Master of Science in Special Education

Requirements (52 units)

Program Code: SPED

The MS in Special Education will provide students with advanced preparation in research methodologies and research­ based practices that address contemporary topics and issues in the field of Special Education.  Options for concentration in Early Childhood Special Education, Mild to Moderate Disabilities, and Moderate to Severe Disabilities are available. The Special Education program recommends that  students pursuing the Master of Science degree in Special Education be concurrently enrolled in an Education Specialist credential program. Students pursuing the degree only must have permission from the Special Education Program Coordinator.

Admission to the Program

In preparation for admission to the basic program, applicants must review the Special Education Credential Program Admission Booklet which can be downloaded at CSU Special Education Program website and attend a mandatory Information Session. The schedule for Information Sessions may be obtained on the CSUSB Special Education webpage:

  1. Original written verification of passing score for the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST);
  2. Two written recommendations by persons who can address scholastic performance;
  3. Verification of a negative tuberculin examination within the last four years;
  4. Academic Achievement, verified through official transcripts from ALL institutions of higher education attended. Applicants must possess a minimum undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 in all baccalaureate and postbaccalaureate course work or at least 3.0 in the last 90 quarter units attempted;
  5. Submission of an application for a certificate of clearance or evidence of a credential or permit authorizing public school teaching in California;
  6. Applicants must meet the graduate entrance writing requirement by one of the following:
    1. Completion, with a grade of "B" (3.0) or better, of one of the following courses:EDUC 306, ENG 306 ,HUM 306, MGMT 306, NSCI 306, or SSCI 306 at this university or an equivalent course;
    2. Satisfactory completion of the Writing Requirement Exemption Examination (WREE) offered at this university;
  7. Satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses, ESPE 530 and ESPE 531, with a grade of "B" or better.

Students who do not meet these criteria may be admitted as conditionally classified graduate students. Students admitted in this category may be changed to classified standing with approval of the College of Education. No more than 20 quarter units may be used to demonstrate fitness to complete the program.

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition to the above program admission requirements, master's degree candidates must successfully complete the following requirements in order to be advanced to candidacy:

  1. Achieved full (classified) admission to the M.S. in Special Education program;
  2. Secured approval of candidacy from the College of Education;
  3. Filed an approved graduate program for completion of the degree. This must be prepared in consultation with an assigned advisor in the College of Education and approved by the coordinator of the Special Education program.

Note: Advancement to candidacy must be processed prior to completion of 20 quarter units of master's degree course work. Students will not be permitted to take the comprehensive examination in the same quarter they are advanced to candidacy.

Requirements for Graduation

In addition to requirements listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements, candidates must meet the following requirements for graduation:

  1. A minimum of 52 quarter units of acceptable work, with a minimum of 37 units completed at this university; Note: The program may not include more than 13 quarter units in approved CSUSB extension or transfer courses from other colleges/universities. CSUSB will not consider the transfer of course work from an institution which will not accept that work towards its own advanced degree program.
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") in course work taken to satisfy the Master of Science degree requirements with no grade lower than a "B-" in all courses in the program;
  3. Successful completion of the project/thesis and/or comprehensive examination to meet the university graduation writing requirement.

A satisfactory project is one which must be reported in the form of a paper. The purpose of the project is for the student to communicate ideas gained in research, experimentation and creative endeavors; therefore,students should not feel bound to traditional forms. The project proposal and the project must be approved by the student's project advisor and one other professor in the College of Education and submitted in an approved format. Further information is available from the College of Education regarding an approved format for the project proposal and project. Students who elect to complete a project are not required to take a comprehensive examination.

The comprehensive examination is of an integrative nature and is designed to test the student's knowledge of a specific field, rather than subject matter of courses taken. The examination is offered once each quarter. The student may enroll in the examination no earlier than the last quarter in which course work is taken. The student must complete a graduation check with the Registrar's Office before  permission to take the examination can be granted. Students who do not receive a passing score may petition the College of Education to retake the examination or any part of it. Students who do not receive a passing score the second time must petition the Dean of Graduate Studies to take it again. Approval to retake the examination may be, at any time, contingent upon completion of additional designated courses.

Degree Requirements (52 units)

Core course requirements
ESPE 601Legal and Historical Foundations of Special Education4
ESPE 514Curriculum and Methods for Diverse Learners with Disabilities4
ESPE 602Research in Special Education4
ESPE 603Critical Issues in Special Education4
ESPE 610Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders4
ESPE 611Assessment Methods in Special Education4
ESPE 612Supportive Learning Environments for Students with Disabilities4
ESPE 625Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education4
ESPE 627Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders4
Emphasis course requirements
Students must chose one of the following:12
1. Early Childhood Special Education Option
Seminar on Language and Literacy in Early Childhood Special Education
Methods in Early Childhood Special Education I
Methods in Early Childhood Special Education II
2. Mild to Moderate Disabilities option
Seminar in Literacy Learning for Students with Disabilities
Methods in Mild/Moderate Disabilities I
Methods in Mild/Moderate Disabilities II
3. Moderate to Severe Disabilities option
Seminar in Literacy Learning for Students with Disabilities
Methods for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities I
Methods for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities II
Culminating experience
Students must chose ONE of the following options to demonstrate the graduate exit writing requirement:4
Master of Science in Special Education Project
Comprehensive Examination
AND 4 units chosen from:
Seminar on Moderate/Severe Disabilities
Seminar on Mild/Moderate Disabilities
Total Units52