COE: MEd: Special Education | Early Childhood Special Education
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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 school year.

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 Advisors:

Marty Woytus & Kristel Schlemper

116 South Campus Classroom Building (SCCB)
p: (314) 516-5937

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

The M. Ed. Program in Special Education explores important core knowledge in Special Education. The program's primary goal is to empower professionals as thoughtful educators who use best practices when assisting and empowering students with disabilities. Research and data-based decision-making are emphasized throughout the program. Graduate students will apply learned and evaluated 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, a concentration area corresponding to the chosen emphasis area, and a capstone or exit course block.

When graduate students are accepted into the program, their transcripts may be reviewed, as necessary,  to identify compliance with state education certification guidelines. Students who wish to be certified in the education of children with 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 practices
  • using research to inform practice in the classroom
  • diversity awareness
  • contexts that affect student learning
  • the powerful interactions between setting events and specific learner outcomes
  • a life-perspective of students with exceptional learning needs, both young children who transition into kindergarten and those transitioning into adulthood.
Required Foundation Courses
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
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning, and Assessment3
Required Special Education Courses
ED PSY 6545Consultation in Schools and Related Settings3
SPEC ED 6325Positive Behavior Interventions for Individual, Classroom, and School-wide Systems3
or SPEC ED 6437 Applied Behavior Analysis: Functional Assessment and Interventions
SPEC ED 6415Disability Law and Policy3
Special Education Concentration Electives 9
Choose one of the following concentrations:
Autism and Developmental Disabilities Concentration
SPEC ED 6620
Assessment and Interventions for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder
SPEC ED 6610
Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Research to Practice
SPEC ED 6430
Characteristics and Education of Individuals with Low-Incidence Disabilities
Early Childhood Special Education Concentration
SPEC ED 6372
Screening and Diagnosis of Developmental Delays: Birth to 5 Years
SPEC ED 6462
Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education
SPEC ED 6463
Curriculum, Methods, and Materials for Early Childhood Special Ed
Cross Categorical Disabilities Concentration
Choose two courses from the following and an additional course from any concentration for a total of three courses.
SPEC ED 6315
Speech and Language Interventions for Children with Disabilities
SPEC ED 6345
Characteristics and Education of Students with High-Incidence Disabilities
SPEC ED 6342
Transition Issues & Planning
SPEC ED 6346
Reading Instruction and Intervention in Special Education
ED PSY 6542
Social-Emotional and Behavior Interventions
Required Research Courses (6 hours)
These two research courses should be taken in sequence (not concurrently) at the end of the program. Candidates will design and execute a piece of original practitioner research and present their findings in a public forum.
TCH ED 6909Teacher Action Research I3
TCH ED 6910Teacher Action Research Capstone3
Total Hours30
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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.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (or BCBA) is a national credential obtained by completing a graduate program or coursework in behavior analysis and by passing the BCBA national examination. Professionals who are certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior-analytic services. BCBAs may supervise the work of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs), Registered Behavior Technicians® (RBTs), and other professionals who implement behavior-analytic interventions.