Master of Science Overview

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree is considered to be a research-oriented, academic degree awarded to individuals who have successfully completed studies in the following domains:

1. Graduate core
2. Teacher licensure or course work in specialized areas
3. Advanced research core and thesis

Students may choose the M.S. degree with or without completing teacher licensure. The M.S. degree focuses upon the study of special education as a scientific endeavor. A liberal arts undergraduate background in such areas as the humanities, sciences, fine arts, and social sciences is helpful. In addition, courses in human development, learning theory, experimental methods, and cultural foundations provide useful background. Students entering an M.S. program are expected to have mastered the fundamentals of professional writing. The requirements of the M.S. degree in Special Education are:

1. A minimum of 30 hours of acceptable graduate work, including at least six approved credit hours in academic fields outside the major department, and 24 hours of other courses approved by the student's supervisory committee.
2. Successful completion of a qualifying examination to advance to candidacy for the degree. This examination is designed and evaluated by the student's supervisory committee.
3. Successful completion of a thesis, representing at least 6 credit hours of the work completed for the degree. The proposal and final thesis must be approved by the student's supervisory committee. Students are required to complete a public oral defense of their thesis.

The purpose of the Department of Special Education's M.S. program is to prepare students for doctoral study or for professional positions that, among other things, require technical skills, such as grant writing and evaluation skills, and research and writing abilities.