Stephen F. Austin State University

Special Education

Special Education

The Special Education Program at SFA is housed in the Human Services/Telecommunications Building (HSTC). Faculty offices are on the second floor for face-to-face course and on the third floor for online courses. Classrooms are located on the third floor. Undergraduate special education programs are offered online and face-to-face. Graduate programs are offered online. Numerous school districts in the area cooperate with the program in placing special education teaching candidates for field experiences. A Special Education Advisory Board provides input and feedback to the faculty from practitioners in the field including special education directors, educational diagnosticians, and teachers. Special education programs at SFA are aligned with national standards for special educators and state standards for special education teachers. A performance based assessment system is used in which candidate performance is rated on key assessments in various classes in order to provide data for accreditation and for program improvement.

The undergraduate program in EC-12 Special Education and the graduate program for Educational Diagnosticians are both nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children.

For more information about the program contact the appropriate program coordinator, a faculty member, or email specialed@sfasu.edu

Undergraduate Program


Students who want to teach Special Education major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Special Education. The degree awarded upon completion of the program is a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS). The undergraduate program is designed to prepare students for certification as an EC-12 Special Education teacher and an EC-6 Generalist teacher. Consideration will be given to students who desire a different content area certification rather than the EC-6 Generalist. Students must be advised each semester through the Education Advising Center - College of Education Student Services and Advising Center.

The Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) is a way for interested students to become more involved here at Stephen F. Austin State University serving and learning about individuals with exceptionalities as well as the professional field of special education. Students in SCEC engage in a variety of social and professional activities, but most of all they have fun! SCEC is a division of the international organization of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). CEC, a nonprofit association, accomplishes its mission, which is carried out in support of special education professionals and others working on behalf of individuals with exceptionalities, by advocating for appropriate governmental policies; by setting professional standards; by providing continuing professional development; by advocating for newly and historically under served individuals with exceptionalities; and by helping professionals achieve the conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

The Online Special Education Degree Completion Program is an innovative program will allow paraprofessionals (instructional aides) working in Texas public schools and other qualified individuals who have completed at least 45 hours at community colleges to seamlessly transfer to SFASU and complete online a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS) degree with a concentration in special education and EC-12 special education teacher certification. Paraprofessionals can earn a Texas teaching certificate while remaining in the schools and classrooms where they work, with the addition of one semester of full-time student teaching.

Minor in Special Education

A minor in special education is available to students with a major leading to teacher certification at the EC-6, 4-8, or 8-12 levels. Required courses include: SPE 329, 432, 439, 438, 434, and 461 (TExES 163 required). The minor available for students seeking EC-12 certification includes SPE 329, 432, 439, 438, 434, 461, RDG 318, 320, and ELE 303 (TExES 161 required).

Admission to the Educator Certification Program is required and students must work with a special education advisor for course sequence and additional requirements.

Minor in Early Intervention

An 18 hour minor is available for students majoring in rehabilitation, speech language pathology, psychology or other related fields who are interested in becoming an Early Intervention Specialist (EIS) working with infants and toddlers with special needs and their families. Required courses are: SPE 329, 464, 463; HMS 236,443, 459. For students majoring in Human Sciences, the minor includes: SPE 329, 439,434, 463, 464, 465.

Non-teaching Minor

An 18 hour minor is available for those seeking additional training in working with special populations, but who are not seeking teacher certification. This minor is appropriate for students in programs such as psychology, orientation & mobility, kinesiology, rehabilitation, social work, and those seeking the Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree. Required courses are: SPE 120, 329, 432, 460, 463, 464.

Graduate Program

There are 4 options for candidates seeking a master's degree with a major in special education:

1. M.Ed. in Special Education Online (non-teacher certification seeking)
2. M.Ed. in Special Education Online (initial teacher certification in Special Education)
3. M.Ed. in Special Education Online (Educational Diagnostician certification seeking)
4. Educational Diagnostician Certification Seeking Only (For individuals who hold a M.ED and teacher certification)

M.Ed. in Special Education

1. M.Ed. in Special Education, Online (non-teacher certification seeking) 36 hour program not including the prerequisite course SPE 539.

SPE 567, 568, 561, 562, 564, 532, 560; EPS 585; plus an additional 12 hours elective planned/approved by advisor

SPE 539 or an equivalent is a prerequisite for coursework

Individuals who choose this M.Ed. typically work in a state agency where teacher certification is not required or the individual currently holds a Texas teacher certification in special education or a general education content area.

2. M.Ed. in Special Education with Initial Teacher Certification in Special Education, Online (Teaching Internship - 45 hour program without prerequisite SPE 539 course or Student Teaching - 48 hour program without prerequisite SPE 539 course).
SPE 567, 568, 561, 562, 564, 532, 560; EPS 585; plus an additional 21-24 hours of teacher certification courses (reading, math, and pedagogy) planned with the advisor.
SPE 539 or an equivalent is a prerequisite for coursework.
To obtain certification, an individual must also pass the following TExES exams #161, #160 and #191 (or other general education content area).

