Special Education

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

           Important Additional Information

Academic Standards and Professional Dispositions

Fieldwork Leading to Student Teaching

Student Teaching and the Practicum

Capstone Intervention Project


Academic Standards and Professional Dispositions

The following are the Professional Knowledge and Disposition criteria to which all Graduate School of Education students are held accountable. Students will be evaluated as they progress in their program, based upon:

Content Knowledge

  • Demonstrates accurate knowledge and skill in content subject matter.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking and problem solving in the content subject matter.
  • Demonstrates curiosity and enthusiasm about subject matter.
  • Demonstrates the use of credible sources of information including current materials, and research in the content area.

Knowledge of Learning and Development

  • Demonstrates understanding of developmental theory and research to enhance student learning.
  • Shows respect to people from diverse backgrounds in coursework and field experiences.
  • Uses knowledge of individual differences to increase student learning.
  • Uses a variety of technologies and strategies in coursework and schools to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Instructional Planning, Practice, and Student Assessment

  • Uses knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy to plan curriculum and teach effective lessons and units.
  • Implements effective assessment tools and procedures that demonstrate student learning.
  • Creates an effective and caring learning environment that promotes engagement, growth and achievement for all students.

Professional Behavior and Growth

  • Treats all University and school faculty, staff and students with respect.
  • Demonstrates professional appearance and responsibility at all times.
  • Demonstrates professional relationships with University and school faculty and staff, adheres to University and school policies, and maintains student and staff confidentiality.
  • Demonstrates appropriate behavior with students.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to continual learning and improvement.


  • Writes at the graduate level and adheres to specific writing standards in each of the disciplines.
  • Uses effective communication techniques in coursework and in schools.
  • Demonstrates academic honesty and demonstrates professional behavior in use of social media.
  • Effectively listens to faculty, collaborating teachers, students and peers.

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Fieldwork Leading to Student Teaching

To fulfill the spirit of the fieldwork requirement, each semester of enrollment full-time students must commit to a minimum of one full day per week of fieldwork in a classroom setting while part-time students must commit to a minimum of one half day per week in a classroom setting. Fieldwork must be completed in a classroom setting that serves students with disabilities within the appropriate age group for the certification.

During fieldwork, students are expected to maximize opportunities to work with children/adolescents of varied ages and abilities, apply strategies and approaches discussed in coursework, and experience roles and responsibilities of special education teachers. Some courses may specify a number of hours of fieldwork that should be devoted to completing assignments for that course; make sure to discuss these course assignments with your cooperating teacher early in the semester and arrange your schedule accordingly. Students maintain a Fieldwork Log to record general involvement in fieldwork and the hours each week devoted to completion of course assignments.

Student Teaching and the Practicum

The Special Education program faculty recognizes the importance of working with students with disabilities over a sustained period to build trusting relationships, to see progress and to make appropriate adjustments when objectives are achieved or progress does not occur. To meet all these requirements, graduate students spend an entire semester practicing the many roles and responsibilities of a special educator during the student teaching experience. See Student Teaching Handbook for more information.
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Special Education Capstone Intervention Project (CIP)

Students completing the master's degree in special education will demonstrate meeting the competencies required of a novice special education teacher by completing a Capstone Intervention Project (CIP) during their Practicum Placement. The CIP provides a dynamic, authentic method for demonstrating necessary skills, such as:

  • Obtaining approval for Human Subjects Research
  • Identifying specific student and/or class-wide needs through a variety of informal assessments;
  • Selecting appropriate, evidence-based methods for intervening to improve student outcomes;
  • Collecting and analyzing data;
  • Determining the effectiveness of an intervention and next steps; and
  • Presenting data collected through a research paper and poster presentation.

Students will share their findings in a research paper and through a poster presentation at the semi-annual Research Forum in Special Education.

Research Paper

Practicum students will describe the process of identifying an intervention, the data collection and the results in a research paper. The research paper should follow APA guidelines for manuscript writing and should include internal citations, a reference page and graphs.

Poster Presentation

As a culminating event, practicum students will prepare a poster that describes the intervention and graphically represents the data collected. The posters will be made available for viewing at an annual Special Education Program Research Forum to which cooperating teachers, school and district administrators, and University faculty are invited.

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Last Updated: 11/17/16