MA in Teaching with Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Teaching Credential

Program Description

The Education Specialist Instruction Credential authorizes the holder to provide instruction and special education support as well as conduct Educational Assessments related to student's access to the academic core curriculum. Support services can be provided according to the credential holder's area of specialization in the following settings:

  • Resource rooms or services

  • Special education settings

  • General education settings

  • Special schools

  • Home/hospital settings

  • State hospitals

  • Development centers

  • Correctional facilities

  • Non-public, non-sectarian schools and agencies

  • Alternative and non-traditional instructional

  • Public school settings other than classroom

Programs offered lead to Certificates of Eligibility and/or the Preliminary Credential in three specialties:

  • Education Specialist: Teaching Credential Program: Early Childhood Special Education
  • Education Specialist: Mild/Moderate Disabilities Specialist (M/M) and
  • Education Specialist: Moderate/Severe Disabilities Specialist (M/S).

All above specialties comply with regulations and standards as issued by SB2042 and AB1059 (English Language Authorization).

University- and California Commission on Teacher Credentialing- (CTC) approved program options also allow candidates to pursue the M/M or M/S specialty concurrently with the Multiple Subject Credential. Another approved program allows candidates to add an ECSE Certificate to existing Clear M/M, M/S or other California Special Education Specialist credentials. For additional information regarding the ECSE Certificate, please contact the ECSE Coordinator (current the program is on hiatus) or Teaching Credentials Office.

All credential programs undergo continual review and change; current requirements are available on the Teaching Credentials website. All candidates are required to seek advisement regarding credential coursework and must complete a program advisement plan prior to the start of the program. Candidates must take prerequisites prior to the start of the program; candidates who continue without advisement or do not complete prerequisites prior to the start of the program may be disenrolled.

Special Education Internships

All Preliminary Education Specialist programs at Sacramento State have been approved by CCTC as internship programs. In order to be eligible for an Intern Education Specialist Credential, candidates must

  • have been admitted and cleared all admission requirements for the credential program;
  • have received the recommendation of a faculty member;
  • have received an offer of employment from an employer; and
  • be pursuing an internship with a district/school that has a written internship agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) with Sacramento State.

Only candidates in their final semester of the program can be considered for internships.

Note: Candidates working under an Education Specialist Internship Credential must concurrently fulfill the requirements of the credential program and the internship appointment.

Preliminary Teaching Credentials

As new regulations become mandated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and the California Department of Education, requirements for meeting subject matter competency and/or requirements for all preliminary credential programs will be changed to comply with the new requirements. The preliminary credential program is legislated according to the SB 2042 (Preliminary) Credential requirements. For further information, please contact the Academic and Program Services Office in Eureka Hall 401, (916) 278-6639.

Preliminary Teaching Credential Requirements

Completion of the Preliminary Teaching Credential requires that the candidate:

  • hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in a field other than professional education from a regionally accredited college or university;
  • complete an approved program of teacher preparation, including student teaching;
  • for an Education Specialist – Mild/Moderate or Moderate/Severe credential, if the plan is to teach Special Education at the elementary school level, complete either an approved subject matter program or pass the approved subject-matter examination (CSET: California Subject Examination for Teachers, Multiple Subject, Subtests I, II and III);
  • for an Education Specialist – Mild/Moderate or Moderate/Severe credential, if the plan is to teach Special Education at the secondary school level, complete either an approved subject matter program in one of the core academic subject areas or pass an approved subject-matter examination in a core academic subject area (CSET: California Subject Examination for Teachers);
  • for a Multiple Subject credential, pass the approved subject-matter examination (CSET: California Subject Examination for Teachers, Multiple Subject, Subtests I, II and III);
  • for Single Subject, complete either an approved subject matter program or pass the approved subject-matter examination (CSET) in the appropriate teaching area;
  • for Single Subject, complete an approved course in the teaching of reading;
  • for Multiple Subject, complete an approved course in the teaching of reading and pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) exam;
  • pass a college-level course or examination on the U.S. Constitution; and
  • demonstrate California Basic Educational Skills (see subsection below on options available).

Teaching Credentials offers a variety of pathways for completing the Preliminary Credential programs depending on the program:

  • a one-year (two-semester) program;
  • a three-semester program;
  • a two-year (four-semester) program – Education Specialist programs only; part-time options are available which will increase time to program completion

Field experience and student teaching are integral parts of the program leading to Preliminary Credentials. In both the Multiple Subject and Single Subject Teacher Preparation programs, candidates move through the program in cohorts. Full-time Education Specialist candidates follow a tightly-sequenced series of courses.  In all teacher preparation programs, candidates complete fieldwork in public schools. All candidates will have experience working with children or youth from a broad range of cultural, ethnic, economic and special learning needs backgrounds.

