The Department of Teaching and Learning offers two options for a program of study at the master’s level: a general option or a certification option. Students choosing the General Option enroll in 12 credits of core requirements and 18 credits that reflect a focus area of study. Students following the Certification Option enroll in 12 credits of core requirements and apply 18 credits of their certification credits, taken at the graduate level, to the degree. This program is created in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students choosing the Certification Option must be accepted into one of the Department of Teaching and Learning’s Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs as well as the Graduate Program. Certification programs include:

  • Early Childhood Education (0-8 yrs)
  • Primary/Middle and Middle/Secondary Education (grades K-9 or 6-12 in the areas of learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and emotional disturbance)

Up to 15 credits of coursework in the certification program may be applied to the Master’s degree in addition to 15 credits of core requirements.

Under the auspices of the PhD program in Urban Education, the Department offers doctoral level training with a designated specialization in Exceptional Education.


Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Personal interview to determine an applicant’s basis for seeking admission, potential for completion of the program, and relevant background and experience in exceptional education.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits, of which 18 credits must be in Exceptional Education. The remaining credits may be taken either in or outside of the School of Education. Courses in either the Certification Option or General Option are determined in consultation with an advisor from suggested course options identified by the Department.

Program Core Requirements

EXCEDUC 715Issues and Trends in Exceptional Education3
EXCEDUC 770Seminar: Research on Individuals With Special Needs3
Advanced Issues or Methods in Urban Special Education (determined in collaboration with a faculty advisor).3
EXCEDUC 890Master's Research Project3
Total Credits12

Certification Option (Up to 15 credits)

A student pursuing the Certification Option must be admitted to the Department of Teaching and Learning’s Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program (consult Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on admission dates and requirements). In consultation with an advisor, a student selects up to 18 credits of coursework required in the certification program for graduate credit. Additionally, the student enrolls in 12 credits of program core requirements. Listed below are the courses in each of the certification programs that can be taken for graduate credit.


Middle Childhood/Early Adolescence (MCEA)
EXCEDUC 532Assessment and Monitoring3
EXCEDUC 574Curriculum Accommodations II: Primary/Middle3
EXCEDUC 588Teaching Experience III3
EXCEDUC 601Behavioral Supports3
EXCEDUC 662Collaborative Strategies3
EXCEDUC 605Child, Learner, Disabilities3
EXCEDUC 681Literacy II3
Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH)
EXCEDUC 533Assessment/Monitoring : Deaf & Hard of Hearing1
EXCEDUC 562Hearing Science3
EXCEDUC 563Speechreading/Auditory Rehabilitation3
EXCEDUC 564Communication Methods Practicum3
EXCEDUC 565Techniques of Teaching School Subjects to Individuals w/Hearing Impairments II3
EXCEDUC 587Teaching Experience II3
EXCEDUC 588Teaching Experience III3
EXCEDUC 605Child, Learner, Disabilities3
EXCEDUC 671Behavior Support & Intervention for Mid/High Students with Disabilities3
Early Adolescence/Adolescence (EAA)
CURRINS 545Reading in the Content Areas: Middle, Junior, and Senior High School3
EXCEDUC 532Assessment and Monitoring3
EXCEDUC 576Curriculum Accommodations III: Functional for Middle to High Students3
EXCEDUC 605Child, Learner, Disabilities3
EXCEDUC 635Individualized Planning & Instructional Methods2
EXCEDUC 636Curriculum Accommodations2
EXCEDUC 662Collaborative Strategies3
EXCEDUC 681Literacy II3
Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
EXCEDUC 568Curriculum and Methods for Special Education: Birth to Three3
EXCEDUC 569Curriculum and Methods for Special Education: Preschool3
EXCEDUC 570Curriculum and Methods for Special Education: Primary3
EXCEDUC 586Teaching Experience I3
EXCEDUC/CURRINS 612Collaborations for Teachers with Families, Schools, and Communities3
EXCEDUC/ED PSY 613Infant and Early Childhood Assessment3
EXCEDUC 647Early Childhood Special Education Field Experience: 0 to 3 Yrs3
EXCEDUC 648Early Childhood Special Education Field Experience: Preschool3
EXCEDUC 649Early Childhood Special Education Field Experience: Primary3
EXCEDUC 682Language and Literacy in Early Childhood Special Education3
EXCEDUC 776Fieldwork with Students Having Early Childhood-Exceptional Education Needs3
Administration and Supervision

In cooperation with Administrative Leadership

AD LDSP 780Internship in Student Service Administration3
AD LDSP 805Legislative and Legal Aspects of Special Education3
EXCEDUC 579Current Topics in Exceptional Education:1-3
EXCEDUC 960Seminar: Administration/Supervision of Programs for Exceptional Individuals3
Total Credits10-12

General Option (15 credits)

The general option for a Master’s program in Exceptional Education is developed by identifying a theme of study that is based upon the student’s educational background, areas of professional interest, and professional development goals. A theme, for example, may focus on assessment, instruction, policy, or other relevant issues in the area of special education. Courses are selected in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations.


A thesis or master’s project is required for all students in the certification and general options. All students are required to present the results of their thesis or project at a seminar session in the semester in which they complete their degree.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education

Specialization in Exceptional Education

Under the auspices of the doctoral program in Urban Education, the Department of Teaching and Learning  provides doctoral training with a specialization in Exceptional Education. The program emphasizes the study of the socio-cultural context, educational policy, research-based practices, and systems change and reform to support learning and development of individuals with disabilities. Prospective doctoral students wishing to specialize in Exceptional Education must first be admitted to the Urban Education Doctoral Program. Admission and general program requirements can be obtained from the Director of Doctoral Studies in Urban Education. This program is described in detail on the Urban Education program page.

Accelerated Program Option

This program is offered as part of an accelerated graduate program. For more information, see Accelerated Graduate Degrees.