Online Master's in High Incidence Disabilities



#1 Online Master’s in Special Education

in the nation1

Top-Tier Program

Our special education programs are ranked #1 among public universities1

Multiple Options

Teacher track, non-teacher track and licensure endorsement options are available

If you are seeking to serve students with high incidence disabilities, such as learning disabilities, emotional and/or behavioral disorders, mild-cognitive disabilities or autism spectrum disorder, the University of Kansas School of Education and Human Sciences offers online graduate-level degree programs for those pursuing licensure as well as for those who are not.

Become part of a multi-tiered system of support for students needing specially designed instruction.


The online master’s in high incidence disabilities* gives you a big-picture view of the history and context of special education in the U.S., along with current best practices and methodologies you can apply right away in your classroom or in one-on-one interactions with students needing specially designed instruction. These programs are designed to:

  • Understand principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Utilize multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)
  • Learn and manage assessment tools to support students with high-incidence disabilities
  • Create evidence-based instructional approaches and effective curriculum developed for students with disabilities

Important Dates

DEC
17
Application Deadline
December 17
Spring 2022 Term
Jan
10
Next Start
January 10
Spring 2022 Term

Program Details



This track* prepares you to seek advanced licensure or endorsement as a special educator teaching students with high incidence disabilities in multiple educational contexts. Students enrolled in the master's program teacher track are required to complete two fieldwork practica that let you apply your coursework to real-world situations (typically in your current work setting), supervised by an expert faculty member in small groups that enable you to have meaningful access to your supervisor's expertise.

Program Details

  • 11 courses, 8 weeks per course, 33 credit hours
  • Complete in as few as 2 years**
  • Accredited under NCATE/CAEP standards
  • No. 1 online Master’s in Special Education in the nation1
  • Learn from renowned faculty in a department that has set the standard in the research and practice of special education for over 50 years
  • Complete your coursework anytime, anywhere through our innovative online format
  • No GRE required for admission
  • Two required fieldwork practica

View Admission Requirements

What You'll Learn

This program gives you an overview of special education as it pertains to students with high incidence disabilities. You will learn to assess student knowledge, as well as identify and implement evidence-based practices to increase the success of students with high incidence disabilities, academically as well as behaviorally. You'll also study the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and learn to utilize multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). All teacher track students will complete two intensive fieldwork practica in which you'll teach children and youth with disabilities in clinical, residential and/or educational settings. Your experiences will culminate in a master's project: an online portfolio demonstrating your professional growth, work completed and reflections on what you've learned.

For more detailed information on the topics covered in this program, view the course listings.

Career Outcomes

Students who complete the teacher track of the online master's in high incidence disabilities program are often licensed teachers who transition to or start a career in special education. Graduates of this program work as specialists, teachers, consultants and resource specialists who support general education teachers in adapting content and learning conditions to better meet the educational needs of students with high incidence disabilities.

*This program is an online Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree in special education with an emphasis in high incidence disabilities.

**Note: Students who start in Spring terms will finish in 28 months due to availability of courses within the course schedule.

The online master’s in high incidence disabilities teacher track program meets the educational requirements for licensure in the state of Kansas. If you plan to obtain a license or certification in a state other than Kansas or a US territory after completion of your program, it is highly recommended you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency BEFORE beginning the academic program to ensure you can obtain a license of certification in your home state or territory. The website https://nc-sara.org/professional-licensure-directory provides resources for licensure and certification boards outside of Kansas.

Master’s in High Incidence Disabilities Course Descriptions

The online Master of Science in Education (M.S.E) in Special Education with an emphasis on High Incidence Disabilities at KU focuses on high incidence disabilities. It prepares graduates to work in classrooms designated as cross-categorical, multi-categorical, mild/moderate and/or adaptive. Our faculty is comprised of leaders in the field. Read more here to learn about the courses and topics you will learn about when getting your online degree in special education from the University of Kansas School of Education and Human Sciences. All courses listed are worth 3 credits.

Please note: Course list and sequence are subject to change.

