Jun 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, M.S.

This degree is approved for distance education by the WSCUC. This program is also participating in a Chancellor’s Office pilot program. Please see the program website for the most current curricular information. 

Candidates in this master’s degree program work toward attaining leadership positions in schools and agencies in the community that provide services for individuals with disabilities. The program is aimed at developing advanced skills and knowledge of current research in special education, and evidence-based practices and reflective inquiry. The program culminates with a thesis or comprehensive exam. The program does not result in a credential to teach students with disabilities. Candidates who want to teach individuals with disabilities should refer to the Education Specialist Credential Program section. Candidates who are in the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential Program may be eligible to apply to the master’s degree program the semester prior to completing coursework for the credential. 

Visit the program website for program details (www.csulb.edu/college-of-education/master-of-science-special-education).


The following are required for admission to the program:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, to include 24 upper-division units in 4 areas of study:
    1. Human development:
      EDP 301  or EDP 302  (or equivalent).
    2. Statistics and measurement:
      EDP 400  (or equivalent).
    3. Individual differences:
      EDSP 350  or EDSP 355A  or EDSP 355B  (or equivalent).
    4. Special Education Assessment:
      EDSP 564  (or equivalent).
  2. Minimum 2.85 overall grade point average in last degree (not credential or certificate) earned from an accredited institution of higher education. Applicants whose overall GPA is less than 2.85 but meet the University minimum GPA requirement and who present compelling evidence of academic and professional potential either through recent academic performance and/or experiential background, may be considered for admission at the discretion of the program admission committee.
  3. Special education teaching credential, or equivalent experience.
  4. International applicants have additional university application requirements including meeting the English language proficiency requirement. Please visit The Center for International Education (CIE) website at www.csulb.edu/cie for more information.


Applicants use Cal State Apply to submit university application materials and MyCED to submit program application materials before the deadline. Deadlines and details about the Program Materials (e.g., statement of purpose prompt, recommendation prompts) may be found in the Application Process section of the College of Education Graduate Studies Office website. Please contact the College of Education Graduate Studies Office if you have questions. 

Submit official transcripts from the college or university from which you earned your bachelor’s degree. This set of transcripts will be used to determine grade point average eligibility. Failure to submit transcripts in a timely manner will result in a delayed review of the application.

After an initial review, select applicants are invited for an interview with program faculty.

Conditional Admission

Successful applicants are admitted to the program with Conditional Admission status.

Advancement to Candidacy - Clear Admission

Students should advance to candidacy as early as possible. For advancement to candidacy (Clear Admission status), students must:

  1. Maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all course work.
  2. Resolve all incomplete grades.
  3. Complete all prerequisites and at least 6 units of the program in residence.

Please contact the College of Education Graduate Studies Office if you have questions. 


Students must complete a minimum of 30 units of upper-division and graduate courses with a minimum of 21 units at the 500/600-level taken at this university. Degree requirements include the following courses:

Foundation Courses:

One of the following pathways with advisor consultation:

Comprehensive exam:


Electives (3-6 units)

Take 3-6 units of electives with advisor consultation to reach the 30-unit requirement.