College of Education and Professional Development

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 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 Early Childhood Education undergraduate degree. Additionally, students who wish to only complete the MA in Special Education with an emphasis on Preschool Special Education (without certification) have this option available to them.

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):



Admission Requirements

Additional Certification Requirements

Course Options

Frequently Asked Questions



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