Special Education Learning Behavioral Specialist – I - Master’s Degree Program for Certified Teachers

Degree Purpose

The purpose of the Special Education Learning Behavioral Specialist – I Master’s Degree Program for Certified Teachers, which is designed to enable our candidates to earn their M.S.E.D Degree in Special Education and their Illinois Special Education Teaching Certificate, is designed to:

  1. Provide a high quality teacher preparation program that: integrates a strong theoretical foundation with current research findings; provides realistic, effective and humanistic pedagogical practices; and inspire students to acquire knowledge and skills and encourages their curiosity and creativity;
  2. Prepare educational personnel who are knowledgeable and competent practitioners, dedicated to serving the educational needs of students of widely varying abilities and backgrounds, and, responsible participants in the quest for improvement of the nation’s schools and the teaching profession; and
  3. Prepare highly qualified educators who are professionally and ethically equipped to provide students with disabilities with an education that is designed to enable them to maximize their potentials and assume dignified and productive roles in the society

Program Goal

The goal of this program is to prepare teacher candidates who are working towards their advanced degree in special education become qualified practitioners who:

  1. Identify and describe the principles and theories, relevant laws and policies, and issues of human diversity that influence the special education professional practice, and impact families, cultures, schools, and the delivery of special education services;
  2. Understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities;
  3. Create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination;
  4. Use their knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities;
  5. Use multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions;
  6. Select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities;
  7. Collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences; and
  8. Use their foundational knowledge of the field and their professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.

Degree Requirements

The Special Education Learning Behavioral Specialist – I Master’s Degree Program for certified teachers requires: 34 credit hours of coursework in special education.


The Special Education Master’s Degree Program for Initial Certification prepares special educators for service in a variety of state and local educational agencies, and other organizations that work with individuals with disabilities at the national level.

Admission and Application Procedure

To be considered for admission to the Special Education Master’s Degree Program for Certified Teachers, a student must:

  • Have a grade point average of 3.0 or better in the last 60 hours of his/her bachelor’s degree coursework to be immediately eligible for an M.S.ED certificate program in Special Education;
  • Hold an initial or standard Illinois teaching certificate;
  • Provide proof of a passing score on the Illinois Certification Test of Basic Skills/TAP test, taken any time since 1987;
  • Be admitted to the graduate program and College of Education (a passing score on the Illinois Certification Test of Basic Skills is required for admission).
  • Submit two official copies of his/her transcripts;
  • Submit a copy of their teaching certificate;
  • Provide two letters of reference (from a school principal or anyone who knows him/her well enough) supporting the candidate’s ability to succeed in a graduate program
  • Submit a copy of his/her resume; and
  • Provide a one page essay explaining why he/she is interested in our program and what he/she expects to learn.

Applicants who completed their bachelor’s degree program five or more years ago and do not have the required 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hrs can qualify for a master’s plus certification program by taking 9 hrs of graduate-level program coursework (which must be completed within one year), and earning a grade of B or better in each of these courses. Grades of B or above in graduate coursework completed prior to application to a CSU certification program can be used towards eligibility. Special education program applicants who do not qualify after taking 9 hrs of coursework will be counseled by the Office of Teacher Certification to choose another teacher preparation program to pursue at the certification-only level.

To apply for admission to the program, students should: contact the Graduate School Office at Chicago State University, (773) 995-2404 and request an application packet. Interested applicants can also download the graduate application form and/or apply on-line here. Two official transcripts from all institutions previously attended are required.

Program Requirements

In order to complete the Master’s in Special Education program, students must:

  • Complete all courses with a 3.0 GPA
  • Successfully complete the program within the six years time limit given. Anyone who does not complete the program within this time limit must petition the graduate council for an extension;
  • If replacing a course with a comparable undergraduate course, a graduate level elective must be taken to fulfill requirement
  • Pass the Basic Skills test –requirement for admission to the College of Education
  • Pass the ICTS Special Education General Curriculum Certification Test – required by the time you take and complete SED 5304; SED 5476. Students who are experiencing problems passing this exam will be required to take ELED 5140, ELED 5150, ELED 5170, & READ 5280 and then, retake and pass this exam before they complete SED 5492.
  • Pass the APT (K-12) test - requirement for SED 5488
  • Pass the LBS-I Content Area test —requirement for the Comprehensive Exam
  • Pass the Comprehensive Examination
  • LBS-I licensure exam required prior to taking the Comprehensive Exam
  • Complete a Digital Educational Portfolio and upload it into livetext, in addition to completing the graduate exit survey in SED 5488; and
  • Apply for graduation - Complete application, all requirements and pay $25 graduation fee.

Portfolio Requirements

Program Completion requires performance portfolio that includes artifacts aligned with C.E.C Standards. Candidates are required to upload digital copies of the projects completed in the courses listed below in their livetext shells and educational portfolio. It is also a good idea to keep hard copies of these for their portfolio:

  • Reflection Report and Language Comparison Paper completed in *SED 5304;
  • Reflection Report and Research-Based Term Paper completed in *SED 5476;
  • Reflection Report and Research Based-Term Paper and Mini-Lecture completed in *SED 5477;
  • Case Study and Adapted Lesson Plan completed in *SED 5481;
  • I.E.P and Differentiated Lesson Plan Project completed in *SED 5482;
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavioral Intervention Plan completed in *SED 5484;
  • Assessment Case Study and Educational/Remedial Plan completed in
  • Philosophy of Education, Professional Development plan, and Legal Case Briefs completed in *SED 5494;
  • Major Research Project/Master’s Thesis completed in *SED 5492; and
  • Internship Teaching Performance and Professional Educational Portfolio completed in *SED 5488.

Note: *Indicates courses where key assessments are completed

Program Coursework
SED 5301/4301 Characteristics of Exceptional Children (3 hrs/*15 hrs of field observation)
Special Education Course Requirements (34 hrs/f100 hrs)
SED 5304/4304 Speech Language and the Classroom Teacher (3 hrs)
SED 5476/476 Characteristics of Learners with Behavioral, Learning and Cognitive Disabilities (4hrs f/15)
ED 5960 Fundamentals of Educational Research (3 hrs)
SED 5477/477 Characteristics and Instructional Adaptations for Learners with Physical and Health Impairments (3 hrs f/15)
*SED 5481/481 Adaptive Skills for Learners with Special Needs (3 hrs)
*SED 5482/482 Curricular Adaptations for Learners with Special Needs (3 hrs)
*SED 5484/484 Classroom Management of Learners with Special Needs (3 hrs)
*SED 5487/487 Assessment, Measurement, & Evaluation of Learners with Special Needs (3hrs)
*SED 5488/488 Student Internship (3 hrs f/70 hrs internship experience)
*SED 5494/5478 & 5489 Special Education Law, Collaborative, and Professional Conduct (3 hrs)
*SED 5492/492 Master’s thesis/Project in Special Education (3 hrs)

Note: *Courses require admission to the program and College of Education. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be maintained in special education with no grades below a “C”.

Contact: Dr. Florah Luseno, Department Chairperson (773) 995-2086