College of

Master's (M.Ed.) Special Education & Dual PA State Certification in 7-12 Special and General Education

Earn your Special Education Master's certification @ Lehigh!

Quick Facts

Quick Facts

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Meet our faculty!

  • Application requirements: Two letters of recommendation (at least one recommendation must come from a faculty member at an accredited academic institution), transcripts, 3.0 GPA (undergrad) and essay
  • Deadline(s): July 15 for fall start, December 15 for spring start and April 15 for summer start
  • Course Requirements: 15 courses (45 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: 3 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. 


The master’s of Special Education with Dual Pennsylvania  Certifications in 7th-12th grades is designed for the college graduate who specialized in a field other than education and seeks to become a teacher certified to work with Special Education students and general education students in grades 7-12. Lehigh’s program makes that career change possible. 

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 certifications requires students to take 45 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. 

The program of study for the general education certification prepares master’s candidates to teach students in grades 7-12 in one of these areas: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, General Science, Physics, Mathematics, English or Social Studies. 

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. 


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.  

Educators in the field are in demand and that trend is expected to continue. The number of positions nationally is predicted to rise by 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding 33,300 new jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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


SPED 332 Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs 3
SPED 404  Diversity, Families, and School Collaborations in K-12 3
SPED 405 Principles and Applications of K-12 Assessment 3
SPED 409  K-12 Classroom Environment and Management 3
SPED 418 Alternative Curricular Approaches 3
SPED 421  Academic Interventions: Secondary Level 3
SPED 423 Transition to Post-school Life 3
SPED 432 Positive Behavior Support 3
SPED 452 Assessment in Special Education 3
SPED 465 Advanced Inclusionary Practices in K-12 3
Additional Coursework for Dual Certification in General Education 7-12 and Special Education 7-12 (9 credits)  
TLT 407     Instructional Design for K-12 Classrooms  3
TLT 432 Reading and Critical Thinking in Middle Level and High School Education 3
Content-area teaching methods course with the approval of your adviser (one of the following):  
TLT 431 Social Studies in Middle Level and High School Education 3
TLT 434 English in Middle Level and High School Education  3
TLT 436 Science in Middle Level and High School Education 3
TLT 438 Mathematics in Middle Level and High School Education 3
Extended Field Experience for Dual Certification in General Education 7-12 and Special Education 7-12 (6 credits)  
TLT 440 Pre-professional Seminar 3
SPED 442  General Education and 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 Teacher Certification.
•    Refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for information on Pennsylvania Certification

Course descriptions can be found in the course catalog.

Application Requirements & Deadlines