Program Information





- Overview
- Program of Study

- Course Descriptions


- Overview
- Program of Study
- Scholarships
- Course Descriptions
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- Overview
- Program of Study
- Course Descriptions


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Department of
Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education

Special Education Program

Program Overview

The graduate program in Special Education is dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth with special needs – children and youth with mild/moderate disabilities and/or children and youth who are gifted, talented, and creative.

The following are available through the Special Education program:

Both concentrations have a 24 credit hour endorsement program and a 36 credit hour master’s degree. The curriculum of each concentration meets the endorsement standards for Early Childhood through Late Childhood (Grades K to 6) and Early Adolescence through Late Adolescence (Grades 6 to 12).


Admissions Requirements

To gain admission...

  1. for the High Incidence concentration, candidates must possess a cumulative or last 60 semester hour grade-point average of 3.0 based on a four-point scale; admission to the Gifted, Talented and Creative concentration requires a 3.00 cumulative or 3.00 on the last 60 hours.
  2. High Incidence and Gifted applicants must submit:
  • two letters of recommendation,
  • two disposition assessments, and
  • a personal letter that addresses goals and interests.

If a candidate has previously received a grade of B or better in a required course, the advisor may approve the substitution of graduate level, degree appropriate electives. All candidates must be accepted into the degree program before starting the first practicum.


Degree Candidacy Requirements

Candidacy is the formal approval for pursuit of the master's degree after it is determined that all specified criteria have been met. The candidate must apply for degree candidacy after completing between six and 12 hours of course work. Candidates need to:

  1. file a degree plan filed through their advisor; and
  2. maintain a B average with no grade lower than B in core courses is required in all courses for the High Incidence Program.
  3. In addition to the requirements of Emporia State's Graduate School, the Graduate Essay Examination administered by the department must be passed. The Graduate Essay Examination should be completed during the first term of enrollment. The High Incidence Program does not require this.
  4. The candidate must apply for degree candidacy after completing between six and 15 hours of course work. A candidate must be a degree candidate before enrolling in thesis or the second practicum.


Candidates must earn a grade of 'B' or higher on all courses.  Candidates with a grade of 'C' or lower can retake the course one time.  Candidates can retake up to 25% of total courses on their plan of study.

Other Requirements for Special Education

A degree program must be completed and approved before the second term of enrollment.

High Incidence candidates complete a final presentation of their Master’s Project. Gifted candidates can complete the thesis. For candidates selecting the thesis option, a thesis committee consisting of two faculty members from the field and one member outside the field will need to be selected. Candidates selecting the thesis option are required to take an oral examination over their thesis area and research.

For applicants who have been denied admission: Before reapplying for a graduate program, an applicant must:

  1. complete all background deficiencies and
  2. repeat undergraduate courses to raise the GPA on the last 60 hours to 3.00 for High Incidence and Gifted.


Graduation Requirements

In order to receive a master’s degree from this department the candidate must accomplish the following:

  1. complete an approved program of study as developed and approved by the candidate's faculty advisor;
  2. be admitted to Degree Candidacy;
  3. complete a master's capstone project (SD 899) OR complete a master’s level thesis; and
  4. complete an Intent to Graduate Form (submit to the Graduate School).


Contact Us

To learn more, please contact the person listed below with your area of interest:

M.S., Special Education - High Incidence Concentration - Dr. Kelly O’Neal-Hixson, 620-341-5856

M.S., Special Education - Talented, Gifted, Creative - Dr. Connie Phelps, 620-341-5817

Autistic Spectrum Disorder Certificate - Dr. Marj Bock, 620-341-5831