• Female adult students in discussion

Our Master of Arts in Special Education is designed to prepare you to serve children in the disability community. With multiple options available, you’re sure to find a program that meets your career goals.

Program Options

Master of Arts in Special Education Blended Option
A minimum of 36 semester units of coursework is required for a Master of Arts in Special Education and an Education Specialist credential. All candidates must receive advisement and an education plan must be developed prior to admission to the programs. The combined credential and MA program include 13 core thesis units and 23 credential units, as well as an extensive list of electives to add if you so choose. Up to 9 units may be eligible for transfer from another university. Courses include traditional, online, and blended format.

Master of Arts in Special Education Fully Online
The Master of Arts in Special Education emphasis for disability service providers prepares individuals serving those with exceptionalities in capacities that do not require an Education Specialist credential. Students outside of California, or students who earned their teaching credential elsewhere, are also able to enroll in this fully online master’s degree. The program is 32 units that includes the core 14 thesis units and 18 content units.

Master of Arts in Special Education & BCBA
Those wishing to earn both a Master of Arts in Special Education with Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, a total of 60 units must be completed. Candidates are required to complete the 14 core units, complete 18 special education content units, and a total of 28 BCBA units. Dr. Lisa Keith, MA Program Director and Dr. Eileen Whelan, BCBA Program Director, will provide advising.

Program director

Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

Associate Professor, Program Director, Mild/Moderate Credential & Special Education M.A.


Photo of Megan Chaney

Megan Chaney, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor, Division Chair, Special Education

Photo of Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson, Ed.D.

Associate Professor, Program Director, Moderate/Severe, Early Childhood Special Education and APEAA

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Claudia Norris, MS

Clinical Assistant Professor, Special Education

Admission requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Educational Plan
  • Three letters of reference and forms
  • Official transcripts verifying BA/BS degree
  • Verification of negative TB test (within last 12 months)
  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Certificate of Clearance

Course listing

Required Courses

Master of Arts Core (14 Units)

ED 779Values in School and Society3
EDRH 794Thesis Introduction and Literature Review3
EDRH 795Research Methods in Education3
EDRH 796Thesis Completion1
SPEC 603Theology of Disability1
SPEC 708Abstract, Critical and Technical Writing2
SPEC 796Leadership & Communication1

Elective Units

Applicants who have completed an FPU Preliminary Education Specialist Credential may select from the following course work to meet the eighteen required elective units.

SPEC 601Foundations, Health and Observations3
SPEC 602Laws and Ethics in Special Education3
SPEC 605Positive Behavior Support3
SPEC 606Medical Implications2
SPEC 607Comparative Development3
SPEC 609Special Education: Roles and Responsibilities3
SPEC 610Transition: Mild/Moderate Disabilities3
SPEC 611Transition: Moderate/Severe and Early Childhood3
SPEC 612Curriculum and Technology for Mild Moderate3
SPEC 613Curriculum and Technology for Moderate/Severe Disabilities3
SPEC 615Curriculum and Technology for Early Childhood Educators3
SPEC 620Early Childhood: Program Design and Development3

Applicants Seeking a M.A in Special Education only take the following coursework to meet the eighteen elective minimum unit. These courses are offered online only.

SPEC 602Laws and Ethics in Special Education3
SPEC 707Comparative Development3
SPEC 749Physical, Health, and Intellectual Impairments3
SPEC 755Autism Spectrum Disorders3
SPEC 760Advanced Collaboration, Consultation and Inclusion3
SPEC 770Foundations for Working With Students With Emotional Disturbance Disorders3

View our State Professional Licensing and Certificate Disclosure. 

State Authorization

State authorization is a federal requirement in the HigherEducation Act that requires institutions to be authorized in the state in which online programs are offered. Fresno Pacific University works regularly with individual state authorization agencies to meet each state's requirements. Currently, Fresno Pacific University has received authorization to offer online degree programs in all but six states: Georgia, Michigan, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

For the latest updates on the status of FPU's authorization in your state, contact your FPU Admissions representative.