Special Education, M.A. and Licensure

Special Announcement Regarding Special Education

Previously, coursework beyond degree lists had been required for secondary level special education teachers, in order to be classified as “highly qualified” in a content area.  This has changed.

On July 11, 2016, the West Virginia Department of Education proposed and passed the elimination of the extra coursework.  You no longer need to take those courses that were documented on WVDE Form 26 in Policy 5202 for Special Education – Multi Categorical.

The federal government with the “No Child Left Behind” Legislation required that states have a protocol for extra college coursework in all the content areas where teachers instruct students.  The new education legislation, “Every Student Succeeds Act,” does not have this requirement.  This is what prompted the West Virginia Department of Education Policy 5202 change, as “No Child Left Behind’ is no longer the driving educational policy.

If you have further questions, please contact Dr. Debra Lockwood, Program Director of the Special Education program, at 304-696-2340. If you have certification questions, please contact Mrs. Gabriella Dahalia, Assistant to the Dean at 304-746-1909.


Mrs. Gabriella Dahalia, M.A.
Assistant to the Dean/Certification Analyst
100 Angus E Peyton Drive
South Charleston, WV 25303



The Special Education master’s degree may be earned with a specialization in any of the Areas of Emphasis listed below. Students without a background in education must acquire certification in regular education prior to endorsement in Special Education, or they can enter the Non-Education Certification program. The Preschool Special Education endorsement in exempt from this requirement.

The Non-Education Certification Program is designed to allow candidates from non-education backgrounds to obtain West Virginia teacher Licensure in Visual Impairments, Multi-categorical, and Autism at the 5-Adult level. The non-education program does not include a general education teaching endorsement.

Areas of Emphasis (click on the link to access the Program of Study):

Autism (Alternate Autism Masters, Master of Arts),

Deaf/Hard of Hearing (Master of Arts, Licensure),

Multi-Categorical Special Education (Master of Arts with Education Major, Master of Arts without Education Major, Licensure with Education Major, Licensure without Education Major),

Preschool Special Education (Certification, Master of Arts),

Teaching Visually Impaired (Master of Arts with Education Major, Master of Arts without Education Major, Licensure with Education Major, Licensure without Education Major)



Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Visually Impaired

CIDH/CIVI Update to students with signatures


Admission Requirements

All applicants (including those seeking admission as professional development, certification only, should follow the admissions process at the Graduate Admissions website. Applicants must have an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.50 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all previously completed undergraduate university coursework and meet one of the following two requirements:

  • A total of 286 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or
  • A raw score of at least 30 or a scaled score of 378 on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

Students seeking to enter the Non-Education Certification Program must meet all Special Education Program admission requirements. In addition to the general Special Education admission requirements, applicants must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators in Reading, Mathematics, and Writing within their first twelve hours of coursework. The Praxis I requirement is waived for applicants with an enhanced ACT score of 26 or higher, a re-centered SAT score of 1125 or higher, or if the applicant holds a master’s degree.

Additional Certification Requirements

All Special Education majors must pass the Praxis II Test in the area(s) in which they seek endorsement. The Special Education Content Specialization Test is taken at or near the end of the certification coursework in Special Education. Students should contact the Marshall Teacher Certification Office for additional information about these tests and other important licensure information.

Course Options


Area of Emphasis Course Options Contact
Autism Online Only Jennifer McFarland-Whisman, Ph.D.
JH 111
Deaf and Hard of Hearing  

Face to Face and Hybrid*


Julie Turley, M.S.
GC 232
Multi-Categorical Special Education


Face to Face
Missy Reed, Ed.D.
JH 115
Preschool Special Education Face to Face
Debra Lockwood, Ed.D.
JH 110
Teaching Visually Impaired Face to Face
Molly Simonton, M.S.
GC 232

*Hybrid is a combination of face-to-face and online activities. Virtual is all online, but there are some required web conferences that students must attend.

Interested in undergraduate programs? Contact Missy Reed at 304-696-2850.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am getting endorsed in Multi-Categorical Special Education, but am interested in autism as well. Can I combine the two?

Once you have your initial license in Multi-Categorical Special Education, you can add the Autism Endorsement, and we encourage you to do so if it fits your long-term goals.


What is the difference between the M.A. and Licensure programs for Multi-Categorical Special Education?

The Master’s Program leads to a Master’s degree in special education while the licensure courses lead to certification to teach multi-categorical special education for Grade 5-Adult in the state of West Virginia.


I was an education major as an undergraduate and want to get a master’s in multi-categorical special education. Which program is right for me?

Please review the Program of Study for a Master’s degree that is for an education major (Master of Arts with Education Major).


Is this program offered online?

This program can be completed almost entirely online, with more courses being offered online each semester. As of Fall 2015, only three courses are not available online.


How do I get started?

Go to the Graduate Admissions website to begin your application.


I have completed my coursework for certification. How do I apply for my license?

Please contact the Marshall University Teacher Certification Office to review your transcripts and sign off on your paperwork before you submit to the West Virginia Department of Education.


What is the TEACH grant and do I qualify?

See http://www.marshall.edu/sfa/files/Teach-Grant-Application.pdf for more information about this important financial opportunity.



More coming soon. Are you a current student who wants to share a personal story? Contact special education faculty.

I have found a passion and purpose working with children with special needs. Marshall’s program in multicategorical special education prepared me, not only for certification, but to be the best teacher I could be from the second I stepped foot into the classroom. My advisor guided, advised, and prepared me for a career that I did not yet expect, but I was fully prepared to tackle. As a teacher of special education, I felt prepared as I taught in elementary, middle, and high schools because of what I learned at Marshall University. Opportunities arose from the experiences I had while at Marshall. Through those opportunities, I found myself as a Director of Special Education. –Rikki L., Special Education Director