Master of Arts in Education: Special Education Program Requirements

These requirements are from an excerpt from the University Academic Catalog, which outlines the requirements for a student to earn the distinction of being a Castleton University graduate. The complete catalog is available online.

The Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis on Special Education is designed for teachers who already hold a teaching license in the state of Vermont and wish to add the Special Education endorsement to their existing license; the program is also designed for those currently not licensed but seeking initial licensure in Vermont in Special Education.

The graduate program in Special Education at Castleton prepares special educators who serve students in grades K-12 with diverse strengths, needs, and abilities. The department's goal is to provide educators with the knowledge and skills required to work with students with challenges and to function collaboratively with parents, teachers, administrators, support providers, and employers. Much of what we emphasize includes evidence-based practices in inclusive settings and high achievement for all students regardless of their disability.

-Click here for application information-

There are three options for earning a M.A. Ed. in Special Education at Castleton:

Option 1: For those currently licensed in Vermont

CU offers graduate courses in Special Education that, once completed, can be submitted to the Vermont Licensure Board in order to earn the Special Education endorsement through an expedited transcript/academic review process. (Castleton's courses are accepted by the Agency of Education as meeting the requirements of the Special Education endorsement, ensuring that the transcript/academic review process occurs smoothly and quickly.)

Students complete a program that includes both core and Special Education courses (and a 60-hour practicum) designed to address the knowledge and performance standards of the Special Education endorsement. Upon completion, students have earned both a Master's degree and a Special Education teaching endorsement.

Note: those who have already earned a Master's degree in another education field can, in consultation with their advisor, complete 18 credits of Special Education coursework (and a practicum) and use the transcript/academic review process to request the addition of the Special Education endorsement.

-Complete these core courses (15-18 cr):

Code Course Credits

EDU 5100

Introduction to Graduate Education and Research

This course is designed to provide an overview of the major discussions and debates in the area of education and research. The main questions this course addresses are: What is education research and what kinds of education research are possible? Objectives of this course include: To develop a deeper understanding of issues surrounding education research; to understand the process of conducting research; to consider the ethics and politics of research; to gain an understanding of the production o knowledge; and to generate potential areas of interest to pursue in the field of education.

Fall

EDU 6121

Qualitative Research

This course will introduce students to the theories and practices of qualitative research in the field of education, including a review of methods and methodologies. We will explore the central concepts, issues, and dilemmas associated with qualitative research as well as analyze qualitative research studies. Students will become familiar with the principles of a number of paradigms within qualitative research (e.g., ethnographies, case studies, applied research, interviews, critical studies, etc.) and understand a range of ethical considerations involved in conducting qualitative research.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100

Spring

EDU 6122

Quantitative Research Methods

This course will introduce foundational statistical methodology most frequently described in educational research. Topics will include assumptions and applications of descriptive, univariate, and multivariate applications. Survey design and analysis including Likert-scaled surveys, selection considerations, development, and psychometrics will be addressed. Basic educational measurement including standard scores and interpretation of standardized test scores will be reviewed. Students will learn which statistical test to utilize for different types of research questions.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100

Spring

EDU 6245

Research Design in Education

Research Design in Education will build on EDU 6121 Qualitative Research Methods and EDU 6122 Quantitative Research Methods leading to refinement of research protocols, methodology, and analysis that will be incorporated in thesis research. The process for permission via the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board and additional ethical considerations will be emphasized. The final research proposal will be completed during this semester.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100, EDU 6121 and EDU 6122

Fall

EDU 6601

Thesis Seminar

This course supports Masters of Education students in their final semester of the program as they complete their thesis research and writing. The course provides a structure and support for students to come together to analyze data, as well as to write, re-write, and organize the final stages of the thesis project. Students gain valuable research techniques related to qualitative and quantitative analysis and share opportunities to fine-tune their thesis writing and organization. Students read each other's work, offer suggestions for revision, and act as a community of researchers, committed to each other's larger thesis projects and purposes. The course meets bi-monthly for three hours a session.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, Instructor permission required.

