “A” level license in special education. Qualified persons with a B.A or B.S. degree may earn a teaching license and graduate degree simultaneously. The program consists of a professional core, pedagogy courses, and a concentration in General Curriculum for individuals interested in working with children and youth with mild to moderate disabilities or Adapted Curriculum for individuals interested in working with children and youth with severe disabilities.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • 3.0 average on last half of undergraduate program or 2.85 overall GPA 
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School

Program: 42 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 18 semester hours professional core 
  • 24 semester hours for General Curriculum concentration or 24 semester hours for Adaptive Curriculum concentration
  • Exit portfolio 
  • State-required licensure examinations

Academically or Intellectually Gifted licensure program

The AIG program leads to an AIG license that can be added to any academic area license. The program consists of 12 graduate hours in gifted education. All courses are online with the exception of a one-week field experience in June.

In addition to licensure options, the Special Education Graduate Program offers teachers a professional development credential in three critical skill areas:

  • Creativity and Differentiation
  • Response to Intervention for Social and Emotional Behavior
  • Collaboration with Families and Professionals

This online professional development opportunity is highly interactive and will help address real issues you face in today's classrooms.

Graduate Comprehensive Portfolio

All students will be required to complete and present a Comprehensive Portfolio. The Master’s Comprehensive Portfolio is a formal, organized set of documents and artifacts demonstrating the teacher’s growth, as a self-directed, reflective practitioner.

Rationale: The Master’s Comprehensive Portfolio is intended to provide tangible evidence that the candidate has met each of the advanced competencies required for the degree. The portfolio is not a collection of everything the candidate has done in the master’s program; it is a carefully selected, organized set of entries demonstrating achievement of each of the standards. Candidates with current National Board Certification in the concentration area have demonstrated advanced competencies and are exempted from the required portfolio.

Submission Deadline: The portfolio is due in the last semester of your program, either March 15 or October 15.  This is a requirement for graduation.

Portfolio Information: Portfolios are submitted using an electronic portfolio system.  to collect artifacts that are required for admission, state licensure, and graduation. In 2016, we are transitioning from TaskStream to Tk20 as the technology tool we will use for our portfolio system.

Please contact our local Tk20 support via email: tk20@wcu.edu or see Dr. Lee Nickles

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