Special Education (M.Ed.)

M.Ed. Special Education

Students learn evidence-based strategies and theories to improve the social and learning outcomes for young people with disabilities.
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Program Overview

The program is respected for comprehensive, rigorous instruction, with both entry-level and advanced studies programs available. Faculty in special education, widely known for research excellence and leadership in their fields, value student mentoring and provide students with opportunities to work together on clinical and field-based research.

Course Work

The master of education (M.Ed.) degree offers four areas of concentration:

  • Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis (Au/ABA) - for teachers and therapists wishing to work with students with autism in school or clinical settings

  • Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports (BD/PBS) - for teachers and specialists pursuing careers as behavior specialists or PBS specialists in schools, alternative settings or residential settings

  • Learning Disabilities/Inclusion (LD/1) - for educators seeking to instruct students with learning disabilities in school settings and/or interested in becoming academic intervention experts

  • Career Alternatives in Special Education (CASE) program allows post-baccalaureate students to earn the teacher certification and the M.Ed. simultaneously. Students can also complete a paid internship while employed as a teacher in lieu of student teaching.

Master's Degree Programs

DegreeConcentrationHoursThesis OptionMinor
Degree
M.Ed.
Concentration
Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis
Hours
36 hours
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor
Cognate–Special Education Autism required
Degree
M.Ed.
Concentration
Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports
Hours
36 hours
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor
No minor
Degree
M.Ed.
Concentration
Learning Disabilities/Inclusion
Hours
36 hours
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor
No minor

*Texas State Certificate
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction also offers a Texas State Certificate (autism/applied behavior analysis, behavioral disorders/positive behavioral support, or learning disabilities/inclusion) that corresponds to each concentration. If you would like to apply to both programs, choose the "Special Education (M.Ed. with Certificate)" option when you select your major in the online application. An additional $20 certificate fee will be required.

Master's Degree + Initial Teacher Certification (CASE) Program

DegreeConcentrationCertification ProgramHoursThesis OptionMinor
Degree
M.Ed.
Concentration
Career Alternatives in Special Education
Certification Program
EC-12 Special Education
Hours
36
Thesis Option
Non-Thesis
Minor
Cognate–Special Education

What Our Alumni Say

“Accomplished professors, rigorous curriculum and a supportive environment equates to an exceptional experience at Texas State University’s [special education] program. You will be highly prepared and competitive for any future endeavor in special education.”

— Martin Mendoza, M.Ed. ’15, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Texas A&M University

Program Details

Students have published work in professional journals and presented at professional conferences. Graduates have been successful in careers as special educators and in receiving doctoral scholarships.

Program Mission

The mission of the special education program is to prepare educators and specialists who apply current, evidence-based practices in special education for the purpose of preparing individuals with disabilities to live independent, responsible and personally satisfying lives in a diverse, global society. Graduates engage in practitioner inquiry and research, serve as leaders in special education policy and classroom practice, and apply their knowledge and skills to positively influence the inclusion of, and support for, persons who require the best professional practices of special education.

Career Options

Graduates of our special education program pursue careers as teachers, behavior specialists and learning interventionists. The program provides a verified course sequence required to be certified as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Graduates work in public and charter school programs, clinic settings and alternative education settings, including residential programs. Many graduates choose to pursue doctoral studies and have been successful in receiving prestigious doctoral scholarships.

Program Faculty

Our full-time faculty members have established outstanding research programs in treatment of challenging behavior and learning difficulties in children and young adults with autism, emotional/behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. Research is conducted in schools and the Clinic for Autism, Research, Evaluation and Support (CARES). Special education faculty provide technical assistance and policy consultation for state and national government and advocacy agencies. Faculty members' research and policy commentaries have been published in top-tier journals, and faculty are frequently invited speakers at national and international professional meetings.

Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more. If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following individuals.

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Jennifer Porterfield
jporterfield@txstate.edu
512.245.6006
Education Building (ED), Room 2108

Advisor Support
Dr. Alyson Collins
alysonacollins@txstate.edu
512.245.8389
Education Building (ED), Room 3013

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Apply Now Already know that Texas State is right for you?

