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Graduate Programs in Special Education

 

 

Program Overview

Location: Online

App Deadline: Dec. 1, May 1, Aug. 1

Pre-Requisites: GRE Not Required

Part Time, Full Time

Multiple Concentrations Available

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The Special Education Program currently offers four types of post-baccalaureate degrees and certificate programs: two graduate degrees, the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) and the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), Graduate Certificates in Special Education, and an add-on Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) licensure program.  We are also proud to support current educators with professional development credential programs.  Courses in alll graduate level special education programs are offered online.

Virtual Open House

Wednesday, August 7: 5-6:30pm

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

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About the Programs

The M.A.Ed. program is for those teachers who have an “A” level license in education.  The program consists of a professional core and special education concentration courses in one of the following areas: (1) Mild-to-Moderate Disabilities, (2) Severe/Profound Disabilities, or (3) Gifted, Creative, and Innovative Education.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School
  • A current teaching license in any academic area

Program: 30 - 33 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 12 credit hours of professional core
  • 18 - 21 semester hours in the concentration area

The Educational Studies Non-license is a degree program designed with a focus in special education that leads to a non-license teaching degree. Candidates can choose from the following areas of study, a) Gifted, Creative and Innovative Education, b) Mild to Moderate Disabilities, or c) Adapted Curriculum: Severe/Profound Disabilities. While this degree does not provide an opportunity for teacher certification, it can be used for professionals to seek career advancement in educational settings that do not require teacher certification such as private or charter schools. Other career options include management positions in adult respite services or work with adults with disabilities in higher education, assistive technology specialist, supervisory or management  positions with in employment and residential living services for adults with disabilities, positions in curriculum development, advocacy services for people with disabilities, as well as management positions in private or nonprofit organizations that serve individuals with disabilities and their families. In addition, overseas employment opportunities are available to international students who pursue this Educational Studies option as educators for career advancement in their own countries. This master’s degree does not lead to North Carolina state certification. 

 

Students will work with their advisor to select an option from the special education concentration. Students will take the required 15 hours from the selected special education content area listed above and choose three (3) credit hours from the Guided Electives list in that special education option. In the adapted curriculum: Severe/Profound disabilities option the students will work with their advisor to select the 15 hours.

The M.A.T. program is for candidates who do not have an “A” level license in special education. Qualified persons with a B.A or B.S. degree may earn a teaching license and graduate degree simultaneously. The program consists of a professional core, pedagogy courses, and a concentration in General Curriculum for individuals interested in working with K-12 students who have mild-to-moderate disabilities or Adapted Curriculum for individuals interested in working with K-12 students with severe/profound disabilities.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School

Phase I Program Requirements (Initial Licensure Completion):

  • 12 semester hours professional education core 
  • 12 hours of special education concentration coursework
  • State-required licensure examinations

Phase II Program Requirements (Advanced Licensure & Master's Degree Completion)

  • 3 semester hours of advanced professional education core
  • 12 semester hours of advanced special education concentration coursework

WCU offers graduate-level certificate programs that prepare students to be recommended for K-12 Special Education licenses.  The courses are part of a larger master's degree program (M.A.T.), and qualifying students have th option of applying to the master's degree program to complete their graduate degree.  For students working toward earning a teaching license for the first time and/or satisfying requirements of a residency license, the Special Education: General Curriculum or Special Education: Adapted Curriculum graduate certificate programs allow students to complete their licensure coursework while working toward applying to a master's degree program.

The Special Education: General Curriculum certificate is designed for students who want to work in grades K-12 with students who have mild-to-moderate disabilities, while the Adapted Curriculum certificate prepares educators to work with student who have severe/profound disabilities. 

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • A written essay
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School

Program: 30 semester hours of graduate study:

  • 12 semester hours professional core 
  • 18 semester hours in area of licensure concentration
  • State-required licensure examinations

WCU offers a graduate-level certificate program that leads to an AIG license, which can be added to any academic area license. The program consists of 12 graduate hours in gifted education. All courses are online with the exception of a one-week field experience that takes place at WCU’s Cullowhee campus in June. The courses are part of a larger master’s degree program (M.A.Ed.), and qualifying students have the option of applying to the master’s degree program to complete their graduate degree.

Admission Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • An overall GPA of 2.85, or 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours
  • Acceptance into Western Carolina University's Graduate School
  • A current teaching license in any academic area

Program:

12 credit hours of graduate AIG licensure coursework


 

In addition to licensure options, the Special Education Graduate Program offers teachers a professional development credential in five critical skill areas:

  • Creativity and Differentiation
  • Response to Intervention for Social and Emotional Behavior
  • Collaboration with Families and Professionals
  • Autism
  • Technology

This online professional development opportunity is highly interactive and will help address issues that teachers face in today's classrooms.

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