Special Education (M.Ed.)

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Special Education (M.Ed.) Overview

Chatham University’s Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education program is committed to producing compassionate, highly-skilled special educators who enrich the lives of students with disabilities and exceptional needs. Many Chatham Education courses draw from the UN Sustainable Development goals, preparing you to also take steps towards ending poverty, fighting inequality, and stopping climate change from your position as a classroom teacher. As a Chatham Education graduate, you will stand out from other new teachers because Chatham will train you to help all K-12 students—particularly those with exceptionalities—to critically examine and solve social problems, economic problems, and environmental problems in their community.
Degrees Offered
  • MEd
Program School
Application Deadline

Varies by Term

Fall Recommended Deadline – July 1 (rolling admission until August 1)
Summer Recommended Deadline – April 1

Credits Required


Most full-time students will be able to complete the program in two years.

Cost Per Credit


Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

Did You Know?


The M.Ed. requires that students already be certified in another area (Pre-K through 4, middle grades, or a secondary area such as English, science, history, etc.).

Explore the Master of Education in Special Education Degree:


  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Probationary admission may be granted for applicants with a GPA of less than a 3.0 who show promise through their other achievements

Our application cycle for fall 2022 and summer 2023 will open as we near the start of fall (August) 2021 courses.

If you have not already, please request info to get updated communications from the graduate admissions department on availability of the new application cycle.

Application Requirements

Applicants to the MEd Special Education program must submit the following information to the Office of Admissions for review:

  • Completed online application—resume and essay can be uploaded to the application but can also be sent independently.
  • Official Transcripts (must be sent from the school's Registrar’s Office) from all colleges and universities you have attended including those in which you may have transfer credits, attended a community college, received AP credits from a college while in high school, enrolled in a summer course, participated in a study abroad, etc.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Two (2) Academic or Professional Letters of Recommendation (must be sent by the recommender) in the form of a Word or pdf document. This is a free form recommendation and there will not be a link or form sent to your recommenders.
  • Admissions Essay
  • Provide proof of teaching certification

All admissions documents should be emailed.

Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission - Berry Hall
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

EDU634: Inclusion: Issues and Strategies

This course surveys practices of inclusion in education. It encompasses historical precedents, underlying philosophy, education theory, instructional strategies, and practical implications of implementation.

EDU644: Behavior Management in the Classroom

Students investigate the principles and systematic approaches used to identify and analyze problem management techniques, individual behavior and affective intervention strategies, and community-based support programs designed to address problem behaviors. Crisis intervention and conflict resolution are explored as strategies for confronting challenging behaviors.

EDU671: Collaboration, Consultation, and Teamwork

This course focuses on developing effective collaboration skills with members of the school community, as well as the community at large, to provide a realistic and integrated program for all children. Students engage in a variety of group activities that respond to the need to analyze group dynamics and implement effective communication strategies. 

View Full Curriculum

Admission requirements are set by Chatham University, House Bill 1816, Chapter 354 of the Pennsylvania School Code and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

*Advance Standing Undergraduate Admission to Education Programs Requirements

In accordance with House Bill 1816 and Chapter 354 regulations, all undergraduate students must apply for Advanced Standing by the time they have attempted 48 creditsThis includes any student wishing to earn certification in the state of Pennsylvania; PreK-4, Secondary content areas, K-12 Art, etc. Transfer students must apply for Advanced Standing prior to taking education courses at Chatham.  As stated in House Bill 1816 and Chapter 354 regulations, education students who do not apply for Advanced Standing and/or who do not meet the minimum requirements of Advanced Standing as required by PDE are NOT permitted to continue taking education courses.

In order to be considered for advanced standing a student:

  1. Must maintain a 3.0 GPA
  2. Pass or show evidence of passing one of the basic skills exams required by PDE
  3. Complete six credits of English (composition and literature) at the 100 level or higher
  4. Complete six credits of math at the 100 level or higher
  5. Completed Undergraduate Application to for Advanced Standing
  6. Must have two letters of recommendation:
    1. One letter must be from a Chatham University Education faculty member
    2. One letter must be from a professional reference OR another faculty
  7. Recommendation from Chatham University’s Education Department

Please note that students may be conditionally accepted to the program for any reason, including poor academic performance, excessive tardiness and absenteeism and other reasons. 

*Master of Arts in Teaching Program Admission Requirements (including PreK-4, Art K-12 and Secondary students)

  1. Graduation from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. 3.0 GPA
  3. Admission essay
  4. Two letters of recommendation
  5. Completed admissions application 

*Master of Education in Special Education

  1. Graduation from a regionally accredited college or university with eligibility to apply for initial certification or currently holds Instructional One certification in the state of Pennsylvania
  2. 3.0 GPA
  3. Admission essay
  4. Two letters of recommendation
  5. Completed admissions application

*NOTES: The Education Department at Chatham University must abide by all rules, regulations, policies and competencies as stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Some additional requirements and coursework, such as meeting pre-requisites may be required of some students.  All pre-requisite requirements must be completed by the end of your second semester attending Chatham University. If pre-requisite work is not completed by the end of your second semester you may be suspended from the program until pre-requisite work is completed.

By the end of the specific program, students must earn an overall 3.0 GPA, produce a B- or better in all certification coursework at the graduate level and a C- or better at the undergraduate level, complete all field work including practicum or student teaching, pass the appropriate Certification Test for their area of certification and all University requirements.

All required and elective courses for certification assess the students via portfolios, class presentations, course projects, papers exams, and field experiences. Upon completion of the program students will possess a full library of notebooks containing course notes handouts assignments and other information gathered during each course. All coursework is aligned with Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements and Competencies as well as Academic Standards and Anchors.

As part of the practicum experience, students will earn a minimum of 4 on the PDE 430 form and not earn a 0 in any category.

Additionally, in order to become certified in the state of Pennsylvania, students will have to successfully pass the appropriate certification tests for their area.

Chatham University is committed to supporting its graduates from this program. The Alumni office and the Education department communicate with former students about employment activities, speakers on campus, trainings, local and regional conferences and classes that support professional development. In addition, the faculty are available to mentor former graduates upon request.  All student information is updated yearly.

The need for expertly trained, certified special education teachers has never been greater. Chatham’s graduate program produces superb practitioners in this critical field who are prepared to make their own contributions through teaching, research, or advanced study.

— KRISTIN HARTY, Ph.D., Education Department chair and graduate program director

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Photo of Kristin Harty
Program Director & Associate Professor of Special Education

Assistantships & Fellowships

Chatham offers graduate assistantships and work-study positions that provide students with valuable experience and help reduce the cost of tuition in the form of tuition remission or paid compensation. A limited selection of additional program-specific aid such as fellowships, scholarships and tuition waivers are available for specific programs.

Learn More

Built Around Your Schedule

Classroom instruction is held during evenings, convenient for working teachers as they develop enhanced skills and credentials.

Words from Our Students: Joe Holland

"I entered the M.Ed. program at Chatham to fulfill my goal of working with students with varying disabilities. The skills that I gained in courses such as Instructing Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Advanced Instructional Interventions provided me techniques to become a successful educator in any environment."

Alumna Profile: Dawn Loy-Lowmiller, Teacher at Propel North Side

"One of the experiences [at Chatham] that has remained with me was the opportunity to observe and complete field hours in the Children’s Institute. It enhanced my understanding of all the different forms of assistive technology available, different techniques to support students' needs, and the variety of disabilities. Upon graduation, I switched from a classroom teacher to become a special education teacher at Propel Northside Charter School."