Master of Education - Exceptional Student Services and Instruction (Special Education)

Master's Degree Program - 36-39 Credit Hours
online

This online program is intended to advance the skills of practicing special education professionals. Students combine science, theory, and hands-on field and classroom experience while building a professional network of their own. Our teacher mentors have the real-life experience necessary to provide the knowledge required in Iowa classrooms today.

Program Description:

BVU’s two-year master’s degree program can be accomplished alongside your current teaching career. The master’s program provides the knowledge and strategies to put learning into practice in the classroom right away. Students also have to ability to choose from four master’s degree tracks in special education:

  • Mild to moderate disabilities K-8 or 5-12
  • Severe and profound cognitive disabilities
  • Severe and profound learning and behavioral disabilities
  • Comprehensive track (includes all four endorsements)

Many students also add one of the following endorsements to their master’s degree:

  • Strategist I- Mild to moderate disabilities K-8 and 5-12: Teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in resource, inclusion, pull-out, and push-in models with students having exceptionalities in the area of mild to moderate disabilities.
  • Strategist II:
    • Option 1: Cognitive: Teach students with severe and profound cognitive or physical disabilities in grades K-12.
    • Option 2: Behavior/learning: Teach students with severe and profound behavior or learning disabilities in grades K-12.
  • Online

Master of Education in Special Education Core

  • GEDU 510 Intro to Graduate Study & Research (required first course)
  • GEDU 512 Learning, Development & Motivation
  • GEDU 517 Social and Cultural Foundations of Education

Mild to Moderate Disabilities K-8 Track (27 credit hours)

  • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 529 Self-Determination and Person-Centered Planning
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 690 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Mild/Moderate - (K-8) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

Mild to Moderate Disabilities 5-12 Track (27 credit hours)

  • ESSI Distributed experiences across K-12 settings through course field experience as well as through taking either ESSI 690, ESSI 691, or GECI 584
  • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 691 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Mild/Moderate - (5-12) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

Significant Support Needs - Cognitive Track (30 credit hours)

  • ESSI 502 Introduction to Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 606 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 692 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Significant Support Needs - Cognitive (k-12) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

Significant Support Needs - Behavior Track (30 credit hours)

  • ESSI 503 Introduction to Learners with Significant Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 607 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 693 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Significant Support Needs - Learning/Behavior (k-12) -or- GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

Comprehensive Track (endorsement in all categories across all grade levels) (41 credit hours)

  • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • ESSI 502 Introduction to Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 503 Introduction to Learners with Significant Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 606 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 607 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 694 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Elementary ESSI
  • ESSI 695 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Secondary ESSI

Master of Education - Special Education Plus One Option

The "Plus One Master's Degree Option" in Special Education is great way for current BVU students to get earn their master's degree in less time. 

During Junior and Senior Undergrad Years

  • Complete 9 credit hours of introductory level special education coursework
  • 9 hours of introduction to graduate studies

During an additional year

  •  Complete a track in the BVU's Master of Education - Exceptional Student Services and Instruction (Special Education) program

Eligibility and Requirements

All potential students must apply directly to and be accepted into the program prior to enrolling. Students seeking enrollment in the Plus One option of the Master of Education in Special Education must fulfill the following minimal requirements:

  • Prospective students who are within 36 hours of completing a Baccalaureate degree at Buena Vista University, in a field leading to teaching licensure, may seek early admission in the Plus One program which allows students to apply up to 9 credits earned while still an undergraduate to the Master of Education in Special Education degree, as well as 6-9 hours of early graduate core work prior to achieving an undergraduate degree. If accepted, the three undergraduate courses are awarded as transfer credit toward the degree completion requirements for graduate credit upon submission of graduate portfolio demonstrations defined in graduate course syllabi. See Transfer of Undergraduate Credits for coursework eligible for transfer.
  • The student must possess a 2.75 GPA in his/her undergraduate major coursework to be granted permission to take the graduate level courses while yet an undergraduate. Such early admission is provisional.
  • Submit official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning previously attended.
  • Complete a graduate application form, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic personnel equipped to speak to the candidate’s preparation for graduate study.
  • Submit an essay concerning applicant’s personal and professional directions related to education.
  • Have access to minimum technology requirements
  • Be accepted. Students will be notified in writing of the decision by the Director of the Master of Education program.
  • Complete the transfer of undergraduate credits contract acknowledging the requirement to submit graduate portfolio items before transfer credit is awarded on the graduate transcript.

