Master of Science in Exceptional

Our program seeks to further prepare educators to serve as change agents in their schools and communities by promoting the full participation of individuals with disabilities. Our program intends to help students develop strategies and new ways of thinking in a wide variety of contexts, with particular emphasis on working within a multicultural and urban context.

The Exceptional Education Master's degree is a 30 credit degree, with 15 core credits required in all focus areas. The required credits are:

• 3 credits EXCEDUC 715 Issues and Trends
• 3 credits EXCEDUC 815 Capstone Seminar in Special Education
• 3 credits EXCEDUC 770 Research Course
• 3 credits EXCEDUC 890 Thesis/Research Course
• 3 credits Advanced Issues or Methods in Urban Special Education (determined in collaboration with a faculty advisor)

To fill the remaining credits, students complete the Master's Degree in Exceptional Education as a teaching certification focus or individual focus.

Certification Option

Students who are interested in earning certification as a special education teacher as part of a Master's Degree must first apply directly to one of the four Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification programs in the Exceptional Education department. Program areas available are:

Early Childhood - Special Education (Birth-Age 8)
Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence (Ages 6-13)
Early Adolescence - Adolescence (Age 10-21)
Deaf and Hard of Hearing - (pre-kindergarten - grade 12)

Visit our Post-Baccalaureate Admissions page for the program application packet, information session dates, and additional application information!


To apply for Certification Focus admission, review the Graduate School's admissions requirements.

Once admitted to a Post-Baccalaureate program, you will work with a faculty advisor to determine the most appropriate time to apply to the Graduate School to make the most of your Post-Baccalaureate credits. 15-18 credits of coursework in the certification program may be applied to the 30 credit Master's Degree.

The Exceptional Education department recommends that a complete application be submitted at least four weeks prior to the semester in which you plan to start taking Post-Baccalaureate courses at the graduate level.

Individual Focus Option

For individuals not seeking a Post-Baccalaureate teaching certification through the Exceptional Education Master's degree, an Individual Focus Area must be selected. This focus area is a non-licensure special education area of interest you wish to focus on. Focus area options include:

• Assistive Technology
• Transition from School to Life
• Literacy and Learning Disabilities
• Multicultural Special Education
• Students with Significant Disabilities
• Early Intervention/Early Childhood
• Early Intervention/Deaf and Hard of Hearing
• Teacher as Leader

The courses required for the Individual Focus are determined in collaboration with a faculty advisor.


To apply for Individual Focus admission, review the Graduate School's admissions requirements. In addition to the Graduate School requirements, two letters of recommendation are required.

Once you apply to the graduate school and your eligibility is confirmed, you will be invited to a faculty interview for program entry. In your Reasons Statement for Graduate Study you will detail the special education area of interest you want to focus on (e.g.: literacy, autism spectrum disorders, transition, etc.).

If admitted, you would be paired with a faculty advisor and begin the process of completing your 30 credit Master's degree.

The graduate school recommends that you begin the application process one year before the semester you plan to start. The Exceptional Education department recommends that a complete application be submitted at least four weeks prior to the semester in which you plan to start.


Please contact us with any questions!

Exceptional Education
Advisor, Enderis Hall 610
Phone: 414-229-5251

Dr. Amy Otis-Wilborn
Graduate Program Coordinator