Jun 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, MA

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Advisors: Dr. Peg Hughes, Dr. Hyun-Sook Park,  Dr. Lisa Simpson, Dr. Andrea Golloher, Dr. Matthew Love, Dr. Saili Kulkarni, and Dr. Sudha Krishnan

The MA Special Education is a 30-unit program, offered by the Department of Special Education , designed to prepare candidates for leadership roles in Special Education through 12 units of research coursework (4 courses) and 18 units (6 courses) of core courses, which are the same core courses across the three credential programs in the department: early childhood special education; mild/moderate support needs and extensive support needs. Faculty work closely with degree candidates to develop a strong skill set in the area of research and an extensive knowledge base in the field of Special Education. Graduates will be prepared to effectively implement and evaluate evidence based practices for Special Education programs in either public schools or private programs across age groups and disabilities. For more information see www.sjsu.edu/specialed.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit a complete graduate application by applying through the CSU Cal State Apply system at calstate.edu/apply and meet all the university admission requirements. Applicants apply separately to the department to obtain admission into the Master of Arts Special Education. See the GAPE Graduate Admissions website and this Catalog for general information about graduate admissions at SJSU. Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on GAPE’s Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage. For TOEFL requirements, see the Policies and Procedures section, Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Information in this Catalog.

  1. Candidates must meet all university admissions requirements.
  2. Department application materials include the items listed below and are to be sent directly to the department office at:

    Department of Special Education
    San José State University
    One Washington Square, SH 204
    San Jose, CA, 95192-0078
  3. Official sealed transcripts from each college/university attended should be sent to:

    Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
    San José State University
    One Washington Square
    San Jose, CA, 95192-0078

Department Admission Requirements

  1. Department Application Form
  2. BS/BA minimum GPA 3.0
  3. Two letters of recommendation
  4. Certificate of Clearance
  5. Statement of Purpose Letter
  6. Pass MA Department Writing Exam or GRE Analytical Writing 4.0 score or higher
  7. STAT 095, Elementary Statistics or equivalent basic statistics course with a grade of 3.0 or better; and
  8. Department Interview by Chair

In addition to the same requirements mentioned above, applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirement webpage at GAPE.

Requirements for Admission to Candidacy

To be admitted to candidacy for the Master of Arts degree, a student must first meet the university requirements for the degree as stated in the Advancement to Candidacy  section. Applicants may be admitted to classified standing if they meet the admissions requirements for both the Graduate Division and the department. The minimum requirements for the program are a bachelor’s degree in any discipline and a 3.0 GPA.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

University Requirements

Candidacy denotes that a student is fully qualified to complete the final stages of the Master of Arts degree. General university requirements for advancement to candidacy are detailed in the Graduate Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. Candidacy includes successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, by successfully completing EDSE 285 - Seminar on Issues Related to Teaching Exceptional Individuals with a grade of B or higher.

Department Requirements

1. Complete the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) by completing EDSE 285 with a grade of B or higher.
2. Maintain an overall graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
3. Meet with your graduate advisor to complete the Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy form.

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements  section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures . Students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  course and Culminating experience identified below.. 

Master’s Requirements (30 units)

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Choose one of the following:

  • Plan A (Thesis):   3 unit(s)
  • Students selecting the Plan A option will write a master’s thesis. The thesis will include original research on a topic approved by the thesis committee, and must meet university requirements as stipulated in this catalog and in the SJSU Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines. Thesis proposals must be approved by the graduate committee made up of two department faculty and a third faculty member from outside the department. 


  • Plan B (Project):   3 unit(s)
  • Students selecting the Plan B option will complete a master’s project or research paper. This a significant undertaking that evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. The final paper includes the significance, objectives, methodology and a conclusion or recommendation.

Total Units Required (30 units)

The maximum number of graduate units (with a grade of “B” or better) that can transferred from approved accredited universities is 9 units. Continuing education and extended studies units are not accepted for transfer. Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU Cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.

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