Special Education, M.A. and Licensure


The Special Education Master’s Degree may be earned with a specialization in any of the areas of emphasis listed below (except autism). 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 Non-Education Certification Program is designed to allow candidates from non-education backgrounds to obtain West Virginia teacher licensure in visual impairments or multi-categorical. The non-education program does not include a general education teaching endorsement.

The Preschool Special Education Area of Emphasis is exempt from this requirement. The MA in Special Education, Preschool Special Education Area of Emphasis is a full certification program and students are not required to have an existing teaching certification to obtain certification in Preschool Special Education in WV. The program includes all coursework and student teaching requirements needed to obtain certification in preschool special education regardless of the student’s undergraduate degree (this includes other fields of discipline that are not education-related and RBA degrees). Students completing an undergraduate degree in early childhood education from Marshall University are not required to complete a student teaching field experience for the Preschool Special Education Program as this requirement is previously met as part of the undergraduate Early Childhood Education Degree. Additionally, students who wish to only complete the MA in Special Education with an emphasis in Preschool Special Education (without certification) have this option available to them.

Marshall University also offers coursework leading to the WV Autism Teaching Endorsement.  To qualify for the endorsement students must take two graduate level autism courses.  The endorsement is attached to a teaching certificate in emotional/behavior disorders, multi-categorical special education, mental impairment (mild/moderate), severe disabilities or pre-school special needs. Students may take the autism courses a part of their M.A. plan of study or as a nondegree student.

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


Admission Requirements

Special Education M.A.

All applicants (including those seeking admission as professional development (certification only), should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission.

Applicants must:

  • Have an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.50 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • 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)

Non-Education Certification Program

Students must meet all Special Education Program admission requirements. In addition to the general Special Education Admission requirements, applicants must pass the Praxis I (Pre-Professional Skills Test) 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.

Current West Virginia Department of Education initial certification requirements also require a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, as well as a 2.5 GPA in the content specialization area. Candidates in the Non-Education Certification program must also meet the WVDE Praxis II testing requirements including the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test at the 5-9 or 7-12 levels.

I am getting endorsed in multi-categorical special education but am interested in autism as well. Can I combine the two?

You can add the two graduate level autism courses to your M.A. plan of study or take the courses as a nondegree student.


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 entirely 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.

Huntington Campus
Education Building Room 220
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755
Phone: 304-696-3131

South Charleston Campus
100 Angus E. Peyton Drive
South Charleston, WV 25303
Phone: 304-746-1992