Master of Arts in Special Education

Preliminary Special Education Credential and Autism Add on

NDNU’s Level I Education Specialist Credential in Special Education is designed to train teachers to alleviate the increasing shortage of special education teachers in the State of California.

NDNU’s Education Specialist Credential in Special Education and Master of Arts in Special Education programs prepare students to teach in special education settings in public and private schools. Mild/Moderate credential holders teach students in resource specialist programs, students in special day classes for learning disabilities and some full inclusion students. Moderate/Severe credential holders will be able to teach students in grades K-12 whose needs are more severe.  Students may pursue a special education credential whether or not they have a regular education credential.

See the NDNU General Catalog for course descriptions:


  • By taking additional coursework (which must include the capstone course), students may qualify for the master’s degree after earning 47 units. Many of these units are met by completing the preliminary credential.
  • As part of their credential program, it is sometimes possible for education specialist students to complete their fieldwork as a paid intern teacher. Prerequisite coursework and other state and NDNU requirements need to be met in order to secure a California University Internship Credential before beginning any internship in a public school.
  • Each course in the program meets once per week in the late afternoons and evenings. Summer courses meet two times per week.
  • A program plan is arranged for each student when he or she meets with the program director.

Autism Authorization Add-On

Notre Dame de Namur University offers an add-on teaching authorization for teaching students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This authorization can be added to an existing special education teaching credential to expand the scope of instruction for current teachers. It can also be added on to any base credential, whether it was obtained at NDNU or somewhere else. Additionally, there may be general education teachers or related service personnel who may choose to enroll in this course sequence to better their understanding of ASD.

Admission Requirements

Students may apply to enter the Master of Arts in Special Education and credential programs in the fall, spring, or summer semesters and should meet the following requirements:

  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, with one transcript showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S., or equivalent academic preparation outside of the U.S.
  • Two letters of recommendation, academic or professional
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better
  • In-person interview with NDNU Advisor in the Education Department


Stephen Lagos
Graduate Admissions Counselor 

Dr. Sungho Park
Program Director

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