Master of Arts

Special Education

The M.A. in Special Education is accepting applications for its final cohort to begin fall 2019. Candidates who are currently in one of the Special Education credential programs, or those who have already earned their credential should consider applying. Applications are due April 1.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentials (CCTC) has recognized our Special Education programs with an award of excellence. Our pre-K to 12 partners recognize the quality of instruction received by our Sac State graduates. Because of this, our graduates are often the first choice for employment by many school districts and county offices. And Sac State is still the least expensive teacher-training program available in the area. It is highly cost-effective.

Candidates in our programs may attend full-time or part-time. It is up to the teacher candidate, in deliberations with their assigned full-time faculty member, to develop the program of study most appropriate to their needs. The length of time needed to complete one of our special education credentialing programs is comparable to other teacher training institutions. Our programs are designed with working professionals in mind. The coursework, which is a combination of the practical as well as the theoretical, generally begins at 4:00 or 7:00 p.m., one day a week for each class.

Beginning in Fall 2019, all Education Specialists Teaching credential programs will be the new blended Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with Education Specialist Teaching Credential. For more information, visit the new MAT page.

Career Options

  • College Professor
  • Pre-K - 12 Teacher

Program Requirements

Units required for Master: 30

Program Resources

Learn how to apply.
Catalog with detailed program requirements.

Learning Outcomes

  • #1 - Special Education Content Expertise
    • Knowledge
      • Demonstrate current knowledge of evidence-based practices in the field of special education, including but not limited to the following: positive behavioral supports, universal design for learning, inclusive education, literacy instruction, teaching English Language learners with and without disabilities, special education law and policies, transition planning, assessment practices.
      • Demonstrate current knowledge of evidence-based instructional models and service delivery approaches for meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
    • Skills
      • Uses technology to identify, locate and access resources on special education curriculum and instruction.
      • Reads and analyzes literature in key content areas (mild/moderate disabilities, moderate/severe disabilities, or early childhood special education).
      • Evaluates special education policies and practices critically using research to support position.
      • Demonstrates knowledge of Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards and how to apply these standards to curriculum and instruction of students with and without disabilities.
    • Dispositions
      • Approaches knowledge as dynamic, not static.
      • Becomes empowered to make decisions on curriculum and instruction that meets the needs of students with diverse abilities.
  • #2 - Leadership/Change Agent
    • Knowledge
      • Demonstrates knowledge of the U.S. public school system, including its history of social inequities for individuals with various cultural backgrounds and abilities.
      • Demonstrates knowledge of the nature of systems change per special education.
    • Skills
      • Writes a critical review and analysis of special education issues and trends.
      • Based on a logical position, proposes recommendations for change to further system improvement within special education service delivery.
      • Demonstrates cultural compentence in both written and oral communication.
    • Dispositions
      • Collaborates with others in informing public about special education issues and concerns within schools.
      • Determines ways to facilitate change and collaborate in their work environment.
  • #3 - Critical Creative Inquiry
    • Knowledge
      • Demonstrates knowledge of problem solving for individual child, classroom and school systems levels.
    • Skills
      • Analyzes a problem in the field of special education and identifies appropriate solutions through critical thinking and examination of current research.
      • Assesses exisiting curriculum and its impact on student learning and overall goals of special education.
      • Demonstrates the scientific method of gathering information and gaining knowledge.
    • Dispositions
      • Understands and values the need for research in special education as an ongoing dynamic field.
  • #4 - Research - Qualitative and Quantitative
    • Knowledge
      • Demonstrates knowledge of quantitative research methods.
      • Demonstrates knowledge of qualitative research methods.
    • Skills
      • Applies basic descriptive, statistical tools to interpret numerical data.
      • Applies and interprets qualitative data collection and analysis in research studies.
      • Reads and interprets numerical data in research studies and applies appropriate statistical methods for analysis to research proposals.
    • Dispositions
      • Understands the importance of internal and external validity methods, including social validity.
      • Understands the importance of making valid conclusions and inferences from data.
  • #5 - Academic Communication through Oral and Written Presentation
    • Knowledge
      • Demonstrates the conventions of academic writing (e.g., the traditional journal article, the review of literature).
      • Utilizes current APA format and principles regulating titles and headings, documentation, citations, and related matters.
    • Skills
      • Synthesizes a body of literature on a topic demonstrated by writing a literature review.
      • Composes academic prose and oral presentation for a variety of audiences, including peers, professors, and the larger scholarly and professional community.
    • Dispositions
      • Values academic discourse related to special education issues.
      • Values collaboration, peer review, and professional feedback toward improving written and oral communication.

Jean Gonsier-Gerdin
Phone: (916) 278-4619 | Office: Eureka Hall 322 | Email: