Department of Exceptional Student Education

Master’s Degree Program in Exceptional Student Education (M.Ed.)

The Department of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) offers the Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education. Students choose one of the following areas of concentration:

*Students who do not currently hold an undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education must complete the Instructional Practices concentration area.

Students who do not currently hold an undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education and have interest in any of the other concentration areas, may add the the courses for that certification area to the required Instructional Practices concentration area in their Master’s Degree program.

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ESE Master’s Program Overview:

The Department of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) offers a Master of Education program with several areas of concentration from which students choose. The program prepares students to work with individuals with various disabilities; it is appropriate for individuals who wish to earn a master’s degree while expanding their knowledge of the field of special education.  Students register for a number of common courses covering topics designed to broaden teachers’ knowledge of ESE strategies and promote professional development.

Students also select an area of concentration in which they can pursue more detailed/specific preparation or if they currently hold initial State of Florida Teacher Certification, to pursue an additional endorsement area (e.g., the Pre-Kindergarten Disability or Gifted Education Endorsement). Students culminate their degree program by working with a faculty member to design and conduct a field project, a Master’s thesis, or an Internship experience. The Master’s degree in Exceptional Student Education is a 36 credit hour (minimum) program including College and Department Core, plus their option for a concentration area.

This Master’s degree program does not lead to initial teacher certification; students may work with their advisor to devise a plan to obtain initial teacher certification.

Master’s degree program is may be completed with a combination of courses offered via traditional, online, distance, and fast-track delivery methods.

Admissions Requirements for ESE Master’s Program:

Applicants to the Department of Exceptional Student Education are required to follow the University’s procedures for graduate admission.

Admission to the ESE Master’s Degree program requires acceptable scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogy Test (MAT), along with a GPA of 3.0 during the last 60 credit hours of university coursework. Acceptable scores for the GRE means a Scaled Score of at least 144 on the Verbal Reasoning portion of the exam, and 142 on the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the exam. For applicants using the MAT, an acceptable score is a score in the 50th percentile for intended Education majors. The Department will not accept GRE and MAT scores older than 8 years. (GRE scores taken prior to 2011 are reported and reviewed based on the previous scoring format.)

Course Requirements for ESE Master’s Program:

Students completing a master’s degree in Exceptional Student Education must complete coursework constituting the:

  1. College of Education Core Courses,
    • EDF 6481: Educational Research (3)
    • STA 6113: Educational Statistics (3)
  2. Exceptional Student Education Department Core Courses, and
    • EEX 6259: Cognitive and Metacognitive Learning Strategies (3)
    • EEX 5622: Collaboration & Consultation Skills (3)
    • EEX 6065: Transition Planning for Individuals with Disabilities (3)
    • EEX 6027: Seminar in Special Education (3)
    • EEX 6971: Thesis (3) or
    • EEX 6942: Field Project (3) or
    • EEX 6683: Graduate Internship (3) (6 credits for Instructional Practices concentration)
  3. Concentration Area Courses

Areas of concentration:

*Master’s Concentration in Instructional Practices in ESE

Students who do not hold an undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education must complete the Instructional Practices concentration area.
Many students in this track are able to teach in their own classroom or at their own school if the placement provides them direct teaching responsibility for students with disabilities. This course work will provide students with the skills and knowledge to become an effective teacher and to pass the certification test for ESE from the Florida Department of Education. Students in this area of concentration complete the degree with a graduate internship (6 credit hours in one semester) that requires them to be placed in a public school classroom and teaching student with disabilities.

