Special Education

Admissions | Program Requirements | Graduate Courses

Dickinson Hall, Rooms 419, (501) 569-3124, (501) 569-8710, (501) 569-8940, Website

Master of Education in Special Education

The Master of Education in Special Education (SPED) is an advanced preparation program in special education. All candidates will be exposed to the legal and social tenets of delivering services in special instructional settings. Candidates will learn to deliver and interpret assessment data for the purposes of eligibility determination. The program also includes developing competencies in instructional design and program evaluation. Special education continues to be reported by the state department of education as a shortage area for teachers. Additionally, private school personnel as well as international candidates may require preparation to meet exceptional students’ needs; they may access the program of study but do not require nor desire licensure in the state.


Admissions Requirements

There are two tracks for admission to the M.Ed. program.

Regular Admission

Licensed Candidates

Candidates who possess a standard or initial license in education and a minimum GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last 60 hours may be admitted; these candidates want to obtain a master’s degree in Special Education K-12 WITH licensure. Candidates electing this track will be prepared to deliver direct services in K-12 instructional settings.

Candidates may also be admitted based on their enrollment in an accredited graduate program with a minimum of 12 credits and a GPA of 3.0. A transfer candidate may transfer up to 15 credits with a GPA of 3.0.

Undergraduate candidates within 15 hours of completing their undergraduate program may begin the graduate certificate program and take up to 6 hours of the program with the approval of the graduate coordinator and instructor.

Candidates will exit the program with an advanced license in special education and a master’s degree (M.Ed.).

Non-Licensure Candidates

Candidates in this track DO NOT possess an initial teaching license and wish to obtain a Master’s degree in special education K-12. This candidate must possess a baccalaureate degree or international equivalent.  International candidates must have presented credentials required for graduate admission by International Student Services and the Graduate School, which includes WES-articulated transcripts with a minimum GPA of 2.75, TOEFL scores of 79 or better IBT or 6.5 IELTS.  The candidate must possess an equivalent minimum GPA of 2.75 or greater. Transcripts must show a background in education.

U.S. candidates also must have GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate study.  Candidates may be admitted having been enrolled in an accredited graduate program with a minimum of 12 credits and a GPA of 3.0.   The program may require completion of deficiency course work (e.g., educational psychology) so that students can built fundamental knowledge and skills to be successful in your program.

Exit requirements will include key performance assessments for the MED and a 3.0 overall GPA. Candidates electing this track must sign an acknowledgement form that they were advised the Master’s in Special Education does not result in licensure in Special Education.

Conditional Admission

Licensed Candidates
  • Candidates must possess an initial license in education; a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution; a GPA of 2.7-2.74. Candidates must take three introductory courses (9 hours) and make a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for full admission, or
  • A provisional license and completion of at least 9 credits in another UALR graduate program or graduate program at another regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
Non-Licensed Candidates

A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or WES-articulated baccalaureate; a GPA of 2.70-2.74. Candidates must take three introductory courses (nine hours) and a make cumulative GPA of 3.0 for full admission.


Program Requirements

Requirements for the degree include a minimum of 33 credit hours plus a portfolio of scholarship.  Candidates in the M.Ed. in Special Education program are also required to pass state-required Praxis II assessments.

Special Education Core Courses (24 hours)

SPED 5303 Assistive Technology
SPED 5312 Medical Problems in Child Development
SPED 7301 Foundations in Special Education
SPED 7305 Managing the Learning Environment
SPED 7309 Seminar in Special Education
SPED 7343 Disability Law
AUSP 7367 Infant Toddler Communication
EDFN 7303 Introduction to Research

Specialist K-12 Professional Course Work (9 hours)

SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II
SPED 7353 Transition and Life Adjustment
SPED 7395 Assessment and Instructional Design II Practicum

Graduation Requirements

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved program of study as outlined above
  • Preparation and presentation of a proficient or above exit portfolio of scholarship
  • Passing Praxis II exam 20354

 

Graduate Certificate in Special Education

This certificate is intended for licensed teachers. This program will serve as the program’s program of study for endorsement in special education. The candidate also must have filed an Additional Licensure Plan (ALP) that the state offers to teachers. The certificate is a minimum of 18 credit hours for candidates who are on emergency certificates or who simply desire an endorsement to the initial license. The required courses will be determined by an audit of transcripts. The certificate is carved out of the master’s coursework and allows the candidate to complete it in a timely manner. The candidate may easily continue toward the master’s degrees.

