Education Specialist Practicum
Education Specialist Paper
Option for On-Campus or Distance Education
Coursework Available Via Distance Education
Program Faculty by Specialty Area
The faculty of the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders offers the Educational Specialist Degree for those persons interested in advanced study in the areas of special education. The Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) prepares educational practitioners for specialized positions in schools or other settings. It is intended to permit practitioners to obtain specialized knowledge and skills or to expand the breadth of their knowledge and skills related to special education.The Education Specialist Degree is a terminal degree, and should not be viewed as a substitute for the doctorate. It is especially appropriate for those individuals who wish preparation beyond the master’s degree level, but who are not interested in doctoral work with its emphasis on research and college teaching. Work undertaken for a completed Education Specialist Degree will not transfer to a program of study for a Doctoral Degree. Speak to your advisor about this if you have questions.
Admission into an Ed.S. program in Special Education and Communication Disorders (SECD) will be considered for those who meet the following criteria:
1. Hold a masters degree from a fully accredited collegiate institution. (Relevant professional experience is desired).
2. Have acceptable academic predictors (undergraduate and graduate GPA: GRE verbal and quantitative and writing percentile ranks, etc.)
3. Provide three letters supporting the applicant's ability to pursue advanced graduate work.
4. Complete an application for admission which includes identification of an area of specialization and a statement of goals that are to be accomplished in the Ed.S. graduate program.
5. Obtain aletter of support and commitment to serve as an advisor from an appropriate faculty member (an advisor must agree to advise a student before that person is granted admission; see section on identifying and advisor below).
Professional experience related to the specialization in special education is desired.
Admission recommendations will be determined by the admissions committee of the Division of Special Education graduate faculty.
Before submitting application materials, students should identify one or more potential advisers from the list of faculty below. Students should correspond via letter or email or meet in person or on the phone with that potential advisers regarding the student’s plans to determine: a. whether this faculty member accepts Ed.S. students; b. whether the students professional interests are in compatible with those of the advisor, and c. whether the advisor is willing to work with distance education students (if applicable).
Faculty members may have limited availability for Ed.S. students and will be likely to only accept students to advise if there is a good match between the student's desired focus and the faculty members professional interests,. Therefore students should be able to be as specific as possible about their interests. Admission to the Ed.S. program will not occur without first identifying an advisor and obtaining a signed agreement form from that faculty member. Students should expect to work closely and maintain regular communication with their advisor during their entire program. This is a mentoring relationship which will require the student's initiative to maintain communication. This will be especially important for distance students.
Once admitted, the student in cooperation with the advisor will recommend the other members of the supervisory committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies who will formally appoint the committee. This committee will be responsible for approving the program of studies, monitoring a student’s progress, administering the comprehensive examination, reviewing and approving the student’s project and recommending the student for receipt of the Educational Specialist Degree. The Supervisory committee will be chaired by the student’s advisor who must be a faculty member in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders.
Each student will be required to pursue a program of study that has an emphasis on the practical aspects of the field of special education. Each student will write a set of goals related to the program, and identify the area of specialization desired within the field of special education.
Generally students in the Education Specialist degree program can specialize in any area of special education. Specializations might be accomplished by taking a set of courses on disability areas such as mild/moderate disabilities, autism, deaf or hard of hearing, visual impairments, and severe disabilities/autism. The program may include adding another teaching endorsement or a UNL certificate in one of these areas (where available). Others might focus on age levels of special education students such as early childhood special education or secondary special education and transition. Still others might focus on other related topics such as special education consultation and collaboration, assessment and measurement, program evaluation, law and policy, or similar topics. These examples are intended to illustrate the range of possible areas of specialization, and not to limit the possible focus of study. However a logical set of courses should be created by the student with the advisor and approved by the committee.
A student’s goals should be as specific as is possible, and should indicate the areas of practice the student is choosing to increase expertise. The goals might also reflect how the student will apply and use research related to this area, and how the student’s skills in supporting areas such as supervision and administration, professional development, distance education, technology or other areas will be increased.
The student will design a program consistent with his/her professional goals in the field. That program will consist of the following:
- At least 66 hours beyond the baccalaureate.
- At least 33 of the hours must be in approved graduate courses offered through the University of Nebraska Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders.
- No less than 24 hours must be completed after the program has been filed with the Graduate College.
- All degree requirements must be completed within eight years from the date of the program’s approval.
