Master of Science in Special Education / Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Disabilities Credential Program
Welcome to the world of graduate education! We are pleased that you are interested in the Integrated M.S. in Special Education / Education Specialist (Special Education) Mild/Moderate Disabilities Credential Program (MS/SPED) offered by Cal Poly's School of Education. By becoming a teacher, clinician, or professional in special education, you have an opportunity improve the quality of life not only of the children/ youth with disabilities but also their families. Like any profession, it requires advanced study in the field of education as well as a deepening content knowledge in your subject specialization. By entering Cal Poly's Special Education program, you will have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills that will contribute to your success as a special day class teacher, resource specialist, inclusion specialist autism specialist, or clinician.
Cal Poly Special Education program provides California with dedicated teachers who are collaborative, competent, caring, and creative. Graduates of the programs are particularly well prepared to:
- Wear the many “hats” required of a special educator, e.g., teacher, collaborator, data taker, behavioral specialist, advocate
- Make the accommodations and/or modifications necessary in creating individualized learning plans;
- Create learning environments that are equitable, nurturing, and joyful;
- Collaborate with parents and school professionals in supporting children/youth with disabilities;
- Support children/youth in both school and home contexts
- Develop, implement, evaluate, and adjust Positive Behavioral Support plans
Cal Poly Special Education graduates are also highly successful in obtaining employment. In the most recent graduating class, 22 of 23 graduates were offered school district teaching contracts by August.
The MS/SPED at Cal Poly prepares candidates to earn a Preliminary Education Specialist Credential in mild/moderate disabilities while concurrently allowing them to probe more deeply regarding one mild/moderate disability such as autism. The majority of candidates enter the MS/SPED as post-baccalaureate students with a wide variety of majors ranging from Art and Business to Child Development and Psychology. Some candidates enter the program already having earned an elementary or secondary California teaching credential. These students have met many of the State mandated requirements (e.g., CSET) for entering or completing credential programs. More about this will be described under the “How to Apply Tab” of this website.
The MS/SPED is a cohort-based (all students progress through the program together taking courses in a prescribed sequence) program beginning each fall quarter. Cohorts are limited each year to 20 candidates. The M.A. in Education and an Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Credential can be earned in three quarters of full-time enrollment. There is, however, an option to complete the program in two years.
Candidates who complete the MS/SPED earn a Preliminary Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Teaching Credential that is English Language Learner Authorized and includes the Autism Spectrum Disorder Authorization. The Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Credential authorizes teaching in grades K-12. While many graduates choose to teach at the elementary level, holders may teach in middle and high schools as long as their assignment consists of teaching multiple subjects in a self-contained setting or in subject areas where they have satisfied subject matter competency. Specific information about California's teacher credentials can be found at the website for the California Commission for Teacher Certification (http://www.ctc.ca.gov).
Candidates who complete the MS/SPED also earn an M.S. in Special Education. The M.S. courses allow candidates to “go deeper in a disability area,” and understand how action research/single subject research can improve and enhance a teacher’s classroom performance.
For additional information on the MS/SPED program view our updated podcast below that describes the program and the application process:
Special Education Coordinators
Dr. Leah Wood
Phone: 805-756-2079; Office: Building 02, Room 108
Dr. Stephen Crutchfield
Phone: 805-756-7558; Office: Building 02, Room 107