Admissions Requirements

  • Initial license in education
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last 60 hours

Transcript audits must show literacy and math content and an introductory course in special education and classroom management. Additionally, candidates may transfer in from a state-approved program in graduate special education with a GPA of at least 3.0. A candidate may be enrolled in a nontraditional initial licensure program for a minimum of 12 credits at a GPA of 3.0. This candidate may take courses but will not be recommended for the certificate until successfully completing their initial licensure program. Undergraduate candidates within 15 hours of completing their undergraduate program may begin the graduate certificate program and take up to 6 hours of the program with the approval of the graduate coordinator and instructor. Exit requirements include a minimum of 3.0 GPA, passing Praxis examinations, and submission of required program assessments.


Courses in Special Education
SPED 5202, 5302 Workshop
Offered on demand.

SPED 5214 Early Childhood Special Education Assessment Field Experience
This is the first experience in a series of two supervised field experiences. During the 120 clock-hour experience, student field experiences emphasize assessment and early intervention assessment activities related to child find/screening, translating assessment activities in the intervention environment and assessments surrounding health and safety issues, children with health and/or sensory impairments, social development, and challenging behavior.

SPED 5216 ECSE: Inclusion Field Experience
This is the final experience in a series of supervised field experience designed for students in the Early Childhood Special Education emphasis. The field experiences included in this 120 clock-hour experience examine assessment to intervention activities related to all areas of development, technology adaptations in intervention, the link between individualized intervention plans and instructional planning, and continuous documentation of child performance.

SPED 5266 Language in Deaf Children II
Language development in normal-hearing, hearing-impaired children; relationships between the two populations; relationship of learning theory, cognitive and psychosocio-linguistic principles, other perspectives to language learning, hearing-impaired children; language instruction for teaching language to hearing-impaired children; normal language development, language acquisition theories, and language and cognitive research; includes directed observation.

SPED 5311 Managing the Learning Environment B
Prerequisites: graduate candidates entering with the graduate endorsement only option and must be admitted to the Graduate School. Theory, research, and application for classroom management. Current issues and research in applied behavior analysis and other forms of classroom management; cognitive, behavioral, and emerging management procedures; emphasis will be placed on the application of research. Positive approaches to classroom and behavior management.

SPED 5312 Medical Problems in Child Development
The primary concern of the course is to review medical conditions and events arising during prenatal, postnatal and early childhood which contribute to the nature and cause of major educational disabilities. Special attention is given to syndromes associated with mental retardation, disorders of the central nervous system, infections disease, and a wide range of conditions placing children at risk for developmental delays. Emphasis is directed toward early medical identification, prevention of secondary disabilities, and strategies for responding to chronic health conditions in educational settings. Guest lectures by physicians and other health related professionals are an integral part of the course.

SPED 5313 Early Childhood Special Education Assessment
This is the first course in a two-course sequence addressing assessment and early intervention screening and assessment strategies for young children with disabilities, ages birth through eight. A specific focus will be given to the fundamental principles of and strategies for assessment, the role of well-baby and early intervention providers in screening and assessment process for disabilities. Candidates will learn to identify the needs of children related to health and/or sensory impairments, the identification of abilities in the developmental domains. Various aspects of the early environments are examined and procedures for gathering performance data are explored.

SPED 5315 Early Childhood Special Education: Methods of Inclusion
This is the second course in a two-course sequence addressing intervention strategies for young children with disabilities, ages birth through age eight. Specific attention is given to application of assessment principles into programming, the role of child find in providing services, the needs of young children with health and/or sensory impairments, strategies for identifying behavioral support needs and techniques for fostering social-emotional development. Attention will also be given to methods of including children with disabilities in the general education setting.