Application Deadlines

Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis; Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports; Learning Disabilities/Inclusion

DeadlinesConcentrationU.S. CitizenInternational
Deadlines
Fall - Priority
Concentration
Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis
U.S. Citizen
February 1
International
February 1
Deadlines
Fall - Standard
Concentration
Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis
U.S. Citizen
June 15 (*Flexible)
International
June 1
Deadlines
Fall - Priority
Concentration
Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports
U.S. Citizen
February 1
International
February 1
Deadlines
Fall - Standard
Concentration
Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports
U.S. Citizen
June 15 (*Flexible)
International
June 1
Deadlines
Fall - Priority
Concentration
Learning Disabilities/Inclusion
U.S. Citizen
February 1
International
February 1
Deadlines
Fall - Standard
Concentration
Learning Disabilities/Inclusion
U.S. Citizen
June 15 (*Flexible)
International
June 1
Deadlines
Spring
Concentration
Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports
U.S. Citizen
October 15 (*Flexible)
International
October 1
Deadlines
Spring
Concentration
Learning Disabilities/Inclusion
U.S. Citizen
October 15 (*Flexible)
International
October 1

*This program’s deadline is flexible for those not requiring an F/J visa. A flexible deadline means applications received after the standard deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Career Alternatives in Special Education Program

Deadlines U.S. CitizenInternational
Deadlines
Fall - Priority
U.S. Citizen
February 1
International
February 1
Deadlines
Fall - Standard
U.S. Citizen
June 15 (*Flexible)
International
June 1
Deadlines
Spring
U.S. Citizen
October 15 (*Flexible)
International
October 1
Deadlines
Summer I
U.S. Citizen
April 15 (*Flexible)
International
March 15
Deadlines
Summer II
U.S. Citizen
June 1 (*Flexible)
International
No Admission

*This program’s deadline is flexible for those not requiring an F/J visa. A flexible deadline means applications received after the standard deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Learn more about the Partnering Assessment and Intervention Responsiveness in Interdisciplinary Teams (PAIR-IT) advanced degree training program, which offers fully-funded tuition, additional support (e.g., textbooks, laptop), conference travel opportunities, school-based practica and internships, faculty mentoring, and interdisciplinary experiences.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Admission Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.

  • Review important information about the online application.

    • $20 nonrefundable certificate fee (if applying to one of the certificate programs)
      and either
    • $55 nonrefundable master's application fee
      OR
    • $90 nonrefundable master's application fee for applications with international credentials 

    Review important information about application fees.

    • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university (Non-U.S. degrees must be equivalent to a four-year U.S. Bachelor’s degree. In most cases, three-year degrees are not considered. Visit our International FAQs for more information.)
    • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
    • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

    Effective Fall 2024

    • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university (Non-U.S. degrees must be equivalent to a four-year U.S. Bachelor’s degree. In most cases, three-year degrees are not considered. Visit our International FAQs for more information.)
    • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
    • a 2.75 overall GPA or a 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

    Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

  • GRE

    • GRE not required

    Approved English Proficiency Exam Scores

    TOEFL Scores for CASE applicants:

    Applicants are required to submit TOEFL scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores with minimum individual scores of
      • 22 listening
      • 22 reading
      • 24 speaking
      • 21 writing

    Approved English proficiency exam scores for non-CASE applicants:

    Applicants are required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score that meets the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
    • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
    • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
      • minimum individual module scores of 6.0
    • official Duolingo Scores required with a 110 overall
    • official TOEFL Essentials scores required with an 8.5 overall

    This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

    Review important information about official test scores.

    • copies of certifications or licensures (if applicable)
    • resume/CV (include licenses or certificates and all previous teaching or other education-related experiences)
    • statement of purpose addressing the following questions. Answers should be clear and concise.
      • Why did you choose Texas State University’s graduate program in Special Education?
      • To which concentration Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavioral Disorders/Positive Behavior Supports, Learning Disabilities/Inclusion, or Career Alternatives in Special Education) are you applying, and why have you selected that area of study?
      • What types of interactions have you had professionally and/or personally with people with learning, behavioral, developmental and/or intellectual disability?
      • What are your career goals post-graduation and what do you hope to achieve professionally in the next 5 years?
      • What attributes do you possess that will empower you to excel academically, if accepted into this program?
      • What are your experiences in collaborative professional and/or academic settings, and how those experiences have prepared you for the demands of the program?
    • two letters of recommendation from persons who can speak to your potential for success in graduate school(one of whom is/was a supervisor). Items to address can include:
      • your relationship to the applicant
      • your knowledge of the applicant’s work performance
      • your assessment of the applicant’s potential to meet the academic and professional demands of a rigorous graduate program
      • your assessment of the applicant’s ability to manage the social and professional demands of graduate school (e.g., getting along with peers and professors, participating in class discussions and activities, attending class, meeting deadlines, responding to feedback)

    Review important information about documents.

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