Masters in Special Education

Master's of Arts in Special Education

Appalachian State has long been recognized as an outstanding teacher education institution, and Special Education is one of the College's strongest programs. Students completing the Advanced Master's degree in Special education are regarded as well-trained and are readily hired to teach special education in public and private schools across the country.

The Master of Arts in Special Education program prepares teachers and others to work with students with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and/or students with emotional/behavioral disorders. Students graduating from the program fulfill the competencies required for the advanced competencies licensure from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and may be eligible for employment in a variety of special education settings including public and private schools. Students complete a portfolio  (Product of Learning) to demonstrate the skills of a master teacher during the last semester of their program.

Special Education MA- Program of Study

Special Education Graduate Program Director 
Dr. Rebecca K. Shankland

If you are interested in the off-campus Master's program please contact AppState Online (828-262-3113).

Updated: April 2020

Program Objectives 

Students completing the Master of Arts in Special Education will:

Adopt and model knowledge, skills, and attitudes of inquiry throughout professional careers, including advanced understanding of student's differences, effective translation of research and theory into practice, self-direction of professional growth, and engagement in collaborative leadership.

At the conclusion of the program, graduates will have gained the skills and knowledge to do the following:

Respond effectively to students' differences by:

  • Respecting differences influenced by diversity and development
  • Demonstrating advanced knowledge of typical learners and learners with special needs at the elementary and secondary levels
  • Creating a classroom environment in which all students feel welcome, safe, and successful
  • Promoting respect and acceptance of all students in classroom, school, and community
  • Responding effectively to students' individual academic, social, emotional, and physical needs

Demonstrate advanced knowledge of curriculum and pedagogy appropriate to elementary and secondary students with special needs by:

  • Demonstrating knowledge of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (K-12), as well as other curricula appropriate for students with special needs (e.g., social skills, vocational, tasks of daily living)
  • Helping students develop mathematic language and literacy competencies across the curriculum
  • Assisting students to acquire knowledge and skills through effective assessment, instruction, and modification
  • Demonstrating advanced knowledge of pedagogical knowledge and skills including modification of instructional materials and curriculum for students with special needs
  • Planning for and effectively managing behavior in schools and other settings

Direct personal and professional growth as educators by:

  • Taking responsibility for learning
  • Setting and striving to meet personal and professional goals
  • Initiating and engaging in professional inquiry (e.g., action research) with colleagues, parents, students, and other professionals for mutual growth
  • Adopting and modeling knowledge, skills, and attitudes of inquiry throughout professional careers
  • Critically reading professional literature and translating research and theory into practice
  • Participate voluntarily in personal and professional development (e.g., participating in professional and parent organizations, conducting research, participating in conferences)

Demonstrate collaborative leadership in education by:

  • Asking for and sharing successful instructional strategies, modifications and adaptations, and behavioral interventions with professionals, parents, and students
  • Sharing responsibility for students' education with parents and students
  • Participating in decision making for classroom, school, and district issues
  • Participating actively as leaders in solving educational problems (e.g., school committees, state task forces, and committees in professional organizations)
  • Mentoring and collaborating with colleagues, administrators, parents, and students to enhance teaching/learning, and to solve educational problems