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Master of arts in special education

Master's Degree with Certification Option: Severe/Multiple Disabilities

Below are the courses and credit information for students who select the master's degree with certification option in the Severe/Multiple Disabilities Program. This program is subject to revision whenever teacher education or certification requirements are changed.

SPED 600 Instructional/Assistive Technology
3 cr.
SPED 604 Characteristics/Educational Adaptations: Developmental Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 605 Family/Professional Collaboration: Developmental Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 606 Communication Intervention: Developmental Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 607 Formal/Informal Assessment: Developmental Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 620 Standards-based Curriculum: Severe Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 622 Instructional Programming: Severe Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 625 Secondary/Adult Programs: Severe Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 626 Positive Behavior Supports: Severe Disabilities
3 cr.
SPED 629 Culminating Practicum: Severe Disabilities*
6 cr.
Approved Electives (in areas related to SMD Program and approved by advisor)**
3 cr.


36 Credits Total


ALL students should follow the program requirements outlined on the Student Program Plan sent with the admission letter.

Request information from sped@mail.wvu.edu or direct questions to 304-293-3450.

*Students must pass PRAXIS tests required by the program prior to and as a condition of admission to practicum:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching K-6 (5222 or 0522) if no prior certification
  • Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications (5545 or 0545)

These or other tests also may be required for licensure in West Virginia or in the designated specialization area in other states/countries to earn initial certification or additional endorsement.

ALL students MUST complete practicum as a single six-credit block in the final semester.

All courses in a certification program must be completed within 10 years; this includes waivers granted for courses completed within other programs or at other institutions.

**Electives should be designed to develop the student’s knowledge and skills in a way that directly supports the program in Autism Severe/Multiple Disabilities by enhancing his/her ability to work with children, adolescents or adults with severe/multiple disabilities. Some courses in other areas of special education (especially early intervention/early childhood special education, autism spectrum disorders, mental impairments, and core courses in other programs) may be especially helpful, as will courses in curriculum and instruction, child development, or instructional technologies. All electives must have earned graduate degree credit from a regionally accredited institution and must be approved in advance in writing by the faculty advisor. Courses that earned continuing education or professional development credits may not be counted as electives in a degree program.

All courses in the Early Childhood Special Education Program and the 2 specialization courses in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Program may be counted as electives toward degree in the Severe/Multiple Disabilities Program.

All courses in a degree program must be completed within 8 years; this includes transfers from other institutions and elective courses.

Retention in this program requires maintaining active student status and an overall GPA of 3.0. Students who fail to maintain active student status by enrolling in at least one course every two years become inactive and will have to re-apply and meet any new requirements in effect at the time of admission. Students who fail to maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 will be dismissed from the program and may be unable to reapply for admission.