Course Requirements for Concentration in Instructional Practices in ESE:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following courses:
Instructional Practices in ESE

  • EEX 6225 (3) Assessment & Evaluation of Students w/ Disabilities
  • EEX 6121 (3) Language & Students w/ Disabilities
  • EEX 5612 (3) Applied Behavior Analysis
  • EEX 6247 (3) Designing Programs for Students in Special Education
  • EEX 5841 (1) Graduate Teaching Practicum in ESE
Accreditation Standards for Concentration in Instructional Practices in ESE:
  • CEC International Standards for Preparation and Certification of Special Education Teachers (CEC)
  • State of Florida Certification Standards for Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
  • Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (EAP)
  • Florida Subject Area Competencies ESOL (ESOL)

Master’s Concentration in Gifted Education

The 5 courses in this Concentration Area prepare graduates for professional roles as educators of gifted and talented students.  Graduates also are eligible for a teaching endorsement in Gifted Education from the Florida Department of Education.  The four courses with the EGI prefix are offered through the ESE Department in an online format. The fifth course (SDS 6426) is offered through the Department of Counselor Education in a mixed methods format, incorporating live sessions and online activities.

Course Requirements for Gifted Education:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following courses: Gifted Education

  • EGI 5302 (3) Theories & Characteristics of Gifted Learners
  • EGI 5246 (3) Educating Special Populations of Gifted Learners
  • EGI 5305 (3) Theory & Development of Creativity
  • EGI 6235 (3) Designing Programs for Gifted Learners (Prerequisite: EGI 5302 or EGI 5246)
  • SDS 6426 (3) Guidance & Counseling of Gifted Students
Accreditation Standards for Gifted Education:
  • National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
  • The Association for the Gifted of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC - TAG)
  • Florida Department of Education Frameworks for Gifted (Sunshine State Standards)

Master’s Concentration in Early Childhood

Students interested in specializing in the area of early childhood special education (ages 3-8) and/or early intervention (birth to age 2) are required to take 12-15 credit hours in this concentration area.   By completing this area of concentration, students are eligible for the State of Florida Pre-Kindergarten Disabilities Endorsement (Pre-K –grade 3) and/or the Department of Health Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) Certificate.

Course Requirements for Concentration in Early Childhood:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following five courses:
Early Childhood

  • EEX 5015 (3) Survey & Assessment in Early Childhood Special Education
  • EEX 5017 (3) Atypical Development Early Childhood ESE
  • EEX 5245 (3) Methods in Early Childhood Special Education
  • EEX 5755 (3) Family & Community Resources in Early Childhood Special Education
  • EEX 6707 (3) Early Intervention

Students who complete EEX 5015; EEX 5017; EEX 5245; and, EEX 5755; and who already have initial State of Florida Teacher Certification are eligible for the State of Florida Pre-Kindergarten Disabilities “add on” Endorsement (Pre-K –grade 3).

Students who complete EEX 5015; EEX 5017; EEX 5755; and, EEX 6707 are eligible for the Department of Health Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) Certificate.

Accreditation Standards for Concentration in Early Childhood:
  • State of Florida Prekindergarten/Primary Education (Age 3) Through Grade Three (3) Specialization Competencies (PK/P)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • Educator Accomplished Practices:  Florida Education Standards Commission (EAP)
  • NCATE Recommendations for Technology in Teacher Education (NCATE-tech)
  • Subject Matter Content Standards for Florida’s Teachers: ESOL = (ESOL)
  • Florida’s Early Intervention Professional Competencies (ITDS Appendix A)

Master’s Concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Students interested in Autism Spectrum Disorders take 12 credit hours in this concentration area. By completing this area of concentration, students are eligible for the State of Florida teaching endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorders. This endorsement may be added to an ESE teaching certificate as well as other teaching certifications.

Course Requirements for Concentration in Early Childhood:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following four courses:

  • EEX 6095: Nature and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • EEX 6602: Behavior Change and Management Strategies
  • EEX 6210: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Instructional Decision Making for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • EEX 6298: Intervention for Social, Communication, Academic and Functional Skills for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Accreditation Standards for ASD Endorsement:
  • CEC- Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD)
  • Florida Department of Education Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialization Competencies
  • Educator Accomplished Practices: Florida Education Standards Commission (EAP)
  • Subject Matter Content Standards for ’s Teachers: ESOL = (ESOL)

Master’s Concentration in Reading

This area of concentration area is designed to prepare teachers to address the specialized learning needs of students with disabilities in the content area of reading.