A master's degree is becoming increasingly valuable when it comes to advancing your career. If you know you want to pursue an advanced degree, BVU’s unique +1 programs in special education or organizational leadership give you the chance to seamlessly earn a master’s within just one year of completing undergraduate coursework. Increase your career opportunities while saving both time and tuition expenses with BVU’s’ high-quality, affordable +1 programs.

Mild to Moderate Track
View Track Courses

Mild to Moderate Disabilities K-8 Track (27 credit hours)

  • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 529 Self-Determination and Person-Centered Planning
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 690 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Mild/Moderate - (K-8) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

Mild to Moderate Disabilities 5-12 Track (27 credit hours)

  • ESSI Distributed experiences across K-12 settings through course field experience as well as through taking either ESSI 690, ESSI 691, or GECI 584
  • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 691 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Mild/Moderate - (5-12) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education
Significant Support Needs Behavior Track
View Track Courses

Significant Support Needs - Behavior Track (30 credit hours)

  • ESSI 503 Introduction to Learners with Significant Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 607 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 693 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Significant Support Needs - Learning/Behavior (k-12) -or- GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education
Significant Support Needs Cognitive Track
View Track Courses

Significant Support Needs - Cognitive Track (30 credit hours)

  • ESSI 502 Introduction to Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 606 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 692 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Significant Support Needs - Cognitive (k-12) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education
Comprehensive Track
View Track Courses

Comprehensive Track (endorsement in all categories across all grade levels) (41 credit hours)

  • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • ESSI 502 Introduction to Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 503 Introduction to Learners with Significant Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 606 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 607 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • ESSI 694 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Elementary ESSI
  • ESSI 695 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Secondary ESSI
Admissions criteria for the Master of Education - Exceptional Student Services and Instruction (Special Education) program
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum undergraduate college GPA of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).
    Applicants who cannot meet this requirement may be considered for probationary admission status and may enroll in up to nine hours of graduate study at BVU. These applicants will be reviewed at that time and pending successful completion of these nine hours (at least a "B" in each course), may be granted full status.
  • Copy of a valid K-12 teaching certificate or license.
Admissions process for the Master of Education - Exceptional Student Services and Instruction (Special Education) program
  1. Submission of the online application form, including autobiographical essay.
    Apply
  2. Three letters of recommendation. One from your principal, one from a colleague, and another from a reference of your choosing.
  3. Official paper transcripts, from any institution attended as well as any graduate transcripts, sent directly to:

    Graduate Programs
    Buena Vista University
    610 W. 4th Street
    Storm Lake, IA 50588
  4. Provide a copy of a valid K-12 teaching certificate or license.
Please contact the Graduate office at 712.749.2162 or grad@bvu.edu with any questions.

Tuition & Fees

BVU offers a quality, affordable education, and our financial specialists are here to help as you navigate the costs of your educational investment so you can move forward with your career.

Financial Aid

BVU's Institution code: 001847

Don't miss the opportunity for financial aid. Fill out the FAFSA at fafsa.gov and use BVU's institution code.

The G.I. Bill & Yellow Ribbon Program

All Buena Vista University programs are approved for the G.I. Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program.

Federal Teach Grant

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides up to $4,000 per year in grants for graduate and undergraduate students who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families. Students must meet all eligibility requirements.

Get full details on the TEACH Grant and learn how to apply

Technology Requirements for Online Courses

  • Operating System: Windows Vista, 7 or 8. Or Macintosh OS X with RAM at or above OS recommendations
  • Processor: A PC with a Pentium IV or newer, or a Macintosh with a G3 or newer
  • Internet Connection: DSL or cable modem (high speed internet) Dial-up will not be sufficient.
  • Browser: Internet Explorer 7+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari, Chrome.
  • Software: A current installation of Java (Java.com). Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are required, (Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007, 2010 on Windows or Microsoft Office 2001, 2004, 2008, or 2011 for the Macintosh). Newer versions are recommended (Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 on Windows or Microsoft Office 2008, or 2011 for the Macintosh).

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