Special Education, M.S.Sp.Ed. – Prelim Ed Spec Instr Credential (Mild/Moderate) - Student Teaching

Program Description

The Master of Science in Special Education develops technical skills, such as special education pedagogy, assessment, behavior management, curriculum design, diagnosis, remediation, consultation, collaboration, and instructional techniques to assist those with special needs.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Special Education, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and articulate God’s calling as Christian educators by reflecting on their spiritual journey and their educational preparation through a Biblically integrated essay, reflective prayer projects, and authentic learning experience assignments; and demonstrate Christian attitudes and actions conducive to professional excellence and witness by maintaining high professional disposition marks in coursework and fieldwork (ULO 1, 2, 3).
  2. Examine and analyze their students’ cognitive, social, and physical growth through the gathering of student profile data, monitoring their progress, and providing constructive feedback to maximize students’ optimum development through a fieldwork assessment case study and authentic learning experience assignments (ULO 1).
  3. Demonstrate respect for diversity in cross-cultural and special population educational settings in order to promote equity and justice as exhibited in differentiated learning plans, authentic learning experience assignments, journal article position papers, and high marks in professional dispositions throughout coursework and fieldwork experiences (ULO 1, 2, 3).
  4. Exhibit growth in one’s professional practice by utilizing professional databases, conducting empirical research, and articulating findings through effective communication in both speaking and writing. (ULO 1, 2, 3).  
  5. Design and implement developmentally appropriate lessons, by using the California state-adopted academic content and Common Core Standards as a foundation for lessons that integrate aspects of God’s natural revelation. This outcome will be exhibited through journal article review and responses, and an inclusion lesson plan and report (ULO 1, 3).
  6. Design and implement appropriate and learning strategies, demonstrated through a fieldwork assessment case study, research papers, fieldwork interviews and reports, and case study reports (ULO 1, 3).
  7. Design and practice strategies that foster a safe and equitable learning environment that encourages students to take intellectual risks, demonstrated through a collaboration project and a behavior management project (ULO 1, 3).
  8. Analyze, evaluate, and apply knowledge of current special education settings, and legislative requirements from a biblical perspective through preparing a philosophy of education, analyzing case studies, and developing an educational portfolio (ULO 1).
  9. Conduct quality database and empirical research, communicate findings, and evidence initial pursuit of lifelong learning by successfully completing the thesis or research project with a focused topic in special education (ULO 1, 3).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must have completed all bachelors requirements prior to the start of the program and must have a bachelor's degree conferred from a regionally accredited institution prior to the start of the second term.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submit GRE General test scores to determine writing proficiency (waived if cumulative GPA is 3.5 or above or if CBEST and all CSET subtests are passed).
  • Hold a preliminary credential or provide verification of the equivalent professional experience.
  • Applicants for whom English is not a primary language must verify a score of 100 iBT on the TOEFL exam.
  • Complete Biola University's Graduate Education application.
  • Interview with a member of the School of Education.
  • Must be a California resident in order to fultill fieldwork requirements.
  • Take the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or have satisfied the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR).
  • Verify subject matter competency. Candidates must present a letter verifying completion of a state-approved subject matter program or evidence of passing one subtest of the CSET in their subject area.
  • Verify possession of a Certificate of Clearance from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and submit valid TB tests results.
  • Verify computer literacy sufficient to become actively engaged in learning online by passing an online proficiency test offered by Biola University's Distance Learning Department or providing proof of successful online learning in a prior course.
  • Verify access to a computer and the Internet sufficient to engage in Biola University's Distance Learning Programs.

Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student's academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.

Graduation Requirements

  1. M.S.Sp.Ed. core courses and Capstone must be passed with a grade of "B" or higher.
  2. Candidates must complete the Master of Science in Special Education with a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  3. Candidates must successfully complete one Capstone, and all professional requirements (e.g., electronic portfolio, including key assignments) related to the coursework and learning outcomes.
  4. Candidates must demonstrate professional behavior as an important aspect of their preparation to effectively impact the field of education (inside and beyond the classroom). For candidates on probationary status, or where a candidate has struggled with professional dispositions (scores of 1 or 2), these concerns may prevent the candidate from moving forward in the program and graduation.
  5. A minimum of 41 credits is required for the Master of Science in Special Education.
  6. Candidates must complete the program within six years of continuous enrollment. Candidates who are not continuously enrolled must complete the program within eight years total.
  7. Candidates must meet with a department advisor and Graduate Graduation Counselor in the Office of the Registrar one year prior to graduation to declare intent to graduate. (See Graduate Graduation Check description in the Admission, Enrollment and Graduation Requirements section).

Transfer of Credits

Students transferring from an accredited graduate program may transfer a maximum of 6 approved credits for their M.S. in Special Education. Courses transferred must be equivalent to Biola University's and have direct applicability to the student's program design. Only courses with a grade of "B" (3.0) on a 4.0 grade scale or higher will be considered for transfer towards the M.S. in Special Education degree; a grade of "B-" or lower is not transferable. Credits considered for transfer must have been taken within five years prior to the date of admission.

Curriculum Requirements

All candidates for the M.S.Sp.Ed. Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential (Mild/Moderate) - Student Teaching must complete the following courses and required fieldwork.

Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction (Mild/Moderate) candidates who come to Biola University with a SB2042 Multiple Subject or Single Subject Credential will have the prerequisite coursework waived. Additionally, candidates who have taken undergraduate or graduate equivalents of the prerequisite coursework will have their transcripts evaluated for equivalency. The Prerequisite Option will be determined by the Program Director during the interview process to the program. 

Prerequisite Options
Prerequisite Option #1: Hold a valid SB2042 Multiple Subject or Single Subject Credential
Prerequisite Option #2: Accelerated Graduate Prerequisite/concurrent coursework online
Designing Successful Classrooms: Starting Right
Reading Process and Approaches
Prerequisite Option #3: Taken in sequence on campus
Foundations of Education
Psychological Foundations of Education
Methods of Teaching Linguistically Diverse Students
Elementary Reading/Language Arts
Secondary Content Area Reading
Program Courses (Offered Online)
SEED 501Philosophy and Values in Schools and Society3
SEED 503Educational Research and Statistics3
SEED 524Research in Culture and Intercultural Instruction3
SEED 532Diagnosis and Remediation in Reading3
SEED 548Collaborative Research 11
SEED 553Writing Literature Reviews 22
SEED 561Issues in Special Education3
SEED 562Assessment and Evaluation of Exceptional Learners3
SEED 563Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities in Inclusive Settings3
SEED 564Behavior and Classroom Management for Students with Special Needs3
SEED 580Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders3
SEED 582Consultation, Collaboration, and Communication for the Education Specialist3
SEED 583Curriculum Design for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities3
SEED 596Professional Development Module1
Select one of the following:3
Exposition of New Testament Segments or Themes (taken as "Life of Christ")
Other approved TTBE course
Capstone Course
Select one of the following:1
Curriculum Research Project 3
Thesis 3
Specialization Courses12
Student Teaching in Special Education I
Student Teaching in Special Education II
Total Credits53

Minimum Grades and GPA Requirements for Credential Courses

All Education Specialist coursework must be completed with a grade of "B-" or higher. Overall, a 3.0 GPA must be maintained in the Education Specialist course sequence in order to student teach and to be recommended for a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential. For the M.S. degree, all courses must be passed with a grade of "B " or higher.

Taskstream Subscription

Candidates must have a paid subscription to Taskstream while taking Education Specialist courses, including prerequisites, and during student teaching.

Certificate of Clearance and Tuberculosis (TB) Test

Candidates must complete the application for a Certificate of Clearance prior to taking Education Specialist courses in order to participate in the required fieldwork. Fees required.

Candidates must submit valid TB tests results prior to taking Education Specialist courses with fieldwork. TB tests results must be done annually in order to participate in the required fieldwork. Fees required.

Basic Skills Requirement

All candidates must pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or equivalent. This requirement must be met prior to applying for student teaching.


Candidates must pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) exam. Not required for candidates who have earned a California teaching credential.

Subject Matter Competency Requirement

Candidates must prove subject matter competency by completing an approved subject matter program or passing equivalent subject matter exams (CSET). These exams must be passed prior to applying for student teaching.

Portfolio Assessments

Candidates must complete and successfully present the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential (Mild/Moderate) electronic portfolio.


Candidates must be recommended by the faculty of the School of Education as having all requisite professional qualities to be successful as a teacher.

Professional Dispositions and Competencies Evaluations

Candidates must demonstrate high performance in each Professional Dispositions and Competencies Evaluation for Education Specialist coursework in order to remain in the program. Evidence of unaddressed concerns (scores of 1 or 2), or failing to meet a professional disposition, may lead to dismissal.

Fieldwork Evaluation

Candidates must obtain good to excellent scores in each fieldwork evaluation for Education Specialist coursework, including student teaching.

U.S. Constitution Requirement

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing requires that a teaching credential candidate must have completed a minimum 2-credit course that covers the U.S. Constitution or fulfill this requirement by examination.

Transfer coursework must be reviewed by a credential analyst in the School of Education. If an exam is required, a U.S. Constitution exam and study packet is available in Biola's School of Education. Candidates who have taken one of the courses listed below, with a grade of "C" or better at Biola University, have met this requirement. This requirement must be met prior to applying for student teaching.

HIST 200United States History To 18653
POSC 225Survey of American Government3


Candidates must show verification of current training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — infant, child and adult — that meets the standards of either the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross when applying for the Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction (Mild/Moderate) Credential.

Advisor Contact

Candidates must meet regularly with an advisor to ensure that all requirements are met.

Applying for a Credential

Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction (Mild/Moderate) Credential

After successfully completing student teaching and the associated requirements, candidates make an appointment with a credential analyst in the School of Education at Biola University and apply for the Education Specialist Instruction (M/M) Credential from the State of California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The Education Specialist Instruction (M/M) Program leading to a California Teaching Credential at Biola University is subject to change in response to new legislation and for accreditation/reporting purposes. Please see a credential analyst for current information on completing the requirements for a teaching credential.

Candidates wanting to earn a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential (Mild/Moderate), in addition to the M.S. in Special Education, should complete the credential program requirements prior to starting M.S. core coursework. See the Education Specialist Instruction Credential (Mild/Moderate) section in the catalog.