Special Education

Master of Education

Accredited by CAEPAbout This Program

This program is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and is accredited by CAEP (Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation) under NCATE Standards (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education).


Content and Performance Assessment Requirements

State-approved degree programs contribute to eligibility for licensure/certification as an educator in Delaware public schools. As such, all candidates must meet the content and performance assessment requirements described in DE Administrative Code, Title 14, Regulation 290, in order to be eligible for program completion and degree conferral. The regulation states, in part:

Content Assessment (This subparagraph shall take effect January 1, 2015).

“Where a content readiness exam is applicable and available in area, subject, or category of specialization sought, the Candidate shall achieve a passing score on an examination as established by the Professional Standards Board, in consultation with the Department and with concurrence of the State Board.”

The content assessments required by the Delaware Department of Education are:

For certification in Exceptional Children, Special Education Teacher (all grade levels and subject areas):

ETS Praxis II, test #5354, Special Education Core Knowledge and Applications (score of 151)
Passing score(s) on the Praxis II Content Area Assessment(s) appropriate for the level(s) and subject area(s) to be taught.

For Elementary School Special Education Teachers, Grades K-6

ETS Praxis II test #5001, Elementary Education Multiple Subjects (All four tests are required and can be taken separately or in one sitting.)

Reading and Language Arts Subtest (score of 157)
Mathematics Subtest (score of 157)
Social Studies Subtest (score of 155)
Science Subtest (score of 159)

For Middle and High School Special Education Teachers: the Praxis II assessment(s) in the subject area(s) and grade level(s) to be taught. For a complete listing of those assessments and score requirements, go to: https://www.ets.org/praxis/de/requirements

Performance Assessment (This subparagraph shall take effect July 1, 2016.)

“Where a performance assessment is applicable and available in an area appropriate to the Program in which a Candidate is enrolled, the Candidate shall achieve a passing score as a requirement to Exit the Program. The performance assessment may not be scored by any employees of the Educator Preparation Program or Unit, and shall be scored by Certified Reviewers.”

The assessment selected by Wilmington University to satisfy this requirement is the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT). This assessment is administered and scored by ETS. Delaware minimum score requirements have not yet been set by the Delaware Professional Standards Board

Candidates must check-in periodically with a program advisor or program chair to obtain current and accurate information as to specific assessments and score requirements, because the Delaware Professional Standards Board sometimes modifies required tests and minimum acceptable scores. Candidates must pass all exit assessments in order to be eligible for program completion and degree conferral. All Delaware test score requirements can be accessed at this web address: https://www.ets.org/praxis/de?WT.ac=praxishome_states_121126

Program Purpose

The purpose of the Master of Education in Special Education licensure/certification degree program is to prepare candidates for positions teaching exceptional children in specific content areas and grade levels (grades 1-12).

Students with disabilities must be taught by professionals who are trained in the identification, assessment, and teaching of individuals with exceptionalities. To reach this goal, the Master of Education in Special Education program has two distinct options which allow the master’s candidate to focus on his/her individual needs and career goals. This non-categorical program reflects Wilmington University’s advocacy of an inclusion model of special education service delivery.

Program Changes

Master of Education degree programs in the College of Education which contribute to eligibility for initial licensure and certification as Delaware educators are approved by the Delaware Department of Education. Any changes that are mandated by the Delaware Department of Education or the Delaware General Assembly will be implemented in accordance with state regulations. Students will be notified of any changes that may affect program or degree completion/conferral requirements.

Program Competencies

The Master of Education in Special Education (MSE) degree program is built around standards developed by the Council for Exceptional Children, in addition to the InTASC standards, and reflects the College of Education Program Attributes and Conceptual Framework. Those standards can be accessed at:

CEC Standards

InTASC Standards

Attributes and Framework

Outcomes Assessment

The assessment of content knowledge, pedagogy, learning theory, and performance competencies is accomplished through satisfactory attainment of specific course objectives; satisfactory performance on tests of general and content-related knowledge, as well as performance assessments, successful completion of assignments linked to program competencies and graduation competencies; fieldwork evaluations from advisors and school-based mentors; and evaluations and post-graduation surveys.

