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DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

 

Post Baccalaureate Certification in Special Education

Please find below and on the following pages information of relevance to applicants to the post baccalaureate certification program in special education. This information is not meant to replace meeting with an advisor or contacting the chair of the department of special education for clarifications and updates.

What is the purpose of the post baccalaureate certification program in special education?

  • A post baccalaureate certification program is not a master’s degree program. This program is for individuals who, after receiving an undergraduate degree that did not lead to teacher certification (i.e., psychology, sociology, general sciences, human services, mathematics, business, liberal arts, etc.), want to pursue coursework that leads to teacher certification in special education.
  • Individuals who complete a 40-credit sequence of courses qualify for a K-12 certification in special education from the Connecticut State Department of Education.
  • At the time of this update, the Connecticut State Department of Education is in the process of writing revised rules and regulations to align certification in special education to the recent Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) reauthorization and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Along with attaining the K-12 Comprehensive Certification in Special Education, applicants for special education positions must also be "highly qualified" in reading/language arts, math or general sciences. (Please see addendum page about current updates regarding NCLB highly qualified status).

If I already hold a teaching certificate and want to be a special education teacher, is this program for me?

  • If you currently hold a valid Connecticut teaching certificate in elementary education (K-6) or secondary education in the following specific content areas including English, Business Education, Biology, Physics, History, or Earth Sciences, you quality for a master's degree, the courses of which may lead to a cross endorsement in special education (Strand B). You would not enroll in the post baccalaureate certification program.
  • If you hold a current/past Connecticut or out-of-state teaching certificate in areas not specifically identified in section A., you may be eligible to enroll in a master’s degree, the courses of which will not lead to a cross endorsement in special education (Strand A). Many currently enrolled elementary and secondary teachers choose strand A because they plan to continue to teach as regular education teachers but want the knowledge and expertise to be of greater assistance to students with disabilities who may be in their classrooms.
  • If your current qualifications are not included in sections A. and B. and you hold a teaching certificate, please contact the chair of the department for information that may be unique to your circumstances.

What is the general sequence of phases in the post baccalaureate certification program?

  • Apply to Graduate Studies using the application form found on line or from the Graduate Studies office in Barnard Hall, Room 102. The minimum total undergraduate GPA for admission to Graduate Studies is a 2.7. If you do not have a 2.7 you will be denied admission to Graduate Studies. In your rejection letter, the graduate dean will alert you to the process for requesting a GPA waiver and the documentation required to do so. If you feel you meet the criteria identified in the letter, you may submit your materials to an Appeals Committee, composed of faculty members and representatives from the Dean's Office in the School of Education and Professional Studies (SEPS).

  • During this initial process, and if you meet the GPA requirement of 2.7, your application is forwarded to the Department of Special Education at which time the chair and/or a committee of faculty members, reviews your application for approval into the post baccalaureate certification program.

  • Upon acceptance into Graduate Studies, you will receive an acceptance letter indicating an advisor with whom you should make immediate contact. You and your advisor will develop a planned program of study that contains all the requirements for securing certification in special education from the CT State Department of Education. At this time you are identified as a pre-certification candidate and are eligible to take up to five courses from your planned program of study.

  • Application to the Professional Program for Teacher Certification: Two times a year, September 10 and February 10, the Assistant Dean of SEPS accepts application packets for acceptance into the Professional Program for Teacher Certification. For special education, this packet consists of:Upon receiving an official letter of acceptance into the Professional Program in Teacher Certification from the Assistant Dean in SEPS, you may now enroll in coursework for which admission into the professional program is a prerequisite.

    • Required demographic data,

    • PRAXIS I scores or a PRAXIS I waiver letter

    • Official transcripts of all undergraduate coursework,

    • Letters of recommendation,

    • A copy of your planned program of study with the assistant dean’s signature,

    • Documentation of 10 hours of observation of students in special education and 30 hours of observation of students in regular education.

