MA in Education (Special Education)

Total units required for MA: 30

Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Education with a concentration in Special Education is designed for candidates who concurrently apply to one of our education specialist credential programs (Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, or Early Childhood Special Education) or candidates who are already pursuing one of these credential programs. Candidates who already hold an education specialist credential either from Sacramento State or another institution may also apply to the program.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • two years of teaching experience or its functional equivalent;
  • a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 units;
  • proficiency in written English composition as demonstrated by either passing the Sacramento State Writing Placement for Juniors exam or equivalent, or enrolling in ENGL 109W passing with a grade of C or better; and
  • an interview with a student/practicing administrator/faculty team; interviews will be scheduled at the close of the application period, (the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test scores are NOT required; however, these test scores may be included with the admission application).

Applicants who have deficiencies in admission requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a written response to the student's admission application.

Admission Procedures

Prospective graduate students, including Sacramento State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, Riverfront Center 215, (916) 278-6470:

  • an online application for admission; and
  • one set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

The graduate degree program is subject to general University and Departmental requirements. These requirements are explained in the Graduate Degree Requirements section of the University Catalog.

Specific Additional Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in the Master of Arts in Education with a Concentration in Special Education, requires:

  • a minimum 3.0 overall GPA in the last 60-semester units of college coursework (excluding “P” or “CR” grades); and
  • already admitted to one of the Education Specialist Credential programs at California State University, Sacramento OR already hold an Education Specialist Credential.

Specific Additional Admission Procedures

Persons interested in special education programs should first contact a faculty advisor in the appropriate area of interest.

Each applicant must send the following to the Graduate and Professional Studies in Education in Eureka Hall 401:

  • a supplemental program application;

  • written statement of professional goals, approximately 500 words;

  • two letters of recommendation and/or Evaluator Rating forms; and

  • one set of transcripts, including Sacramento State (unofficial OK).

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units required for the MA: 30

Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0.  No single course in which the student receives a grade below "B-" will be counted as credit toward the degree unless the student has petitioned for acceptance of the course, and the petition has been accepted and approved by the Special Education faculty


  • no more than six units transferable from another university;
  • no more than six units through Special Problems;
  • no more than six units of pre-M.A. 200-level coursework;
  • Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) exam to fulfill Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

The following are not acceptable for MA credit:

  • 300- or -400 level courses;
  • student teaching courses; and
  • extension courses not recognized by the college-of-record issuing degrees.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students working toward a Master's degree must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • been assigned an advisor;
  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed 15 units of content knowledge elective units with a minimum 3.0 GPA;
  • completed student teaching/internship requirements; and
  • satisfied the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) requirement within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento. Students may satisfy this requirement via a WPG waiver (see Office of Graduate Studies website for waiver requirements). If students do not satisfy this requirement via a WPG waiver, students must do the following:
    •  Take the WPG Exam
      • If WPG Exam is passed, WPG requirement is satisfied;
      • If WPG Exam not passed, WPG requirement not satisfied, and student must:
        • Take EDGR 260 (Graduate Writing Intensive Course GWI) if offered, and pass with a grade of “B” or better;
        • Take ENGL 220W (offered through the College of Continuing Education) and pass with a grade of “B” or better; or
        • Take GRE/GMAT and score 4.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing portion and submit a waiver to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available in the Department office and the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS). The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with a faculty advisor and approved by the Graduate Coordinator. The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval. Please note deadline dates posted by the Office of Graduate Studies for submission of this form.


  • If students are to graduate under the provision of this catalog, they must maintain continuous enrollment from the date of classification to the date of graduation. Students who are planning to be absent for more than one semester must file a Leave of Absence request and have it approved prior to the absence.
  • Prior to graduation, an application for graduation must be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies by the deadline and all coursework leading to this Master's degree (as well as to special education credentials) must be completed within a seven year period. Please note deadline dates posted by the Office of Graduate Studies for submission of this form.

Program Requirements

Required Core Courses9
EDSP 250Education Research3
EDSP 251Education in a Democratic, Pluralistic Society3
EDSP 297Current Issues in Special Education3
Other Content Knowledge Elective Requirements (15 Units)15
Content Knowledge elective units can be selected from the following in consultation with advisor:
Methods in Access and Inclusion in the Core Curriculum: Mod/Severe Disabilities
Collaborative Program Planning with Families, Professionals, and Communities
Secondary/Post-Secondary Methods and Transition Planning: Moderate/Severe Disabilities
Evidenced-based Assessment and Instruction: Mod/Severe Disabilities
Developing Augmentative & Alternative Communication Systems: Assessment and Intervention
Understanding the Implications of Developmental Diversity in Children
Instructional Strategies: Low Incidence Disabilities
Language and Literacy in Inclusive Classrooms I
Language and Literacy in Inclusive Classrooms II
Assessment and Evaluation for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities
Assessment and Evaluation for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities Lab
Curriculum and Instruction Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities
Positive Behavior Supports for Students with Mild, Moderate, and Severe Behavioral Challenges
Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships
Field Seminar in Program and Instruction: Mod/Severe Disabilities
Transition Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities
Teaching English Learners with Disabilities
Education of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Education of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders - Lab
Other courses in supporting fields may also be selected if approved by advisor.
Culminating Requirements (6 Units) 16
Select one of the following:
Thesis or Project
Seminar for Culminating Experiences
Master of Arts Thesis: Special Education
Master of Arts Project: Special Education
Seminar for Culminating Experiences
Master's Seminar in Special Education
Total Units30