SPED 5317 Introduction to Inclusion in Early Childhood Special Education

Prerequisites: PSYC 1300, an introductory human development course, or consent of the instructor. Psychological, sociological, philosophical, legal, educational implications of educating exceptional learners; necessary adaptations for exceptional learners in the mainstream setting; role of teachers, professionals, parents as team members providing education for exceptional learners.

SPED 5330 Severe Disabilities
Prerequisites: admission to the program; SPED 4301, EDFN 3320, READ 3320, READ 3322, TCED 3383. This course focuses on current best practices in curriculum, and methods for students with severe disabilities, including specific strategies for teaching students with severe disabilities, general strategies for working with heterogeneous groups of students in inclusive settings, and methods for adapting the general education curriculum to include students with severe disabilities in elementary, middle, and high school. Students with credit for SPED 4330 may not take SPED 5330 for additional credit.

SPED 5343 Disability Law
The purpose of the course is to provide students with the basic understanding of the legal and ethical issues that impact assessment, eligibility, placement, and delivery of services of students with disabilities. The focus will be on the due process procedures and elements of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) necessary for successful teaching of students with disabilities as found in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

SPED 5360 Psychological Aspects of Deafness
Theory, research in the psychological development, adjustment of hearing-impaired children, adults; includes intellectual, cognitive, perceptual, social, personality development; adaptation to hearing loss; educational, mental health, rehabilitation implications of research findings with single disability, multi-disabled, hearing impaired persons.

SPED 5367 Communication Methods with Hearing-impaired Children in the Educational Setting
Prerequisite: Interpreting 4320/5320 or consent of instructor. Corequisite: Special Education 4264, 4266. Practical application of the multiplicity of methods; research, underlying theories of language acquisition by hearing-impaired children; emphasis on application to teaching English, other academic subjects. Offered in fall.

SPED 7103 Teaching Adolescents with Exceptionalities
The legal, foundational, and ethical aspects of serving adolescents with disabilities are provided. Specialized knowledge related to the development of special education at the secondary level as well as current legal and statutory issues. Psychological, sociological, philosophical, and educational implications of educating adolescent exceptional learners are introduced.

SPED 7123 Technology for Students with Visual Impairments
History of technology for individuals with visual impairments; types of technology for individuals with visual impairments; role of technology in education of students with visual impairments; hands-on experience with selected technology tools for students with visual impairment and their teachers.

SPED 7141 ECSE Clinical I
Co-requisite: SPED 7341. This is the second experience in a series of three supervised practica. During the 120 clock hour experience, student field experiences emphasize assessment and intervention activities related to child find/screening, the intervention environment, health and safety issues, children with health and/or sensory impairments, social development, and challenging behavior.

SPED 7142 ECSE Clinical II
Co-requisite: SPED 7342. This is the third and final experience in a series of three supervised practica designed for students in the Early Childhood Instructional Specialist emphasis. The 120 clock hour field experiences included in this experience examine assessment and intervention activities related to all areas of development, technology adaptations in assessment and intervention, the link between individualized intervention plans and instructional planning, and continuous documentation of child performance.

SPED 7144 Collaboration in the Field
Co-requisite: SPED 7344. This is the first experience in a series of three supervised practica for students in the Early Childhood Instructional Specialist emphasis. This course emphasizes practical use of specialized knowledge and application of program performance standards. During the 120 clock-hour practicum, field experiences emphasize teams and the team process, communication skills, collaboration strategies, consultation and professionalism. Activities will be conducted with family members and a variety of related service disciplines.

SPED 7154 Physical and Health Management
This course will focus on health management practices for students with disabilities. Students will become familiar with emergency first aid and universal health care precautions, health management plans, guidelines for the administration of medications and the side effects of medication, procedures for managing seizures, treatments for allergies and asthma, and use of gastrostomy tubes. Students will also be given information on proper body mechanics and on positioning and physical management of students with motor disabilities. Taken with SPED 7206 Strategies for Family Involvement.

SPED 7190, 7290, 7390 Supervised Practice
Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Practical use of skills, competencies from courses; working under faculty supervision with individuals with disabilities being served in education and/or rehabilitation settings. Offered on demand.
SPED 7191, 7291, 7391 Independent Study
Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Offered on demand.
SPED 7193, 7293, 7393 Special Topics
In-depth study of selected interest in a special education emphasis area.

