Master of Science in Special Education

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 emphases 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.

Note: Education Specialist Credential holders returning for the M.S. degree will be required to complete an approved program of study consisting of a minimum of 21.0 additional semester units and a culminating experience (i.e., the comprehensive exam or thesis).

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 post-baccalaureate course work or at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester or 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. Satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses, ESPE 5530 and ESPE 5531, 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 12 semester 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. Achieve full (classified) admission to the M.S. in Special Education program;
  2. Secure approval of candidacy from the College of Education;
  3. File 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 12 semester units of master's degree course work. Candidates will not be permitted to take the comprehensive examination in the same semester 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 33-semester units of acceptable work, with a minimum of 24-semester units completed at this university. Note: The program may not include more than 9-semester units in approved CSUSB extension or transfer courses from other colleges/universities. CSUSB will not consider the transfer of course work from an institution that 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. The Graduate Writing Assessment requirement is met through successful completion of ESPE 6602;
  4. Successful completion of the project/thesis and/or comprehensive examination.

Degree Requirements (33 units)

(Program Code: SPED)

Core course requirements (21)
ESPE 5514Language Development in Diverse Learners3
ESPE 6601Critical Issues in Special Education3
ESPE 6602Research in Special Education3
ESPE 6610Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders3
ESPE 6611Assessment for Planning and Instruction3
ESPE 6612Supportive Learning Environments3
ESPE 6625Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education3
Emphasis course requirements (9)
Students must chose one of the following:9
1. Early Childhood Special Education Option
Seminar on Language and Literacy in Early Childhood Special Education
Birth to Age Three Methods in Early Childhood Special Education
Preschool through Kindergarten Methods in Early Childhood Special Education
2. Mild to Moderate Disabilities option
Seminar in Literacy Learning for K-12 Students with Disabilities
Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Support Needs I
Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Support Needs II
3. Moderate to Severe Disabilities option
Seminar in Literacy Learning for K-12 Students with Disabilities
Methods for Students with Extensive Support Needs I
Methods for Students with Extensive Support Needs II
Culminating experience (3)
Students must chose ONE of the following options to demonstrate the graduate exit writing requirement:3
Total Units33

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Successful completion of a project/thesis and/or the comprehensive examination is required.

Project Option (3 units)

A satisfactory project is one which must be reported in the form of a paper. The purpose of the project is for the candidate to communicate ideas gained in research, experimentation and creative endeavors; therefore, candidates should not feel bound to traditional forms. The project proposal and the project must be approved by the candidate'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. Candidates who elect to complete a project are not required to take a comprehensive examination.

ESPE 6960Master of Science in Special Education Project3
Total Units3

Comprehensive Exam Option (3 units)

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

ESPE 6665Seminar in Special Education3
ESPE 6980Comprehensive Examination0
Total Units3