Special Education

The Master of Arts in Special Education program is designed to prepare teachers for supporting students of all abilities. Available with full-time and part-time options, the program provides flexibility for both recent graduates and working educators who seek additional licensure in elementary special education or secondary special education. A 4+1 track allows exceptional senior elementary or secondary education majors to complete the master’s program in just one year. A non-licensure track for educators who hold special education certification is also available.

Graduates of the Master of Arts in Special Education will be able to:

  • Demonstrate inclusive pedagogical approaches and practices aimed at providing an equitable education for all students, particularly students from historically minoritized groups (i.e. students of color, students who identify as LGBTQ+, students living in poverty, students with disabilities, students who are English Learners).  
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the legal and ethical obligations required of professionals in the field of special education.
  • Conduct, score, and interpret individual curriculum-based and norm-referenced educational achievement assessments that are cultural relevant, valid, and reliable in order to inform a student’s eligibility of special education services, develop Individualized Education Programs, and guide instructional practices.
  • Utilize evidence-based strategies to meet the diverse instructional, behavioral, cultural, linguistic, and social/emotional needs of students with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate culturally-competent partnerships with families/caregivers, educational professionals, related service providers, and other school personnel to develop, utilize, and assess individualized and inclusive supports for students with disabilities.
  • Develop strategies to facilitate the successful inclusion of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.

Overview

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The M.A. Special Education program is accredited by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and is aligned to the Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards (RIPTS) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Special Educator Professional Ethics and Standards. The program has a particular focus on equity, culturally responsive and evidence-based teaching practices, and inclusion of students with high incidence disabilities. 

Candidates seeking licensure in special education will be immersed in clinical placements in local schools, completing a residency with a school-based clinical educator certified in special education.  The program requires candidates to complete the equivalent of a year-old residency and 60 additional hours of clinical placement designed to meet the Rhode Island certification regulations that take effect in December 2022.  The program also requires a minimum of 30 hours in an urban school district, and encourages candidates to spend more time in high-need districts.    

Full-Time Program & 4+1 Opportunity

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Students who wish to complete the M.A. Special Education program on a full-time basis can complete the degree in one calendar year with courses beginning in the Summer II Term (typically late July). 

4+1 Opportunity

The 4+1 M.A. Special Education program allows for exceptional Roger Williams University undergraduate elementary education or secondary education majors the opportunity to earn six graduate credits during their senior year and, if in good standing, continue on in one additional year of full-time study (either elementary or secondary special education). Students accepted into this program take two courses (one in the fall and one in the spring semester) of their senior year. The remaining eight courses (nine for secondary certification candidates) are completed as matriculated graduate students in one full-time year of study. Candidates interested in this program must apply during their undergraduate junior year for conditional acceptance in this program.  

Summer II Term
CourseDelivery
EDU 612: Collaboration, Co-Teaching, & Consultation (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 613:  Cultivating Pro Social Behavior (3 credits)Hybrid
Fall Semester
CourseDelivery
EDU 608: Legal & Ethical Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)Online
EDU 622: Research-Based Literacy Practices III: Preparing Strategic Readers, K-12 (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 635: Assessment & Planning (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 640: Interventions in Mathematics & Content Areas in Special Education (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 644: Post-Secondary Transition Planning (2 credits - Secondary Candidates Only)Hybrid
Winter Term
CourseDelivery
EDU 642: Special Education Practicum (3 credits)Clinical Placement
Spring Semester
CourseDelivery
EDU 651: Special Education Internship (9 credits)Clinical Placement
EDU 607: Exceptionality Research (3 credits)Online
EDU 652: Special Education Capstone  (3 credits)Hybrid

 

Part-Time Program

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This program is designed for students seeking teacher certification in special education (either elementary or secondary) and will require two years of part-time graduate study. The program of study detailed below assumes a two-year pathway. Students may choose to take courses at their own pace, which may impact total duration of studies.

