Master's (M.ED.) in Special Education and Special Education PreK-12 PA Teacher Certification

Earn your Special Education Master's certification @ Lehigh!

Quick Facts

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  • Application requirements: Two letters of recommendation (at least one recommendation must come from a faculty member at an accredited academic institution), transcripts, minimum GPA of 3.0 (undergraduate), proof of English language proficiency, and essay
  • International Students: Please visit this page for information regarding transcript evaluation requirements.
  • Deadline(s): July 15 for fall start, December 15 for spring start and April 15 for summer start. The application and all supporting materials are due by the listed deadlines.
  • Course Requirements: 33 credits including a semester of student teaching
  • Typical Course Load: Fall (2-3 courses), Spring (2-3 courses), Summer (2-3 courses) 
  • Time to Completion: 2 years
  • Practical Experience Component: Field work is an important part of the program.
  • Alumni Current Positions: Graduates work as secondary general and special education teachers in both public and private K-12 classrooms. 
  • Note: Due to Pennsylvania Department of Education criteria, international students are not eligible for the PDE certification, but they may earn their master's degree in this program. Please contact with any questions. 


The master’s of Special Education This master’s program is designed for those seeking Pennsylvania certification as a Special Education PreK-12 teacher. 

Special Education teachers work with people who have a broad range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach such subjects as reading, writing and math to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also impart basic skills, including literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.

This M.Ed. with certification requires students to take 33 credits, including a semester of student teaching. Master’s candidates can begin in any semester, with admissions deadlines of July 15 for the fall semester, Dec. 15 for the spring semester and April 15 for the summer. Classes are arranged in the late afternoons or evenings to make the program convenient for those who work full-time.

Those wishing to apply should complete the online application and provide undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate transcripts.  A grade point average of at least 3.0 is mandated for undergraduate work. Prospective students should also supply two letters of recommendation (academic or professional), an essay and an acknowledgement of College of Education policy on clearances. 

Fieldwork is an important part of the program and is integrated into courses. Lehigh operates the nationally-acclaimed Centennial School as a lab Special Education day school that works with children with emotional disturbance and students ages 6-12 with autism while preparing graduate students to become highly-qualified Special Education teachers. 

Centennial School

Learn more about Centennial School today!

Many of our current master’s students who are pursuing their Special Education Master’s degree and/or certification work at our highly acclaimed and nationally recognized lab school: Centennial School.

A primary goal of Centennial is to prepare special education teachers to work with youth with emotional and behavioral needs, students with autism spectrum disorder, and their families. Graduate students work full time as teacher associates, under supervision, while completing their Special Education Master’s degree and/or certification.

Graduate students who work at Centennial School also receive an additional two hours of on-site training every week on topics specific to the education of children and youth with emotional disturbance and autism spectrum disorder. The workshops are usually presented by professional staff who work at the school and on occasion from one of Centennial's outstanding cadre of professional consultants. 

Centennial School offers our graduate students optimal opportunities to be engaged in hands-on learning and immersed in evidence-based practices including positive behavior support strategies and data-based explicit instruction. 

Click here for Centennial School employment opportunities. Benefits include a stipend, 18 graduate credit hours of tuition remission annually, plus full medical and dental benefits.


Lehigh’s faculty in Special Education are recognized experts in such areas as autism, learning disabilities, academic intervention, emotional behavior disorders and positive behavior support. Master’s candidates learn the best practices for designing instruction and teaching students with a wide variety of disabilities.  

Once certified to teach in Pennsylvania, that certification has reciprocity in most states. 


Course Number Course Name Credits
SPED 332 Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs in K-12 3
SPED 404 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity 3
SPED 411 Early Childhood Education 3
SPED 418 Alternative Curricular Approaches 3
SPED 419 Intensive Intervention in Reading 3
SPED 421 Intensive Intervention in Mathematics and Content Area Literacy 3
SPED 423 Supporting Transition for Individuals with Disabilities 3
SPED 432 Positive Behavior Support 3
SPED 452 Assessment in Special Education 3
SPED 465 Advanced Inclusionary Practices in K-12 3
  Extended Field Experience for Special Education PreK-12 Certification  
SPED 443 Special Education Student Teaching and Seminar 3

Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements for Teacher Certification

It is important for individuals considering teaching as a career to be aware of the fairly rigorous academic, health, and personal character requirements for teacher certification that are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for teacher candidates statewide:

  • An overall GPA of at least 3.0 (both graduate and undergraduate).
  • Clearances: visit the Office of Professional Certification.
  • Refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for information on Pennsylvania Certification.

Course descriptions can be found in the course catalog.