Course Requirements for Concentration in Reading:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following courses:

Reading
  • RED 6351 (3) Developmental Reading
  • RED 6548 (3) Remedial Reading
  • RED 6546 (3) Reading Diagnosis
  • RED 4335/6361 (3) Middle & Secondary School Reading
  • EEX 4250 (3) ESE Reading

Accreditation Standards for Concentration in Reading:

  • CEC International Standards for Preparation and Certification of Special Education Teachers (CEC)
  • State of Florida Certification Standards for Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
  • Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (EAP)
  • Florida Subject Area Competencies ESOL (ESOL)

Master’s Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has a long-standing history of solving problems of social and practical importance. Hallmarks of ABA include the design and implementation of assessment procedures and intervention strategies to teach new behavior that is socially valued, and replace behavior that is problematic for individuals and society. Behavior analysts fulfill a vital role in the community, and the demand for qualified and well-trained professionals is high. Board Certified Behavior Analysts are frequently employed to work or consult in schools, early intervention agencies, community and residential settings, and universities.

The ABA Program at Florida Atlantic University is housed in the Department of Exceptional Student Education. This course sequence is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®  (BACB®) and meets the coursework requirements to apply for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® Certification Examination. Additional requirements by the BACB®, include supervision, degree status, and examination, and can be found on their website at www.bacb.com.

Course Requirements for Concentration in ABA:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following courses:

Applied Behavior Analysis

  • EEX  5612 (3) Applied Behavior Analysis
  • EEX  5602 (3) Behavior Change & Management Strategies
  • EEX 6615 (3) Behavior Assessment & Intervention
  • EEX 6609 (3) Behavior Analytic Teaching
  • EEX  7618 (3) Advanced ABA

Master’s students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in special education may add the ABA certification area to the required Instructional Practices concentration area.

Accreditation Standards for Concentration in ABA:
  • State of Florida Certification Standards for Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
  • Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (EAP)
  • Behavior Analyst Task List-Third Edition (BACB)
  • Behavior Analyst Certification Board Guidelines for Responsible Conduct – August 2004 (BACB Guidelines)

Master’s Concentration in Professional Development

This area of concentration is specifically designed for those individuals who have an undergraduate degree in special education and wish to further their education and skills by earning a master’s degree. Student may take courses that are of interest to them professionally such as (EEX 6766) Assistive Technology for Educators or (EEX 6515) Special Education Policy and Leadership Issues. Students are also able to take Directed Independent Studies with faculty to pursue mutual research interests. In addition to the two listed below, three other courses for this area of concentration are selected jointly by the student and their faculty advisor.  This area of concentration culminates with a field project, a thesis, or a 3 credit graduate internship.

Course Requirements for Concentration in Professional Development:

In addition to the College of Education Core and Exceptional Student Education Department Core, students pursuing this concentration area must also take the following courses:

Professional Development

  • EEX 6766 (3) Assistive Technology for Educators
  • EEX 6515 (3) Special Education Policy & Leadership Issues
  • Other courses identified by the student and advisor (9 credits)

Accreditation Standards for Concentration in Professional Development:

  • CEC Knowledge and Skills for Beginning Special Education Administrators CEC International Standards for Preparation and Certification of Special Education Teachers (CEC)
  • State of Florida Certification Standards for Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
  • Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (EAP)
  • Florida Subject Area Competencies ESOL (ESOL)
Furthering your Education:

Students completing our Master’s Degree Program Education are eligible to apply for our Doctoral program or one of our additional certification/ endorsement areas.  Our Department offers an Ed.D. in ESE and we offer certifications/endorsements in Pre-Kindergarten Disabilities (Pre-K-grade 3), Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and Gifted Education.

Department Contact for Masters Programs:

Forms and Links for master’s degree page:

Updated September 24, 2013