The program is designed to prepare individuals for Pennsylvania certification in special education.
The Master of Science program with Special Education certification option is not designed for previously certified special education teachers, since it prepares individuals for state certification.
As of June 20, 2014 PDE released an update to the previous certification guideline. The new policy by PDE, “allows instructional certificate holders to add Special Education certification to a K-12 certificate if they successfully complete a Special Education PK-8 or Special Education 7-12 certification program and meet all requirements.”
Eligible for Admission
To be eligible for admission into the Master of Science program with Special Education certification option, applicants must possess a previously earned Pennsylvania instructional certificate in one of the areas below and present a copy of the certificate during the admissions process. An applicant who is certified in another state may contact the Pennsylvania department of education (PDE) at www.pde.psu.edu to apply for PA certification, prior to admission to Wilkes University.
Candidates applying to Wilkes University for special education will apply for one of the following grade bands:
PK-8 or 7-12
Depending on their previously obtained certifications, per PDE regulations released 6/20/14, as follows:
Special Education PreK-8 Option:
- Candidates with previous PA certificates in early childhood N-3, elementary K-6 or PreK-4, middle school 4-8, and K-12 certified reading specialists are eligible for this option.
Special Education 7-12 Option:
- Candidates with previous PA certificates in secondary education grades 7-12(content areas), K-12 and certified reading specialists are eligible for this option.
New Wilkes University Requirement(s) Regarding Completion of Both Special Education Certification Grade Bands
Wilkes graduate students completing the Special Education PK-8 program may choose to pursue Special Education 7-12 certification by completing the following:
- Obtain certification in a Grade 7-12 Content Area by passing the certifying exam and applying for certification through PDE TIMS.
- Once the 7-12 content area certification is approved by PDE, the student will request registration into the Special Education 7-12 internship course through the Program Coordinator. *The hours for this internship course will be determined by the PDE requirements at the time of registration.
- Once the internship is successfully completed, the student will apply through PDE TIMS for certification and will need to pass the designated certifying exam for Special Education 7-12.
Wilkes graduate students completing the Special Education 7-12 program first, may choose to pursue Special Education PK-8 certification through the same process by substituting the appropriate grade band content area certification.
Credits Required for Program Completion
Certification Only: 30 Credits
Student must notify Program Coordinator if only seeking certification.
Master's Degree with Certification: 39 Credits
*If seeking the Master's Degree with Certification EDAM 5066, ESL 504, and ED 569 have to be taken through Wilkes and/or transferred into your program as approved graduate course(s) from another accredited college/university*
Prerequisite courses or their equivalents may be completed at the undergraduate (for
those only seeking certification) or graduate level, online or face-to-face. Candidates
may receive credit for the certification competencies completed through previous program
coursework. Prerequisite courses can be completed at any time prior to applying to
the state for special education certification.
Special Education Program Requirements are outlined at this link. Students should consult with their advisors to be sure they meet all necessary program requirements.
There is no set order for how students have to take these courses, but it is important
to note that EDSP 506: Internship cannot be scheduled until the student successfully
completes EDSP 501 through EDSP 505 and contacts their advisor to be registered for
The Special Education Core Courses (EDSP 501 – 505) are only available at the Wilkes campus in Wilkes-Barre, PA. These courses are all face-to-face courses held on 6 different Saturdays or Sundays during the traditional semester. The only exception is EDSP 501 which is only offered in a fully online format.
NOTE: Student enrollments will dictate whether courses are offered each semester.
If the minimum enrollment is not met in a course, the course will be withdrawn from
The state will require candidates to take the new Special Education Certification tests called the PECT (Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests) available at: http://www.pa.nesinc.com. There are two PECT modules for each grade band. Candidates will select the appropriate grade band modules; either PK-8 or 7-12.