Apr 17, 2024  
2012-2013 CU Denver Catalog 
2012-2013 CU Denver Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education MA

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Special Education

Office: Lawrence Street Center, 701
Telephone: 303-315-6300
Fax: 303-315-6311
E-mail: education@ucdenver.edu
Website: www.ucdenver.edu/education

Special Education Program Overview

The special education program within the initial professional teacher education division offers a special education generalist license and a special education endorsement as well as a master of arts degree in special education. All special education program options foster the development of critical reflection, inquiry about teaching and learning, as well as the breadth and depth in content knowledge necessary to work effectively in elementary and secondary classrooms. The program faculty promote the ability of teacher candidates to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of K–12 learners, as well as to participate productively in and lead school renewal.

The faculty in the program in special education value collaborative relationships between general and special educators, so we offer our teacher candidates the option of pursuing a dual endorsement in both general and special education to offer our teacher candidates the option of pursuing a dual endorsement in both general and special education.

Special Education Program Distinctions

Special Education Licensing Pathways

To be a licensed as a special education generalist for grades ages 5-21, a teacher candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree from a four-year accepted institution of higher education, have completed the plan of study from one of the program options for the preparation of special education generalist, have passed the state special education assessment and have demonstrated all required state and national standards.

Program options for the special education generalist include: 1) initial licensure as a special education generalist; 2) dual licensure in either elementary or secondary education and as a special education generalist; and, 3) for those who already hold a Colorado teaching license, an added endorsement, which is also fully online. There is also an option to count these courses towards a masters in special education which will require an additional 12 semester hours of face to face course work and portfolio.

The time needed to complete the various special education generalist program options varies based on the needs of teacher candidates. In addition to traditional on-campus offerings, a wide selection of courses are available in online formats. During the academic year, core special education courses are scheduled in late afternoons and evenings to avoid conflict with teaching responsibilities.

Professional Development Schools

While in the licensure portion of the program, teacher candidates work in a partner school one to four days per week, depending on the internship. University courses are closely interrelated with the four internship experiences in which teacher candidates gradually assume responsibility for teaching. Special education teacher candidates engage in a series of four internships from the beginning of the program to the end of the program. Dual teacher candidates engage in two internships that result in a general education license at the elementary or secondary level and then two special education internships and additional course work; leading to an endorsement in special education. The partner schools are located in several Denver metropolitan districts with most serving large populations of low-income and/or minority students, as well as a sizeable number of students for whom English is a second language and students with special needs. Each partner school is supported by a site professor from the university one day per week and by a master teacher, called a site coordinator.


In 2000, Senate Bill 154 required all Colorado teacher education institutions to become performance based. PBA stands for performance based assessment. PBAs are created that correspond to many of the teacher education courses and concurrent practice in the series of internships. In doing so, knowledge can be evaluated as a result of coursework and performance in schools simultaneously. As teacher candidates progress through the program, they will be introduced to Performance Based Assessments (PBAs) and will be guided and supported in both course work and internships. Students seeking dual licensure are responsible for four additional PBAs associated with their second endorsement in special education. 

The PBAs are:

1.       Literacy Instruction & Assessment (elementary and secondary versions)

2.       Mathematics Instruction & Assessment (elementary)

3.       Subject Matter Content (secondary)

4.       Student Profile

5.       Classroom Management

6.       Teacher Work Sample (TWS)

7.       Internship Performance Rubric (used at the end of each internship)

The four additional PBAs that all teacher candidates in the special education program are expected to proficiently complete include:

1.       Assessment

2.       Collaboration & Positive Behavior Supports

3.       Literacy Instruction for Students with Identified Special Needs

4.       The Individualized Education Program (I.E.P.) Process

      Passing the PLACE special education generalist examination prior to the final internship is also required before a candidate is eligible for a provisional special education generalist teaching license in Colorado. Dual candidates must also pass state content knowledge exams prior to admission.

Programs of Study

Due to the complex nature of state mandated influences of teacher preparation courses and constantly evaluated the program to meet student’s needs, please refer to the most current version of the Special Education Handbook  for academic requirements for this program.

Requirements for Admission

The program conducts  admissions each semester. Summer admission deadlines are January 15 and February 15; fall admission is March 15 and April 15. Spring admission deadlines are August 15 and September 15.

Teacher Education Information Sessions

All prospective teacher candidates are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before applying to the program. Information sessions are held twice a month lasting approximately 60-90 minutes. Advisors will be available to provide prospective students transcript reviews and pre-admission advising. To more effectively facilitate this process, please bring copies of all transcripts with you. A calendar of upcoming information sessions can be viewed on the CU Denver website. Go to www.ucdenver.edu/education and click on “Information Session” to reserve a space.

Teacher Education Program Requirements

  • Applicants to the UCTE program must hold at least a bachelor’s degree with a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.75 for admission.
  • Graduate candidates with a GPA less than 2.75 are required to take the GRE, with a combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative sections; or the Miller Analogies Test, with an average score of 400–600, before consideration for admittance.
  • All elementary education candidates must have a liberal arts major or equivalent content courses that provide a broad background of knowledge. *
  • All secondary education candidates must have a major or major equivalent of at least 30 semester hours in their desired teaching field. *
  • Copy of passing official scores for PLACE or PRAXIS II.
  • A complete application on file that can be obtained at information sessions, online or through the Student Services Center.

*This is determined through transcript evaluations at information sessions.




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