Spring

EDU 7960

Master's Thesis

The thesis is the final project for graduate students. Each student addresses his/her own research question, concludes the writing of a five chapter thesis including the introduction to the hypotheses, literature review, methodology used, results, and discussion of the research and implications for practice and further research. The student will choose and work with a two-reader review panel, revise, and conduct the research with their guidance. A thesis manual is provided. The completed thesis is presented at a symposium to faculty, peers, and invited guests. Each thesis will be bound and housed in the library.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, By permission only.

-Complete these Special Education endorsement courses (21-24 cr):

Code Course Credits

EDU 5155

Curriculum in Special Education

Special educators will apply the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and will differentiate instruction by using effective strategies to promote student learning in elementary and secondary schools. The course focus is special education students with high incidence disabilities. Emphases are collaborative decision making between special and regular educators, research based practices, and current theory in curriculum planning, modification, and evaluation. Thirty field hours are required.

Fall

EDU 5220

Learning Disabilities

This course will provide an overview of current theoretical and practical issues in the field of learning disabilities. Students will review research regarding the etiology, identification, assessment and treatment of learning disabilities, as well as the challenges students with learning disabilities present to classroom teachers. Emphasis will be placed on evidence based instructional strategies including response to instruction.

EDU 6220

Special Education and the Law

This dialogue will review the social and political contexts of special education law, review current practices in schools, and explore the rights of students with special needs and the corresponding responsibilities of schools and school districts. The course will emphasize how schools and school districts can avoid unnecessary litigation by serving special needs students according to legal mandates.

EDU 6331

Assessment for Instructional Planning in Special Education

Assessment is the cornerstone of instructional practice in special education, providing the necessary information to identify appropriate services for students with learning challenges. This course provides participants with an introduction to the evaluation planning process, standardized and authentic measures for assessing student strengths and needs, and the use of assessment data to inform individual education plans. Thirty hours of fieldwork are required.

Fall.

EDU 6463

Collaboration in Special Education

A course designed to provide students with skills in the area of collaborative teaming and collaborative assessment/teaching in order to promote best inclusionary practices for the inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classroom.

EDU 6468

Cognitive and Emotional Challenges: Low Incidence Disabilities

This course focuses on students with severe and multiple disabilities, autism, moderate-severe learning impairments, sensory disabilities, and severe emotional and behavioral disabilities. Topics are characteristics of the disabilities, and strategies for improving academic and social skills in regular classrooms, in resource rooms, and separate classrooms. Intervention and assessment in functional academics are blended with life-skills and adaptive technology. The 15-hour field placement targets the candidate's licensing area.

EDU 6880

Graduate Practicum

The practicum provides graduate students with the opportunity to accomplish extensive work in a specific area. The practicum may be used for advanced clinical work in reading or special education, or an internship in educational administration. Hours by arrangement. By permission only.

(Total credits required: 36-42 cr)

* * *

Option 2: For those not licensed in Vermont

CU offers a Master's degree plus licensure program that allows those not licensed in any area in Vermont to earn both the advanced degree and Special Education licensure. Core and Special Education courses and student teaching/seminar are all designed to meet the expectations for licensure of the Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators. This is a 48-credit program with 15 credits of core courses and 33 credits of Special Education and state-required student teaching/seminar courses.

-Complete these core courses (15 cr):

Code Course Credits

EDU 5100

Introduction to Graduate Education and Research

This course is designed to provide an overview of the major discussions and debates in the area of education and research. The main questions this course addresses are: What is education research and what kinds of education research are possible? Objectives of this course include: To develop a deeper understanding of issues surrounding education research; to understand the process of conducting research; to consider the ethics and politics of research; to gain an understanding of the production o knowledge; and to generate potential areas of interest to pursue in the field of education.

Fall

EDU 6121

Qualitative Research

This course will introduce students to the theories and practices of qualitative research in the field of education, including a review of methods and methodologies. We will explore the central concepts, issues, and dilemmas associated with qualitative research as well as analyze qualitative research studies. Students will become familiar with the principles of a number of paradigms within qualitative research (e.g., ethnographies, case studies, applied research, interviews, critical studies, etc.) and understand a range of ethical considerations involved in conducting qualitative research.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100

Spring

EDU 6122

Quantitative Research Methods

This course will introduce foundational statistical methodology most frequently described in educational research. Topics will include assumptions and applications of descriptive, univariate, and multivariate applications. Survey design and analysis including Likert-scaled surveys, selection considerations, development, and psychometrics will be addressed. Basic educational measurement including standard scores and interpretation of standardized test scores will be reviewed. Students will learn which statistical test to utilize for different types of research questions.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100

