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COEHD  Degree Information Sheet

M.A. in Special Education

Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching  |   Master's Degree

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Purpose of Program

The Master of Arts in Special Education is a practical, teacher-oriented program designed for general education teachers, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, behavior analysts, and other professionals seeking initial, additional, or advanced study in working with students with disabilities. Students acquire an understanding of learning theories, special education policies, research-validated instructional strategies, and behavior analytic practices needed to work with students with disabilities and their families.

Program Options

Students may choose a thesis (33 hours) or a non-thesis (36 hours) track in one of our three special education specialization options. 

  • General Special Education: This program option focuses on inclusive educational practices and emphasizes the skills and competencies necessary to prepare individuals to be educators and leaders in the field of special education.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis: This program option embeds the six courses of content area instruction required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) to meet the eligibility requirement for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. Additional requirements beyond the MA degree are necessary for students to sit for the BCBA exam, including 1500 hours of supervised field experience. Students interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) should consult with their faculty advisor regarding requirements.
  • Special Education Advocacy: This program option is designed to help those interested in better understanding special education law and its application, and to help future advocates--both parents and professionals--develop the skills to effectively facilitate the IEP process, reduce barriers between parents and schools to promote communication and negotiation, and to act ethically and responsibly for the benefit of the child with special needs.

All options require the following core courses:

  • C&I 5003   Theory of Curriculum and Instruction
  • EDU 5003   Research Methods
  • ILT 5003   Principles of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching

Depending on the pursued program option, students will work with their advisor to select courses from offerings such as:

  • SPE 5403   Survey of Special Education
  • SPE 5503   Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis
  • SPE 5513   Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities 
  • SPE 5613   Legal Issues in Special Education 
  • SPE 5633   Methods of Teaching Individuals with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 
  • SPE 6623   Seminar on Current and Critical Issues in Special Education

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program pursue careers serving children, youth, and adults with disabilities. Graduates can become teachers, supervisors, and administrators in public and private schools, service agencies, and therapy centers.

Job Outlook/Earnings

How much will you make? Will there be jobs when you graduate? How much will you owe after graduation?

Explore earnings, student debt, employment data and more for University of Texas System degree recipients working full-time in Texas. Listings sort by type of degree (graduate/undergraduate), major and individual degrees. (Click on Logo)

Admission Requirements

All applicants must meet UTSA Graduate School admission requirements and be in good standing with last institution attended. In addition, applicants must meet/fulfill the following departmental requirements or submissions:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited university with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in last 60 hours coursework 
  • Be in good standing with the last institution attended
  • Completion of 18 undergraduate credit hours in education or related field (including 12 upper-division level hours)**

** Applicants without adequate undergraduate hours in education may be required to complete background courses as a condition of admission. If assigned, these are required in addition to the minimum number of hours for the degree.

Freshmen | Freshmen (International) | Transfers | Transfer (International) | Re-Admission | Non-Degree Seeking

For assistance with Admission Requirements, or for further information, contact the program's Student Development Specialist (Listed Under Contacts)


Apply for graduate programs through the UTSA Graduate School

UTSA Graduate School

APPLY ONLINE Request Information
Send all USPS mail (transcripts, etc.) to:
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Attn: The Graduate School
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

Financial Aid & Scholarships

To apply for financial aid, complete the:

Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA)


UTSA Scholarships (Grad & Undergrad)

COEHD Scholarships (Grad & Undergrad)

External Scholarships (Grad & Undergrad)


Financial Aid Links

Writing Resources


For additional help in finding and applying for scholarships, please contact:

Coordinator of Undergraduate Student Services
Main Building 3.212
210-458-4021 voice
210-458-4487 fax

UTSA Graduate School

Send all USPS mail (transcripts, etc.) to:

The University of Texas at San Antonio
Attn: The Graduate School
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

College of Education and Human Development

Mailing Address:

The University of Texas at San Antonio
College of Education and Human Development
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249