Jul 13, 2024  
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, M.Ed. (Interventionist, K-8)

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Degree: Master of Education (M.Ed.)

The Master of Education program provides advanced study to certified teachers* or teacher candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree and/or seeking initial licensure. The program builds on the College of Education’s conceptual framework, to prepare educators to become competent and caring professionals who are able to work effectively with diverse populations.

*licensed or certified in the State of Tennessee or a United States equivalent.

Specifically, the department provides advanced programs of study in the following majors.

Majors and Concentrations

Curriculum and Instruction
  • Curriculum Planning (licensed teachers only)
  • Educational Technology (non-licensure option)
  • Literacy (for reading specialist endorsement - licensed teachers only)
  • Music (non-licensure option)
  • Secondary School Instruction (includes Music Education)
  • Teaching English Language Learners (endorsement or non-licensure option)
Elementary Education (K-5, licensure option)
Special Education
  • Interventionist (K-8, endorsement or licensure option)

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  1. Become reflective, caring, competent, and culturally responsive practitioners who are able to work with diverse populations using research-based interventions.
  2. Generate new knowledge through scholarly research and communication.
  3. Apply relevant theory, philosophy, research, policies, legislation, and best practice to their professional goals.
  4. Demonstrate growth in knowledge of content, differentiated interventions, and developmentally appropriate pedagogy.
  5. Become collaborators with learners, parents, the community, and other professionals.
  6. Uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the education profession

Admission Requirements

Unconditional admission to the program requires the applicant to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university, an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale, and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Millers Analogies (MAT). The GRE or MAT result is used in the evaluation of the academic qualifications of all graduate applicants. *Note: International students must meet admissions requirements to be accepted into Department programs.

Applicants should refer to the following ranges to determine the minimum score, based on their GPA of record:

GPA of 2.5 or higher MAT - 370 GRE - 290
GPA of 2.25 - 2.49 MAT - 383 GRE - 293
GPA of 2.0 - 2.24 MAT - 394 GRE - 297

Conditional admission may be gained with a lower grade point average, but the GRE or MAT score must be correspondingly higher based on the above weightings. Applicants with less than a 2.5 undergraduate GPA must submit test scores at the time of application; applicants with a GPA of 2.5 or above may submit test scores in the first semester of attendance, but it is preferable that they submit test scores at the time of original application. The student must remove conditional status by earning at least a B (3.0) average in the first nine hours of graduate courses. Failure to achieve this will result in withdrawal from the program. A student with a lower GRE/MAT score does not qualify for conditional admission regardless of a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Admissions to teacher education programs at the graduate level may require additional evidence of academic performance (higher GPA, other test scores.) Applicants who are also seeking initial teaching license should contact the Office of Teacher Education and Student Services for current requirements.

Applicants who are potential candidates for the Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction must be certified to teach or must meet certification (initial licensure) before the degree is awarded. Exceptions are the concentrations in Educational Technology, Music, and candidates for Teaching English Language Learners (ELL) no-licensure option.

Licensure Option Degree Requirements

There are three Master’s Degree programs with initial licensure.

  • Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Secondary School Instruction. This includes all single subjects taught in grades 6-12 and those subjects certified for grades K-12.
  • Elementary Education certified in grades K-5.
  • Special Education, with a concentration as an Interventionst and certified in grades K-8.

Secondary School Instruction candidates must complete the 33-credit hours of course work plus 12-credit hours in the semester of student teaching for a total of 45-credit hours, submit the edTPA portfolio, meet the State Department of Education’s minimum passing edTPA score (open link for score details), pass the comprehensive exams and pass all required Praxis subject area exams.

Elementary Education candidates must complete the 36-credit hours of course work plus 12-credit hours in the semester of student teaching for a total of 48-credit hours, submit the edTPA portfolio, meet the State Department of Education’s minimum passing edTPA score (open link for score details), pass the comprehensive exams and pass all required Praxis subject area exams.

Special Education candidates seeking initial certification (K-8 Interventionist), must take a minimum of 42-credit hours of course work. Candidates who are adding certification to an existing license must complete a minimum of 33-credit hours of course work. Both candidates must successfully pass a two-part comprehensive examination is required to complete the degree. The first part is an examination that covers the general core courses and the second part is a subject/discipline specific examination.

Non-Licensure Options Degree Requirements

The Master’s Degree program in Curriculum and Instruction offers concentrations without initial licensure. These concentrations include: Educational Technology, Music, and Teaching English Language Learners. Candidates must complete the 33-credit hours of course work and pass comprehensive exams. Candidates for the concentration in music must have an undergraduate degree (B.A. or B.S.) in Music as a pre-requisite (not the initial licensure program). The Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with the Music concentration is completed by conducting project writing.

Advanced Degree and Endorsements Requirements

Additionally, the Master’s Degree program in Curriculum and Instruction offers concentrations in Curriculum Planning or Literacy/Reading Specialist for licensed teachers seeking an advanced degree. Candidates must complete the 33-credit hours of course work for the degree and pass comprehensive exams.

Licensed teachers may also choose to complete course work leading to an additional endorsement for their teaching license. The programs offering course work for an addtional endorsement are: Literacy/Reading Specialist, Interventionist K-8, and Teaching English Language Learners. Candidates seeking an endorsement must complete the required course work and pass the Praxis subject area exam(s).

Major: Special Education

The Special Education program provides candidates with courses and experiences designed to prepare competent professionals facilitators of learning with a multicultural perspective to serve in various educational capacities. Graduates are prepared to serve as classroom teachers, and to serve as professionals employed by hospitals, group homes, mental health centers, and other community service agencies, both public and private, serving individuals with disabilities.

Program of Study

Candidates in the Master of Education in Special Education must complete 42-credit hours and pass comprehensive examinations in general education and special education. Candidates take the 15-credit hours required for the professional core, 15-credit hours in Special Education, and 15-credit hours in basic instructional methods courses which includes 3-credit hours of supervised student teaching.

Candidates seeking initial teacher licensure must satisfy requirements for admission to Teacher Education before enrolling in the final semester of student teaching where 12-credit semester hours of course work are completed including the edTPA portfolio.

The master’s degree will not be awarded until licensure requirements are fulfilled.

Specialized Core Courses Required for Initial Licensure (21-credit hours)

Students seeking initial licensure must have a transcript analysis completed by the Office of Teacher Education and Student Services and must be admitted to Teacher Education before enrolling in the following courses.


Candidates must successfully pass all of the required Praxis examinations for Special Education including the edTPA portfolio. For the minimum edTPA score required by the Tennessee Department of Education open Special Education Interventionist K-8. Candidates are required to complete a residency (student teaching) field experience in an exceptional school setting. All course work and Praxis exams must be completed before enrolling in the two student teaching courses in the last semester.

Additional Endorsement (15 to 21-credit hours)

The 15 to 21-credit hour endorsement courses are only for persons who are adding the Special Education, Interventionist K-8 to an existing Tennessee professional teaching license.

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