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.

MA program details

The MA degree involves course work, research and the writing of a thesis. It is for students who plan to continue on to PhD work or who seek careers involving research and teaching in government or post-secondary instituitions. Students who enjoy conducting research, writing, presenting and publishing academic papers frequently select this degree. 

The thesis requires students to apply knowledge and skills acquired during your program to design and conduct a primary research study. To complete in a timely manner students are advised to (a) secure a supervisor and committee by April of year one, (b) complete a literature review on their topic in year one of the program and (c) complete the thesis proposal early in the fall semester year two.

Students are encouraged to review and consider faculty area of research & supervision and are welcome to contact potential supervisors in advance of application to discuss their interests. The faculty members in the Special Education are: Dr. Gina Harrison, Dr. Donna McGhie-Richmond, Dr. Jillian Roberts, Dr. Sally-Brenton-Haden

Important MA features:

  • Progress through program together with your peers and community of learners
  • Two years full time (or three years full time with co-op option)
  • Individualized work with a faculty supervisor on your research thesis
  • Students with undergraduate psychology degrees are generally well prepared for this degree
  • 21 unit program consisting of 10 courses (1.5 units each) plus a thesis (6.0 units)

MA course requirements

Course number and units Course name
1.5 units of Development: ED-D 505 or ED-D 506 A/B/C Advanced Concepts in Human Development;Cognitive Development; Social and Emotional Development; Adolescent Development

1.5 units of Learning: ED-D 508 or ED-D 509

Theories of Learning in Educational or Psychology Psychology of Learning and Instruction
ED-D 515 (1.5) Advanced Assessment in Special Education
ED-D 516 (1.5) Advanced Intervention in Special Education 
ED-D 568 (1.5) Inclusive Education in the 21st Century
ED-D 569 (1.5) Developmental Psychopathology and Disorders
ED-D 571 (1.5) Advanced Assistive Technology in the Inclusive Classroom
ED-D 560  (1.5) Statistical Methods in Education
ED-D 561A  (1.5) Methods in Educational Research 
ED-D 570 (1.5) Self-Regulated Learning
ED-D 591A (1.5) Motivation and Emotion Regulation 
Electives (1.5) Courses to be chosen in consultation with student's supervisor
ED-D 599 (6.0) Thesis

Program courses and requirements are subject to change. Check the Academic Calendar for up-to-date information and course descriptions.

Transfer from MA to MEd programs: In consulatation with your supervisor, you may transfer to the MED program. 

MEd program details

The MEd degree is primarily a course based applied degree that culminates in a time-limited capstone research review project demonstrating your ability to read, evaluate, communicate and apply psychological research. It is especially useful if you're seeking advancement in applied educational settings, community organizations, or government education ministries. Projects and papers emphasize the translation of theory and research to practice. The MEd program is also useful if you are interested in the development and evaluation of educational programs and services. 

Important MEd features:

  • Progress through program together with your peers and community of learners
  • Two years full time (or three years full time with co-op option)
  • Culminates in a time-limited capstone research review project and comprehensive exam
  • Focus is on developing skills for reading and interpreting both quantitative and qualitative research
  • Not suited for students wanting to continue onto a doctoral program 
  • 10 courses (1.5 units each) plus a project (3.0 units) and final comprehensive exam (1.5 units) for a total of 19.5 units

MEd course requirements

Course number and units Course name
1.5 units of Development: ED-D 505 or ED-D 506 A/B/C Advanced Concepts in Human Development;Cognitive Development; Social and Emotional Development; Adolescent Development

1.5 units of Learning: ED-D 508 or ED-D 509

Theories of Learning in Educational or Psychology Psychology of Learning and Instruction
ED-D 515 (1.5) Advanced Assessment in Special Education
ED-D 516 (1.5) Advanced Intervention in Special Education 
ED-D 568 (1.5) Inclusive Education in the 21st Century
ED-D 569 (1.5) Developmental Psychopathology and Disorders
ED-D 571 (1.5) Advanced Assistive Technology in the Inclusive Classroom
ED-D 560  (1.5) Statistical Methods in Education
ED-D 561A  (1.5) Methods in Educational Research 
ED-D 570 (1.5) Self-Regulated Learning
ED-D 591A (1.5) Motivation and Emotion Regulation 
Electives (1.5) Courses to be chosen in consultation with student's supervisor
ED-D 597 (1.5) Comprehensive Exam
ED-D 598 (3.0) Project

Program courses and requirements are subject to change. Check the Academic Calendar for up-to-date information and course descriptions.

Transfer from MEd to MA program: Transfers are not automatic. You can submit an application for a transfer to the MA program (due February 1st). 

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.

 

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

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

 Program schedule by year

Semester Courses scheduled

Year 1 Fall

ED-D 515: Advanced Assessment in Special Education (1.5) 

ED-D 568: Inclusive Education in the 21st Century (1.5)

Year 1 Spring

ED-D 561A: Methods in Educational Research (1.5)

ED-D 569: Developmental Psychopathology and Disorders (1.5)

Year 1 Summer

ED-D 516: Advanced Intervention in  Special Education (1.5)

ED-D 590 Directed Studies: Thesis proposal

Year 2 Fall

ED-D 560: Statistical Methods in Education (1.5)

ED-D 599 Thesis: Ethics and instrument preparation

 Either development or learning course*:

* If you take a development course in Fall 2, then you will take the learning course in Sping 2. If you take a learning course in Fall 2, then you will take the development course in Spring 2.

Year 2 Spring

ED-D 571 Advanced Assistive Technologies Inclusive Classroom (1.5)

ED-D 599 Thesis: Data collection and analysis

 One development or learning course*:

Year 2 Summer

ED-D 599 Thesis: Write, revise, and defense