About

Do you feel called to teach? Do you seek a fulfilling career you are excited about, a career through which you make a real difference in the lives of people with special needs?

The special education program at East Carolina offers a rich combination of mentoring and course work coupled with extensive field-based practices to further your knowledge and skills to teach students with special learning needs. The MAEd program in special education is the only totally online accredited program in the state. It is designed for you to take graduate courses part-time while continuing to work in your local community. The part-time program generally takes two years to complete, but you do have the option of full-time graduate studies.

All MAEd students are required to complete a series of core courses, followed by additional course work provided in your choice of four categorical areas: intellectual disabilities (ID), learning disabilities (LD), behavioral/emotional disabilities (BED), and low-incidence disabilities (LID).

Throughout this program, you will become a savvy consumer of education research in your licensure area and well poised to select and use evidence-based practices to further learning of your students. During your capstone action research or thesis research experience, you will extend your knowledge of assessment, technology, and culturally responsive teaching.

ECU Advantage

Candidates in the program participate in a two-semester in-depth case study project that incorporates knowledge and history of the field, student characteristics and learning needs, and educational programs with application of current research-based models, interventions, and strategies in a classroom setting. To complete this project, candidates work with one student with learning disabilities, teachers, other service providers, and families to plan and implement an evidence-based intervention to improve academic skills. Technologies such as video-recorded teaching demonstrations and teleconferencing are used to share information and provide feedback to candidates.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Sandra Warren (107-A Rivers Building; 252-328-2699; warrens@ecu.edu)

Master of arts in education (MAEd) degree programs range from a minimum of 36-39 semester hours, depending on the teaching field. All MAEd degree programs require completion of course work in the following competency areas: research, trends, and issues in education; the diverse learner; and, effective communication and leadership. The program is designed so that students and advisors have options in completing these competencies. Additional courses may be added to the following list of core courses as they are approved.

All MAEd teaching degree programs require completion of a final product. Depending on the teaching area selected, the final product may be in the form of a comprehensive examination (written or oral), a thesis, a research project, or a portfolio. See the description of teaching area specific courses (below) for information about how the final product requirement is satisfied in each teaching area.

A student may seek acceptance into the College of Education and one of several teaching areas offered in the MAEd. Minimum requirements for admission to the College of Education's MAEd program include the following:

All MAEd applicants (except those applying to the adult education MAEd program) must currently hold or be eligible for an initial teaching license. Entrance into an MAEd teaching area other than that of the initial licensure area may require prerequisite courses and a passing score on the area specialty PRAXIS exam for licensure. Overall GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale on all undergraduate work from an institution accredited by a regional association. Satisfactory entrance examination scores on either the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test. This must be completed prior to admission or completion of 9 s.h. of graduate credit. A completed Graduate School application packet, including the written statement of purpose, a copy of the initial teaching license, and three letters of recommendation from persons who can attest to the applicant's academic competence or ability to do graduate work.

Upon acceptance into a teaching area, the student is assigned an advisor.

Required core courses - 9-12 s.h.
    Research, trends, and issues competency area - 3 s.h.
    • EDUC 6480 - Introduction to Research or
    • EDUC 6482 - Trends and Issues in Educational Research for Practitioners or
    • SCIE 6500 - Understanding and Engaging in Educational Research
    Diverse learner competency area - 3-6 s.h.
    • EDUC 6001 - Introduction to Differences in Human Learning in Schools
    • SPED 6002 - Addressing Differences in Human Learning in Schools *
    • Note:

      *Not required in SPED teaching area.

      Effective communication and leadership competency area - 3 s.h.
      • ADED 6550 - Leadership and Communication Skills in Education or
      • ELEM 6550 - Leadership and Communication Skills in Education or
      • LEED 6000 - Leadership and Communication
    Special education - 30 s.h.
    • SPED 6010 - Issues, Trends, and Law in Special Education
    • SPED 6011 - Integrating Technology into Special Education
    • SPED 6012 - Assessment in Special Education
    • SPED 6014 - Positive Behavior Intervention and Support
    • SPED 6015 - Facilitating Systems Change Through Collaboration and Co-Teaching
    • Choose 15 s.h. from one concentration area as follows:
        Behavioral/emotional disabilities:
        • SPED 6023 - Instructing Students with Behavioral/Emotional Disorders
        • SPED 6027 - Curriculum Development and Program Planning for Students with Behavior Disabilities
        • SPED 6994 - Research Review and Planning in Special Education
        • space
        • SPED 7000 - Thesis in Special Education or
        • SPED 7002 - Action Research Project in Special Education
        • space
        • approved electives
        Intellectual disabilities:
        • SPED 6020 - Curriculum Development and Program Planning in Special Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
        • SPED 6021 - Instructing Students with Intellectual Disabilities
        • SPED 6994 - Research Review and Planning in Special Education

        • SPED 7000 - Thesis in Special Education or
        • SPED 7002 - Action Research Project in Special Education

        • Approved SPED electives
        Learning disabilities:
        • SPED 6022 - Instructing Students with Learning Disabilities
        • SPED 6025 - Curriculum Development and Program Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities
        • SPED 6994 - Research Review and Planning in Special Education
        • space
        • SPED 7000 - Thesis in Special Education or
        • SPED 7002 - Action Research Project in Special Education
        • space
        • approved electives
        Low incidence disabilities
        • SPED 6030 - Curriculum Development and Program Planning in Special Education for Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities
        • SPED 6031 - Instructing Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities
        • SPED 6994 - Research Review and Planning in Special Education
        • space
        • SPED 7000 - Thesis in Special Education or
        • SPED 7002 - Action Research Project in Special Education
        • space
        • approved electives
    Electronic portfolio requirement:

    Demonstration of field-based master teaching, research, collaboration, and leadership skills developed throughout the SPED MAEd program

      Final product requirement:

      Completion of a thesis (SPED 7000) or a field-based project (SPED 7002); both require a presentation to faculty and students

        For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

        Careers With This Degree

        Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

        • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Dis
        • Special Education Teachers, Preschool, K and Elementary
        • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Dis

        Career Opportunities

        ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

        NC Tower

        This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

        • Self-employed;
        • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
        • Work outside of North Carolina.

        US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

        This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

        Degree-specific internships

        For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.

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