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Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education: Learning Disabilities

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Complete the form below to learn more about American University’s Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education: Learning Disabilities program.

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The Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education: Learning Disabilities Program:

  • offers both full- and part-time in-person and online tracks to fit working and family schedules
  • prepares teachers to meet the specific needs of preschool, elementary, junior high, high school, and adult students at risk for or living with learning disabilities
  • teaches practical individualized training in diagnostic-prescriptive teaching within a solid theoretical framework of the Sally L. Smith Methodology, resulting in a 100% placement rate in grad school or the workforce
  • partnership with DC’s renowned Lab School of Washington for year-long student internships
  • NEW partnership with the Peace Corps
  • gives exposure to a wide variety of methods, materials, and program-specific academic skills through the arts: graphics arts, woodworking, music, dance, drama, puppetry, film making, and a unique feature called Academic Clubs as used at the Lab School of Washington
  • does not require previous teaching experience and prepares new teachers for DC, Maryland, and Virginia licensure with reciprocity in over 40 states

Degree Requirements

  • 30 credit hours of approved graduate work
  • Capstone experience
  • Specializations: Licensure or Non-Licensure
  • Option to waive credit hours: Students who are fulltime classroom teachers may be permitted to waive 3 credit hours of internship (EDU-792 Special Education: Learning Disabilities Student Teaching Seminar in Professional Practice (1-9)) without replacement. The waiving of credit hours and the specific number of credit hours to be waived are determined and approved by the program director upon admission to the program
  • Completion of Praxis Core or equivalency exam set by the District of Columbia, preferably by end of first semester in program; consult program office for exam information
  • Completion of Praxis Content Knowledge Exam prior to graduation

Option to waive credit hours: Students who are fulltime classroom teachers may be permitted to waive 3 credit hours of EDU-690 Independent Study Project in Education (1-6) without replacement. The waiving of credit hours and the specific number of credit hours to be waived are determined and approved by the program director upon admission to the program

Sample Programs of Study

Summer

EDU 606: Theories & Methods in Diagnostic and Prescriptive Math
EDU 607: Learning and the Brain
EDU 620: Theories of Educational Psychology and Human Development
EDU 643: Foundations of Special Education for Exceptional Children

*This summer session can be taken as the first semester with a summer start or as the third semester with a fall start.

Fall

EDU 645: Learning Disabilities I
EDU 654: Methods of Managing Pupils with Behavior Disorders
EDU 671: Foundations of Reading: Diagnosis and Remediation
EDU 792: In Service Training Project (1 credit)

Spring

EDU 605: Psycho-educational Assessment for Learning Disabilities
EDU 644: Language Development and Remediation
EDU 646: Learning Disabilities II
EDU 792: In Service Training Project (1 credit)

Fall

EDU 654: Methods of Managing Pupils with Behavior Disorders
EDU 665: Overview of All Exceptionalities: The Arts in Special Education

Spring

EDU 605: Psycho-educational Assessment for Learning Disabilities
EDU 644: Language Development and Remediation

Summer

EDU 606: Theories & Methods in Diagnostic and Prescriptive Math
EDU 607: Learning and the Brain
EDU 620: Theories of Educational Psychology and Human Development

Fall

EDU 645: Learning Disabilities I
EDU 671: Foundations of Reading: Diagnosis and Remediation
EDU 792: In Service Training Project (1 credit)

Spring

EDU 646: Learning Disabilities II
EDU 792: In Service Training Project (1 credit)

Key Dates & Deadlines

Entrance semesters are Fall and Summer.

Fall 2024
Priority Deadline
June 14, 2024
Final Deadline
July 19, 2024
Classes Start
August 26, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

Our graduates go on to work in many different settings related to the special education field including: public schools, private schools, independent schools, clinics, treatment centers, government, and research institutions and go on to doctoral programs as well as school, organizational, and government leadership. Hear from some of our alumni.

Full-time students can complete the program in as little as 1 year (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Full-time students typically take 3-4 courses per semester, plus the internship requirement. This means 12-15 credits per semester are completed on a full-time schedule.

Part-time students typically take 6 credits (2 courses) per semester to complete the program in 2 years (or 5 semesters).

Typically, graduate students are eligible for financial aid if enrolled at least part-time. Part-time status is defined as 5 credits for Fall, 5 credits for Spring, and 2 credits in the Summer semester.

Full-time work may be accommodated depending on the circumstances of the student. All MAT: SELD courses are offered from 5:30-8:00 PM.

Students who require student teaching credits complete a year-long placement at a partner school site. Students completing the program in one year typically start their student teaching placement during their first semester.

During the year that your student teaching placement occurs, you are in a classroom from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students may work part-time jobs in the afternoon between student teaching placement and class.

(Sept-June academic year of placement)

Praxis CORE (or equivalencies) is not required for admission.

All admitted students are required to take Praxis CORE (or equivalencies) by graduation with the strong recommendation to take by end of first semester. The DC teacher licensing agency sets passing scores as: Reading 156, Writing 162, and Math 150. To submit Praxis, use school code: 5007 (no department code). Praxis scores can take up to six weeks to arrive after the test date. See the Educator Testing Flyer or visit the OSSE website for additional test types.

Still have questions? Send us an email or call 202-885-3731.

Combined Bachelor’s Degree and Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education: Learning Disabilities

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor’s/master’s programs.

  • Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.
  • The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements.
  • Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs.

This program enables highly qualified students to earn both a BA or a BS in a related discipline and the MAT Special Education: Learning Disabilities.

Students should apply to the master’s program in the second semester of their junior year. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.00 or higher in major and minor courses and must satisfactorily complete the following:

  • EDU-654 Methods of Managing Students with Behavior Disorders (3)
  • EDU-643 Foundations of Special Education for Exceptional Children (3) or EDU-665 Overview of All Exceptionalities: The Arts in Special Education (3)
  • All requirements for the BA or BS in the student’s major
  • Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours from approved graduate-level courses, including EDU-654 and EDU-643 or EDU-665 to satisfy the requirements of both degrees.
  • All requirements for the MAT Special Education: Learning Disabilities, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.