SPED 730 - CHARACTERISTICS, METHODS, AND ASSESSMENT: INTRODUCTION TO STRUGGLING LEARNERS & STUDENTS WITH HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES

This course introduces the characteristics, assessment and identification process which is at the core of understanding students with high-incidence disabilities and begins the Master’s in High Incidence Disabilities. Explore the role of the educator in identifying, understanding and implementing evidence-based practices. Students in this course will receive initial instructional and behavioral interventions necessary for meeting the needs of students with high incidence disabilities. This course also presents the needs for specialized services to meet specific learning and/or behavioral needs and provides the basic frameworks for instruction and conceptualizing best practices, including the principles of Universal Design for Learning and Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS). Curriculum resources and intervention strategies for students with high incidence disabilities will be introduced with emphasis on tiered planning and implementation.

SPED 741 - METHODS AND ASSESSMENT: LITERACY INTERVENTIONS FOR STRUGGLING LEARNERS & STUDENTS WITH HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES

This course provides in-depth learning experiences targeting literacy (both reading and writing). Students will learn about assessment tools and assessment systems used in tiered support frameworks to determine the required intensity of literacy support and instruction needed by children/adolescents with high-incidence special education needs. The course also provides evidence-based instructional approaches and effective curriculum that has been developed for students with disabilities and struggling students in general.

SPED 743 - METHODS: FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT, POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT, AND CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

This course provides a problem-solving approach and the framework for teaching and behavioral assessment strategies for students with disabilities and their typical peers. You will explore strategies for developing pro-social behavior in classrooms and whole school contexts. Learn to implement data collection as well as direct observation to assess problem behavior, discover the functions of problem behavior, and explore pro-social alternatives for home, school and community settings.

SPED 775 - PRACTICUM WITH EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN & YOUTH – ADAPTIVE

Using content and understanding gained from the previous 700-level courses, this course provides the opportunity for intense diverse and direct teaching experiences with children and youth with disabilities in educational settings. You will apply what you have learned in a real classroom setting and explore real-world strategies through direct experience. View requirements for practicum.

SPED 841 - ADVANCED METHODS & ASSESSMENT: LEARNING STRATEGY & CONTENT MASTERY FOR STRUGGLING LEARNERS & STUDENTS WITH HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES

This course looks at various ways of assessing student knowledge, identifying and implementing evidence-based practices to increase the success of students with high-incidence disabilities in mathematics, social studies, science and language arts primarily in grades 4-12. Learn best practices for understanding and evaluating curricular demands, monitoring student progress in content-area courses, providing tiered supports and accommodations in teaching, using assessment and grading alternatives, and incorporating the principles of explicit and strategic instruction to design instruction that will promote and enhance content-area learning.

SPED 843 - ADVANCED METHODS AND ASSESSMENT: STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS, SIGNIFICANT BEHAVIOR, SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL NEEDS

This course introduces educators and related service professionals to practical, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies related to a broad range of antisocial, aggressive and behavioral problems. Approaches focus on understanding and addressing the precipitating factors related to inappropriate behavior, crisis management in immediate situations, and problem-solving strategies for longer-term change. Course content will include descriptions of problematic antisocial, aggressive, disruptive and internalizing behaviors; options for classroom interventions; school and system-oriented interventions, and ethical and legal issues involved in various prevention and intervention approaches. Class work will focus on literature, research-based intervention approaches and case work illustrating specific approaches and programs.

SPED 854 - FAMILY AND INTERPROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

This course moves beyond the classroom, providing the knowledge and skills to form useful, collaborative relationships with families, paraeducators, as well as other educators and service providers to best serve the needs of the student. Learn to implement federal and state mandates for special education and related services programs as they relate to building and maintaining relationships with families of students with disabilities and developing effective school programs. Explore procedures for developing, implementing and evaluating (a) instructional accountability for special education students’ participation in district and state assessment (b) relationships between general and special education personnel and programs, (c) roles and responsibilities (d) interdisciplinary team planning including families (e) coordinating, educating and supervising paraeducators, and (f) general management responsibilities associated with instruction of children and youth with disabilities. Course topics include collaboration in schools, community systems and families, historical perspectives of family life and school involvement, effective relationships between home, school and community, communication among professionals and with families, school-based programs, home-based programs, and multicultural considerations.

