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Requirements for the M.A. and C.A.S.

The M.A. and C.A.S. programs in special education are individually planned according to each candidate's needs, interests, and background. The M.A. and the C.A.S. each require completion of a minimum of 30 credits.

Once a sequence of study is identified, the following are the requirements for the M.A. and C.A.S.:

Program for Master of Arts for those holding an Initial Certificate (30 credits)

  1. CN 433 Multicultural Issues in Counseling (or an equivalent course)
  2. SE Electives (27 credits in 400-level courses in special education - determined in consultation with the candidate's advisor)
  3. SE 99: Comprehensive Examination (no credit)

Program for Certificate of Advanced Study for those holding a Master of Arts in Special Education (30 credits)

  1. PY 534: Theories of Learning
  2. SE Electives (27 credits in 500-level courses in special education - determined in consultation with the candidate's advisor)

Certification Requirements

The certification program in comprehensive special education at Fairfield University is sequentially organized across categories, providing participants with a frame of reference for evaluating the learning strengths and weaknesses of each child and, therefore, a basis from which to derive a prescriptive curriculum for the student with disabilities. The planned professional comprehensive program in special education is presented according to the format of Connecticut certification law and includes courses in the following areas:

  1. Psychoeducational theory and development of children with disabilities
    Developmental growth from infancy to adulthood is a baseline against which children with disabilities are viewed. Various theories pertaining to areas of disability are also presented and explored.
  2. Diagnosis of children and youth with disabilities
    Graduate candidates possessing developmental information and theoretical foundations can view each child with a disability against this background and thereby assess developmental strengths and weaknesses, and identify disabling conditions.
  3. Program planning and education of children and youth with disabilities
    Courses survey, analyze, and evaluate programs available for children with disabilities. Theory, development, diagnostic procedures, curricula, and methods are used as the baseline for comparison and for the development of individualized education plans designed to meet each student's needs.
  4. Curriculum and methods of teaching children and youth with disabilities
    The teaching process, although based upon sound diagnosis and expert knowledge of developmental sequences of education, must deal with each child's unique ways of functioning. The teacher cannot proceed without knowledge of the child's style of learning, tolerance for anxiety, attention, pace of cognitive processing, capacity for organization, and capability for developing appropriate relationships. Opportunity is provided within the special education program for future professional educators to be exposed to such variables. The future professional educator is expected to learn to observe children, to understand them, and to modify programs and plans to address the variables, as well as be able to shift gears, shift areas, and use several alternative approaches to achieve the same end goal.
  5. Practica or Student Teaching in Special Education
    The practica or student teaching experiences are designed to provide opportunities for the graduate candidate to engage in professional practice as a special education teacher under the supervision of University, school, and educational agency personnel. The experience offers the graduate candidate exposure in various settings to observe, evaluate, plan, instruct, and interact with pupils having special learning needs and challenging behaviors. Requirements are detailed in the Special Education Program Student Teaching Handbook. Placements are coordinated through the director of student teaching placements. An application for student teaching must be submitted to the director of student teaching placements in the semester prior to beginning the first practicum or beginning student teaching. Candidates work with a minimum of two different exceptionality categories and may have experiences at two different grade levels.
  6. Course plans and institutional endorsement
    Special education course planning is in concert with the candidate's advisor.

The certification regulations in effect at the time of application for Connecticut certification must be met for the University to issue an institutional endorsement.

Initial Educator Certification Sequence of Courses

The following list of courses is designed to reflect the current plan of study required for Connecticut certification as an initial educator in comprehensive special education (48 credits). To be considered for an initial certificate and/or to receive an institutional endorsement from the Connecticut Department of Education, a candidate must successfully complete all coursework in the planned program, pass all PRAXIS assessments required by the state for the intended certification, and pass the program's Comprehensive Examination in Special Education. The program for those seeking an initial certificate in special education is designed so that candidates first earn a Master of Arts degree (30 credits in 400-level courses). During the final semester of the M.A. degree program, candidates complete an abbreviated application to the C.A.S. program. Faculty then determine whether candidates are academically and dispositionally eligible to pursue the initial certificate and the C.A.S. The first 18 credits of the C.A.S. program may be taken in such a way to fulfill requirements for initial certification. Candidates who complete the requirements for initial certification prior to completing all requirements for the C.A.S. may request an endorsement for certification prior to fulfilling the balance of the C.A.S. degree requirements.

Program for Master of Arts (30 credits)

CN 433 Multicultural Issues in Counseling
MD 400 Introduction to Educational Technology
SE 403 Psychoeducational Issues in Special Education
SE 411 Introduction to Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
SE 413 Theories of and Introduction to Learning Disabilities
SE 417 Introduction to Children and Youth with Emotional Disturbances
SE 429 Developmental and Remedial Reading and Language Arts
SE 432 Management Techniques in Special Education
SE 436 Administration of Educational Tests
SE 441 Parents and Families of Individuals with Disabilities
SE 99 Comprehensive examination (no credits)

Program for C.A.S. Degree with Initial Certification (18 credits to complete initial certification sequence and an additional 12 credits to complete the C.A.S. degree)

SE 534 Skill Development for Individualized Education Plans
SE 537 Curriculum and Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities
SE 550 Collaboration and Consultation for the Special Educator
SE 561 Diagnostic Procedures in Special Education of Youth with Disabilities
SE 593 Student Teaching in Special Education (6 credits)

(Candidates are eligible to request an endorsement for initial certification after successfully completing the above courses.)

PY 534 Theories of Learning

SE Electives (9 credits: may be from other departments - determined in consultation with candidate's advisor)

Cross-Endorsement Certification in Special Education

Cross endorsement in special education is 30 credits and is in alignment with the state of CT guidelines in that courses in each of the following content areas specified under the current Connecticut state cross-endorsement regulations must be taken. A review of candidates' transcripts and individual advisement will determine course selection in each of the content areas. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are likely requirements, unless the candidate has taken a similar course as part of their initial certification or degree. Candidates will have a minimum of one course in each area. The following are the areas of required content concentration and course options within each area. Each course is three credits.

Psychoeducational Theory and Development of Handicapped Children

SE 411 Introduction to Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
SE 413 Theories of and Introduction to Learning Disabilities
SE 417 Introduction to Children and Youth with Emotional Disturbances

Diagnosis of Handicapped Children

SE 561 Diagnostic Procedures in Special Education

Program Planning and Evaluation of Handicapped Children

SE 534 Skill Development for Individual Education Plans

Curriculum and Methods of Teaching Handicapped Children

SE 537 Curriculum & Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Two or More Practica in Special Education

SE 591 Practica in Special Education
SE 592 Practica in Special Education

Electives

SE 403 Psychoeducational Issues in Special Education
SE 429 Developmental and Remedial Reading and Language Arts
SE 432 Management Techniques in Special Education
SE 436 Administration of Educational Tests
SE 441 Parents and Families of Individuals with Disabilities
SE 550 Collaboration and Consultation for the Special Educator

The MA degree with cross-endorsement requires the following courses in addition to those listed above: CN 433 (or its equivalent), PY 534, SE 599, and SE 99.