High-Impact Master's Education

The Master of Education in Special Education focuses on the preparation of teachers to work with students with disabilities in PK-12 schools. Teachers may also be prepared to work with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The program has an emphasis area that the Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (Option 1) examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. Applicants interested in the BCBA should contact MaryAnn Demchak for more information at mad@unr.edu.

VCS Logo
The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. Contact MaryAnn Demchak, Ph.D., BCBA-D for more information at mad@unr.edu

Program Emphasis

Two types of master’s degrees in special education are offered, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) with out a thesis and Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a thesis. These programs have differing emphases and so it is recommended that students meet with a faculty advisor in selecting the most appropriate program.
Emphasis areas include:
  • mild to moderate disabilities (K-12),
  • intellectual disabilities: moderate to intense needs,
  • applied behavior analysis in special education,
  • autism and related disorders (K-12),
  • advanced studies in learning and behavior disorders, and
  • early intervention/early childhood special education.

Programs of study leading to initial licensure or advanced preparation are both available.

Students will develop an in-depth understanding of special education policy and law, student characteristics, instructional methods, assessment, behavior management, and working collaboratively with families. They will be familiar with the professional literature related foundations and research in special education related to their area of emphasis. Teacher leadership is stressed with graduates able to interpret and evaluate research findings and apply them to special education and early intervention settings.

Request more information

Applications are accepted year-round

We recommend applications by April 15 for the fall semester and by October 15 for the spring semester.

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of the program application
  • Passing scores Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators in Reading, Writing, and Math or CBEST.  If you provide evidence of a Nevada Teaching License without a provision for the basic skills test or have a master's degree in another area, you are exempt from this requirement.
  • Statement of professional goals
  • 1-2 page resume
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Qualified in the professional judgment of the program faculty

The specific curriculum requirements are adapted to the professional needs of the student. Students should not enroll in any graduate-level course without first securing the approval of the program that such a course is acceptable.

Program Contact Faculty Member: Dr. Shanon Taylor

Program Requirements

Program Hours

A minimum of 33 credits are required. All degree candidates are required to complete one or more research courses. Some emphasis areas offer, and students choose to complete, a six-credit thesis as part of the program, resulting in a program of at least 39 credits. A maximum of six graduate credits of S/U grades may be applied toward a master's degree.

Special Education Program Faculty

Special Education
Ruby Batz
Ruby Batz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7863
WRB 3086
Special Education
Vivian Bolanos
Vivian Bolanos
WCSD SPED Field-based Instructor
(775) 682-7869
WRB 3073
Special Education
MaryAnn Demchak
MaryAnn Demchak, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7852
WRB 3109
Special Education
Lindsay Diamond
Lindsay Diamond, Ph.D.
Department Chair of Educator Preparation and Associate Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7927
WRB 3085
Special Education
Robert Ives
Robert Ives, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7867
WRB 3080
Special Education
Randall Owen
Randall Owen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education, NCED Director
(775) 784-6385
WRB 4102
Special Education
Shanon Taylor
Shanon Taylor, Ed.D.
Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7862
WRB 3076