SPED 856 - TRANSITION EDUCATION AND SERVICES FROM CHILDHOOD THROUGH ADULTHOOD

This course provides a background in career development and transition education for persons with disabilities from middle school through adulthood. Emphasis is placed on IDEA requirements for transition services, career development and the transition processes, transition services assessment, secondary special education curricular implications, career development and transition service needs, collaborative services in schools and communities to promote quality transition services, and current issues and trends in transition education and services.

SPED 875 - ADVANCED PRACTICUM WITH EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN & YOUTH

Drawing upon knowledge and understanding from previous courses, you will integrate and implement strategies and solutions in real-world contexts. This class provides the opportunity for intensive field work and direct teaching experiences with children and youth with disabilities in clinical, residential and educational settings. View requirements for practicum.

EPSY 715 - UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH IN EDUCATION

This course introduces the concepts and skills involved in understanding and analyzing research in education and related areas. The course provides an overview of basic, general knowledge of various research methodologies. Students should expect to study much of this material in greater depth through additional course work before being fully prepared to conduct independent research. However this course should enhance their ability to locate, read, comprehend and critically analyze research articles and reports. Topics in the course include quantitative and qualitative methods and designs, historical and descriptive research and program evaluation.

SPED 898 - MASTER’S PROJECT

The purpose of this independent study course is to provide students in the High Incidence Disabilities Master's program an opportunity to demonstrate their professional growth in an online portfolio. Students will include artifacts (including course assignments) and reflections. The course will end with recorded presentations and final reviews of the submitted projects by the Instructors and committees of two other faculty members. Usually the Faculty Advisor for the cohort participates in these committees.

C&T 709 - FOUNDATIONS OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION*

Basic concepts and processes of curriculum and instruction, including theories, planning models, resources for decision-making, current trends, research, and proposals for improvement of curriculum and instruction.

C&T 807 - MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION*

In order to provide the student with an understanding of multicultural education, the course will examine the effects of such issues as ethnicity in America, the melting pot theory, separatism, cultural pluralism, legal issues, and bilingual education upon the curriculum and instruction in today's classrooms. It will include an evaluation of materials for bias and stereotypes. Field experiences are a part of this course.

*For Non-Teacher track only. Replaces SPED 775 and SPED 875 practica courses.

Licensure Endorsement Course Descriptions



SPED 730 - CHARACTERISTICS, METHODS, AND ASSESSMENT: INTRODUCTION TO STRUGGLING LEARNERS & STUDENTS WITH HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES

This course introduces the characteristics, assessment and identification process which is at the core of understanding students with high-incidence disabilities and begins the Master’s in High Incidence Disabilities. Explore the role of the educator in identifying, understanding and implementing evidence-based practices. Students in this course will receive initial instructional and behavioral interventions necessary for meeting the needs of students with high incidence disabilities. This course also presents the needs for specialized services to meet specific learning and/or behavioral needs and provides the basic frameworks for instruction and conceptualizing best practices, including the principles of Universal Design for Learning and Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS). Curriculum resources and intervention strategies for students with high incidence disabilities will be introduced with emphasis on tiered planning and implementation.

SPED 741 - METHODS AND ASSESSMENT: LITERACY INTERVENTIONS FOR STRUGGLING LEARNERS & STUDENTS WITH HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES

This course provides in-depth learning experiences targeting literacy (both reading and writing). Students will learn about assessment tools and assessment systems used in tiered support frameworks to determine the required intensity of literacy support and instruction needed by children/adolescents with high-incidence special education needs. The course also provides evidence-based instructional approaches and effective curriculum that has been developed for students with disabilities and struggling students in general.

