Special Education

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Program Overview

The MA in Education with a concentration in Special Education program is housed under Education Leadership and Special Education (ELSE) Department.

The Master of Arts in Education (M.A.) with a concentration in Special Education provides advanced academic study for persons working with or on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Candidates for the degree must hold a valid teaching credential or request consent from the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education. Candidates must apply and be admitted both to the University and to the M.A. program to pursue this degree and may enter in fall or spring semesters.

Program Structure

Special Education Program Coursework (30-36 units) 

Special Education Concentration Courses (12 units)

  • EDSP 502 Advanced Pedagogy in Special Education (3 units)
  • EDSP 513 Current and Emerging Research and Practice in Special Education (3 units)
  • EDSP 515 Advanced Legal Issues in Special Education (3 units)
  • EDSP 590 Critical Issues in Special Education (3 units)

MA Core Courses (6 units)

  • EDUC 570: The Reflective Educator (3 units)
  • EDUC 571: Research Paradigms in Education (3 units)

Electives (6-15 units)

Candidates have the opportunity to seek breadth or depth in a related area of study through completion of elective courses. Elective coursework may be drawn from other graduate programs in the School of Education or from other departments at Sonoma State University, such as psychology, counseling, kinesiology, or others. These courses are selected with the advice and approval of the candidate’s M.A. advisor.

Pathway to Completion Courses ( 6-12 units)

Courses to be determined collaboratively with the student's Committee (see MA Handbook). 


Prior to beginning the MA program, students meet with the Special Education advisor to develop a preliminary plan for enrolling in courses. Each semester thereafter, students meet with their advisor to solidify this plan and to discuss their progress through the MA program.

Jennifer Mahdavi

Dr. Jennifer Mahdavi