Program Design

The M.Ed. in Special Education offers two options:

  1. Option A is for candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education who wish to obtain a master’s degree and eligibility for a state of Delaware initial teaching license and certificate as a K-12 special education teacher and who also desires to meet the requirements for a standard certificate in a core content area.. At entry, previous transcript(s) of teacher candidates will be carefully reviewed to determine if they have completed the necessary content area coursework - 15 credits - for which they intend to teach children with disabilities. Any omissions in such content area coursework must be completed before Student Teaching/Teaching Internship.
  2. Option B is for candidates who already hold an initial teaching license and certificate who wish to obtain a master’s degree with an instructional focus on teaching children with disabilities. Candidates must provide a copy of their teaching license and certificate at time of entry. This option does not qualify the candidate for an initial Delaware teaching.

Prerequisite Coursework

A minimum grade of “B” is required for all prerequisite courses.

To obtain a Master of Education degree in Special Education, candidates must complete five courses as program prerequisites. These courses include: EDU 402/407, EDU 405/410, EDU 306 Available Online, PSY 201 or PSY 332 Available Online and EPY 401 Available Online or their graduate equivalents. Candidates who have completed a Wilmington University BS degree in Birth-Grade 2, K-6, or Middle Level Education or a Master of Education degree in Elementary Studies will have completed all program prerequisites. Candidates with education degrees from other institutions must have their transcripts evaluated to ensure that program prerequisites have been met. To fulfill the requirements of this program, candidates must complete all course requirements as specified, depending on the option which is chosen.

Praxis Testing Requirements

Teacher Candidates starting their programs on or after July 1, 2014, must pass - using Delaware minimum score requirements - the ETS Praxis Series Core Academic Skills for Educators (ETS #5712, 5722, and 5732), or other approved tests of general knowledge that satisfy Delaware Department of Education regulations, prior to registration for the first clinical experience, Practicum I, MSE 7991.

Candidates must also pass (by achieving Delaware minimum scores) appropriate PRAXIS II test(s) prior to registration for Student Teaching/Teacher Internship. In addition to the Delaware PRAXIS II Category test - Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications - Code 5354, candidates must also take and pass a Delaware-approved ETS PRAXIS II Content Test of their choosing and complete their student teaching in an inclusion setting that aligns with the selected content area. Teacher Candidates should designate Wilmington University as a score recipient at the time the tests are taken, and also provide a paper copy of the ETS score report that includes all scores and sub-scores. COMPLETE score reports must be received in the College of Education main office (Peoples Building, New Castle).


Eligibility for the Delaware Certificate in Autism and Severe Disabilities requires:

  • a valid initial teaching license
  • current content area certification
  • current certification as a Teacher of Exceptional Children – Special Education
  • completion of the Wilmington University courses listed below

Wilmington University courses approved for Delaware certification in Autism and Severe Disabilities:

MSE 7402 Applied Behavior Analysis

MSE 7409 Methods of Instruction in Academic Standards and Functional Skills

MSE 7501 Introduction to Autism and Severe Disabilities

MSE 7506 Functional Communication

MSE 7507 Competency-Based Practicum

Students taking courses to satisfy certification requirements are personally responsible for verifying with the Delaware Department of Education (or the appropriate licensure/certification authority in another state) that such course work is applicable and acceptable. Students are also responsible for meeting all state-mandated testing requirements (PRAXIS I, PRAXIS II, etc.), for fulfilling state-mandated degree and/or teaching experience requirements, and for applying for credentials.

Any changes in state regulations for certificates could cause Wilmington University to make course and/or program adjustments in order to align with new or revised state requirements. Wilmington University reserves the right to change requirements to comply with any licensure/certification mandates of the Delaware Department of Education.

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2016-2017 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2016 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.