MA, Special Education

Our MA in in Special Education prepares students for leadership roles in special education through a core curriculum and elective coursework in areas of specialization. This rigorous program is designed for candidates with experience in the field to ask questions about practices, policies, educational strategies or attitudes that can be answered by conducting a research project. Our program was also recently ranked #34 in Discover Early Childhood EDU's Top 64 Best Colleges with Early Childhood Education Master's Degrees.

Applicants to our MA and Credential programs can also apply to our Teacher Residency Program to complete an accelerated program and receive up to $10,000 in funding; and apply to become an Impact Residency Fellow, which provides up to $7500 in scholarship funding, mentorship and networking opportunities, and more.

Program Overview

  • Official Title: Master of Arts in Special Education
  • Format: Full-time or part-time
  • Units: 30 (MA only), 43-51 (MA and credential)
  • Start date: Summer, Fall, Spring.
  • Program length: 12- 18 months
  • Application deadline: April 1(Summer) July 1 (Fall) November 1 (Spring)

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

MA Program Only

  • Bachelors degree or equivalent - your undergraduate background does not have to be in a teacher prep or special education
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Obtain a Certificate of Clearance

MA and Education Specialist Credential

All of the requirements listed above, plus:

Curriculum and Roadmaps

Descriptions of the 30 units of core and research courses for the MA are available on the SJSU Catalog website. The State of California does not allow a person to teach in a public school with just a Master Degree of Arts. Prospective teachers must have completed a credential program in an area of interest to work in the public school setting.

Upcoming Information Sessions

Attend an upcoming information session to meet with faculty and staff from our department and gather answers to your questions about our academic programs, support services, and application timelines. Visit our Admissions webpage to view our upcoming information sessions and RSVP.

Steps to Apply

 Begin your Cal State Apply application

  • Visit to create your application profile and pay the $70.00 application fee.
  • Submit one officially sealed transcript from each college where you studied. If you completed your undergraduate at San Jose State University, you don't need to submit your that transcript. Send or deliver transcript(s) to:

Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations
San Jose State University 
One Washington Square 
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

If the college/university provides official electronic transcripts, the institution can email the transcripts to Questions pertaining to transcripts, GPA calculations, and application fees should be directed to


Complete the MA Requirements

  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or above (SJSU policy). Earn a B or above in every course (Department policy).
  • Meet regularly with your faculty advisor. Complete the Candidacy Form with your advisor after completion of EDSE 285.

  • Complete your Action Research Project.
  • Apply for graduation.

 Additional Resources

For information about financial aid opportunities, forms, and more, visit our Student Resources webpage.