Spring

EDU 6245

Research Design in Education

Research Design in Education will build on EDU 6121 Qualitative Research Methods and EDU 6122 Quantitative Research Methods leading to refinement of research protocols, methodology, and analysis that will be incorporated in thesis research. The process for permission via the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board and additional ethical considerations will be emphasized. The final research proposal will be completed during this semester.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100, EDU 6121 and EDU 6122

Fall

EDU 6601

Thesis Seminar

This course supports Masters of Education students in their final semester of the program as they complete their thesis research and writing. The course provides a structure and support for students to come together to analyze data, as well as to write, re-write, and organize the final stages of the thesis project. Students gain valuable research techniques related to qualitative and quantitative analysis and share opportunities to fine-tune their thesis writing and organization. Students read each other's work, offer suggestions for revision, and act as a community of researchers, committed to each other's larger thesis projects and purposes. The course meets bi-monthly for three hours a session.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, Instructor permission required.

Spring

EDU 7960

Master's Thesis

The thesis is the final project for graduate students. Each student addresses his/her own research question, concludes the writing of a five chapter thesis including the introduction to the hypotheses, literature review, methodology used, results, and discussion of the research and implications for practice and further research. The student will choose and work with a two-reader review panel, revise, and conduct the research with their guidance. A thesis manual is provided. The completed thesis is presented at a symposium to faculty, peers, and invited guests. Each thesis will be bound and housed in the library.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, By permission only.

-Complete these Special Education licensure courses (33 cr):

Code Course Credits

EDU 5155

Curriculum in Special Education

Special educators will apply the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and will differentiate instruction by using effective strategies to promote student learning in elementary and secondary schools. The course focus is special education students with high incidence disabilities. Emphases are collaborative decision making between special and regular educators, research based practices, and current theory in curriculum planning, modification, and evaluation. Thirty field hours are required.

Fall

EDU 5220

Learning Disabilities

This course will provide an overview of current theoretical and practical issues in the field of learning disabilities. Students will review research regarding the etiology, identification, assessment and treatment of learning disabilities, as well as the challenges students with learning disabilities present to classroom teachers. Emphasis will be placed on evidence based instructional strategies including response to instruction.

EDU 6220

Special Education and the Law

This dialogue will review the social and political contexts of special education law, review current practices in schools, and explore the rights of students with special needs and the corresponding responsibilities of schools and school districts. The course will emphasize how schools and school districts can avoid unnecessary litigation by serving special needs students according to legal mandates.

EDU 6331

Assessment for Instructional Planning in Special Education

Assessment is the cornerstone of instructional practice in special education, providing the necessary information to identify appropriate services for students with learning challenges. This course provides participants with an introduction to the evaluation planning process, standardized and authentic measures for assessing student strengths and needs, and the use of assessment data to inform individual education plans. Thirty hours of fieldwork are required.

Fall.

EDU 6463

Collaboration in Special Education

A course designed to provide students with skills in the area of collaborative teaming and collaborative assessment/teaching in order to promote best inclusionary practices for the inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classroom.

EDU 6468

Cognitive and Emotional Challenges: Low Incidence Disabilities

This course focuses on students with severe and multiple disabilities, autism, moderate-severe learning impairments, sensory disabilities, and severe emotional and behavioral disabilities. Topics are characteristics of the disabilities, and strategies for improving academic and social skills in regular classrooms, in resource rooms, and separate classrooms. Intervention and assessment in functional academics are blended with life-skills and adaptive technology. The 15-hour field placement targets the candidate's licensing area.

EDU 6851

Student Teaching I

Prerequisite: Admission to graduate education program for initial licensure and permission of director of field experiences. Students must also have passed the applicable Praxis I and II examinations. Taken concurrently with EDU 6852

EDU 6852

Student Teaching II

Extension of Student Teaching.

EDU 6851

EDU 5740

Student Teaching Seminar

The seminar provides an opportunity for graduate students seeking licensure to discuss their professional experience, link their experience with educational literature and to construct their licensure portfolio. Information on licensure, job opportunities, the professional resume, interviews and professionalism are discussed. Required of all graduate students seeking licensure or additional endorsements.

