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Rehabilitation and Special Education - MEd, MS, EdS, PhD

Degree Programs

Graduate Certificates

Rehabilitation and special education programs include graduate certificates and graduate degree programs leading to the master of education (non-thesis option), master of science (thesis option), specialist in education, and doctor of philosophy. Special education certification programs at the master’s level include both alternative and traditional routes. Alternative master’s special education programs offer qualified students who hold non-teaching baccalaureate degrees a route to initial teacher certification while simultaneously earning a master’s degree; traditional master’s special education certification programs offer advanced study for individuals who hold a bachelor’s-level professional educator certificate in a teaching field. Admission to departmental graduate programs is competitive, based on past achievement, scholarship potential, and professionalism.

Master’s Degree Programs (MEd/MS)

Applicants to master’s degree programs must satisfy the Graduate School’s admission requirements. Departmental admission requirements include a GPA of at least 2.75 on all undergraduate coursework, a writing sample, completed application forms, three letters of recommendation, and departmental approval.

Special education master’s programs which include options in early childhood/elementary special education (grades P-6) and collaborative teacher (grades K-6 and/or 6-12) are approved by the Alabama State Board of Education (ALSBE). The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition to the admission requirements noted above, individuals applying to these programs must meet all admission requirements established by the Alabama State Board of Education including documentation of a clear background check through the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. Admission requirements for alternative master’s special education programs also include submission of passing scores on the Basic Skills Assessments (Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Writing), the appropriate Praxis II subject assessment, and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.75 overall or a master's or higher degree with a GPA of at least 3.0. This GPA must be documented on the official transcript of the degree granting institution and must be the GPA that was used as the basis for granting the degree, not a GPA that includes post-degree courses.

Admission requirements for traditional master’s special education certification programs include a valid bachelor’s-level professional educator certificate in a teaching field and may include additional certification tests.

Degree requirements for master’s-level special education programs are in compliance with regulations established by the ALSBE and include a minimum of 33-57 semester hours depending on prior certification, three 120-hour practica, and a comprehensive exam. Students may select a thesis (MS) or non-thesis (MEd) option. Additionally, alternative master’s students complete a semester-long, full-time internship. A passing score on the Praxis II subject assessment, 0354/5354 Special Education: Core Knowledge and Application is required of alternative master’s students and traditional master’s students with prior certification in a teaching field other than special education. Alternative master’s programs typically take a minimum of four to five semesters to complete if enrolled full-time.

In accordance with State regulations, effective for students unconditionally admitted to certification programs prior to July 1, 2017, a minimum GPA of 3.00 is required on all courses used to meet master's-level certification program requirements. Effective for students unconditionally admitted to certification programs July 1, 2017 and after, a minimum GPA of 3.25 will be required on all courses used to meet master's-level certification program requirements.

The master’s program in rehabilitation counseling is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and provides students with the necessary academic coursework and clinical experiences to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination. The program provides the opportunity through elective coursework to specialize in vocational evaluation. The rehabilitation counseling program requires a 100 hour practicum taken early in the program and 600 hours of supervised clinical practice generally taken at the end of the program. The thesis option requires 64 semester hours of coursework while the non-thesis program is 60 semester hours and requires the student to successfully pass a written comprehensive examination.

Specialist in Education Degree Program (EdS)

Applicants to the EdS program in special education collaborative teacher must satisfy the Graduate School’s admission requirements. Departmental admission requirements include a master’s degree from an accredited college or university, academic good standing at the institution last attended, competitive GRE scores, letters of recommendation, current resume, a valid master’s-level professional educator certificate in special education, clear background check, and approval by the department.

Degree requirements for specialist-level teacher certification programs are in compliance with regulations established by the ALSBE. Specialist programs include a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the master’s degree. Additional requirements include satisfactory completion of a field project and a written comprehensive exam.

In accordance with State regulations, effective for students unconditionally admitted prior to July 1, 2017, a minimum GPA of 3.25 is required on all courses used to meet specialist-level certification program requirements. Effective for students unconditionally admitted July 1, 2017 and after, a minimum GPA of 3.50 will be required on all courses used to meet specialist-level certification program requirements.

Master's- and Specialist-Level Certification

Individuals completing State-approved master's-level special education certification programs are eligible to apply for Alabama Class A certification; individuals completing State-approved specialist- level special education certification programs are eligible to apply for Alabama Class AA certification. Individuals seeking certification in states other than Alabama are responsible for contacting those state certification offices to obtain their application form and requirements. The State of Alabama signs the National Association of State Directors of Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement which facilitates the applications of program graduates when they apply for certification in other states.

Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)

Applicants to the PhD program in rehabilitation and special education must satisfy the Graduate School’s admission requirements. Program requirements include competitive graduate GPA and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, completed application form, three letters of recommendation, a current resume, a professional mission statement and departmental approval. Special education applicants must have completed three years of direct teaching of students with disabilities. Rehabilitation applicants must be  eligible to sit for the CRC.

The doctoral program includes 15 hours of research courses and 9 hours of educational foundations (e.g., historical, psychological, philosophical, sociological). The remaining coursework is made up of doctoral “core” and support area coursework. A minimum of 48 semester hours beyond the master’s degree, excluding the dissertation hours, is needed to complete the program. Prior to submitting a research proposal for the dissertation, all doctoral students must satisfactorily complete a qualifying paper and a general written and oral examination. Doctoral students must register for at least 10 semester hours of doctoral research while completing a dissertation. Typically the program takes a minimum of three years to complete (two years of coursework and one year of independent research).

Graduate Certificates

Graduate certificates are offered in rehabilitation leadership and management, transition specialist, and intervention for students with autism and developmental disabilities.

Additional information

Detailed admission and program requirements for the department’s multiple areas of graduate study are available on the College of Education’s website, Academics (http://www.education.auburn.edu/academics/).