Fall Semester
CourseDelivery
EDU 608: Legal & Ethical Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)Online
EDU 635: Assessment & Planning (3 credits)Hybrid
Spring Semester
CourseDelivery
EDU 607: Exceptionality Research (3 credits)Online
Summer II Term
CourseDelivery
EDU 612: Collaboration, Co-Teaching, & Consultation (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 613: Cultivating Pro Social Behavior (3 credits)Hybrid
Fall Semester
CourseDelivery
EDU 622: Research-Based Literacy Practices III: Preparing Strategic Readers, K-12 (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 640: Interventions in Mathematics & Content Areas in Special Education (3 credits)Hybrid
EDU 644: Post-Secondary Transition Planning (2 credits - Secondary Candidates Only)Hybrid
Winter Term
CourseDelivery
EDU 642: Special Education Practicum (3 credits)Clinical Placement
Spring Semester
CourseDelivery
EDU 651: Special Education Internship (9 credits)Clinical Placement
EDU 652: Special Education Capstone  (3 credits)Hybrid

 

M.A. Special Education (Non-Certification Program)

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This 30-credit program is designed for currently practicing elementary or secondary educators who currently hold a valid teaching license in special education, but desire a master’s degree.  The program does not lead to licensure. 

Required Courses
EDU607Exceptionality Research
EDU612Collaboration, Co-Teaching, & Consultation
EDU613Cultivating Pro Social Behavior
EDU622Research-Based Literacy Practices III: Preparing Strategic Readers, K-12
EDU635Assessment & Planning
EDU640Interventions in Mathematics & Content Areas in Special Education
EDU652Special Education Capstone
   
Electives
EDU608Legal & Ethical Foundations of Special Education
EDU610Introduction to Literacy Research
EDU616Research-Based Literacy Practices I: Writing Across the Curriculum, K-12
EDU618Literature for Children and Young Adults
EDU620Research- Based Literacy Practices II: Reading Across the Curriculum, K-12
EDU644Post-Secondary Transition Planning (Secondary Education only)

Upcoming Events

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On-Campus Information Sessions

Join us for an On-Campus Information Session to hear from Program Director Dr. Adam Moore and the Office of Graduate Admission. These sessions are geared primarily toward current RWU students, but all prospective students are welcome.
There are currently no on-campus information sessions scheduled at this time. Check back soon for updates.

Open Houses

Meet us on campus in Bristol, RI, and hear about admission and financial aid, meet the faculty, tour the campus, and more.

Saturday, January 11, 2020
10:00am - 1:00pm
Register

Virtual Information Sessions

Short on time or just want to learn more about us from the comfort of your home, school, or office? Join us for a Virtual Information Session.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
7:00pm - 8:00pm ET Register

Thursday, November 14, 2019
5:30pm - 6:15pm ET Register

Monday, December 9, 2019
5:00pm - 6:00pm ET Register

Thursday, December 12, 2019
12:30pm - 1:15pm ET Register

Thursday, January 7, 2020
12:30pm - 1:15pm ET Register

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
5:30pm - 6:30pm ET Register

Please visit http://grad.rwu.edu/events for current information.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Special Education degree program, applicants must hold an earned bachelor’s degree in elementary or secondary education with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from a regionally-accredited college or university and hold a current and valid teaching license in elementary or secondary education. For 4+1 candidates and recent graduates, applicants must be in good academic standing and be eligible for elementary or secondary education licensure upon completion of the bachelor's degree. 

Admission requirements include:

  1. Completed online application
  2. $50 application fee
  3. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  4. Statement of Intent (three pages, double-spaced maximum) detailing: A) Why you hold the dispositions to become a special education teacher committed to equity; and B) Experiences that inspired your desire to work with youth with exceptionalities
  5. Two professional letters of recommendation attesting to your potential success in graduate school and to work with children with exceptionalities (one letter must be from a direct supervisor who has observed you working with children)
  6. Interview with a faculty member from the RWU Special Education Program.
  7. Current resume.
  8. Copy of current and valid teacher’s certificate(s) (not required for applicants applying to 4+1 Program).
  9. A copy of a current BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification) background check or equivalent document.
  10. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results.