MEd: Special Education /
Cross Categorical Disabilities
Master of Education in Special Education, emphasis in Cross Categorical Disabilities

Innovative education... Engaged educators

Impacting Teaching and Learning for Children with Special Needs

UMSL's Master's Degree in Special Education provides its graduates comprehensive understanding, experience, and application of current, evidence-based best practices in K-12 Special Education. The implementation of strategies and interventions, about which students learn and apply, allows for program graduates to address the nearly 90% of children with special needs who attend public school-based, general education (inclusive) learning environments throughout the academic schoolyear.

No other master's degree-level, Special Education program - among higher education opportunities in the Greater St. Louis Area - comes close to harnessing and presenting the expertise and practical applications that bring success to practicing "special" educators.

Master of Education (MEd)

Contact Advisor:

Susan Johnson

116 South Campus Classroom Building (SCCB)
p: (314) 516-5938

Deadlines to Apply:
Fall - July 1
Spring - December 1
Summer - May 1

Master of Education: Special Education

The M. Ed. Program in special education includes a representation of the important core knowledge in Special Education. The primary goal is to empower professionals to be thoughtful teachers who use best practice when working with students with disabilities. Research and data-based decision making are emphasized throughout the program. Graduate students will translate research into practice in their courses, and learn to analyze multiple types of assessment data. The M. Ed. Program in Special Education consists of an initial required core of courses; an opportunity to develop an area of specialization; and a capstone or exit course.

When graduate students are accepted into the program they are required to have their transcripts analyzed for state certification discrepancies. Students who wish to be certified in cross-categorical disabilities will be required to fulfill general certification requirements as well as graduate coursework. Upon completion of this advanced degree, professionals will have developed an in-depth knowledge-base related to 

  • various learning contexts within and outside of the school setting
  • the multiple influences on educational practices in schools
  • the characteristics and instructional needs of learners with disabilities
  • assessment strategies for monitoring instruction
  • instructional best practice
  • using research to direct practice in the classroom
  • diversity
  • contexts that affect student learning
  • the powerful interactions between setting events and specific learner outcomes
  • a life-perspective of students with exceptional learning needs that addresses the need to successfully meet the needs of young children who transition into kindergarten as well as preparing older students for their transition into adulthood.
1) Required Core (9 hours)
Students are required to complete the following courses within the first 15 hours of study.
TCH ED 6010Examining History, Community And Social Justice In Education3
TCH ED 6020Teacher Action, Advocacy And Leadership3
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning And Assessment3
2) Required Research Course (3 hours)
TCH ED 6909Teacher Action Research I 13
3) Special Education Concentration (9 hours )
ED PSY 6545Consultation In Schools And Related Settings3
SPEC ED 6325Advanced Studies in Classroom & Behavior Management3
SPEC ED 6415The Law And Special Education3
4) Special Education Concentration Electives (9 hours):
Cross Categorical Disabilities (6 hours)
Students have the option of enrolling in a 3 credit hour course from either the Early Childhood Special Education concentration, Autism Studies concentration or an additional course in the Cross-Categorical concentration, in order to meet the 9 credit hour course requirement.
SPEC ED 6437Individual and Schoolwide Systems of Positive Behavior Support3
SPEC ED 6345Characteristics and Education of Students with High-Incidence Disabilities3
SPEC ED 6346Reading Instruction and Intervention in Special Education3
SPEC ED 6443Characteristics and Education of Students with Learning Disabilities3
SPEC ED 64503
ED PSY 6542Social-Emotional and Behavior Interventions3
Autism and Developmental Disabilities (9 hours)
SPEC ED 6430Characteristics and Education of Individuals with Low-Incidence Disabilities3
SPEC ED 6610Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Research to Practice3
SPEC ED 6620Assessment and Interventions for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder3
Early Childhood Special Education (9)
SPEC ED 6372Screening And Diagnosis Of Developmental Delays: Birth To 5 Years3
SPEC ED 6462Introduction To Early Childhood Special Education3
SPEC ED 6463Curriculum, Methods, And Materials For Early Childhood Special Ed3
5) Capstone Course (3 hours)
Students must enroll in the capstone course during their last semester and after completing TCH ED 6909 for practicing teachers.
TCH ED 6910Teacher Action Research Capstone 23


 Take semester prior to Teacher Action Research Capstone (TCH ED 6910). For non-teacher candidates, ED REM 6040 or TCH ED 6909 can be taken.


 This course is not offered in summer sessions.

Total hours: minimum 33 credit hours

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April Regester, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

April Regester received her Ph.D. In Special Education, Disabilities & Risk Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009. She also holds a M.A. In Special Education, and a Preliminary Education Specialist Credential for students with moderate to severe disabilities.