Special Education for Initial Certification, Learning and Behavior Disorders, Master of Arts in Teaching (0456)



Program Coordinator

Elizabeth G. Kirby, gail.kirby@wku.edu, (270) 745-3746

The Special Education Initial Certification in Learning and Behavior Disorders program, which will lead to a Master of Arts in Teaching, is for individuals who are seeking initial certification in LBD and may or may not be currently employed as a teacher of students with Learning and Behavior disorders. This option is for those individuals with no prior teacher certification in any area. This 36-hour program consists of coursework in induction to the profession of special education, the diagnosis and assessment of learning and behavioral disabilities, prescriptive teaching, managing behavioral disorders and positive behavior supports, research in special education, and special education law. If a student is currently employed or has verification of employment from a school district, the student may be eligible for a Temporary Provisional Teaching Certificate (CA-TP). If the student does not secure employment as the teacher of record in an LBD setting during the program, the student will be required to complete the equivalent of the state required student teaching experience in an unpaid position in an accredited Public School within WKU's service area. Graduates completing the equivalent of a student teaching experience will be eligible for a Statement of Eligibility for certification as a teacher of students with LBD.

Students must submit passing scores on the Praxis II and be fully admitted to the professional education unit (teacher admissions) PRIOR to enrolling in SPED 590 Students must meet all state requirements for student teaching and initial certification. SPED 590 should be taken as the final course of the program. All courses in the program carry critical performance indicators (CPIs) that must be completed before the final course grade will be recorded. Each course’s CPI becomes a part of the portfolio that is reviewed at the end of each semester for progress through the program.

Note: To be eligible to be recommended for teacher certification, students must document that they have received passing score(s) on the required Praxis II examination(s).

Program Admission

To be considered for admission, applicants must:

  • Document completion of a bachelor’s degree with a major, or equivalent, in an approved subject area and from an accredited institution.
  • Present a letter of application (including professional goals).  Document a cumulative overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or above (counting all course work, undergraduate or graduate) OR a GPA of 3.0 in the last 30 hours of course work (counting all course work, undergraduate and graduate).
  • Submit the state required passing score on the Core Academic Skills for Educators (CASE).
  • Submit documentation to satisfy partial criteria for admission to professional education, including references, physical including TB test, signed commitment to uphold the code of ethics, and criminal background check.
  • Students who have not had an introductory-level special education course within the past ten years must complete SPED 516 The Exceptional Child Perspectives and Issues, as a deficiency prior to enrollment in any of the MAT courses for Special Education.

Application Deadline Notes

Along with all Graduate School studies admission deadlines (see current graduate catalog), for priority consideration for admission to the Special Education Initial Certification: Learning and Behavior Disorders MAT program, students should submit application materials to the Graduate School by the following dates:

  • Summer Admission: March 1
  • Fall Admission:  May 1
  • Spring Admission: November 1

Students submitting materials after the above deadline dates cannot be guaranteed that applications will be reviewed in time for admission for the upcoming term nor that course space will be available.

Please refer to the admission section of this catalog for Graduate School admission requirements.

Program Requirements (36 hours)

Required Courses
SPED 515Education of Exceptional Children3
LME 535Survey of Educational Technology Practices3
PSY 510Advanced Educational Psychology3
SPED 518Seminar: Contemporary Challenges in Special Education3
SPED 530Advanced Assessment Techniques3
LTCY 519Foundations Reading Instruction3
SPED 531Advanced Prescriptive Teaching3
SPED 533Seminar: Curriculum for Learning and Behavior Disorders3
SPED 534Research in Exceptional Child Education3
SPED 630Special Education Law and Finance3
SPED 590Advanced Internship in Exceptional Education 16
Total Hours36

 Students currently teaching in a classroom serving students with Learning and Behavior Disorders may use their current teaching position to meet this requirement with advisor approval. Students not currently teaching must complete an internship experience that is equivalent to state requirements for student teaching in a classroom serving students with Learning and Behavior Disorders.