Masters in Education in Special Education (K-12)      

Catherine O’Callaghan, Graduate Coordinator WS 129 Phone: (203) 837-3267
Ana Cangialosi, Department Secretary WS 129 Phone: (203) 837-8510
    Fax: (203) 837-8413


Faculty J. Burke; K. Campbell; T. Canada; J. Caruso; M. Daria; M. Delcourt; N. DeRonck; J. Jaslow; S. Kuhn; G. Lomas; C. O’Callaghan; J. Piro; D. Shaw

Program Overview and Mission

The mission of the MSED in Special Education (K-12) Program is to prepare special educators to work collaboratively in varied settings and cultural contexts. Using an inquiry approach, the program prepares special educators to differentiate instruction, advocate for diverse learners, assess, and create interventions. The program prepares educators to work collaboratively with colleagues and families in culturally diverse populations in PK-12 schools and communities to impact student learning.

Goals, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes of the MSED in Special Education (K-12) Program

The goals, objectives and learning outcomes of WCSU’s MSED in Special Education (K-12) Program are varied and are critical to facilitate the development of special educators to work in diverse classrooms. The program is designed to prepare K-12 educators to:

A. Graduates of the program will use their knowledge of how language, culture, and family background influence the learning of individuals with exceptionalities to create inclusive communities;

  1. Synthesize and apply central concepts, structures of the discipline, and tools of inquiry of the content areas; organize this knowledge, integrate cross-disciplinary skills, and develop meaningful learning progressions for individuals with exceptionalities as indicated by the design of intervention plan.

B. Graduates of the program will change lives by using their professional judgement and knowledge to create quality, inclusive education;

  1. Understand the role of professional judgment and practical knowledge for improving all students’ development and achievement as indicated by case studies of diverse learners
  2. Accurately assess and analyze student learning, reflecting on adjustments needed for both instruction and assessment as indicated by the measuring student learning project.

C. Graduates of the program will work with colleagues to design and/or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced inclusive curriculum;

  1.  Use foundational knowledge to design and/or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced curriculum as indicated by clinical performance in the practicum.

D. Graduates of the program will work with colleagues to design, implement, and evaluate special education programs to reflect research-based practices.

  1. Demonstrate expertise in designing, implementing, evaluating, and improving special education to reflect research-based practices as indicated by portfolio in the practicum.

Admission Requirements

Applicants who wish to be admitted to the program must submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Application for admission to the Office of Graduate Admissions and a $50 application fee
  2. One official transcript mailed (not hand-delivered) to the Office of Graduate Admissions from each college or university previously attended, including all earned grades and degree. (For initial non-matriculating enrollment, an unofficial transcript indicating a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (GPA) or higher and the baccalaureate degree will suffice.
  3. A copy of a valid teaching certificate in elementary and/or secondary education 
  4. Six credits in special education at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  5. Supporting documents, such as letters of reference, required for particular concentrations or options
  6. Evidence of successful completion of any required prerequisite courses for a particular concentration
  7. Evidence of an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education

Graduate students in the program must complete the requirements for the degree within the six-year period immediately preceding the awarding of the degree.

New-York-State-certified teachers must check with the New York State Education Department to determine if a Western Connecticut State University graduate program meets New York State certification requirements.

Program Entry Interviews and Academic Planning

Each candidate must meet with the graduate coordinator to discuss and plan the academic program. Course-sequencing suggestions will be provided at that time.

LiveText License Requirement

All candidates who enter degree or certificate programs in Education and Educational Psychology at Western Connecticut State University are required to purchase a LiveText license before or during the first week of class. LiveText is part of Western’s assessment system and essential for continuous accreditation. Information about purchasing the license is at this link:  If you have questions, please contact Dr. Catherine O’Callaghan, E&EP Chair,

Degree Requirements

Foundational Courses
 6 SH
ED 576 Learning, Coaching, and Reflective Practice 3 SH
ED 593 Standards, Mandates, and Legal Issues in Education 3 SH
Foundational Knowledge in Special Education 24 SH
ED 525 Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities 3 SH
ED 617 Assessments in Special Education 3 SH
ED 548 Analysis of Reading Difficulties 3 SH
ED 618 Collaborative Program Planning 3 SH
ED 557 Technology in Special Education 3 SH
ED 545 Teaching Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 3 SH
ED 606 Teaching Students with Multiple and Severe Disabilities 3 SH
ED 619 Theory and Practice in Bilingual Education 3 SH 
Literacy Strand Option for NY State Certification
ED 517 Development of Reading in the Elementary Schools 3 SH
Clinical Component
ED 620 Practicum in Teaching Special Education Students Grades K-5 3 SH
ED 621 Practicum in Teaching Adolescent Students with Special Needs Grades 6-12 3 SH 
 Total Credits for Degree 36 SH 
Option Total 39-42 Credits  


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