Jul 12, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education

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Department Chair: TBD


The Special Education Program will prepare graduate students who will become leaders, transformative action researchers, and expert practitioners in the field of special education with the skills to provide specially designed instruction to a linguistically and culturally diverse population of children and adolescents (K to 12th grade) with disabilities. This 3-pronged approach will provide training, support and opportunities for graduate students to positively affect the educational, vocational and post-school outcomes for students with disabilities.

  • As leaders, students will develop competencies that will prepare them to advocate with and for their students with disabilities and their families and to work as teacher-leaders in their schools, districts and diverse communities.
  • As researchers, students will design, conduct and reflect upon transformative action-based research in the classroom, school and community and be prepared to use these skills to improve instructional practices.
  • As expert practitioners, students will demonstrate skills and be well-prepared to teach K-12 students with disabilities with a broad range of specialized learning needs and from diverse backgrounds including English Language Learners (ELL) and Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE). 

Professional and personal reflection will serve to integrate theory and application in leadership, action-based research and as an expert practitioner in the field.

Program Design

The master’s degree in special education supports the needs of working adult learners through flexible programs of study. The program is designed for full-time students as well as working professionals who take one or two courses a quarter during the academic year and one or two courses during the summer. Up to 24 credits offered through the Professional Development/Continuing Education Endorsement Academies in ELL/Reading and/or Special Education may transfer into the master’s degree with program permission. Students take a planned program of course work in special education, culminating in a capstone project in the field working with K-12 students with special needs. Students who wish to earn the master’s degree in special education enroll in the MEd in Special Education program. Students with a master’s degree enroll in the EdS in Special Education program. Students with a teaching certificate and who want only the special education endorsement enroll in the endorsement-only special education graduate program.

Students are admitted each quarter. Courses during the academic year meet in the late afternoon and evening hours; some summer courses meet during the day. Full time students can complete the MEd or EdS program in five quarters (two summers and full-time enrollment during one school year). Part-time students can complete the program in 9 to 12 quarters. The timeline for completion of the endorsement-only program is dependent upon prior course work. In addition to a special education endorsement, it will be possible for students to attain additional endorsements (ELL and reading) with flexible options, including stand-alone (e.g., special education only) or blended (e.g., ELL and reading) programs. Courses will be delivered in a hybrid or online learning environment.

Special Education Endorsement

Students who wish to earn the Washington state endorsement in special education must already hold a Washington state teaching certificate. Applicants must complete a total of 24 credits of course work at Seattle University. Specific courses include SPED 5400 , SPED 5410 , SPED 5420 , SPED 5430 , SPED 5450 , SPED 5470 , SPSY 5640 , and SPED 5900 . These courses may be completed through the MEd, EdS, or endorsement-only programs in special education.

In order to obtain the special education endorsement, students must pass the WEST-E test in special education. Students within the MEd and EdS programs may obtain their special education endorsement prior to the completion of their respective programs.

Requirements in each course specified above have been linked with competencies required by Washington State and aligned with national standards. Under limited circumstances, specific courses may be waived depending upon prior background and experience. In order to waive specific courses, applicants must document that requirements in each course were met. This documentation at a minimum must include official transcripts, course syllabi, and any other documentation regarding previous background or experience.

Students with extensive prior course work in special education and who would like to know how many credits they are lacking towards a special education endorsement may have their transcripts reviewed by the special education program director for a nominal fee. This may be done prior to or after admission to the endorsement only program. To have transcripts reviewed, students should contact the Records and Certification Office at (206) 296-5774. Students without extensive prior course work in special education do not need to fulfill this requirement. Once students are admitted into the program, a plan of study will be set with the student’s advisor in order to complete the required course work for the special education endorsement.

Endorsement-Only Special Education Graduate Program

The endorsement-only program in special education is designed for certified teachers who wish to earn the special education endorsement but who do not desire an additional degree. Students must complete at least 15 credits of course work at Seattle University in order to complete the total 24 credits of required special education course work. The required course work is dependent upon previous course work and experience. Specific course work required will be determined by the student’s advisor.

Teacher Certification

Students completing the master in teaching program may apply up to 6 credits toward the special education endorsement-only post-master’s graduate program or EdS by completing the following courses:

Required Courses:

  • 3 credits of TEED 5021  or TEED 5022  satisfy SPED 5400  
  • MIT elective in Special Education (3 credits) can meet a special education course requirement.

Master in Teaching (MIT) with Special Education Endorsement

The MIT with special education endorsement is for those who are not currently certified teachers, but who are interested in pursuing special education as a career. Students may complete both a Residency teaching certificate and the endorsement in special education through six quarters of study of which four quarters are full time. For further information, students should review the MIT with special education endorsement brochure or visit the MIT website at www2.seattleu.edu/coe/mit. This option is only available to MIT students who enter in a spring cohort; students who enter in a fall MIT cohort are not eligible for the MIT with special education program.

For complete program requirements, see the MIT with special education endorsement information in the Teacher Education  section of this Graduate Catalog.

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