Jul 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, MA

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

The MA in Special Education is a 30-unit program, offered by the Department of Special Education , that prepares candidates to be transformative educators who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to creatively and holistically meet the intersectional identities (dis/ability, race, gender, linguistic, and ethnic identities) of all learners, and who work as change agents to create equitable and inclusive environments in schools and communities in order to reimagine accessible schooling. Students complete an MA action research project in their fieldwork setting. Students may opt to complete the MA simultaneously with the Education Specialist credential.

Department of Special Education Master’s Program 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 and department admission requirements. 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. CSU Apply application with statement of purpose for admission to SJSU.
  2. Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  3. Grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 in last 60 units of coursework.
  4. 45 hours of Pre-professional experience.
  5. Certificate of Clearance (fingerprint clearance) from California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).
  6. Two letters of recommendation.

If completing MA simultaneously with the Education Specialist Credential must also submit:

     7. Verification of Basic Skills or Passing scores on the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) - submit by end of first semester in program.

     8. Verification of Subject Matter Competency or California Subject Examination for Teachers - submit by end of first semester in program.

Upon review of submitted document applicants may be called for a department interview. Applicants are encouraged to attend a department information session for more information about the application process and program offerings. Students must complete each course with a B or higher and maintain a GPA of 3.0 in the program.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced 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 minimum 2.75 GPA at entrance. Candidates must maintain a 3.0 GPA 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 be 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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