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Special Education - Ed.S., M.Ed. and Ph.D. PDFDownload to print

College of Education, Health and Human Services

School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences

405 White Hall
Tel: 330-672-2294


The Master of Education in Special Education consists of nine concentrations: Deaf Education, Early Childhood Intervention Specialist, Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs, ASL/English Interpreting, General Special Education, Gifted (temporarily suspended), Mild/Moderate Education Needs, Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs and Transition to Work. The M.Ed. in Special Education does not lead to consideration for teacher licensure. For students seeking initial licensure please see the Special Education non-degree graduate preparation for licensure programs (Deaf Education, Early Childhood Intervention, Mild to Moderate Educational Needs, or Moderate to Intensive Educational Needs) in the University Catalog. The ASL/English Interpreting non-degree graduate program prepares students for an interpreting license.

The Deaf Education concentration prepares candidates to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students across inclusion, itinerant, resource room and self-contained public and residential classroom settings. Extensive field and teaching lab experiences optimize the preparation in combination with coursework in literacy, mathematics, science and social studies that result in eligibility to be designated as a “highly qualified” teacher in deaf education, reading and mathematics. Instructional methods are comprehensive in nature and provide the unique strategies necessary to address issues concomitant with hearing loss including language development in both English and American Sign Language, use of bilingual-bicultural methodologies and various assistive and instructional methodologies and various assistive and instructional technologies. The hierarchical coursework sequence concludes with thematic unit instruction that prepares candidates to work with the Core Curriculum to address all academic content areas as well as transition and student with additional needs. Students must pass the Sign Language Proficiency Interview at the Intermediate level prior to graduation and are eligible for pre K- 12 teaching licensure through the Ohio Department of Education.

The Early Childhood Intervention Specialist concentration is designed to train professionals to work with young children with diverse abilities (including those with severe disabilities) from age three to grade three, primarily in inclusive non-categorical settings. Training is provided on collaborating with general educators, special educators, related service providers, parents, and the community members. The program is grounded in pedagogy that is multi-paradigmatic and provides a variety of theoretical perspectives related to teaching young children. A family-guided and culturally responsive framework to serve young children with disabilities and their families is also followed and provides students with the skills necessary to participate in the global community, serve as critical consumers and lifelong learners, and operate as effective transdisciplinary team members.

The Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs concentration qualifies students to apply for an endorsement which can be added to any Special Education license, the Early Childhood Education license and/or the Pre-K validation. The endorsement provides teachers with the coursework and field experiences necessary to work effectively with pre-school aged children with disabilities in a variety of settings.

The ASL/English Interpreting concentration prepares students to work with children and adults who have hearing loss or are deaf in both educational and community settings. Graduates may apply for licensure from the State of Ohio to interpret in pre-K-12. Students also receive instruction and practice necessary to interpret in community settings, including medical and mental health venues, social service offices, job sites and universities to name a few. This intensive major challenges and prepares students for the dynamic and diverse field of sign language interpreting. All of the instructors are nationally certified with extensive careers as interpreters in a wide variety of venues. The coursework and instructors guide students in developing interpreting expertise, sign language fluency and professional ethics. Students have three years of ASL instruction. Coursework encompasses interpreting process models and their application; analytical approaches to professional and ethical decision-making; interpreting proficiency across a variety of settings and consumers; and comparative analysis of English and ASL through the study of linguistics, discourse structures and features, pragmatics and sociolinguistics. Students learn self-assessment strategies for lifelong learning and receive guidance in preparing for the RID NIC and EIPA national certifications. A key component for this major is over 500 hours of practicum experiences with interpreter mentors. Students qualify for the advanced interpreting practicum in their final semester by passing the Sign Language Proficiency interview (SLPI) at the intermediate level or a minimum level 2 score on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI).

The General Special Education concentration prepares quality teachers of exceptional learners. The general special education concentration provides an opportunity for already licensed teachers to engage in endorsement or certificate training to enhance their existing skills. Moreover, graduates learn to use evidence-based practices to guide their direct service, support and consultation skills in schools and other agencies as professionals work together with individuals with exceptionalities and their families. 

The Gifted concentration enables educators to obtain an Ohio Endorsement for Gifted Education. Temporarily Suspended

The Mild/Moderate Educational Needs concentration provides students with the coursework and field experiences for teaching learners—ages five to 21, and grades kindergarten to 12—who have been identified with a disability that requires mild to moderate intervention (e.g. learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, intellectual disabilities, other health impairments).

The Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs concentration provides students with the coursework and field experiences necessary for teaching learners—ages five to 21, and grades kindergarten to 12—who have been identified with a disability that requires moderate to intensive intervention (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, multiple disabilities).

The Transition to Work concentration is for teachers licensed as Special Educators and vocational educators. This endorsement qualifies students to apply for an endorsement which leads to a single qualification applicable to all former transition roles (e.g., work study, vocational special education, Option IV). With field experience, graduates are prepared to support youth with disabilities in their transition planning and services.

The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) prepares administrative leaders in Special Education. The Ed.S. degree is a post-master's program in which candidates are expected to attain a broad and systematic understanding of professional education, a definitive knowledge of a particular field of specialization and an ability to integrate and apply theoretical concepts of education in an actual educational context. This program is designed for the accomplished, experienced practitioner with specific professional aspirations. It is not designed for those who wish to pursue a research emphasis as a prelude to doctoral study.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Special Education is a research-focused program for individuals who want to pursue research topics that add to the knowledge base in special education. Students participate in research studies, learn methods for conducting research and design independent and collaborative studies in their specialty area. The Ph.D. in special education prepares individuals for academic faculty and research positions in colleges, universities, research centers and administrative and advocacy positions.

Admission Requirements

M.Ed.: Official transcript(s), goal statement, two letters of recommendation and Questions in Anticipation of Licensure form.

Please refer to the university policy for graduate admission.

Ed.S.: Official transcript(s), score report for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), two letters of recommendation, resume or curriculum vitae, and personal goal statement.

Ph.D.: Official transcript(s), score report for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), two letters of recommendation, resume or curriculum vitae, personal goal statement and interview.

Please refer to the university policy for graduate admission.

Graduation Requirements

M.Ed.: The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree requires a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate coursework including at least 16 semester hours at the 60000 level or above. A major consisting of 18 or more semester hours in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services is required. M.Ed. students have six years from the term of first enrollment to complete the degree.

Students in the Deaf Education and ASL/English Interpreting concentrations must also pass the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) at the intermediate level for graduation. ASL/English Interpreting students may also pass the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) at level 2 as an alternative to the SLPI.

Ed.S: Upon admission to the Ed.S. degree program, students will be assigned an advisor.

Ph.D: After admission to the Ph.D. degree program, students plan a program of study with their respective faculty advisory committee headed by their advisor. Students’ programs may include at least one appropriate graduate-level minor or cognate as well as the major.