Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Master of Science in Education - Special Education

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The fully online Master of Science in Education - Special Education program at the University of Saint Francis allows you to choose one of two licensure tracks: mild intervention or intense intervention. By taking three additional classes, you can license in both. The Mild and Intense programs are high-need teacher shortage areas which allow candidates with or without a prior teaching license to enroll. The flexibility of online courses allows you to continue working while completing a graduate degree and earning a teaching license in two years or less.

Today’s schools seek teachers who can research, analyze, and apply best educational practices that maximize student learning. A Master of Science in Education from the University of Saint Francis empowers you to excel as an instructional leader in schools and the profession at large. For candidates looking for a shorter option, the Transition to Teaching in Special Education tracks in mild intervention and intense intervention are also available.


Teacher education programs are accredited by the Indiana Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Student Learning Outcomes

Candidates completing a Special Education program will demonstrate knowledge and skills in applying the following:

Learner and Learning Environments

  • Learner Development: The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences. (INTASC Standard 1)
  • Learning Differences: The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards. (INTASC Standard 2)
  • Learning Environments: The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation. (INTASC Standard 3)

Planning, Instruction, and Assessment

  • Instructional Practice: The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making. (INTASC Standard 6
  • Planning for Instruction: The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, crossdisciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context. (INTASC Standard 7)
  • Instructional Strategies: The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways. (INTASC Standard 8)

Content and Content Pedagogy Knowledge

  • Content Knowledge: The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content. (INTASC Standard 4)
  • Application of Content: The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues. (INTASC Standard 5)


  • Professional Learning and Ethical Practice: The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner. (INTASC Standard 9)
  • Leadership and Collaboration: The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession. (INTASC Standard 10)

Council for Exceptional Children Standards

Learner and Learner Environment

  • Understanding and Addressing Each Individual’s Developmental and Learning Needs: Candidates use their understanding of human growth and development, the multiple influences on development, individual differences, diversity, including exceptionalities, and families and communities to plan and implement inclusive learning environments and experiences that provide individuals with exceptionalities high quality learning experiences reflective of each individual’s strengths and needs. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 2)
  • Supporting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Growth: Candidates create and contribute to safe, respectful, and productive learning environments for individuals with exceptionalities through the use of effective routines and procedures and use a range of preventive and responsive practices to support social, emotional and educational well-being. They follow ethical and legal guidelines and work collaboratively with families and other professionals to conduct behavioral assessments for intervention and program development. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 6)

Content and Content Pedagogy Knowledge

  • Demonstrating Subject Matter Content and Specialized Curricular Knowledge: Candidates apply their understanding of the academic subject matter content of the general curriculum and specialized curricula to inform their programmatic and instructional decisions for learners with exceptionalities. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 3)

Planning, Instruction, and Assessment

  • Using Assessment to Understand the Learner and the Learning Environment for DataBased Decision Making: Candidates assess students’ learning, behavior, and the classroom environment in order to evaluate and support classroom and school-based problem-solving systems of intervention and instruction. Candidates evaluate students to determine their strengths and needs, contribute to students’ eligibility determination, communicate students’ progress, inform short and long-term instructional planning, and make ongoing adjustments to instruction using technology as appropriate. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 4)
  • Supporting Learning Using Effective Instruction: Candidates use knowledge of individuals’ development, learning needs, and assessment data to inform decisions about effective instruction. Candidates use explicit instructional strategies and employ strategies to promote active engagement and increased motivation to individualize instruction to support each individual. Candidates use whole group instruction, flexible grouping, small group instruction, and individual instruction. Candidates teach individuals to use meta-/cognitive strategies to support and selfregulate learning. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 5)


  • Engaging in Professional Learning and Practice within Ethical Guidelines: Candidates practice within ethical and legal guidelines; advocate for improved outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families while considering their social, cultural, and linguistic diversity; and engage in ongoing self-reflection to design and implement professional learning activities. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 1)
  • Collaborating with Team Members: Candidates apply team processes and communication strategies to collaborate in a culturally responsive manner with families, paraprofessionals, and other professionals within the school, other educational settings, and the community to plan programs and access services for individuals with exceptionalities and their families. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 7)


Progression Point 1 

There are two options in the Special Education Master’s Degree program, a teacher licensure track and a non-licensure track.  The non-licensure track is for individuals who wish to work with special needs populations outside of a school setting in group homes, hospitals, agencies, camps, shelter workshops, etc. 

In addition to university admission requirements, the Division of Education requires the following: 

The Special Education Teacher Licensure Track: 

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. 

  • Already licensed teachers are not required to demonstrate the basic skills competency requirement below. 

  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or 2.5 with 5 years of professional experience. 

  • National Sex Offender registry check. 

  • A candidate statement form of background and career goals. 

The Special Education Non-Licensure Track: 

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. 

  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or 2.5 with 5 years of professional experience. 

  • National Sex Offender registry check. 

  • A candidate statement of background and career goals. 

Applicants have one year (12 months) from the date of notification of acceptance or provisional acceptance to register for classes; failure to do so invalidates admission and the applicant must re-apply, without guarantee of acceptance. 

A maximum number of 12 credit hours can be transferred into the MSEd program if completed within the last five years and approved upon program director evaluation. 



Candidates must meet the following criteria to be accepted into the Practicum and Teaching Internship phase of the program (Progression Point 2): 

  • Prior to the field placement, complete Formal Declaration of Licensure/Non-Licensure track. 

  • Submit the completed Request for Practicum Placement. 

  • Submit the completed Application for Teaching Internship (if required). 

  • Submit an Expanded Criminal History check and Authorization Form. 

  • Clearance of National Sex Offender check. 

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. 

  • Earn a C or better in all courses. 


Progression Point 3: 

  • Successful completion of Field Practicum and /or Teaching Internship including Field Evaluation. 

  • Successful completion of all required courses and program assignments. 

  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.0. 

  • Earn a C or better in all courses.  

  • Submit the Application for Graduation Form. 

Licensure or Certification Eligibility

Special Education graduates are licensable in Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention with a school setting of Early Childhood (P-3), Elementary (K-6), Secondary (5-12) or All Grades (P-12).

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Education requires 30-33 credit hours:

  • 33 credit hours for initial licensure master’s degree
  • 30 credit hours for non-licensure master’s degree

Program of Studies

MS Ed Special Education Licensure Track program outline

Area of Concentration (Select Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention):

Post Program Licensure Requirements

To apply for an Indiana Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention Teaching license, the following criteria must be met: 

  • Pass Indiana required Content Knowledge Exam: Exceptional Needs -Mild Intervention and/or Exceptional Needs -Intense Intervention in the appropriate licensing area(s). 

  • Pass the appropriate Indiana required Pedagogy Exam 

  •  in the appropriate developmental level. 

  • Submit proof of Certification from either an American Red Cross or an American Heart Association approved program in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AED) at the adult and child levels with the online application. 

  • Submit proof of a research-based Suicide Prevention Training. 

  • Submit the online Application for an Indiana Teaching License in LVIS on the Indiana Department of Education website which includes an application fee. 

  • Candidates from out of state are encouraged to complete the requirements for an Indiana license. Consult your state’s Department of Education for specific licensing requirements. 

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