Peppered throughout the state of California are several schools offering special education graduate programs. No matter what part of the Golden State you reside in, there is a graduate degree program that suits your needs. Admission requirements are similar at each location, requiring you to send test scores and transcripts before you are accepted into the program.
California Schools Offering Graduate Programs in Special Education
California State University, Long Beach
CSU Long Beach is home to a Master of Science in Special Education program. With a total of 30 units required for graduation, you can expect to spend two years working on the degree. You can choose between traditional classes as well as hybrid courses, which are a mix of online and in-person attendance. Program requirements include a quantitative research methods course, a special education practicum, and a culminating seminar. You also have the option to complete a thesis as your final project.
California State University, Northridge
CSU Northridge's Master of Arts in Special Education program is designed to supplement two previously earned credentials: the Preliminary Education Specialist and Professional Level II Education Specialist. Thirty units have to be completed before graduation, which could include a comprehensive exam, final capstone project, or thesis. A 3.0 GPA has to be maintained throughout your work as a graduate student before you become eligible to complete one of these final requirements.
University of California, Riverside
At UC Riverside, the education Master of Arts program offers five different specialty areas. One of these choices is a special education and autism track. You can choose to enter the field with this master's degree or use your credits as a launching pad for the doctoral program. Some of the courses you will encounter as a student in this track could include behavioral phenotypes, developmental psychopathology, and reading development and intervention. Along with a research seminar, students choose from a thesis or comprehensive exam as their capstone project.
Loyola Marymount University
Attending LMU gives you the tools you need to earn more than just a master's degree. As part of the Master of Arts in Special Education program, you will also earn a California Preliminary Mild/Moderate Education Specialist title. Once enrolled in this program, you can earn a total of 36 credits. An extra three credits will be added to your program if you opt to complete a thesis. If you already have a career as an education specialist, you can also enter the program as an intern, where your schedule will be created around your existing work as an educator.
California State University, San Bernardino
CSU at San Bernardino grants a Master of Science in Special Education. Three concentration options are available: early childhood special education, mild to moderate disabilities, and moderate to severe disabilities. It is recommended for anyone entering this degree program to also enroll in the education specialist credential program. Courses in the MS degree can include methods in early childhood special education, critical issues in special education, and assessment methods in special education.
California Special Education Graduate Program Admissions Requirements
Typically, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is necessary to gain admission into a master's degree program in special education for California. You'll need a bachelor's degree, but it does not necessarily need to be in the education field. You'll need to submit your scores from the GRE or MAT, and you should aim to be in at least the 50th percentile on either test. Certain schools might need you to submit verification of a negative TB exam taken at least four years prior to your application. You should ask for two to three letters of recommendation from teachers familiar with your more advanced work. Certification or clearance to teach in a California public school could also be required for admission.
In California, special education master's degree programs are available with different specialization options. You have a bit of leeway with how to finish each program, so you can decide if you are more comfortable with a big exam or a thesis project.