SPED 7203 Adolescents with Exceptionalities
Enhances knowledge regarding the characteristics, identification, and assessment of adolescents with disabilities. Necessary adaptations for adolescent exceptional learners in the inclusion setting; role of teachers, professionals, parents as team members in identification, assessment and program and instructional design components are presented. Candidates acquire skills needed to support the implementation of behavior intervention and transition plans.

SPED 7206 Strategies for Family Involvement
This course will prepare candidates to work with families of students with disabilities. The candidates will identify the impact of disabilities on families and family functioning. Strategies for communicating with families and for involving families in the process of program development and assessment will be included.

SPED 7292 Field Experience I
Prerequisite: SPED 7305. The general goal of this course is to build upon the knowledge and skill candidates have gained regarding the characteristics of and service to and evaluation of a variety of learners with disabilities. Procedures for identification and placement of students for special education will be identified and evaluated. Candidates will develop profiles of students who are classified as at risk for developing learning problems and students with varying disabilities and identify instructional support suitable for implementing with non at risk students. Candidates are encouraged to take this course concurrently with SPED 7351.

SPED 7295 Field Experience II
Prerequisites: successful completion of SPED 7351 Assessment and Instructional Design I and SPED 7292 Field Experience I. It is suggested that this course be taken in conjunction with SPED 7352. Assessment and Instructional Design II. Candidates will engage in specific implementation of strategies for students with various learning problems in field sites. Candidates will design and use various informal assessments and analyze them for their application in the pre-referral, referral, evaluation, and IEP development process.

SPED 7296 Field Experience III
Prerequisites: successful completion of SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II and SPED 7295 Field Experience II with a co- requisite of SPED 7353 Transition and Life Adjustment. This course will expand the application skills developed in the methods classes and SPED 7353. Candidates will use interventions and evaluation skills to assess students, design an intervention plan, implement intervention programs, and evaluate interventions for students with a variety of disabilities. Emphasis will be placed on students in grades 4-12, students with more significant involvement, and post school functioning.

SPED 7301 Foundations of Special Education
This course surveys the foundations of educational programs for students with disabilities, emphasizing the historical, philosophical, and legal aspects of special education. Course work includes surveys of the characteristics and needs of students with various disabilities.

SPED 7302 Technology in Special Education
This course will prepare candidates to be better able to respond to individuals’ functional needs in order to enhance their access to the general or special education curricula. Candidates will identify and use technology for instruction, assist students with school related tasks and help students communicate and help students function better in their environment.

SPED 7305 Managing the Learning Environment
Theory, research, and application for behavioral management. Current issues and research in applied behavioral analysis and other forms of classroom management; cognitive behavioral and emerging management procedures, emphasis on application of research.

SPED 7309 Seminar in Special Education
Prerequisite: completion of core emphasis course work, graduate standing. This course explores issues of contemporary importance to the profession, affords students the opportunity to engage in scholarly activities and high-level discussions with professors and is the final event in the candidate’s program of study where earlier knowledge becomes integrated and expanded. This course is to be taken in the final six hours of study.

SPED 7333 Characteristics and Educational Needs of Children with Severe Disabilities
Intellectual, behavioral, physical characteristics of individuals with severe disabling conditions; includes models of social management, history of treatment of persons with severe disabilities, major considerations of educational services delivery to such persons.
SPED 7335 Instructional Methods for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Fundamentals of systematic data-based instructional skills needed to teach persons with severe disabilities in classroom, community environments.

SPED 7336 Advanced Instructional Methods for Teaching Persons with Severe Disabilities
Prerequisite: Special Education 7335 or consent of instructor. Identification of intervention strategies; design of effective programs for teaching age-appropriate, functional living skills to individuals with severe disabilities.

SPED 7339 Vocational Instruction for Persons with Handicaps
Vocational programming methods; emphasis on current “best practices” in instruction, program delivery; includes use of supported work model for systematic instruction in integrated community job sites.
SPED 7340 Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Special Education
Prerequisite: exceptionality course. Includes state, federal laws governing, regulating early intervention programs; program models used in the field; emphasis on models emphasizing integrating children with disabilities and their peers without disabilities.

