Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity in Special Education

School of Education

Colleges / Schools



21st Century Special Educators

The need for effective special educators in PK-12, regional school settings remains consistently high. Standards for teacher certification across disability categories, and spanning birth-age 21, require that special educators obtain specialized knowledge and skills to address a wide range of student needs and opportunities.

Arcadia’s program not only prepares special educators to work with and across these populations; it also prepares them to understand the complexities of teaching and learning in the 21st century related to considerations of cultural and linguistic diversity and equity, and ensuring inclusive and effective outcomes for students with disabilities, their families, and communities.


Program Design

The Master’s of Education with a concentration in Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity in Special Education program is designed around five major themes:

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy
  • Collaboration and CoTeaching
  • Evidence-Based and High Leverage Instructional Practices
  • Reflective Praxis
  • Data-based Decisionmaking

Each course embeds these themes within the content of the courses in the following ways: 

  • Stressing inclusion as the default option for all students while striving to build inclusive communities of diverse individuals;
  • Enacting professional dispositions and advocacy centered on addressing equity and justice for diverse students, families, and communities in relation to processes, opportunities and outcomes in special education and related services;  
  • Focusing on successful strategies for consultation, collaboration, and co-teaching to provide effective instruction and services that build communities of opportunity for students; 
  • Designing evidence-based, authentic, culturally responsive and sustaining instruction and related services provision that addresses intersectional needs of, and opportunities for, diverse students and families; 
  • Engaging in continuous professional self-reflection (praxis) to consider the meaning and outcomes of activities, experiences, and collegial relationships, with attention to effectiveness and improvement.


Flexibility with Intentional Design in Fieldwork

Fieldwork is a key component of all School of Education programs. Fieldwork in this graduate program is intended to provide opportunities for students to experience the depth and breadth of opportunities and experiences in the profession of special education. That said, we understand that most of our graduate students work full-time and attend their courses in the late afternoon and evening, and that many are already teachers.

As a result, our policies regarding field and clinical experiences for graduate students are often more flexible than those for undergraduate teacher certification students.  We provide several fieldwork opportunities that fall outside of traditional business hours (prior to 9 a.m., late afternoon and evening).

Students may also gain fieldwork experience in their own school if they are already working as a general education teacher or reading specialist. All decisions regarding fieldwork placements are made in consultation between the student and the School of Education Director of Field Experiences and Outreach.

Your Professional Goals Are Within Reach

If you have a bachelor's degree in any subject area, you are eligible to apply to Arcadia's School of Education and prepare for a career in education.  In this program you will learn all competencies and standards required to become a professional educator and earn your Special Education Certification. You will also be prepared to address effective learning opportunities using the frameworks of justice, equity and inclusion for diverse learners with disabilities and their families and communities. 

Attend Part- or Full-Time

You can complete the program part- or full-time, with evening classes offered 4:30-10 p.m. Monday through Friday during each 14-16 week semester. Some courses are offered in accelerated format during various summer sessions. You will plan the courses you'd like to register for each semester with the help of your academic adviser.

Full-time status for graduate students is nine or more credit hours per semester. Most students register for at least two courses a semester, allowing them to complete a master's degree and/or teacher certification within 18 to 24 months.

Become a Certified Teacher

Certification requirements may vary based on your academic experience and desired certification area. The master’s degree is not required for certification.