For admission each student will write a set of professional goals for the Educational Specialist program which will guide the development of the particular course of study. Each student’s program must include:
- Core courses (related to the student’s focus topic(s))
- Related Courses
- Research, Statistics and/or Evaluation Courses
The specific courses which are included in the student’s program within each of these sections will be determined by the student and advisor and approved by the Supervisory Committee based on the student’s goals. Courses in these five areas may include Masters Degree coursework already completed as is pertinent, as well as additional courses to be taken as a part of the proposed Education Specialist Program.
If a student chooses to add an additional teaching endorsement or administrative certificate or a UNL certificate of completion as a part of this program, the student must meet all of the course requirements that are specific to that endorsement or certificate. Students seeking additional endorsements must file an appropriate program of study with the CEHS Teachers Certification office. Your advisor will assist you with this process.
A written comprehensive examination developed by the supervisory committee, will be administered when the program is substantially complete. The committee determines the nature and duration of the examination, when the exam will occur on the recommendation of the advisor and will report the results to the Graduate College.
The Practicum may include student teaching, internships, externships or other forms of practicum. The nature of the practicum should relate to the student’s goals and be determined in cooperation with the advisor. Distance education students in the Ed.S. Program may need to identify their own local practicum sites, and identify a qualified local supervisor for their practicum, with the advice and agreement of their advisor. In some cases the distance student may also need to pay specific fees related to practicaum.
Students in the Ed.S. Program will write at least one scholarly paper or project appropriate to the applied nature of the degree. This paper is not a formal thesis or dissertation, but should be substantial in character, and represent an application of the knowledge and skills the student is attempting to obtain in their Ed.S. degree program. The paper or papers might be a literature review, applied research project report, a curriculum analysis, a manuscript suitable for publication, a grant application suitable for submission to a funding agency or in some other format suitable to the student’s interests and goals. The paper might be written as a part of any course, for independent study credit, or done separately without credit.
A description of the proposed paper or papers should be developed and submitted to the supervisory committee for their approval before undertaking the paper(s), and the supervisory committee will review and approve the final project or paper when it is completed.
Once admitted, the Ed.S. student will work with the advisor to submit the following additional forms:
- Recommendation for the Selection of Ed.S. Supervisory Committee;
Download in PDF format.
- Education Specialist Degree Program of Studies;
Download in PDF format.
- Final Report for the Education Specialist Degree.
Download in PDF format.
Students in the Ed. S. Program may be able to complete their Ed.S. Degree taking courses available via distance education, or in a more traditional on-campus mode. However, not all areas of specialization will be supported via distance education, and prospective students in the program should consult with an advisor before completing the admission process in order to determine the availability of distance education courses to support their goals. Although the availability of distance education sections is increasing quickly, currently the following special programs are available via distance education and could be built into an Education Specialist Degree Program:
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Early Childhood Special Education
- Mild/Moderate Disabilities
- Severe Disabilities/Autism
- Supervisor of Special Education
Check the UNL Office of Extended Education and Outreach for the latest information.
On-campus students may include any available area of specialization in their programs. Check the UNL Office of Extended Education and Outreach website for latest information.
Coursework Available Via Distance Education
While on-campus students may take virtually any graduate course as a part of their program, distance students will be limited by the availability of distance sections. These are changing and expanding continuously.
Student enters with:
Teaching Certificate in Secondary Social Studies; Endorsement in Learning Disabilities K-12
Master of Education Degree in Special Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Goal focuses on adding administrative certificate as Supervisor of Special Education.
Previous Masters Degree Coursework (39 Credit Hours; 33 applied toward Ed.S.)
Masters Degree coursework= 33
Additional Courses for Education Specialist = 42
Total Hours including Masters degree = 76 credits
Upon Completion of Education Specialist Degree Program this student is also eligible for an additional Administrative Certificate as a Supervisor of Special Education.
Malinda Eccairus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor; deaf education' academic assessment' curriculum development
Mike Epstein , Ph.D.
Professor: early intervention for at-risk students; school and community safety
Sue Kemp, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: transition, drop out prevention
John Maag, Ph.D.
Professor: behavioral disorders; cognitive-behavioral assessment & intervention
Christine Marvin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor: infant and preschool development & disorders, speech and language
Gary Meers, Ph.D.
Professor: vocational education; transition
Ron Nelson, Ph.D.
Professor: behavior disorders; literacy; positive behavioral interventions
Reece Peterson, Ph.D.
Professor: behavioral disorders; positive behavior supports; law and public policy in special education; school violence prevention
Robert Reid, Ph.D.
Professor: learning disabilities; strategy instruction; attention deficit disorders
Ellin Siegel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor: severe, multiple disabilities; augmentative and alternative communication; preschool intervention