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.

Our Fall 2021 application cycle for our special education credential programs and MA program has now been extended to Thursday, July 1. The next 10 applicants who are admitted will receive a $1000 scholarship.

Applicants to our credential programs can also request fee waiver codes while supplies last; 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 San José 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: Fall
  • Program length: 4 semesters (fall, spring, fall, spring)
  • Application deadline: June 1, 2021

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

MA Program Only

MA and Education Specialist Credential

All of the requirements listed above, plus:

Curriculum and Roadmaps

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

You must successfully complete all of the steps below for SJSU and our Special Education Department to review your application.

Step 1 | Begin your Cal State Apply application

  • Visit to create your application profile and pay the $70.00 application fee.
  • Submit one officially sealed trancript 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

Step 2 | Apply to the Department of Special Education

San Jose State University 
Department of Special Education 
One Washington Square, SH 204 
San Jose, CA 95192-0078

MA Writing Assessment:

During the assessment, you will be given a scholarly article related to an aspect of Special Education. Your task is to read and summarize the given article into two (2) pages.

You are allowed to bring a pen/pencil, highlighter, and a paper dictionary. Nothing else is permitted. Anyone found using any other resources, including the internet, will automatically be disqualified from the writing assessment. 

To be prepared for the exam:

  • Please bring your Tower ID Card (or any other valid form of identification for non-SJSU students).
  • Plan accordingly to arrive on time. Anyone arriving late will forfeit their seat for the exam.

Upcoming Writing Assessment Dates

  • Friday, January 29, 2021, 2:00-4:45pm
  • Friday, Feburary 26, 2021, 2:00-4:45pm
  • Friday, March 19, 2021, 2:00-4:45pm
  • Friday, April 30, 2021, 2:00-4:45pm
  • Friday, May 21, 2021, 2:00-4:45pm 

 Register for our MA Writing Assessment

Complete the MA Requirements

  • Complete 30 units (6 core credential courses, 4 research courses) that provide instruction in designing a research project, language class, getting university approval to conduct research (IRB Proposal), writing a literature review to identify any related studies that support the study and summarizing research results.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or above (SJSU policy). Earn a B or above in every course (Department policy).
  • Complete your Masters Thesis Project.
  • Apply for graduation.

Additional Resources

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