Program Admission Requirements at a Glance

Note: Due to COVID-19, the CSU and the state of California approved adjustments to the admissions requirements for teaching credential programs. Before applying for fall 2021 admissions, visit: COVID-19 Impact on Admissions Requirements at

  1. Experiences related to working with children or youth

  2. References (2)

  3. Essay

  4. Official Transcripts from every college/university attended

  5. Writing Proficiency

  6. Basic Skills Competence (i.e., pass the CBEST)

  7. Subject Matter Competence (i.e., pass the CSET)

  8. Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.67 overall or 2.75 in last 60 semester or 90 quarter units

  9. Complete Credential Prerequisite Courses: EDUC 170EDUC 100AEDUC 100BHLSC 136, and KINS 172 (MS only – equivalent workshop can be taken during the program)

  10. Complete the Mandatory Interview

Applications Required at a Glance

  • Teaching credentials Supplemental Program Application
  • CSU Graduate School Application
  • Certificate of Clearance Application (and fingerprint clearance through CTC)

Admission Requirements – General Information Only

Experiences Related to Working with Children or Youth (paid and/or volunteer)

minimum of 45 hours of experience (closer to 100+ hours if you want to be competitive) with diverse populations is required to be considered for program admission.  Possible field experiences can include:  classroom instructional aide, tutoring, afterschool program, Peace Corps, camp counseling, child/youth recreation programs, coaching, group-home counseling, church school teaching, etc.  Your responses will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Recency: Experience needs to be recent – at least within 1-2 years of the application period.  You can list all experiences gained on the supplemental application, but regency is key.
  • Settings: Majority of your experiences should be in appropriate settings/schools (ideally public schools) with culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse students of the age group (i.e., elementary school, high school, etc.) or population (i.e., special needs population) you plan to teach. You will list the diversity of your experiences on the supplemental application.
  • Supervision: Has the verifiable experience been gained under supervision? If so, you will need to list names of your supervisors on the supplemental application.


Applicants submit two reference forms (included in the supplemental application).  Letters of recommendation will not be accepted in lieu of reference forms.  Only reference forms submitted in sealed envelopes will be accepted It is recommended that one of the references be from a person who has observed the applicant’s academic competence (current or former instructor) and the other reference from a person who has observed the applicant working with children or youth.  NOTE:  References from family members will not be accepted.


Discuss a critical, current issue in teaching/education and the relationship of this issue to your motivation to become a teacher in a typed, two-page, double-spaced essay.  NOTE: This prompt is subject to change.


Applicants must provide official, sealed transcripts from every community college/college/university attended, even if only ONE class was completed.  Sacramento State students and Sacramento State graduates are exempt, unless coursework was completed at another college after you graduated.

Writing Proficiency

Satisfying writing proficiency is a program admission requirement.  This requirement may be met in one of the following ways:

  1. Pass the entire CBEST (must pass the writing portion with a minimum of 37 points); (This admission requirement is waived for the Fall 2021 admission cycle due to COVID-19) or
  2. Pass the CSET: Writing Skills Test (Multiple Subject applicants only); (This admission requirement is waived for the Fall 2021 admission cycle due to COVID-19) or

  3. Meet the graduation writing requirement (GWAR) at any CSU campus; or

  4. Successfully complete an upper-division advanced English composition course, with a “B” grade or better.

Basic Skills Requirement (BSR)

Satisfying the basic skills requirement is a program admission requirement.  Select one of the following options to meet this requirement.  For detailed information visit the CTC website.

  1. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) – all sections must be taken and passed

  2. Pass the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP)English and Math sections(tests completed in high school)

  3. Pass the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) and the Entry Level Math (ELM) Test (For more information, visit the Testing Center website)

  4. Pass the CSET: Writing Skills Test (available to Multiple Subject applicants only)

  5. Pass a basic skills examination from another state

Register online at the CTC Exams website.  Take exams no later than February for FALL admission consideration.

Subject Matter Competence (SMC)

Applicants are required to meet SMC to be considered for admission:

Special Education: Applicants holding one of the following types of credentials, may have met the subject matter competency requirement: five-year preliminary, clear, professional clear, or life credential in the following authorizations: Multiple Subject, Single Subject, Standard Elementary, Standard Secondary, General Elementary, or General Secondary.  Applicants who do not hold one of the types of credentials listed above can meet SMC through one of the following options:

  • CSET for Multiple Subjects option or
  • Single Subject option (see requirements below)

Multiple Subject: All applicants must satisfy SMC by passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects subtests I, II, and III.  NOTE: CSET passing scores on all three (3) subtests are required for admission consideration.  Take exams no later than February for FALL admission consideration. Register for tests online at:

Single Subject: Applicants may satisfy SMC in ONE of two ways, either (1) by examination or (2) by completing an approved undergraduate program of subject matter coursework.

