Online MS in Special Education

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The MS in Special Education is a 36-credit, fully online program. This biblically integrated program equips educators with expert knowledge and best practices to competently engage students with special needs in enriched and meaningful skill development and growth in all areas of life. This program is designed for individuals already holding a valid teaching license or certificate.

Graduates earn a MS in Special Education degree and, if eligible, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Special Education certificate. If Pennsylvania certification is desired, individuals can select the MS in Special Education degree plus PA Special Education PK-12 certification option which requires an additional 7 credits. See below for details.

Fall 2021 graduate start date: August 30, 2021

At a glance

Program Credits

36 


Standard Completion Time

28-32 months

Program Highlights

  • Start any semester; complete in as few as seven semesters
  • Mostly seven-week courses, one at a time
  • Mild to severe disabilities addressed
  • Two Applied Behavior Analysis courses included
  • 50% tuition discount for educators working in Christian schools
  • Field experience integrated into multiple courses
  • Advance standing may be granted for Bible/theology credits

Program Curriculum

Semester 36 TOTAL CREDITS:
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I (S1)1
SPE 661
Foundations of Special Education (S2)
Spring #1 SPE 764 Teaching Children with Lower Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 723
Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities (S2)
Summer #1 SPE 763 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities (S1)
BIB 621 Biblical Integrations for Educators (S2)
 Fall #2 SPE 761 Inclusionary Practices (F)
SPE 762 Developmental and Diagnostic Reading Interventions (F)
Spring #2 THE 601 Overview of Christian Theology (S1)
SPE 714 Diagnosis & Evaluation of Exceptional Learner (S2)
Summer #2 ECH/EDU/HPE/SPE/TSL Elective (S1/S2)2
SPE 794 Special Education Comprehensive Exam
Fall #3 EDU 713 Educational Research (F) or SPE 724 Single Subject Research (S1)
1S1 = first 7-week session; S2 = second 7-week session; F = full semester (14 weeks)
2If desiring ACSI special education certificate, may fulfill elective using SPE 788 Special Education Teaching Experience (contact ACSI to verify student teaching requirements)

Program Curriculum (with PA Special Education PK-12 Certification)

Semester 43 TOTAL CREDITS:
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I (S1)1
SPE 661
Foundations of Special Education (S2)
Spring #1 SPE 764 Teaching Children with Lower Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 723
Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities (S2)
Summer #1 SPE 763 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities (S1)
BIB 621 Biblical Integrations for Educators (S2)
 Fall #2 SPE 761 Inclusionary Practices (F)
SPE 762 Developmental and Diagnostic Reading Interventions (F)
Spring #2 THE 601 Overview of Christian Theology (S1)
SPE 714 Diagnosis & Evaluation of Exceptional Learner (S2)
Summer #2 TSL 611 Foundations of Teaching English Learners (S1)2
SPE 792 Special Education Practicum II (2 cr.) (S1/S2)
SPE 794 Special Education Comprehensive Exam
Fall #3 EDU 713 Educational Research (F) or SPE 724 Single Subject Research (S1)
SPE 791 Special Education Practicum I (1 cr.) (S1/S2)
Spring #3 SPE 789 Student Teaching (4 cr.) (S1/S2)3
1S1 = first 7-week session; S2 = second 7-week session; F = full semester (14 weeks)
2TSL 611 may be fulfilled by an equivalent undergraduate or graduate course
3Full-time student teaching required; may be completed in another semester

Requirements

  • To enter the program, the candidate will:
    • Apply and complete Cairn University’s Graduate Program enrollment process
    • Hold a bachelor’s degree (with a cumulative GPA of 3.0) from an accredited undergraduate institution and submit proof in the form of official transcripts
    • Hold valid teaching certification and submit acceptable proof including state or government-issued teaching certification or ASCI teaching certificate (temporary and emergency certificates are not accepted). Other teaching certificates are subject to University evaluation
  • To complete the program, the candidate will:
    • Successfully complete all required coursework with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and pass a comprehensive exam.
    • If opting for MS in Special Education plus PA Special Education PK-12 Certification, also successfully apply for, schedule, and complete all practicums and student teaching. Students are responsible to identify placement schools in their local area for practicums and student teaching unless they reside within an hour from Langhorne, PA.

PA Special Education PK-12 Certification

Candidates can be recommended to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for PA Special Education PK-12 certification upon fulfillment of the following:

  • Successful completion of the MS in Special Education plus PA Special Education PK-12 certification program, including two practicums and full-time student teaching
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • A passing score on the PA Special Education PK-12 Certification Test and the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge Test.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident immigrant visa status that permits working and residing in the U.S. and filing of a completed Declaration of Intent to Become a Citizen of the United States form (Also see Foreign-Educated Teacher Certification Applicants.)
  • Submission of an application on TIMS (Teacher Information Management System); information may be obtained from the School of Education Logistics and Certification Officer. Certification is not automatically issued.
  • Fulfilling the above requirements meets certification requirements in Pennsylvania but may or may not meet certification requirements in other states. Interested students are strongly recommended to contact the Department of Education in their state to inquire about its requirements. Please visit Education Programs Licensure and Certification for the link to each state’s Teacher Certification page.

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Certification

Candidates may be eligible to apply to ACSI for the Special Education certificate upon fulfillment of the following:

  • Successful completion of:
    • Either MS in Special Education plus PA Special Education PK-12 certification program, including two practicums and full-time student teaching
    • Or MS in Special Education degree program and fulfillment of elective using SPE 788 Special Education Teaching Experience (contact ACSI to verify if SPE 788 will meet student teaching requirements as this varies based on prior teaching experience)
  • Other requirements as indicated on the ACSI website. See Certification Documents and Requirements for more information.
  • Submission of an application on ACSI’s website in coordination with the School of Education Logistics and Certification Officer. Certification is not automatically issued.

For more information about the online MS in Special Education degree program, email grad-education@cairn.edu.

Learn about the time and technical requirements for Cairn University online programs.

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