SPED 743 - METHODS: FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT, POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT, AND CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

This course provides a problem-solving approach and the framework for teaching and behavioral assessment strategies for students with disabilities and their typical peers. You will explore strategies for developing pro-social behavior in classrooms and whole school contexts. Learn to implement data collection as well as direct observation to assess problem behavior, discover the functions of problem behavior, and explore pro-social alternatives for home, school and community settings.

SPED 841 - ADVANCED METHODS & ASSESSMENT: LEARNING STRATEGY & CONTENT MASTERY FOR STRUGGLING LEARNERS & STUDENTS WITH HIGH-INCIDENCE DISABILITIES

This course looks at various ways of assessing student knowledge, identifying and implementing evidence-based practices to increase the success of students with high-incidence disabilities in mathematics, social studies, science and language arts primarily in grades 4-12. Learn best practices for understanding and evaluating curricular demands, monitoring student progress in content-area courses, providing tiered supports and accommodations in teaching, using assessment and grading alternatives, and incorporating the principles of explicit and strategic instruction to design instruction that will promote and enhance content-area learning.

SPED 843 - ADVANCED METHODS AND ASSESSMENT: STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS, SIGNIFICANT BEHAVIOR, SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL NEEDS

This course introduces educators and related service professionals to practical, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies related to a broad range of antisocial, aggressive and behavioral problems. Approaches focus on understanding and addressing the precipitating factors related to inappropriate behavior, crisis management in immediate situations, and problem-solving strategies for longer-term change. Course content will include descriptions of problematic antisocial, aggressive, disruptive and internalizing behaviors; options for classroom interventions; school and system-oriented interventions, and ethical and legal issues involved in various prevention and intervention approaches. Class work will focus on literature, research-based intervention approaches and case work illustrating specific approaches and programs.

SPED 854 - FAMILY AND INTERPROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

This course moves beyond the classroom, providing the knowledge and skills to form useful, collaborative relationships with families, paraeducators, as well as other educators and service providers to best serve the needs of the student. Learn to implement federal and state mandates for special education and related services programs as they relate to building and maintaining relationships with families of students with disabilities and developing effective school programs. Explore procedures for developing, implementing and evaluating (a) instructional accountability for special education students’ participation in district and state assessment (b) relationships between general and special education personnel and programs, (c) roles and responsibilities (d) interdisciplinary team planning including families (e) coordinating, educating and supervising paraeducators, and (f) general management responsibilities associated with instruction of children and youth with disabilities. Course topics include collaboration in schools, community systems and families, historical perspectives of family life and school involvement, effective relationships between home, school and community, communication among professionals and with families, school-based programs, home-based programs, and multicultural considerations.

SPED 856 - TRANSITION EDUCATION AND SERVICES FROM CHILDHOOD THROUGH ADULTHOOD

This course provides a background in career development and transition education for persons with disabilities from middle school through adulthood. Emphasis is placed on IDEA requirements for transition services, career development and the transition processes, transition services assessment, secondary special education curricular implications, career development and transition service needs, collaborative services in schools and communities to promote quality transition services, and current issues and trends in transition education and services.

SPED 775 - PRACTICUM WITH EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN AND YOUTH—ADAPTIVE

Using content and understanding gained from the previous 700-level courses, this course provides the opportunity for intense diverse and direct teaching experiences with children and youth with disabilities in educational settings. You will apply what you have learned in a real classroom setting and explore real-world strategies through direct experience. View requirements for practicum.

SPED 875 - ADVANCED PRACTICUM WITH EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Drawing upon knowledge and understanding from previous courses, you will integrate and implement strategies and solutions in real-world contexts. This class provides the opportunity for intensive field work and direct teaching experiences with children and youth with disabilities in clinical, residential and educational settings. View requirements for practicum.

Note: In order to enroll in any of these programs, a bachelor's degree is required. No program can guarantee licensure. It is each student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements in his or her state and to apply for the licenses or endorsements necessary to his or her career goals. Our department staff and licensure officer can provide individual support during the application process to help you understand your state’s requirements.

Sources
  1. Retrieved on February 5, 2021 from usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-kansas-155317