  1. Examination(s) Take and pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) in your subject area.  Be sure to take all required subtests in your teaching area.   NOTE: CSET passing scores on all subtests are required for admission consideration.  Take exams no later than February for FALL admission consideration.  Register for tests online at:
  2. Coursework Complete a California Commission-approved undergraduate academic subject matter preparation (SMP) program from an accredited California college/university.
SMP Coursework Options
  • The Sacramento State Subject Matter Program (SMP) is a California approved baccalaureate program that prepares individuals for teaching.  Sac State students completing a SMP must meet with an approved advisor as soon as possible in order to complete the Subject Matter Competence Verification Form.  For a listing of faculty advisors visit the Teaching Credentials website.
  • Non-Sacramento State applicants who completed an approved SMP on a California campus other than Sacramento State must submit verification of completion of the SMP on letterhead stationery of your school, signed by the approved evaluator, instead of using the Subject Matter Competence Verification Form.  Check with your College’s Credentials office for the approved evaluator.

Grade Point Average (GPA) Required

In order to be considered for admission to a Teaching Credential Program, applicants must have attained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.67 in all baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate course work (if completed) OR a GPA of at least 2.75 in the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units attempted.

Pre-requisite Credential Courses – to be completed PRIOR to starting the credential programs:
EDUC 100AEducating Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings2
EDUC 100BEducating Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings Lab1
EDUC 170Bilingual Education: Introduction to Educating English Learners3
HLSC 1362
KINS 172Movement Education 13

List of equivalent courses, visit the Teaching Credentials website


All applicants must participate in a one-hour group interview as part of the screening process.  After the supplemental program application is received by the Department, applicants are notified by email of the interview process and dates. 

Applications Required

CSU Graduate School Application for the University:

Applicants not currently attending Sacramento State, Sacramento State graduating seniors, and Sacramento State students completing a master’s degree or second bachelor’s degree MUST apply for admission to graduate school through the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) by completing and submitting the CSU application on-line. 

  Transcripts:  Applicants who did not graduate from Sacramento State must submit one (1) set of sealed, official transcripts from ALL community colleges/colleges/universities attended, even if only ONE class was completed.  If you have questions about the University graduate school application process, please contact the OGS at (916) 278-6470.

  Foreign degrees Transcripts from applicants with degrees from outside of the United States must review the information/instructions on the Office of Graduate Studies website

 NOTE:  Foreign transcripts and other supporting documents are usually due much earlier than University and department application deadlines.

Teaching Credentials Program Supplemental Application:

All applicants must submit a supplemental program application packet that includes:  a list of experiences related to teaching/working with children/youth, an essay, two completed & sealed reference forms, writing proficiency verification, subject matter competency verification, and basic skills requirement verification (CBEST or other approved verification).  Beginning in OCTOBER every year, the supplemental program applications with instructions/current requirements are available on the College of Education website.  Credential programs only begin in FALL semesters.  Complete supplemental applications and all supporting documents must be submitted to the Teaching Credentials by February.  The exact submission deadline date is posted once applications are available on the website.

Certificate of Clearance (COC/Fingerprint Clearance): 

ALL applicants must submit verification of having been issued a clearance by the CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) before they will be allowed to officially start the credential program. 

  • Applicants who have already been issued a clearance/permit/credential must submit a printout from the CTC website showing the issuance date of a valid CA 30-day emergency permit, a valid CA Child Development Associate/Center permit, a valid CA credential, or a valid Certificate of Clearance.

  • Applicants who have NOT been issued a clearance/permit/credential must apply for the Certificate of Clearance on the CTC website as well as complete the Live Scan fingerprinting process. Tips for completing the online application and Live Scan process can be found on the CTC website.  Proof of applying for the clearance and completing the Live Scan process MUST be submitted with the supplemental credential program application packet.  Include as proof the following: a copy of the ‘Payment Receipt’ page from the on-line COC application AND a copy of your completed and scanned Live Scan form.

  • Once your clearance is issued, you will receive an email from the CTC.  Print this email and submit it with your supplemental program application packet.  Or, if the email is received after you have submitted your application, submit the email directly to the Teaching Credentials Department in Eureka Hall - 401.

EXCEPTION – it is not necessary to apply for the Certificate of Clearance if you can verify you hold a valid California certificate or credential such as an emergency permit for substitute teaching, Pre-intern certificate, PPS credential, Child Development Associate or Supervisor Permit, Adult Vocational Education credential OR if you are applying for a Special Education credential program, verify a valid Multiple or Single Subject credential.

