Special Education M.S. Programs

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Main Office

Department of Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education
School of Education
Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall, Rm. 431
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/263.5970
Fax: 608/263.5970

Email: rpseinfo@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form

Special Education Master's Programs

M.S. - Special Education: Cross-Categorical Teacher Certification


The M.S. Special Education Teacher Certification program is an initial certification program preparing students to:

  • Serve as resources and advocates for persons with disabilities and their familiesStudents and Faculty at Graduation 2018
  • Work cooperatively in and outside schools to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families
  • Assume leadership to enhance the education of all students

The M.S. Special Education Teacher Certification program offers:

Special Education Video Photo 2014Course work and experiences in elementary and middle/high schools with students who have a wide range of abilities including students with significant disabilities.

A full-time, four-semester program combining education course work, practicum experiences and student teaching in local schools. 

Cross-categorical Special Education certification with emphases in intellectual and developmental  disabilities, learning disabilities, and emotional/behavioral disabilities. Graduates are eligible to apply for a cross-categorical Special Education license at the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence level (ages 6-12/13), and also at the Early Adolescence through Adolescence level (ages 10-21).

These certifications correspond to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction license numbers 801 (code 72), and 801 (code 73). 

M.S. Special Education Teacher Certification
Degree Requirements and Program Planning Information

Special Education Master's Students Grants and Funding Options

Application Information 

iStock_teacherstudentmapM.S. - Special Education: General Master's Program

The general master’s degree program is flexible and individualized to meet the needs of each student. Programs can provide:
  • Advanced study in areas of special education for students who are already certified to teach.
  • Predoctoral study consisting of clinical and academic coursework.
Together, the student and a faculty advisor design a master’s program based on the student’s previous education, experience and interests. Completion of the degree requires a minimum of 30 graduate degree credits to include a research seminar course (RPSE 700) and additional course work determined in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students completing this degree program are also required to complete a project and/or thesis and must pass a culminating master's comprehensive examination.



New program beginning fall 2015!

The Ph.D. degree is a research-based program preparing leaders in the field of Special Education to bring systemic change to educational and community settings in ways that improve access and equity for children and youth with disabilities and their families. The program prepares graduates to address pressing issues in the field including:

  • Increasing equity across diverse groups of students
  • Improving postschool outcomes for individuals with disabilities
  • Enhancing teacher efficacy in secondary education methodologies with students with disabilities

Faculty research interests reflect a focus on research methods, adolescence, transitional and vocational education, and diversity and equity issues in the field of Special Education. The program focuses on developing outstanding researchers and leaders who will contribute to creating, integrating and disseminating new knowledge related to the education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

Program Faculty

Doctoral Handbook

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