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Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Populations

Special Populations FacultySpecial Populations faculty from left: Assistant Professor Shawn Kent; Clinical Assistant Professorand Program Director Kristen Hassett; Associate Professors Jacqueline Hawkins and Kristi Santi, and Professor Augustina Reyes.

To apply for this program, please visit Graduate Admissions.

Is this program for me?

The Special Populations Master's Program prepares professionals for the high-needs field of Special Education.  Graduates find abundant opportunities for challenging and rewarding careers.  The program offers four tracks:

  • Special Education Emphasis (Online) focuses on obtaining the necessary capacity for working with students with disabilities, as well as meets certification requirements to teach special education (EC-12) in the state of Texas.
  • Educational Diagnostician Emphasis (Hybrid) prepares students for certification as Educational Diagnosticians in Texas Public Schools.  Students in this program currently hold a teaching certificate in the State of Texas. This program extends teachers' special education expertise by developing the necessary skillset to assess and identify learning problems in children, consult with parents and teachers in a multidisciplinary setting, and assume leadership roles.
  • Gifted and Talented (Online) prepares students to complete supplemental certification as Gifted and Talented while providing a thorough understanding of  theory, research strategies, and best practices of gifted education.
  • Special Education Leadership Emphasis (Hybrid) prepares students who are working with learners with disabilities and other special needs to assume administrative roles* in special education in a K-12 school or at the district level. Develops students into special education leaders* that have the skills to address the complex issues surrounding educating students with challenges related to learning, social, and emotional needs.
  • It will typically take one to two years to complete the degree if students are enrolled fulltime (9 hours per semester).

What will I learn?

Students who complete the Special Education Emphasis:

  • Understand, assess, and evaluate the needs of students with disabilities to make instructional decisions.
  • Skillfully manage the teaching environment, including the use of assistive technology.
  • Promote students’ educational, behavioral and social performance.
  • Apply knowledge of transition issues and teaching across the lifespan.
  • Engage the roles and responsibilities of the teaching profession.

Students who complete the Educational Diagnostician Emphasis:

  • Understand federal and state disability criteria and identification procedures for determining the presence of an educational need.
  • Recognize the significance of diversity for evaluation, planning, and instruction.
  • Select, administer and interpret appropriate assessments and evaluations.
  • Understand appropriate curricula and instructional strategies for developing the academic, behavioral and social skills of students with disabilities.
  • Engage the roles and responsibilities of the teaching profession.

Students who complete the Gifted & Talented Emphasis:

  • Understand the standards for providing comprehensive services incorporating research-based best practices for gifted and talented learners.
  • Recognize the significance of diversity for evaluation, planning, and instruction.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of assessment instruments and gifted/talented identification procedures that provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their diverse talents and abilities.
  • Meets the needs of gifted and talented students by modifying the depth, complexity, and pacing of the curriculum and instruction ordinarily provided by the school.

Students who complete the Special Education Leadership Emphasis:

  • Apply current special education laws and policies to design and deliver inclusive special education and/or support for diverse students.
  • Provide leadership* and expertise in assessing, identifying, and implementing special education needs and to collaborate with related services and other personnel, including school psychologists, educational diagnosticians, speech therapists, administrators, and teachers.
  • Understand ethical decision making, innovative problem solving, and professional growth.
  • Understand appropriate curricula and instructional strategies for developing the academic, behavioral and social skills of students with disabilities.

The Master’s in Special Populations develops professional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills through:

  • College of Education Core Coursework
  • Special Education Content Coursework
  • Comprehensive Exam (or Master’s Thesis)

What can I do with my degree?

The Special Populations Master’s Program prepares educators to assume positions in:

  • Public and Private Early Childhood – 12th grade school settings
  • Educational and Social Agencies
  • Foundations
  • Public and Private Research Organizations
  • Residential Facilities

Graduates with a M.Ed. in Special Populations may pursue the following careers:

  • Community College Instructors
  • Educational Diagnosticians
  • Special Education Teachers
  • EC-12 Team Leaders
  • EC-12 Department Chairs
  • EC-12 Special Education Coordinators/Administrators*

*Please note that some districts require Principal certification for designated administrative positions. Students wishing to pursue Principal certification need to (1) apply to the K-12 Leadership certification program, and (2) complete additional requirements (including coursework and internship, at a minimum).

To apply for this program, please visit Graduate Admissions.