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Graduate Programs in Special Education

 

 

Program Overview

Location: Online

App Deadline: Dec. 1, May 1, Aug. 1

Pre-Requisites: GRE Not Required

Part Time, Full Time

Multiple Concentrations Available

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The Special Education Program currently offers four types of post-baccalaureate degrees and certificate programs: two graduate degrees, the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) and the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), Graduate Certificates in Special Education, and an add-on Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) licensure program.  We are also proud to support current educators with professional development credential programs.  Courses in alll graduate level special education programs are offered online.

Virtual Open House

Wednesday, September 14, 2022: 5-6pm

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

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About the Programs

The M.A.Ed. program is for those teachers who have an “A” level license in education.  The program consists of a professional core and special education concentration courses in one of the following areas: (1) Mild-to-Moderate Disabilities, (2) Severe/Profound Disabilities, or (3) Gifted, Creative, and Innovative Education.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School
  • A current teaching license in any academic area

Program: 30 - 33 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 12 credit hours of professional core
  • 18 - 21 semester hours in the concentration area
  • Comprehensive portfolio

The M.A.T. program is for candidates 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 K-12 students who have mild-to-moderate disabilities or Adapted Curriculum for individuals interested in working with K-12 students with severe/profound disabilities.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School

Program: 39 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 15 semester hours professional core 
  • 24 semester hours in area of licensure concentration
  • Comprehensive portfolio 
  • State-required licensure examinations

 

WCU offers graduate-level certificate programs that prepare students to be recommended for K-12 Special Education licenses.  The courses are part of a larger master's degree program (M.A.T.), and qualifying students have th option of applying to the master's degree program to complete their graduate degree.  For students working toward earning a teaching license for the first time and/or satisfying requirements of a residency license, the Special Education: General Curriculum or Special Education: Adapted Curriculum graduate certificate programs allow students to complete their licensure coursework while working toward applying to a master's degree program.

The Special Education: General Curriculum certificate is designed for students who want to work in grades K-12 with students who have mild-to-moderate disabilities, while the Adapted Curriculum certificate prepares educators to work with student who have severe/profound disabilities. 

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School

Program: 30 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 12 semester hours professional core 
  • 18 semester hours in area of licensure concentration
  • State-required licensure examinations

WCU offers a graduate-level certificate program that leads to an AIG license, which 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 that takes place at WCU’s Cullowhee campus in June. The courses are part of a larger master’s degree program (M.A.Ed.), and qualifying students have the option of applying to the master’s degree program to complete their graduate degree.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School
  • A current teaching license in any academic area

Program:

12 credit hours of graduate AIG licensure coursework


 

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

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

This online professional development opportunity is highly interactive and will help address issues that teachers 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.

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

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