    It is wise to know of these requirements well ahead of time to avoid last minute additions to your application packet. Soon after submitting your application to the Professional Program in Teacher Certification, you will be notified by a representative from the special education department to schedule an interview with two faculty members. This interview provides an opportunity for you to interact with faculty members about your experiences, reasons for choosing to enter into the post baccalaureate certification program, and to ask any questions you may have to clarify your future aspirations. Immediately following the interview, you will complete a brief essay as a sample of your writing skills. The results of this interview and essay are then forwarded to the Assistant Dean.

 

What is best sequence of courses to take during the different phases of the post baccalaureate program identified above?

  • Even before you apply to Graduate Studies, you should enroll in and complete SPED 501 Education of Exceptional Learner. This course is a prerequisite to four of the courses in which you could enroll the following semester as you submit your application to the Professional Program. Currently, SPED 501 is offered every semester including the summer session and winter intercession.
  • Before submitting your application packet to the professional program, you may take SPED 502, SPED 511, SPED 512, SPED 513, SPED 514, and RDG 503, depending on how many courses you plan to take during different parts of your program.
  • You must take SPED 511, SPED 512, SPED 513 and SPED 514 before you can take SPED 515, SPED 516, SPED 517 and SPED 518.  SPED 502 and RDG 503 may be taken at any time during the program.
  • Note that, except for SPED 501, all certification courses with a prefix of SPED are offered during fall and spring semesters only and not during the summer.
  • The sequence of courses during the second year of the program necessarily depends on the courses completed during the first year of the program. Please note the following:
    • SPED 520 seminar is a one-credit class taken con-currently with student teaching.

What are the requirements for student teaching?

  • Students must have completed SPED 501, 502, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, and RDG 503 prior to student teaching.
  • Students must complete a student teaching application packet from the Office of Field Experiences prior to February 15th or September 15th of the semester prior to when they anticipate student teaching.
  • In special education, student teaching consists of two, eight-week sessions with students in elementary (SPED 521) and secondary (SPED 522) age ranges and across students who represent classrooms that contain students with at least two different special education categories of eligibility.

Post-Baccalaureate Program for Certification in Special Education

Professional Requirements (9 cr.)

  • 30 hours of verified field experience with regular education students
  • 10 hours of verified field experience with exceptional learners
  • SPED 501 Education of the Exceptional Learner (3)
  • SPED 502 Principles of Learning in Special Education (3)
  • RDG 503 Developmental Reading in Pre K-12 (3)

Specialization Requirements (30 cr.)

  • SPED 511 Behavioral/ Emotional Disorders (3)
  • SPED 512 Learning Disabilities (3)
  • SPED 513 Developmental Disabilities (3)
  • SPED 514 Cognitive Behavior Management and Social Skills Strategies (3)
  • SPED 515 Assessment in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 516 Instructional Programming for Students with Exception. (3)
  • SPED 517 Instructional Methods for Students with Special Needs – Elementary (3)
  • SPED 518 Instructional Methods for Students with Special Needs – Secondary (3)
  • SPED 520 Seminar for Special Educators– (1) Must be taken concurrently with Student Teaching
  • SPED 521 Student Teaching in Special Education - Elementary (eight weeks) (3)
  • SPED 522 Student Teaching in Special Education - Secondary (eight weeks) (3)

Notes:

  1. It is the student’s responsibility to consult the adviser on a regular basis since program policies and procedures are subject to change.
  2. Student must be sure to consider prerequisite requirements before registering for courses. Numerical listing does not necessarily indicate correct sequence.
  3. In addition to maintaining a 3.00 overall average, students must maintain a B- (2.70) average in special education courses to be recommended for certification.
  4. The School of Education and Professional Studies will require students to complete a departmental performance assessment in order to qualify for student teaching and to complete the Professional Program. In addition, students are expected to abide by the standards outlined in the current undergraduate catalog for being in good standing in the Professional Program.
  5. Admission to the professional program is a prerequisite for SPED 515 – SPED 522.
  6. SPED 516, SPED 517 and SPED 518 may be counted toward a Master’s degree in special education.
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