NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Master’s Programs Guide, a website dedicated to helping students find the best graduate degree, recently ranked Stephen F. Austin State University among its 50 best schools in the nation for its online master’s degree in special education.
Site editors, who ranked SFA No. 21, evaluated institutions based on publicly available resources about student accommodation, accreditation, learning outcomes and affordability. Dr. Paige Mask, graduate advisor for SFA’s master’s in special education program, said this ranking is an honor.
“This recognition provides meaningful validation that program instructors are successfully working to provide a quality program that meets the needs of its professional students,” Mask said.
At SFA, there are four options for students seeking a Master of Education or certification in special education online. Students can select either a non-teacher certification (for those who are already teacher certified) or an initial teacher certification. Both options prepare students for disability awareness, instructional strategies, formal and informal assessment, and law. The initial teacher certification also qualifies individuals to teach special education in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in Texas public or private schools.
Additionally, students can choose to pursue an education diagnostician certification that offers two tracks — one for those who have a master’s degree and one for those who do not.
“Offering our graduate program online has increased the program’s student diversity, and in turn, it has enriched the experiences of all students and program instructors,” Mask said.
Graduate students are provided with real-world experiences in utilizing publisher scoring and individualized education program-management systems. SFA students can engage in hands-on learning experiences through a web-hosted service, which includes online meetings, desktop sharing and video conferencing software that enables the user to meet with others via the internet.
“Our program is unique due to the diverse teaching experiences and expertise of the program instructors,” Mask said. “Also, in continuing our commitment to quality, the program instructors spend a significant amount of time online meeting with students individually and in groups to practice applying concepts and skills using discussions and software programs utilized in the field of special education and assessment.”
For more information about the program, visit sfasu.edu/humanservices/124.asp.