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 licensure in elementary special education or secondary special education. A 4+1 track allows exceptional seniors, both at RWU and elsewhere, to complete the master’s program in just one year. A non-licensure track for educators who hold special education certification is also available.

    Format

    Hybrid

    Schedule

    Evening courses; summer, fall, and spring

    Credits Required

    36-44

    Time Commitment

    1 to 2 years

    Cost

    $691/credit

    Fees

    $160-$475/semester

    Apply By

    April 1 for summer

    August 1 for fall

    December 15 for spring

    • 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.

    Miss our latest live lecture on Universal Design for Learning by Dr. Adam Moore?
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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.    

    View our latest Virtual Information Session:

    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 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 (EDU 608 in the fall and EDU 607 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.  

    Fall Term (Senior year - 4+1 candidates only)
    CourseDelivery
    EDU 608: Legal & Ethical Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)Online
    Spring Term (Senior year - 4+1 candidates only)
    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
    EDU 670: General Education Knowledge for Special Education (3 credits - if necessary)Online
    Fall Semester
    CourseDelivery
    EDU 608: Legal & Ethical Foundations of Special Education (3 credits - Taken in senior year for 4+1 candidates)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
    EDU 657: Inclusive Practices in Special Education (3 credits - If required)Hybrid
    Winter Term
    CourseDelivery
    EDU 642: Special Education Practicum (3 credits)Clinical Placement
    Spring Semester
    CourseDelivery
    EDU 607: Exceptionality Research (3 credits - Taken in senior year for 4+1 candidates)Online
    EDU 651: Special Education Internship (9 credits)Clinical Placement
    EDU 652: Special Education Capstone  (3 credits)Hybrid

     

    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
    EDU 657: Inclusive Practices in Special Education (3 credits - If Necessary)Hybrid
    Summer II Term
    CourseDelivery
    EDU 612: Collaboration, Co-Teaching, & Consultation (3 credits)Hybrid
    EDU 613: Cultivating Pro Social Behavior (3 credits)Hybrid
    EDU 670: General Education Knowledge for Special Education (3 credits, asynchronous online - If Necessary)Online
    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

     

    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)

    Open Houses

    Open Houses are scheduled on the Bristol Campus every June and November with virtual Open Houses available in January and August. Join us to learn more about your program, the admission process, and financial aid at these informative events with faculty and Graduate Admission staff.

    Please visit http://grad.rwu.edu/events for our next Open House.

    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.

    Please visit http://grad.rwu.edu/events for the most current information on Open Houses and Virtual Sessions.

    Virtual Lectures

    The Special Education program periodically offers special live lectures on current topics in special education. Check back here for upcoming opportunities or view our archived lectures below. 

    Universal Design for Learning: Supporting Students of All Abilities

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing a more equitable, accessible, and inclusive classroom experience. Come learn about the theoretical and practical applications of UDL to effectively teach students of all abilities. 

    The session was presented on Thursday, December 16th, 2021, by Dr. Adam Moore, Associate Professor of Special Education and Director of Special Education Graduate Programs at Roger Williams University.

    Access the Lecture Recording

     

    As of August 18, 2020, new regulations for special education certification in the state of Rhode Island have been issued by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). The change in certification requirements allows for outstanding applicants who do not hold an elementary education or secondary education certification to apply for the Roger Williams University Master of Arts in Special Education. Please note: the new regulations require elementary special education teachers to pass all licensure exams in elementary education and special education in order to be considered for elementary special education certification. Secondary special education candidates are required to pass all special education licensure exams in order to be considered for secondary special education certification. 

    Students without an undergraduate degree in education will be required to take up to two additional courses beyond the core M.A. Special Education degree. Required courses include EDU 657 Inclusive Practices in Special Education and EDU 670 General Education Knowledge for Special Education. 

    The RWU M.A. Special Education program prepares students to all requirements to fulfill elementary or secondary special education certification in Rhode Island. For students who wish to pursue certification in other states, please refer to individual state requirements. Rhode Island is a signatory on the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, allowing certification obtained in Rhode Island to be transferred to other states participating in the Agreement. 

    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 with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from a regionally-accredited college or university.

    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
    6. Interview with a faculty member from the RWU Special Education Program.
    7. Current resume.
    8. A copy of a current BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification) background check or equivalent document.
    9. Copy of current and valid teacher’s certificate(s) (only required for applicants who already possess certification)
    10. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo results.

    Students may be asked to submit a passing score on the Praxis I Principles of Learning & Teaching K-6 (elementary) or 7-12 (secondary) to strengthen their applications.