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Special education degree and endorsement approved

ISSUED: 20 December 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University has been approved to offer the master of arts in curriculum and instruction, multi-categorical special education degree and the multi-categorical special education endorsement by the West Virginia Department of Education. The multi-categorical special education endorsement will prepare teachers to teach students with specific learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, and intellectual disabilities, creating teachers who are knowledgeable of learners with exceptionalities and their diverse needs.

The new degree program and endorsement will enable teachers to meet the requirements of West Virginia Department of Education and West Virginia Policy 2419 and 5202, which mandates initial teacher certification for the delivery of special education courses and that teachers must be “highly qualified” to work with these students. One way educators can accomplish this in West Virginia is through an endorsement in special education. The five courses in Shepherd’s multi-categorical special education program will fulfill the state requirement. All courses for the special education endorsement are offered at Shepherd’s new Martinsburg Center, conveniently located just off I-81 (exit 16E).

Offered in a cohort style, the endorsement program will enhance teachers’ ability to collaborate with professionals and families, a vital part of the special education profession. Students taking the five courses to receive their special education endorsement must have already received their initial licensure in either elementary or secondary education in one of five content areas: social studies, math, English, science, or biology. In addition to completing the five required courses, students must pass the Praxis II test and complete a field placement experience.

The completion of the endorsement may also lead to a master of art in curriculum and instruction with a specialization (concentration) in multi-categorical special education. The M.A. degree in curriculum and instruction is a 33-credit hour program of study, where the students complete 15 credits in educational pedagogy and 15 credits in a discipline-specific content area. The program culminates with a capstone and thesis course and comprehensive examination.

For more information about the program, tuition discounts and more, visit the Martinsburg Center web page at or contact the graduate program coordinator Dr. Belinda Mitchell at for more information.

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