NOTE: If you answered “YES” to any of the Personal and Professional Fitness questions on the Certificate of Clearance application, you will need to obtain the official arrest record and court paperwork regarding each incident.  Refer to the CTC website for the instructions, forms, and where to submit all additional paperwork.  If you have arrests and/or convictions on your record, once you submit the additional paperwork/documentation to the CTC, the processing of your clearance application can take six months or longer.  This means you may not be eligible to start the credential program if your clearance is not issued before the program begins.  If you have any questions, contact the CTC directly via email.

Additional Information

Verification of Bachelor's Degree

ALL applicants must obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university in the United States in order to be eligible for a credential.  Proof can be obtained through official transcripts and listed as “Degree(s) Awarded” with the date the degree was awarded.  To find out if your college/university is regionally accredited by one of the accrediting agencies approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), visit the CTC website.

Foreign Transcript Evaluation

Individuals who have completed college or university course work at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete evaluation of foreign transcripts, degrees1, and other relevant documents prior to applying for a teaching credential program.  This evaluation is required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC).  It is recommended that credential program applicants have their documents evaluated by WES, since both the University Office of Graduate Studies and the Commission will accept the WES evaluation.  Applicants should select the WES INTERNATIONAL CREDENTIAL ADVANTAGE PACKAGE (ICAP) Course by Course Evaluation. For additional information on foreign transcript evaluations please visit the CTC website.

Verification of completing the United States Constitution Requirement

California Education Code, Section 44335, requires all candidates for Multiple Subject, Single Subject, and Education Specialist credentials to demonstrate knowledge of the United States Constitution by completing a college-level course with a “C” or equivalent grade or better, or pass a college-level examination in the subject, or verify AP exam credit for American History or American Government/Politics. While this is not a program admission requirement, this requirement must be completed before the credential can be granted at the end of the credential program. Most CSU graduates have met this requirement.

Additional Information for All Admitted Credential Candidates

  • Continued Enrollment: Continued enrollment in a Preliminary Credential Program is contingent upon the candidates maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in all professional education courses. If incomplete grades or grades of "D", "F", and "NC" (No Credit) are received in professional education courses, the candidate must withdraw from the program unless a specific exception has been approved by the Credential Appeals Committee.
  • Delays: Candidates who have to delay progress in a Preliminary Credential Program file a "Program Delay Petition" in the Teaching Credentials Office. A student returning after a delay may be accommodated on a space available basis. Any student on academic probation is subject to automatic disqualification as a Credential candidate.

Appeal Process: A student who has been formally admitted to the program has the right to appeal to the Credential Appeals Committee about any policy affecting program continuation. Appeals petitions and assistance are available in the Teaching Credentials Office

Bilingual Authorization (BA)

The BA is a specialized authorization that authorizes the credential holder to provide instruction in the primary language to candidates with limited English proficiency. This option is available concurrently for all credential candidates with oral and written fluency as well as cultural/historical knowledge of the target group (Spanish or Hmong).  Candidates can complete additional requirements to add the Bilingual Authorization in Spanish or Hmong.  For additional information on the BA option, contact the College of Education Equity Coordinator, Karina Figueroa-Ramirez, for an advising appointment to review your transcripts.

Program Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
First SemesterUnits
EDSP 119 Legal and Social Foundations of Special Education 3
EDSP 220 Language and Literacy in Inclusive Classrooms I 3
EDSP 229 Curriculum and Instruction Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3
EDSP 232 Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships 2
Second Semester
EDSP 221 Language and Literacy in Inclusive Classrooms II 3
EDSP 471 Mild/Moderate: Field Experience 6
EDSP 293 Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms: Education Specialist 3
EDMS 314 Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction for the Diverse K-8 Classroom 3
Year 2
First Semester
EDSP 230 Positive Behavior Supports for Students with Mild, Moderate, and Severe Behavioral Challenges 3
EDSP 292 Teaching English Learners with Disabilities 3
Second Semester
EDSP 225A Assessment and Evaluation for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 2
EDSP 225B Assessment and Evaluation for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities Lab 1
EDSP 237 Transition Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3
EDSP 233 Final Student Teaching Seminar: Mild/Moderate 1
EDSP 472
Mild/Moderate: Student Teaching
or Mild/Moderate: Intern Teaching
Third Semester
EDSP 281 Critical Issues in Special Education Research and Practice 6
Year 3
First Semester
EDSP 282 Methods in Research Design and Practice with Diverse Children, Youth, and Families 3
Second Semester
EDSP 283 Critical Analysis and Interpretation of Data within Diverse School and Community Contexts 3
EDSP 500 Master of Arts Thesis: Special Education 3
 Total Units62