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Special Education (MA) - Severe & Multiple Disabilities 
Program Description

Special Education (MA) - Severe and Multiple Disabilities

The UA College of Education MA in Special Education is designed to prepare you to teach students with severe multiple disabilities. The program emphasizes inclusive education and evidence-based best practices in teaching children and youth with severe and multiple disabilities, such as moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, deafblindness, and autism spectrum disorders.

Our program is accredited by the Arizona Department of Education. Students who complete the program receive the MA degree. Students who successfully complete the MA and student teaching are eligible to apply for the Severe (K-12) Special Education Teaching Certificate in the state of Arizona.

In addition to the traditional two-year MA plan or part-time study, we now provide an Accelerated Master’s Program option for qualified undergraduate applicants.

Advisor: Dr. Stephanie MacFarland 


Department/Academic Unit(s)

Dept of Disability & Psychoeducational Studies -

The Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies is committed to research about and teaching of students with disabilities and special abilities. The department’s research, teaching, and service address current issues in special education, rehabilitation, school psychology, and deaf studies. The Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies (DPS) is dedicated to advancing human and economic development through the empowerment and effective inclusion of culturally diverse individuals with disabilities and special abilities of all ages. This is accomplished by conducting research to further knowledge and understanding of abilities, disabilities, adaptations, interventions, and support systems; preparing professionals to educate and facilitate the development of individuals with disabilities and special abilities; and providing leadership at the local, state, national, and international levels. To accomplish our mission, the department offers nationally recognized undergraduate, master's, educational specialist, and doctoral-level degrees to prepare teachers, counselors, specialists, administrators, school psychologists, school counselors, and researchers and educators in special education, rehabilitation, school psychology, gifted education, sign language and deaf studies, and educational interpreting.
College of Education  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Cecilia Carlon
Graduate Program Coordinator
Cecilia Carlon
Director of Graduate Studies
Carl J Liaupsin
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Lori D'Anna
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

Official transcripts showing a grade point average of “B” or better (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).

A two-page personal statement describing your experience working with children or youth who have disabilities and how you expect the Mild-Moderate MA program to improve your impact with children or youth with disabilities.

If you do not hold a teaching certificate, we require evidence of experience working with children or youth with disabilities. Reference to this experience may be included in your letters of recommendation.

Three professional letters of recommendation. We prefer letters from persons who can attest to your ability to do graduate level work and interact effectively with children and youth.

An interview with a program advisor. Your interview will provide you with valuable information about the program and give you an opportunity to ask questions about the program. Your interview may be conducted in person, by phone, or via teleconferencing.

Standardized Tests

GRE scores not required

International Students Only
Minimum TOEFL: 79 (IBT) 550 (PB) or
Minimum IELTS: Composite score of 7 (no subject area below a 6)

Please review our English Proficiency Requirement list to verify your need to submit an English proficiency test.

Financial Aid

Please refer to the UA Financial Aid Office for up-to-date information about scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance at 

You may also refer to the College of Education Scholarship page.


Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall and Summer Admission - March 15
  • Spring Admission - October 1

International Applicants:

  • Fall  December 1
  • Spring  June 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 3705 for Major

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements
  • Core Coursework
    • SERP 500: Introduction to Special Education
    • SERP 502: Behavior Principles and Disability
    • SERP 503: Special Education Law and Policy
    • SERP 504: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Special Education
    • SERP 556: Research Methods in Education
  • Specialization Coursework
    • SERP 513: Assessing & Educating Students with Intellectual & Severe Disabilities
    • SERP 515: Assessment & Instruction: Learners with Low Incidence Disabilities
    • SERP 518: Aug. Comm. For Learners with Severe & Multiple Disabilities
    • SERP 521: Introduction to Visual Impairments & Deaf-Blindness
    • SERP 564: Introduction to Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • SERP 575: Observation & Participation in Special Education Programs
    • SERP 593: Internship (Supervised Teaching in Southern Arizona School Districts)
    • SERP 597E: Consultation and Collaboration in Special Education
  • Certification Requirements (Required for Graduates to Apply for Teacher Certification)
    • A course in Arizona and US Constitution (Previously taken as an undergraduate or taken as a graduate student at another institution; not available through
      UA graduate programs)
    • A course in Structured English Immersion (Previously taken as an undergraduate or taken as a graduate student; available through UA graduate programs)
    • Obtaining an Arizona IVP Fingerprint Card. Prior to working with minors in schools for coursework and student teaching, students must obtain an IVP Fingerprint Card
    • Passing score on the appropriate Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment. For this program, that test would be the Assessment of Professional Knowledge, Elementary. Graduate students are not required to pass the Subject Knowledge exam to apply for certification.

(*Note: You and your advisor will plan the order in which you take courses, any additional required or optional coursework, and the length of your program.)

Minor Requirements

There are no minor requirements; however, you can focus on an area of specialty concentration under your program advisor.  In addition, students should be aware that there are requirements for state certification beyond the 36-unit base MA program requirements. See the details in “Degree Requirements” or the Student Handbook.

Student Handbook  
Persistent link:
Last revised 23 Jul 2019