Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Master of Special Education, MS.Ed., Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement PK-12


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Department Contact:

Director:  Dr. Melissa Peppetti, mpeppetti@francis.edu, 814-472-3068

Accreditation Statement:

Saint Francis University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 

The teacher preparation and certification programs offered at Saint Francis University at the undergraduate and graduate level are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17126; (717)783-6788. PDE approved preparation programs are designed to prepare and certify educators to teach or serve in the schools of the Commonwealth. www.education.pde.gov    

Program Description:

The Master of Special Education degree program is designed for teachers and other individuals interested in pursuing an advanced degree in special education. The program provides advanced study for elementary and secondary special educators interested in increasing their professional knowledge base and skills. The program seeks to facilitate students’ ability to be analytical, reflective decision-makers of special education content, theory, practice, and pedagogy. Courses are designed to link educational theory and classroom practice for application in students’ current or future professional settings.

Candidates interested in the Master of Special Education, 30-credit program, may pursue the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Endorsement for credits. The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Endorsement is designed for candidates interested in completing a competency-based sequence of courses at a baccalaureate degree level or higher. This endorsement provides an additional level of specific training and experiences for professionals who provide educational services for the population of students presenting with various autism spectrum disorders. It will allow professional educators holding this endorsement to address the complex needs of students with ASD in various classroom and school settings. Education professionals achieving this endorsement will have demonstrated competencies related to research -based assessment, intervention, instruction, and program management for student with ASD. Students will gain the knowledge and experience necessary to work with family members with ASD and the broader community. (from the PDE guidelines)

Student Learning Outcomes:

Curriculum and Instruction 

Students will demonstrate the understanding of curriculum and instruction design elements in K-12 learning environments by utilizing researched-based best practices to evaluate teaching and learning.  

 

School Law and Advocacy  

Students will demonstrate how to apply systems thinking in decision making situations in K-12 settings and align to Federal, state, and district requirements.  

 

Research Approaches and Principles in Education 

Students will demonstrate how to structure problems for solution and frame issues for resolution using data sources for K-12 education.  

 

Ethics and Special Education  

Students will demonstrate how to operate in a fair and equitable manner with personal and professional integrity that is culturally relevant to a K-12 environment.  

Admission Criteria:

Students must apply for admission into the program. The Graduate Education program will review all applicants throughout the year and candidates will receive an acceptance letter from the Director. In order to be considered for application, applicants must submit the following information:

  • Online Application
  • A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 is required. If candidate’s GPA is less than 3.0; he or she may be accepted on a provisional basis while taking up to nine (9) credits. The student must obtain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the first nine credits to be admitted to the program. If these requirements are not met the student will not be admitted to the program.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work completed;
  • Copy of Instructional Certificate (must be in Special Education);

Admission Deadline:

The program has rolling admission.

Technical Standards or Essential Functions:

Saint Francis University is committed to the principle that no qualified individual, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits or services, programs or activities of the University, or be subjected to discrimination by the University as required by the Americans with Disability Act.  The Center’s Office of Disability Services assists eligible students in receiving basic services as determined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act. Every effort is made to arrange appropriate academic accommodations for students who experience physical or mental disabilities. Students are required to provide appropriate documentation to the accessibility coordinator upon request of the accommodation. 

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

  • Students must complete their degrees within five (5) years of their initial enrollment.
  • A minimum average of 3.0 must be maintained throughout the program. If a student falls below the 3.0 requirement he or she will be placed on academic probation for the next semester. Student’s continued eligibility in the program will depend on the GPA in the semester following the low GPA. If the student’s GPA does not go above the 3.0, after being placed on probation, the student is subject to dismissal from the program.

Graduation Requirements:

A candidate for graduation must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete all requirements for an approved program of study;
  • Complete a minimum of 30 credits of master-level education courses depending on which specialization option they choose.
  • Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better
  • Submit a completed Application for Degree form at least one semester prior to graduation date; and
  • Satisfy financial obligations to the University.

Licensure and/or Certification:

Upon successful completion of the 12-credit requirements for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialization, candidates will be recommended for the endorsement to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Other information to include, related to this program:

Instructional Level II certification   

If you have been teaching in Pennsylvania on a Level I certificate from 3-6 years of satisfactory service and have earned 24 post-baccalaureate credits, you can apply for a Level II certificate through the PDE. The following conditions must be met:  

*6 credits (EDUC 515 and EDUC 560) must be associated with your area(s) of certification and/or must be designed to improve professional practice;   

*You must have three years of satisfactory service on a Level I certificate, verified by the chief school administrator of the employing school entity;  

*You must have completed a PDE induction program verified by the chief school administrator of your employing entity.    

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 2 years of full-time study or 2+ years part time

Total Credits Required:

36-39 credits

Note:

Students will have 90 hours of clinical observations upon completion of this program through successful completion of all 12 credits from the Autism Spectrum Disorder program. These clinical hours may be completed in the student’s current place of employment with instructor permission.

This is an online program. Students must have a computer and access to the Internet to complete all program requirements.

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