3. M.Ed. in Special Education with certification as an Educational Diagnostician, Online (36 hour program not including the prerequisite course SPE 539)
Required Courses: SPE 567, 568, 562, 571, 564 560, 561; EPS 544, 545, 555, 585; SED 521
SPE 539 or an equivalent is a prerequisite for coursework. EPS 555 should be taken as the last course in most circumstances.
To obtain certification, an individual must also pass the #153 TExES exam.

The Educational Diagnostician program provides graduate level preparation in the area of special education, assessment and law. An educational diagnostician is a master's level professional who works within the public school system to ensure that special education services are provided to eligible students in accordance with all applicable federal law and regulations, state statutes, the Texas Education Agency, and the Commissioner of Education. The program consists of master's level coursework and preparation for certification as an Educational Diagnostician.

An individual possessing a master's degree in a related field may be eligible for the option of seeking certification only as an Educational Diagnostician. Additional information regarding the certification only option may be obtained by contacting the Educator Certification Office at (936) 468-2901. or Dr. Paige Mask, the Special Education Graduate Program Coordinator (936) 468-1076. In order to determine your certification seeking only course needs, the Graduate Program Coordinator will conduct an evaluation of both your undergraduate and graduate transcripts and make course recommendations to the Certification Officer who will develop a Certification Seeking Only Plan for the Educational Diagnostician certificate.

4. An individual possessing a master's degree in a related field and current teacher certification may be eligible for the option of seeking certification only as an Educational Diagnostician. Additional information regarding the certification only option may be obtained by contacting the Educator Certification Office at (936) 468-2901. Dr. Paige Mask, the Special Education Graduate Program Coordinator. An evaluation of both undergraduate and graduate transcripts will be necessary in order to make course recommendations to the Certification Officer who will develop a Certification Seeking Only Plan for the Educational Diagnostician certificate.

Graduate Program Admission Requirements

Admission to any of the graduate special education programs listed above is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School; therefore, a student applying to the graduate program must first apply to the Graduate School. Details regarding the Graduate School application are contained in the Graduate Bulletin and online at www.sfasu.edu/bulletin/. Criteria for clear admission to the Graduate School include a 2.8 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and a 2.5 on all undergraduate work. Individuals with an Overall or Last 60 Hours GPA of 3.0 will be exempt from taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A Special Education Program applicant who is required to take the GRE must have a minimum score of 143 on the Verbal section and 138 on the Quantitative section. GRE scores obtained prior to 2011, must have a minimum score of 350 on both the Verbal and Quantitative sections.

Before an admission decision is made, the student must also submit three letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a typed double-spaced written statement (minimum 3-5 pages in length) describing his/her experience in the field of special education, his/her philosophy on educating students with special needs, and how personal qualities and educational experience would make one an exceptional candidate for the special education graduate program.
Application Deadline - Thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of each semester

The Graduate School allows a student to take up to 12 semester hours of coursework under "Post-Baccalaureate Student" status, prior to their being formally accepted into one of the school's recognized degree programs. The graduate special education program guidelines allow six hours of special education course work prior to admission. Attending classes under the Post Baccalaureate student status does not imply admission to the program.

Review Process


The applicant's file is reviewed by the Graduate Program Coordinator. An applicant is then notified by the Graduate School regarding the program recommendation on his/her application.

Candidates for admission will only be considered following the submission of a completed application packet. The packet is not complete until all the admission criteria are received. There will be no provisional admission because of incomplete application packet, inadequate factor score, or unavailable GRE scores.

The review of all graduate applicants involves consideration of multiple factors. In addition to criteria set by the Graduate School, the department considers the following:

Job Announcements


Henderson ISD - PPCD teacher needed for the 2013-2014 school year. If you meet the critieria for being a "highly qualified" special education teacher and you are interested in this position, please contact Christin Creel at 903 655-5036.

Educational Diagnostician

Educational Diagnostician Career Guide

File size: 552.05 KB

Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2011

Online Masters in Special Education Program Handbook

Online Masters in Special Education Program Handbook

File size: 282.91 KB

Updated: Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Undergraduate Special Education Handbook

Undergraduate Handbook

File size: 6512.74 KB

Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prospective Student Letter

Download the letter here.

Educational Diagnostician Week letter

View the PDF here: EdDiagWeekGov.pdf

TExES Links

http://www.texes.ets.org/assets/pdf/testprep_manuals/161_specialed_ec-12.pdf

http://www.texes.ets.org/assets/pdf/testprep_manuals/160_ppr_ec12.pdf

http://www.texes.ets.org/assets/pdf/testprep_manuals/191_generalist_ec_6.pdf

http://www.texes.ets.org/assets/pdf/testprep_manuals/153_educdiag_55064_web.pdf

Other Docs.

Alaska Teaching Position Brochure

File size: 1223.41 KB

Updated: Thursday, February 07, 2013