(Total credits required: 48 cr)

* * *

Option 3: Higher Education Collaborative program

Castleton has a memorandum of understanding with the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative (VTHEC). Students complete the first 18 credits toward the Special Education endorsement through the Higher Education Collaborative program and work with VTHEC staff to secure the Special Education endorsement through the Peer Review or Transcript Review process. Students then apply to Castleton, where 18 credits in Special Education (all of their coursework except the practicum) are accepted and blended into an M.A. Ed. in Special Education. Students are responsible for completing an additional 18 credits with Castleton to earn that degree.

-Complete these Special Education courses with VTHEC (18 cr):

-Emotional/Behavioral Issues in Special Education (3 cr)

-Meeting the Instructional Needs of All Students: Moderate to Severe Disabilities (3 cr)

-Meeting the Instructional Needs of Students with Learning Disabilities: (LD 1) Reading (3 cr)

-Meeting the Instructional Needs of Students with Learning Disabilities: (LDII) Math (3 cr)

-Assessment in Special Education (3 cr)

-History, Legal Issues, and Support Systems in Special Education (3 cr)

-Complete these courses at CU (18 cr):

Code Course Credits

EDU 5100

Introduction to Graduate Education and Research

This course is designed to provide an overview of the major discussions and debates in the area of education and research. The main questions this course addresses are: What is education research and what kinds of education research are possible? Objectives of this course include: To develop a deeper understanding of issues surrounding education research; to understand the process of conducting research; to consider the ethics and politics of research; to gain an understanding of the production o knowledge; and to generate potential areas of interest to pursue in the field of education.

Fall

EDU 6121

Qualitative Research

This course will introduce students to the theories and practices of qualitative research in the field of education, including a review of methods and methodologies. We will explore the central concepts, issues, and dilemmas associated with qualitative research as well as analyze qualitative research studies. Students will become familiar with the principles of a number of paradigms within qualitative research (e.g., ethnographies, case studies, applied research, interviews, critical studies, etc.) and understand a range of ethical considerations involved in conducting qualitative research.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100

Spring

EDU 6122

Quantitative Research Methods

This course will introduce foundational statistical methodology most frequently described in educational research. Topics will include assumptions and applications of descriptive, univariate, and multivariate applications. Survey design and analysis including Likert-scaled surveys, selection considerations, development, and psychometrics will be addressed. Basic educational measurement including standard scores and interpretation of standardized test scores will be reviewed. Students will learn which statistical test to utilize for different types of research questions.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100

Spring

EDU 6245

Research Design in Education

Research Design in Education will build on EDU 6121 Qualitative Research Methods and EDU 6122 Quantitative Research Methods leading to refinement of research protocols, methodology, and analysis that will be incorporated in thesis research. The process for permission via the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board and additional ethical considerations will be emphasized. The final research proposal will be completed during this semester.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100, EDU 6121 and EDU 6122

Fall

EDU 6601

Thesis Seminar

This course supports Masters of Education students in their final semester of the program as they complete their thesis research and writing. The course provides a structure and support for students to come together to analyze data, as well as to write, re-write, and organize the final stages of the thesis project. Students gain valuable research techniques related to qualitative and quantitative analysis and share opportunities to fine-tune their thesis writing and organization. Students read each other's work, offer suggestions for revision, and act as a community of researchers, committed to each other's larger thesis projects and purposes. The course meets bi-monthly for three hours a session.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, Instructor permission required.

Spring

EDU 7960

Master's Thesis

Note: Students completing a 3-credit thesis (instead of a 6-credit thesis) will also need to take a 3-credit Special Education elective to meet the 36-credit minimum.

The thesis is the final project for graduate students. Each student addresses his/her own research question, concludes the writing of a five chapter thesis including the introduction to the hypotheses, literature review, methodology used, results, and discussion of the research and implications for practice and further research. The student will choose and work with a two-reader review panel, revise, and conduct the research with their guidance. A thesis manual is provided. The completed thesis is presented at a symposium to faculty, peers, and invited guests. Each thesis will be bound and housed in the library.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, By permission only.

(Total credits required: 36 cr)