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Special Education students with teacher
Master of Education in
Special Education

Courses

The online Master of Education in Special Education program requires you to complete 33 credits. You will complete the core and capstone courses and choose an area of emphasis to round out your program of study, which is composed of:

  1. Prescribed core courses in special education (6 credits)
  2. Emphasis courses that you choose to provide a greater depth of content knowledge (24 credits)
  3. Prescribed capstone course to prepare you in the field (3 credits)

Required Courses (6 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Strategies for educating learners with disabilities in inclusive settings with an emphasis on instruction, accommodations, collaboration, and consultation.

  • 3
    credits

    The purpose of this class is to help teachers find solutions in the literature to everyday classroom problems. In line with this purpose, teachers will learn how to (a) find information in the literature, (b) evaluate the technical adequacy of the information, and (c) apply the information in their setting.

Choose an Emphasis Area

Applied Behavior Analysis (24 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Introduces students to single-case research design and methodology. This course is designed to provide the student with all the necessary tools needed to formulate questions that require repeated measures observation and analysis, including the use of visual and statistical analytic methods.

  • 3
    credits

    Explore current issues and research in the field of special education.

  • 3
    credits

    This course covers the foundational underpinnings of the field of applied behavior analysis, which uses principles of behavior to positively impact client outcomes. The field emphasizes an empirical base through the use of experimental analysis of key variables in order to develop evidence-based interventions.

  • 3
    credits

    This course teaches the basic principles of applied behavior analysis, the building blocks necessary for developing evidence-based behavioral interventions.

  • 3
    credits

    This course teaches students how to conduct and interpret various behavioral assessments. Students will explore various behavioral assessments including skills assessments, preference assessments, direct and indirect functional behavior assessments, and experimental functional analysis.

  • 3
    credits

    This course utilizes the concepts and foundations taught in the prerequisite courses in order to guide students towards developing the skills necessary in implementing evidence-based practices and selecting the appropriate procedures when targeting behaviors for change.

  • 3
    credits

    This course builds on the concepts taught in the prerequisite courses and will cover organizational behavior management, which can be defined as using a behavior analytic framework to teach students how to train, supervise, monitor, and provide feedback to personnel who are implementing academic and behavior change programs.

    • Note

      This is a 5-day, on-campus course held in early August that corresponds with Penn State’s National Autism Conference. TRAVEL IS REQUIRED.

  • 3
    credits

    In this class students will learn about the governmental and professional disciplinary standards that regulate the field of behavior analysis in special education. Beyond the letter of the law, students will work through case studies where ethical dilemmas are presented in an effort to tease out the underpinnings of ethical behavior.

Autism (24 credits)

Students who choose this emphasis area will also need to select 9 elective credits at the 500 or 800 level.

  • 3
    credits

    This course will include an overview of characteristics and learning traits, classification systems, assessment strategies/issues, approaches, and interventions related to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Special emphasis will be given to selecting evidence-based practices and enhancing collaboration among individuals with ASD, their families, and supporting professionals.

  • 3
    credits

    The course content includes an overview of basic principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and elements of empiricism in education settings. Basic principles include reinforcement, stimulus control, punishment, prompting, fading, generalization, and maintenance. Special emphasis will be given to the application of ABA principles to classroom settings. A historical perspective will be outlined concerning the application of ABA to individuals with autism as well as the use of ethics in treatment and education. Empirically based interventions for persons with autism will be covered, including discrete trial, analysis of verbal behavior, and direct instruction. Finally, issues affecting persons with autism and their families will be addressed, including functional analysis, sleeping, eating, toileting/grooming, and determining credibility of treatments.

  • 3
    credits

    Language development and communication strategies, issues, pragmatics, communications systems, augmentative and alternative communication systems (AAC), social deficits in autism, and approaches for teaching social skills.

  • 3
    credits

    Types of assessment, such as screening, diagnosis, and identification of skills in development diagnosis; identification of skills in developmental domains, such as sensory, oral motor, play, and communication; practical strategies detailing what to teach based on assessment results; and an overview of curricula approaches and materials.

  • 3
    credits

    Explore current issues and research in the field of special education.

Academic and Behavioral Supports (24 credits)

Students who choose this emphasis area will need to select 3 elective credits.

  • 3
    credits

    An introduction to the empirical study of variables and conditions that influence school learning.

  • 3
    credits

    Provides aspiring leaders with learning opportunities and activities authentic to school leaders and leadership roles in educational organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    This course will teach students the role of the general education teacher in supporting the use of assistive technology (AT) by students with disabilities in general education classrooms.

  • 3
    credits

    Overview of motivation, encouraging positive behaviors, effective classroom management, performance feedback, functional behavior assessment, collaboration, generalization, and maintenance of behavior.

  • 3
    credits

    Evidence-based methods for designing, delivering, and adapting instruction for students with special needs in general education settings.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides an overview of special education law and methods to assess learners with special education needs in the general education setting.

  • 3
    credits

    Explore current issues and research in the field of special education.

Capstone Course (3 credit)

  • 3
    credits

    Capstone projects generally relate to topics explored in both the student's area of emphasis, as well as in an initial research course. Projects may involve quantitative or qualitative data collection or syntheses of literature.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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