Master of Arts: Special Education

Requirements for the Master of Arts

Requirements for a master's degree include a minimum of 30 credit hours but vary according to the major and emphasis area. Regardless of program length, at least 60 percent of the coursework on the degree program must be numbered 5500 or above. At least a 3.0 GPA must be maintained, with no grade lower than a C earned in any 5500-level course. Any courses on the 300 and 400 level to be included in a master of arts program must be taken for graduate credit and only by arrangement with the advisor. No grade lower than B- may be earned in any 300- or 400-level course to be used toward a graduate degree. In addition, 80 percent of the credits for the degree must be passed with a grade of B (3.0) or better.

As soon as possible after regular admission to graduate study, the student should meet with a faculty advisor to develop a program of study. This program must be filed with the Education Student Services Office prior to the completion of 50% of applicable degree coursework for further approval by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and filing with the Registrar. Program revisions may be requested later but also must be approved by the student's advisor, the dean's representative, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Twenty percent of resident graduate coursework may be transferred from other accredited universities' graduate programs. A maximum of 49 percent of acceptable graduate work (no grade below B) may be transferred from other campuses of the University of Missouri. Credits are transferred only with the recommendation of the advisor and the consent of the dean's representative in the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences. Transfer credit must not be more than seven years old at the time of program completion.

Transfer credit may be allowed for correspondence courses, provided the credits meet the above criteria. A maximum of six semester hours of continuing education courses that have been taken for graduate credit (workshops, special topics) may be included on a master's program. Students must provide a letter from the transfer institution clarifying the grade equivalent for transfer work posted as "credit" or "pass."

For regular courses taken through continuing education at UMKC to apply on degree programs, the student must be admitted to graduate study and have an approved program on file, including the continuing education courses.

Credit more than seven years old at the time of degree completion must be validated. To validate a course, the student must meet with the instructor of the current equivalent course to devise a plan in which the student's current knowledge of the coursework can be assessed. Faculty may ask the student to write a paper, review current literature, or take examinations to determine whether the student's knowledge of the subject is acceptable. A maximum of 30 percent of the student's program of study may be validated under this procedure. All validation must be completed prior to the completion of the final semester of enrollment for the degree.

A thesis is not required for the master of arts degree, although the option for a thesis is available. A final integrating experience or independent or group research study may be required of those not selecting the thesis option.

Requirements for Retention

Students must:

  1. Meet all admission requirements.
  2. File a planned program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor, securing approvals from the dean's representative and the School of Graduate Studies. 
  3. Complete all coursework listed on the approved program of study.
  4. Maintain an acceptable graduate GPA with no grades below B- (3.0) in 300- or 400-level courses, no grades below C (2.0) in any 5500-level course, at least 80 percent of the degree program completed with a grade of B (3.0) or above, and a 3.0 average maintained in all graduate coursework, regardless of whether the courses are on the actual degree program.
  5. Apply for the degree (graduation) by the posted deadline during the final term of enrollment.
  6. Enroll in at least one credit hour during the term they intend to graduate.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • 1. Understand how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
  • 2. Understand individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
  • 3. Work with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  • 4. Understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
  • 5. Understand how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
  • 6. Understand and use multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
  • 7. Plan instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
  • 8. Understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
  • 9. Engage in ongoing professional learning and use evidence to continually evaluate their practice, particularly the effects of their choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapt practice to meet the needs of each learner.
  • 10. Seek appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.

Program Requirements

TCH-ED 5314Cultural Diversity and Teaching English Language Learners3
EDUC-R&P 5502Advanced Educational Psychology3
TCH-ED 5385Teaching and Learning with Technology3
TCH-ED 5413Mathematics in the Elementary School I3
TCH-ED 5438Culturally Responsive Strategies for Teaching Diverse Learners3
TCH-ED 5463Literacy Intervention across the Disciplines3
EDRD 5439Language and Literacy Across the Disciplines3
EDRD 5502Early Literacy and Language Development3
EDRD 5501Teaching Of Reading3
EDUC-C&I 5523Advanced Literature For Children3
EDUC-C&I 5531Mathematics Learning Difficulties: Identification and Intervention3
EDUC-R&P 5512Adolescent Development and the School3
EDUC-SP 5506Special Education Law, Individualized Education Programs (IEP's), and Transition3
EDUC-SP 5507Introduction To Mild/Moderate Cross-Categorical Disabilities3
EDUC-SP 5508Assessment for Special Educators3
EDUC-SP 5509Cognition & Lang Dev In Mild/Mod Cross-Categorical Disabilities3
EDUC-SP 5510Practicum in Special Education1
EDUC-SP 5511Practicum II – Special Education1
EDUC-SP 5512Methods I: Introduction to Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Cross-Categorical3
EDUC-SP 5513Methods II: Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Cross-Categorical Disabilities3
EDUC-SP 5514Understanding and Addressing Challenging Behavior in the Classroom3
EDUC-SP 5515Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers: Understanding and Applying Theories of Behavior3
EDUC-SP 5516Collaborating with Families and Other Professionals3
EDUC-SP 5570Student Teaching in Special Education8
Educational foundations elective:
Cultural Foundations Of Education
Philosophical Foundations Of Education
Sociological Foundations Of Education
Culminating project for the MA in Special Education:
EDUC-C&I 5595Action Research For Practitioners3
Total Credits76