MA Special Education Extended Certification Online

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Special Education (extended certification) is delivered in an online format.


This Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)-approved program is designed for licensed Wisconsin teachers who want to obtain a Cross-Categorical Special Education (#801) certification. Certification may be earned at either the Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence or Early Adolescence to Adolescent level, and is tied to the Wisconsin Teacher Standards.

The program’s focus is to lead candidates to an understanding of diversity and exceptionality, to an appreciation of the impact of a disability on an individual and his/her family, as well as to demonstrate knowledge and skills in the areas of student assessment, instruction, and management. Integral aspects of the program are the development of a professional portfolio and cross-categorical field experiences, both of which are developmental, evolving throughout the program.

These program components are designed to meet the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction PI 34 requirements for teacher licensure. The Wisconsin DPI requirements for certification and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards are the foundations of the programs.

Candidates participate in developmental field experiences and will demonstrate the content knowledge, pedagogy and dispositions to be a successful teacher. In a culminating student teaching or practicum experience, candidates will be expected to demonstrate learning strategies, individualized instruction, assessment and data driven instruction that leads to student learning.

After completing the 25 credits required for certification, students will have the option to take eight additional credits to complete the M.A. in Special Education program. These courses can also be completed online. During this coursework, candidates develop and present an action research project based on research and best practices.