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Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Populations

med-spec-banner2.jpgSpecial Populations faculty from left: Assistant Professor Shawn Kent; Clinical Associate Professor and Program Director Kristen Hassett; Associate Professors Jacqueline Hawkins and Kristi Santi.

To apply for this program, please visit Graduate Admissions.

GRE Waiver

NEW: The GRE requirement will be waived for all applicants to the M.Ed. in Special Populations program. All applicants are granted the waiver for fall and spring 2022. In the absence of standardized test scores, applicants will be evaluated with particular attention paid to quality of writing sample, relevant experience, recommendations and undergraduate grades in courses related to education and/or statistics and/or statistics and measurement.

Is this program for me?

The Special Populations Master's Program prepares professionals for the high-needs field of Special Education. Special education has been a teacher shortage area in Texas and across the nation since shortage areas were first report by the US Department of Education. Graduates find abundant opportunities for challenging and rewarding careers.  The program offers four tracks:

  • Special Education Emphasis (Online) focuses on obtaining the necessary capacity for working with individuals with disabilities.
  • Special Education Certification Emphasis (Hybrid) focuses on obtaining the necessary capacity for working with students with disabilities, as well as meets certification requirements to teach special education (EC-12) in the state of Texas.
  • Educational Diagnostician Certification Emphasis (Hybrid) prepares students for certification as Educational Diagnosticians in Texas Public Schools.  Students in this program currently hold a teaching certificate in the State of Texas. This program extends teachers' special education expertise by developing the necessary skillset to assess and identify learning problems in children, consult with parents and teachers in a multidisciplinary setting, and assume leadership roles.
  • Gifted and Talented (Online) prepares students to complete supplemental certification as Gifted and Talented while providing a thorough understanding of  theory, research strategies, and best practices of gifted education.
  • Special Education Leadership Emphasis (Hybrid) prepares students who are working with learners with disabilities and other special needs to assume administrative roles* in special education in a K-12 school or at the district level. Develops students into special education leaders* that have the skills to address the complex issues surrounding educating students with challenges related to learning, social, and emotional needs.
  • It will typically take one to two years to complete the degree if students are enrolled full-time (9 hours per semester).

What will I learn?

Students who complete the  Special Education Emphasis:

  • Understand, assess, and evaluate the needs of students with disabilities to make instructional decisions.
  • Skillfully manage the teaching environment, including the use of assistive technology.
  • Promote students’ educational, behavioral and social performance.
  • Apply knowledge of transition issues and teaching across the lifespan.

Students who complete the  Special Education Certification Emphasis:

  • Understand, assess, and evaluate the needs of students with disabilities to make instructional decisions.
  • Skillfully manage the teaching environment, including the use of assistive technology.
  • Promote students’ educational, behavioral and social performance.
  • Apply knowledge of transition issues and teaching across the lifespan.
  • Engage the roles and responsibilities of the teaching profession.

Students who complete the  Educational Diagnostician Certification Emphasis:

  • Understand federal and state disability criteria and identification procedures for determining the presence of an educational need.
  • Recognize the significance of diversity for evaluation, planning, and instruction.
  • Select, administer and interpret appropriate assessments and evaluations.
  • Understand appropriate curricula and instructional strategies for developing the academic, behavioral and social skills of students with disabilities.
  • Engage the roles and responsibilities of the teaching profession.

Students who complete the  Gifted & Talented Emphasis:

  • Understand the standards for providing comprehensive services incorporating research-based best practices for gifted and talented learners.
  • Recognize the significance of diversity for evaluation, planning, and instruction.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of assessment instruments and gifted/talented identification procedures that provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their diverse talents and abilities.
  • Meets the needs of gifted and talented students by modifying the depth, complexity, and pacing of the curriculum and instruction ordinarily provided by the school.

Students who complete the  Special Education Leadership Emphasis:

  • Apply current special education laws and policies to design and deliver inclusive special education and/or support for diverse students.
  • Provide leadership* and expertise in assessing, identifying, and implementing special education needs and to collaborate with related services and other personnel, including school psychologists, educational diagnosticians, speech therapists, administrators, and teachers.
  • Understand ethical decision making, innovative problem solving, and professional growth.
  • Understand appropriate curricula and instructional strategies for developing the academic, behavioral and social skills of students with disabilities.

The Master’s in Special Populations develops professional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills through:

  • College of Education Core Coursework
  • Special Education Content Coursework
  • Comprehensive Exam

What can I do with my degree?

The Special Populations Master’s Program prepares educators to assume positions in:

  • Public and Private Early Childhood – 12th grade school settings
  • Educational and Social Agencies
  • Foundations
  • Public and Private Research Organizations
  • Residential Facilities

Graduates with an M.Ed. in Special Populations may pursue the following careers:

  • Community College Instructors
  • Educational Diagnosticians
  • Special Education Teachers
  • EC-12 Team Leaders
  • EC-12 Department Chairs
  • EC-12 Special Education Coordinators/Administrators*

*Please note that some districts require Principal certification for designated administrative positions. Students wishing to pursue Principal certification need to (1) apply to the K-12 Leadership certification program, and (2) complete additional requirements (including coursework and internship, at a minimum).

An applicant or candidate who has been convicted of an offense may be ineligible for issuance of a certificate upon completion of the Educator Preparation Program. Please refer to the current State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rules prescribed in §249.16 of the Texas Administrative Code (relating to Eligibility of Persons with Criminal History for a Certificate under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53, and Texas Education Code, Chapter 21). Applicants/candidates have the right to request a criminal history evaluation letter as provided in Chapter 227, Subchapter B, of the Texas Administrative Code (relating to Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility).

To apply for this program, please visit Graduate Admissions.