Carlow's MEd in Special Education Program will prepare you to meet the needs of children with a wide variety of mental, physical, social, emotional and behavioral disabilities in multiple settings.

Two programs are available: 

Special Education PreK-8 [pdf]
Special Education grades 7-12 [pdf]

We believe in the transformational power of education.  At Carlow, experienced faculty and veteran educators teach all graduate classes.  We celebrate diversity, champion social justice, and work tirelessly to address issues of equity in education.  Whether you are a recent college graduate, mid-life career changer, or a veteran educator, we invite you to join us! 

All children deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be." - Rita Pierson, educator

Master's in Special Education Program Highlights

  • Hybrid, online, or on-campus course options available
  • Field and student teaching placements must be completed in schools or residential settings.  These placements may be arranged in locations across Pennsylvania. 
  • Earn your degree in one to two years
  • Opportunity to complete a course through Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab, learning emerging technologies and technology fluency.

Certification

You are welcome to complete this degree even if you are not a practicing or licensed educator in the state of PA.  However, only individuals holding certification in Early Childhood (Elementary), Middle Childhood, or Secondary Education (Level I or Level II licensure) are eligible for special education certification in the state of PA.

Autism Endorsement

Students completing special education may also elect to complete coursework for the autism endorsement.  Special education certification is not required for the autism endorsement.  However, general education certification is required by the PA Department of Education. This certification may be in Early Childhood (Elementary), Middle Childhood, or Secondary Education (Level I or Level II licensure).  

Travel Abroad 

Two travel abroad opportunities are especially relevant for students studying special education. 

Carlow Cares: Sligo, Ireland (Summer Program)
Students participating in the program will stay in Sligo, Ireland, where they will be assigned to a school, hospital, or community setting which provides services to individuals with special needs. 

The Carlow Cares: Nicaragua program is designed as an alternative to spring break for students who are looking for a meaningful way to spend their time away from classes.  Students participating in this program will volunteer in rural schools or clinics that provide healthcare to Nicaraguans who cannot afford it.  


Careers in Education

  • The Children's Center of Pittsburgh
  • The Watson Institute
  • Head Start of Fayette County
  • Tender Care Learning center
  • Woodland Hills School District 

MEd Special Education Curriculum

Early or middle school level certification
SPED 750 Early Intervention (PreK-8)

This course focuses on the professional knowledge and skills needed to provide young children (birth through age eight) with effective interventions across a variety of settings. Special attention is given to building partnerships with related service providers and families in culturally/linguistically diverse settings. Students evaluate Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP) and Individual Education Plans (IEP) and design appropriate instructional strategies in a 30-hour field placement. Special attention is given to language development, facilitating play as a learning activity, and instructional strategies that promote inclusion in typical settings. Implications of medical advances and routines for daily care including feeding, dressing, toileting, and other activities of daily living are covered.

SPED 772 Positive Behavior Supports PK-8

This course is intended to provide teachers with an understanding of the etiology and conditions of student behavior and equip them with strategies so that they may manage classroom behavior effectively. The techniques of Applied Behavioral Analysis will be introduced. Identification of students at risk including children with emotional, social, and behavioral disorders and the development of effective intervention strategies will be covered. A variety of methods for data collection and the analysis of the information generated by these methods are included in the course. Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) and the development of the Behavior Improvement Plan (BIP) will be explored so that a beginning teacher is prepared with numerous options to use when dealing with problem behavior in a positive and proactive manner.

Secondary level certification
SPED 752 Transitions to Adulthood (7-12)

This course is designed to prepare special education teacher candidates to assist students with disabilities and their families as they navigate transition points such as moving from preschool to school and from secondary settings to work or postsecondary education. Effective instructional practices that support transition at each level will be a central part of this course, as will the range of delivery methods for effective transition. Transition remains a challenge for individuals with disabilities, despite the focus on providing students with disabilities access to the general education. Special educators need to understand the processes and procedures of transition from secondary school to postsecondary settings. They must develop facility with the tools that support transition regardless of the setting in which education takes place. A key focus will be on the vocational choices, training, and education available to young adults with disabilities, and the major societal challenges that face young adults as they make the transition into adulthood. Understanding transition assessment and incorporating transition planning into IEP development will also be a focal point of this course. The differing legal requirements between the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act will be a central part of this course. The field component of this course involves visits to sites that prepare individuals with disabilities to enter the post-school environment.

SPED 774 Positive Behavior Supports (7-12)

This course is intended to provide teachers with an understanding of the etiology and conditions of student behavior and equip them with strategies so that they may manage classroom behavior effectively. The techniques of Applied Behavioral Analysis will be introduced. Identification of students at risk including children with emotional, social, and behavioral disorders and the development of effective intervention strategies will be covered. A variety of methods for data collection and the analysis of the information generated by these methods are included in the course. Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) and the development of the Behavior Improvement Plan (BIP) will be explored so that a beginning teacher is prepared with numerous options to use when dealing with problem behavior in a positive and proactive manner.