SPED 7351 Assessment and Instructional Design I
Prerequisites: SPED 7305 and should be taken in conjunction with SPED 7295. The general goal of this course is to build upon the knowledge and skill students have gained regarding the characteristics of a variety of learners with disabilities. Specific emphasis will be placed on developing skills to serve learners with disabilities, identify and evaluate relevant formal and informal assessment strategies that contribute to the identification, placement, and instructional planning for students with learning problems.

SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II
Prerequisites: SPED 7301 and 7351. Candidates are required to take this course concurrently with a three hour practicum (SPED 7395). The general goals of this course are to develop competencies in the methods of assessment and instructional design in special education. Candidates will expand upon the knowledge and skills developed in course work and experiences gained in learning environments. The candidate will develop specific skills to assess, identify, and program for students with various learning problems in K-12 environments. Candidates will use various formal and informal assessments and analyze them for their utility in the referral, evaluation, and IEP development process. Additionally, students will analyze strategies to modify and adapt the curriculum for inclusive purposes.

SPED 7353 Transition and Life Adjustment
Prerequisite: SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II. This course presents information regarding the transition and life adjustment of persons with disabilities. The focus is on the development and implementation of transition plans for adolescents with disabilities and children with more significant disabilities. Candidates will develop mechanisms for self-advocacy development and access to services available to adults with disabilities

SPED 7360 Characteristics and Educational Needs of the Severely Emotionally Disturbed
Serious emotional disturbance and its educational implication; includes significant historical factors; theoretical orientations to definition, etiology of serious emotional disturbance; classification systems; learning characteristics, their educational implications; interdisciplinary appraisal, therapies; federal, state legislation, litigation relating to serious emotional disturbance and education.

SPED 7361 Methods for Teaching the Seriously Emotionally Disturbed
Prerequisite: Special Education 7360 or consent of instructor. Instructional principles, intervention strategies; includes major education models; identification of education needs, development of Individualized Education Program; classroom design for self- contained, resource class at elementary, secondary levels; student progress evaluation.

SPED 7362 Direct Teaching of Social Skills in Children and Youth
(Oriented to educators.) Contemporary models; emphasis on classroom-based instruction; includes key social learning aspects; social integration; teaching social skills deficits; instructional materials, procedures; language for building comprehensive social skills programming, outcomes evaluation into Individualized Education Programs.

SPED 7365 Individualized Education Programs
Prerequisite: graduate standing. Identification, evaluation, perspective programming process in education of exceptional children; includes Arkansas special education general program standards; components of comprehensive, interdisciplinary appraisal; categorical eligibility criteria; referral, placement, appeal procedure; development of Individualized Education Programs, IEP process conferences; report writing.

SPED 7366 Exceptionalities in the Classroom
Prerequisite: graduate standing. Recognition of exceptionalities, educational implications; techniques for elementary teacher in identifying exceptionalities in regular classroom. Offered on demand.

SPED 7390 Assessment in Special Education Practicum
Prerequisites: SPED 7305. Students are encouraged to take this course concurrently with SPED 7351.
The goal of this practicum is to develop knowledge and skills in assessment techniques unique to Special Education. Students will have opportunities to select, administer, and interpret scores from formal, informal, and criterion referenced tests. Candidates also will engage in specific observational assessments. Emphasis will be placed on translating assessment information into programming recommendations. Students will develop profiles of students with or at risk for developing learning problems and students exhibiting a range of disability characteristics and identifying instructional support suitable for implementing with actual students.

SPED 7395 Assessment II Practicum
Candidates will utilize various formal and informal assessments and analyze them for their utility in the pre-referral, referral, evaluation, and IEP development process. Candidates will observe learning behavior, systematically design and implement strategies to address learning concerns, develop and/or administer informal assessments, monitor effects and report outcomes. By the conclusion, students should be writing, implementing, and evaluating instructional programs and conducting individual and small group instruction. This phase requires students to create and implement instructional programs and to demonstrate appropriate educational decision-making using evidence-based best practices. The time committed to a three credit-hour practicum is 120 clock hours in instructional settings plus participation in weekly/bimonthly discussion sessions. Candidates are required to take this course concurrently with SPED 7352.