M.S. Special Education Areas of Study

The WGU Master of Science in Special Education program content is based on research on effective instruction as well as national and state standards. It provides content and pedagogical knowledge related to preK–12 teaching. The Master of Science in Special Education program content and training processes are consistent with the accountability intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEIA) of 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) of 2001. The Master of Science in Special Education program includes appropriate and rigorous subject-matter preparation and research-based pedagogical course preparation.

Special Education

Introduction to Special Education, Law and Legal Issues, Policies and Procedures
Introduction to Special Education, Law and Legal Issues introduces the history and nature of special education and how it relates to general education, as well as specific legal acts and concepts governing it. Topics include history of special education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, FAPE (free, appropriate public education), and least restrictive environments.

Psychoeducational Assessment Practices and IEP Development and Implementation
Psychoeducational Assessment Practices and IEP Development/Implementation prepares students to apply knowledge the IEP as they work with students who have mild to moderate disabilities in a wide variety of possible situations, all with an emphasis on cross-categorical inclusion. It helps students gain fluency in their understanding of the 13 disability categories, assessment, curriculum, and instruction.

Behavioral Management and Intervention
Behavioral Management and Intervention explores the challenges of working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and helps students learn about theories, interventions, practices, and assessments that can influence these children's opportunities for success. It further helps students better be able to make decisions about how to strategize behavior adjustments for individual students.

Instructional Models and Design, Supervision and Culturally Responsive Teaching
Instructional Models and Design, Supervision and Culturally Response Teaching helps students understand the role of special education in the development of instruction, why this field exists separate from and in conjunction with general education, where it is going, and how they can help coordinate inclusion for students. Students will gain expertise in developing instructional, curricular, and environmental interventions based on assessment data and student need.

Instructional Design

Foundations of Instructional Design
Foundations of Instructional Design focuses on using learning theory research-based instructional strategies to improve learning outcomes, adapting the learning environment to the individual learners, and creatively using technology as a mind tool to help students think more effectively.

Issues in Instructional Design
Issues in Instructional Design focuses on learning theories, learner analysis, scope and sequence, instructional strategies, task analysis and design theories, media and technology foundations, and adaptive technologies for special populations for creating effective, well-articulated, and efficient instruction.

Instructional Design Production
Instructional Design Production focuses on the application of a systematic process of instructional design, namely the concepts and procedure for analyzing, designing, developing, and evaluating successful instruction.

Research Fundamentals

Research Foundations

Research Questions and Literature Review
The Research Questions and Literature Reviews for Educational Research course focuses on how to conduct a thorough literature review that addresses and identifies important educational research topics, problems, and questions, and helps determine the appropriate kind of research and data needed to answer one's research questions and hypotheses.

Research Design and Analysis
The Research Design and Analysis course focuses on applying strategies for effective design of empirical research studies. Particular emphasis is placed on selecting or constructing the design that will provide the most valid results, analyzing the kind of data that would be obtained, and making defensible interpretations and drawing appropriate conclusions based on the data.

Research Proposals
Research Proposals focuses on planning and writing a well-organized and complete research proposal. The relationship of the sections in a research proposal to the sections in a research report will be highlighted.