Special Education

This graduate program stream provides the opportunity for advanced study in research and practice to support the needs of students with exceptionalities. This includes students with learning disabilities, emotional and behaviour disorders, sensory impairments, communication disorders, intellectual and physical disabilities, chronic health conditions, or students who are gifted.

Practices that promote inclusion, resilience, and the developmental health of exceptional populations across multiple contexts (e.g., school, home, community) are emphasized.

The general objectives of the special education focus:

  1. To meet the advanced training needs of current or prospective special educators on contemporary research and practice within inclusive education.
  2. To cultivate professional knowledge and skills in assessing, programming, and supporting individuals with special needs, and to enhance consultative and administrative skills within special education and related health fields.
  3. To promote research and guide graduate students in empirically examining important issues in special education and related health fields.

Please note:

  • This program is suitable for achieving advanced TQS standing for previously qualified teachers, but none of our programs lead to BC Teacher Certification.
  • This program does not allow you to become a school psychologist.

Why study with us?

  • BC TQS requirements—Our program meets the BC TQS requirements for promotion via graduate study
  • Course timing—All required courses are taught after 4:00 pm
  • Work at your own pace—We offer both full- and part-time options 
  • Broaden your work experience—We offer optional co-op semesters that allow you to explore diverse career opportunities
  • Integrate your personal interests into your coursework—We encourage you to use class discussions, papers, and presentations to explore your own classroom and community experiences and interests
  • Earn a flexible degree— Our degree has been used in careers that evaluate, translate and apply research to practice in schools, government, health education and student services 
  • Be part of an international learning community— Our students come from all over the world and have interesting work histories

Delivery methods

Courses are offered in a specified sequence to ensure students have access to courses required to complete the program within two years (without co-op) or three years (with co-op) of full-time studies.

All classes are offered in the evenings (4:30-7:20) or summers to accommodate family and work commitments during the day.

It is possible to take any of our program streams part-time following the designated sequence of courses over four years instead of two. Please check the course planning guide for your program to determine what courses you should take each semester.

Who takes our programs?

  • Teachers, education administrators and program developers
  • Psychology students interested in applying psychological sciences for educational contexts
  • Professionals in student services and higher education settings
  • Health care, child and youth care, and student success professionals
  • Persons with undergraduate degrees in psychology, education, and related fields
  • Learning strategy instructors
  • Government employees

Co-op term options

Students in our programs complete two terms before their first co-op term placement so they have the necessary disciplinary expertise for their placements.

MEd students have the option of completing three co-op terms while MA students have the option to complete two co-op terms to allow for thesis writing.

Students interested in the co-op option must adhere to the three-year program plan listed below in order to finish on schedule.