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Special Education, M.A.T.

Are you being called to serve students with special needs? At Whitworth, you can answer that call and receive specialized training to address behavioral challenges and better serve the wider diversity of students in special education – from mild to severe disabilities, from infancy to adolescence, and from functional to academic needs.

  • Complete our approved ABA course sequence while earning your special education endorsement and master's degree.
  • Complete an endorsement in special education or early childhood special education.
  • Gain practical experience working with special-needs individuals in Whitworth's Literacy Center.

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Degree Snapshot
Credits 42
Completion Time 2-3 years
Class Format Online & evening classes
Cost Per Credit $675* per credit (financial aid & scholarships available)
Application Deadline

Applications are due four weeks prior to the start of the semester in which you plan to enroll.
Fall Term Start | Apply by Aug. 1
Jan Term Start | Apply by Dec. 1
Spring Term Start | Apply by Jan. 1
Summer Term Start | Apply by April 1

Later applications will be considered as program space allows.

*for the 2020-21 academic year

Convenient Schedule for Working Adults

Keep your daytime commitments with Whitworth's MAT Special Education Program, designed specifically for those who work during the day. On-campus classes for this program meet during the late afternoon or in the evening only one night per week, and some courses are available online. You may enter the program during any semester.

Serve Your Community

Field experiences allow you to apply new skills and effective treatment approaches to support students with academic, behavioral, physical and sensory disabilities, as well as those with autism-spectrum disorders. You'll serve individuals with special needs at the Whitworth Literacy Center, and in local public schools and individual homes. At the end of the program, you'll complete practicums in either early childhood or adolescent education settings so that you can gain additional experience working in these environments.

Enhance Your Career Opportunities

MAT graduates work primarily in school environments, though you can also find employment opportunities in places such as community agencies, hospitals and residential facilities.

As institutions face a growing demand for special education teachers in the U.S., job opportunities are expected to be even greater for those with training and experience in specialized areas, such as early childhood and autism-spectrum disorders (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Program Curriculum

Learn innovative instructional methods from faculty who have years of teaching experience. The curriculum focuses on positive behavioral intervention strategies based on those tenets and constructed through extensive research and classroom application. You'll explore topics in autism spectrum disorder, positive behavior support, and strategies that address severe communication, sensory and physical disabilities.

  • Required Core Courses - 13 credits
  • Special Education Courses - 12 credits
  • Electives - 6 credits
  • Field Experience & Exit Project - 11 credits

You may choose to complete Whitworth's BACB-verified Applied Behavior Analysis course sequence while earning your special education endorsement and master's degree in just 42 credits. Please speak with an academic advisor for details.

For course descriptions and learning outcomes of this major, please view the course catalog.

Note: Applicants must hold a current teaching certificate. The courses in this program are subject to change due to program updates. Please check with your advisor for current course offerings.

Add an Endorsement

Special Education Endorsement

The endorsement in special education is included in the master's degree program curriculum. For those who already hold a master's degree, the special education endorsement can be added by completing the required prerequisites, special education courses and field experiences referred to in the program curriculum.

Early Childhood Special Education Endorsement

Those who choose to add the endorsement to the MAT Special Education degree must complete the following requirements, in addition to degree requirements:

  • EDS 534 Early Speech, Language & Literacy (3 credits)
  • EDS 538 Early Intervention Interdisciplinary Method (3 credits) -- or equivalent coursework
  • Advanced Practicum - early intervention or preschool special education setting

Those who already hold a master's degree may add this endorsement by completing the required prerequisites, special education courses and field experiences referred to in the program curriculum, in addition to the requirements listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a certified teacher to be admitted to the program?

Yes, you do need to be certified or concurrently enrolled in a certification program. If you are not currently a certified teacher, you may enroll in our Master in Teaching or Evening Teacher Certification Program as you complete coursework required for the special education endorsement.

Can I complete an endorsement in special education without enrolling in the master's program?

Yes, you can complete the endorsement only. However, in order to receive financial aid, you must be enrolled in a graduate degree program.

What if I just want to become a better general education teacher? Will this degree restrict me to teaching only special education?

No. Completing the degree or certificate does not restrict your teaching to special education. The content in Whitworth's special education courses will give you the tools to better serve students with disabilities or who are at risk in mixed-ability classrooms. The experience and specialized training you'll receive at Whitworth can also improve your opportunities for employment.

Are there many employment opportunities once I graduate?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for special education teachers, especially in early childhood education, is expected to grow. Employment opportunities are expected to be even higher for those who have specialized training or experience. Whitworth offers endorsements in special education (P-12, early childhood special education (P-3).