FAQ for Special Education Graduate Programs

FAQ for Special Education Graduate Programs

If you are earning your first or initial license for special education through the Community of Teachers program, you may be ligible for financial aid at the undergraduate level (this may depend on how much aid you have left from a bachelor's degree program). If you apply for and are admitted to a master's degree program, you may be eligible for financial aid (the amount would be at a master's degree program). If you are adding to your license through the certification program, then financial aid likely will not be an option.

Often students ask which classes they should take first, second, and so on in the MS or cert program. While there is not a specific required course sequence, students need to take:

  1. K505 first;
  2. K553 before K520 or K545; and
  3. K595 last. Other than that, a suggested sequence is offered below:
    • K505 Intro to SE
    • K548 Families, School, and Society
    • K553 Classroom Management
    • K565 Collaboration
    • K520 Survey of Behavior Disorders
    • K522 Teaching Social Skills
    • K541 Transitions across the Lifespan
    • K525 Assessment and Instruction
    • K510 Assistive Technology in Special Education
    • K545 Management of Severe Behavior Challenges
    • K595 Practicum in Mild Interventions

The practicum is the hands-on requirement of the special education cert and Masters programs. K595 is offered during the spring semester and requires permission to register (it needs to be taken at the end of a student’s program).

There are two levels of the practicum, depending on which developmental level you are adding to your license: elementary and secondary; both focus on the inclusion of students with mild intervention needs.

Many teachers are able to complete the requirements for K595 working in their own classrooms, assuming the developmental level is the same and students with mild intervention needs are part of the class. For students who need to complete a practicum outside their classroom, 100 contact hours are required in an approved placement for a 3-credit K595.

Not directly. Special education licenses in Indiana (and most everywhere else) are no longer K-12. If you were originally licensed under Rules 46-47, any new additions to your license will be llisted on a Rules 2002 license, at the developmental level (elementary or secondary) of your first license. Also, this new license may require the CPR-Heimlich certification 

IUB special education programs for Rules 46-47 allowed for three areas at K-12: Learning Disabled (LD), Mildly Mental Handicaps (MiMH), and Emotionally Handicapped (EH). IUB programs for Rules 2002-Mild Intervention cover LD, MiMH, and EH, but at the level of the initial/original license

Yes. We encourage non-education students to take some of our courses so they can learn more about special education. In particular, we recommend the course K505 "Introduction to Special Education" an ideal overview of the field for non-special education majors, as well as for students from outside the field of education who are interested in disabilities and education. Other courses also can be taken as electives - in particular, survey courses such as K520 "Survey of Behavior Disorders" (which often is of interest to students from other fields such as developmental psychology). K533 "Classroom Management" is a popular elective for general education teachers who want to improve their skills in this area; as is K522 "Teaching Social Competence".

Most courses require prerequisites, but some do not. Typically, K505 Introduction to Exceptional Children (if undergraduate introductory course was not taken) needs to be taken first as it provides an overall view of the field and is the foundation of the program. You can check with graduate advising for special education, or with the course instructor, for further information.

Often letters that are less than a year old can be used to support a new application. Note that you are encouraged to submit letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your potential in the program to which you are applying.

No. You do not need to apply to take a course as an elective. However, an application is required for admission to all special education programs, including Graduate Certification and the MS degree. Also note that Graduate Certification and the MS degree each require separate admission procedures.

If your final, cumulative undergraduate GPA was 3.0 or higher, the GRE for special education master's applicants may be automatically waived. However, if your undergraduate GPA was below 3.0, you will have to take the GRE for admission. (Note that your graduate GPA is irrelevant for purposes of waiving the GRE requirement.) For MS degree applicants, a GRE of 900 (combined verbal & quantitative) and a 3.5 on analytical writing are the minimum required scores.

No. Though there is much overlap, they are separate programs with separate admissions and requirements for completion. Students can apply to both programs at the same time, but need to complete the separate application process. Please note that being admitted to either program does NOT include admission to the other program.

The POS is a formal document that lists the classes needed to complete a particular program. There are separate POS forms for the MS degree, for certification, and for the PhD degree. These forms are available through the School of Education’s graduate student portal. If students are completing both the MS degree and certification, then they will need to maintain an up-to-date POS for both programs.

The graduate advisor for special education can help with developing a POS for the certification program. This program requires the completion of a set of courses that leads to state licensure in mild interventions. During the last year of your program, you will submit your POS to the graduate office to be processed for licensure.

Some course work can be transferred in from other accredited universities. For the MS Degree in Special Education, up to 9 credits can be transferred upon approval of the special education advisor and the Graduate Office. Students will need to complete and submit the Transfer of Credits form and attach the course syllabus.

There are limits on the number of credit hours that can be used in an IU-Bloomington degree from the regional campuses. For the Master's Degree, a minimum of 27 hours must be from Indiana University and of those 27 hours, a minimum of 15 credit hours must be from the campus awarding the degree. Thus, if you want a MS degree from IUB, you must take at least 15 hours at IUB; the remaining 21 could be taken at any other campus and 9 of the remaining 21 could be transferred in from outside of IU. This of course, depends whether such courses fulfill specific program requirements, etc.

For a master's degree, classes used to complete the POS cannot be older than 7 years at the time of graduation. For certification, classes may be used up to 10 years; however, older classes will need to be reviewed by the program advisor to ensure that they are still relevant and additional requirements often are needed.

Yes. Both the MS degree and certification program in special education requrie the successful completion of an introductory course in special education as a prerequisite for each program. If you took such a class as an undergraduate, you can use it as a substitute.

This is the last course you should take in your program. However, often it is only offered once per year, so you may need to take it a little earlier; though still near the end of your coursework.

Students need to apply some months before they expect to graduate: October 15 for May, June, and August graduations; and March 15 for December graduation. While you can apply after these dates, you run the risk of not having your program approved and processed (this includes confirming that there is an approved POS on file, acceptance of transfer courses, etc.). The IU Bloomington Commencement site offers information about graduation. Once you go to the MS information, you will find the form to submit.

Yes. Many of the courses in the special education master's program can be used in a doctoral program. Students who think they may be interested in eventually pursuing a doctorate in special education are encouraged to discuss their interests with program faculty.

Yes. To become a secondary teacher, you will need to apply for the Community of Teachers program IN EXCEPTIONAL NEEDS.