May 26, 2024  
2020-2021 University Catalog 
2020-2021 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education website

Special Education, Department of

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Department Chair

Melinda R. Pierson

Department Office/Website

College Park 570


Deborah Cote, Barbara Glaeser, Erica Howell, Vita Jones, Woo Jung, Benikia Kressler, Rosalinda Larios, Sung Hee Lee, Calli Lewis-Chiu, Aja McKee, Janice Myck-Wayne, Melinda Pierson, Tiffany Row, Kristin Stang


The Department of Special Education at California State University, Fullerton provides exemplary preparation for special education candidates, general education teachers clearing the preliminary credential and persons interested in improving techniques to work with at-risk children. The faculty in the Department of Special Education are nationally recognized for their contributions in the field of Special Education. Credential programs in Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities and Early Childhood Special Education are available. Additionally, authorizations are available for Resource Specialist, Early Childhood Special Education and Autism. Candidates can earn a master’s degree in any of the above areas. The Department of Special Education provides a program that is nationally accredited (NCATE) in addition to meeting the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) requirements. The department takes pride in meeting the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recommended program standards. The department offers full and part-time programs.

The Department of Special Education is strongly committed to a conceptual knowledge and skill based framework soundly integrated with the philosophies of the university, school and division.

The University Mission, College Philosophy and Department theme emphasize the active, social nature of learning, the interconnections among ways of learning, the dispositions of inquiry and the relationship to the larger diverse society. The refined mission and marks indicate the department is substantive and technical, theoretical and practical, realistic and entrepreneurial.

Degree Description

The Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Special Education is designed to help career special educators upgrade their skills, become informed about new ideas in special education, and prepare for curriculum leadership roles in public and private school settings. Students study research-based effective teaching practices to improve their teaching. The graduate program builds upon teacher preparation in the Education Specialist Preliminary and Clear Credential Programs.  While coursework in the credential programs focuses on developing knowledge and skills necessary for beginning teachers, the graduate program allows students to expand their knowledge and skills in curriculum design, instructional and assessment strategies, integrating technology and reflective practice. This program may be completed online.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Application Deadlines

The deadlines for completing all online applications are Feb. 28 for the fall semester and Sept. 30 for the spring semester. Mailed applications need to be postmarked by the same deadlines. However, deadlines may be changed based upon enrollment projections.

Admission Requirements

Students must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information. In addition, the following are required:

  • University graduate application (Cal State Apply)
  • Department of Special Education application (
  • Four letters of recommendation
  • Letter of intent, including education philosophy, purpose statement (This is the same as an autobiography)
  • Overall, or last 60 units, grade point average of 2.75 for credential programs; 3.0 for Master of Science Program
  • Certificate of Clearance
  • U.S. Constitution verification
  • Passage of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) of the National Teacher Examination (PRAXIS) or completion of the single subject preparation program or completion of any single subject competency examination approved by the state (for Mild/ Moderate, Moderate/Severe program candidates only)
  • Completion of the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) (all candidates)
  • Satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses:
  • SPED 371  (all candidates)
  • SPED 425  (all candidates)
  • SPED 322  (all candidates)
  • Nine units of child development coursework (for early childhood candidates only)
  • Field experience with typically developing students (for all programs)
  • Faculty interview

For further information please call the Admissions Assistant at 657-278-4196.

Education Specialist Credentials

Programs leading to three Education Specialist credentials are available. They are:

  • Specialist credential to teach persons with mild/moderate disabilities, including specific learning disabilities, mild mental retardation and other health-impaired and emotional disturbance (Mild/Moderate)
  • Specialist credential to teach persons with moderate/severe disabilities, including severely developmentally disabled, mental retardation, multi-handicapped, emotionally disturbed and children with autism (Moderate/Severe)
  • Specialist credential to teach infants, toddlers and preschool children with disabilities (Early Childhood Special Education)

Programs and Courses Offered


    Master of ScienceNon-DegreeCertificate


      Special Education

      Courses are designated as SPED in the class schedule.

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