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Special Education: Disabilities

Master of Arts

Prepare to create a comfortable learning environment for students with disabilities by implementing the latest teaching methods and learning structures.

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Top 30 Best Education Program

-U.S. News & World Report, 2019

18+ Months to Complete

No GMAT or GRE Exam Required

Build a strong academic foundation in the principles of special education and prepare to teach, advocate, supervise or plan programs for adults and children with disabilities. Enhance your existing teaching experience with advanced special education skills in one of three specializations: challenging behavior, autism spectrum disorder or sensory impairments.

The core program will take you through an in-depth examination of teaching methods and learning structures that you can use to create a comfortable learning environment for students with disabilities and special needs. You will have the opportunity to explore the latest teaching methods and learning techniques, as well as conduct independent research.

In lieu of a master's thesis or final comprehensive exam, you will conduct an in-depth study, special project or formal report with the supervision of a faculty mentor. This project is designed to provide you with essential skills and experience in research, writing and reporting.

Eligibility: This program is designed for applicants holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Eligible applicants should be licensed teachers.

View detailed program information

Career Level: Graduate
Degree: Master of Arts
College: College of Education

Cost & Eligibility

Per Unit Cost: $653
*Residents of some U.S. Territories may not be eligible. Please see our Eligibility & State Authorization page for more information.

The core curriculum for this degree program includes:

  • SERP 502: Behavior Principles and Disability: Assessment and Intervention - Explore the use of behavior principles to positively support individuals with disabilities, especially those with moderate and severe disabilities. Graduate-level requirements include in-depth paper(s) on aspects of current issues in the field.
  • SERP 503: Special Services in the School - Develop a theoretical base and practical approach to the study of special needs of students with language and cultural differences. Explore basic premises of bilingual special education and the interface of the two fields. Graduate-level requirements include in-depth paper(s) on aspects of current issues in the field.
  • SERP 556: Research Methods in Education - Build an understanding of basic concepts essential to the comprehension of research in education, including measurement principles and descriptive statistics.
Student taking a UA Online course

Challenging Behavior

Learn to recognize and address the environmental factors that can affect a student's behavior with advanced coursework.

Courses in this specialization include:

  • SERP 529A: Advanced Positive Behavioral Support I
  • SERP 529B: Advanced Positive Behavioral Support II
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Sensory Impairments

Complete specialized courses that explore the ways in which sensory impairments impact student development and how to respond to them effectively.

Courses in this specialization include:

  • SERP 521: Introduction to Visual Impairments and Deaf-Blindness
  • SERP 530: Education and Rehabilitation of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals
Impaired eye

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Develop the specialized skills and fundamental knowledge needed to assess and teach students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Courses in this specialization include:

  • SERP 564: Introduction to Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • SERP 595A: Assessing and Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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