Special Education, M.S.Sp.Ed. (Non-Licensure)

Program Description

The Master of Science in Special Education (Non-Licensure) develops technical skills, such as special education pedagogy, assessment, behavior management, curriculum design, diagnosis, remediation, consultation, collaboration, and instructional techniques to assist students with mild to moderate support needs.

Students enrolled in courses where fieldwork hours are completed in a setting that does not align with California Commission on Teacher Credentialing's clinical hours guidelines may not receive verification for credential/licensure.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Special Education (Non-Licensure), students will be able to:

  1. Analyze, evaluate, and apply knowledge of current educational issues, settings, and legislative requirements from a biblical perspective (ULO 1).
  2. Identify personal assumptions and generalizations related to diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and [dis]abilities) while affirming that all students are valued as image bearers of God (ULO 2).
  3. 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, and 3).
  4. Evaluate qualitative and quantitative journal articles based on standard criteria within the profession (ULO 3).
  5. Synthesize knowledge, skills, and perspectives from concentration-specific content of the master of science program to determine implications for professional practice (ULO 2).*

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.

*Evidence for proficiency of the SPED PLOs is provided in the SPED portfolio.

Admissions Requirements

  • Applicants must have completed all bachelor's 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.
  • Out-of-state / out-of-country applicants must contact the School of Education prior to the admission process.
  • Foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved organization and verified equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Writing proficiency will be evaluated for each applicant in one or more of the following ways: a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above; an academic paper, the application essays, or the GRE. A proctored placement exam may be required.
  • 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.

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. (Non-Licensure) program courses must be passed with a grade of B or higher.
  2. Candidates must complete the Master of Science in Special Education (Non-Licensure) with a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  3. Candidates must successfully complete one Capstone, participate on a research team, and fulfill all professional requirements (e.g., conference requirement, concentration reflection) related to the coursework and Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs).
  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 40 credits is required for the Master of Science in Special Education (Non-Licensure).
  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 a graduate academic records and degree specialist in the Office of the Registrar one semester 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 Master of Science in Special Education (Non-Licensure). 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 Master of Science in Special Education degree (Non-Licensure); 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.

Taskstream Subscription 

Candidates must have a paid subscription to Taskstream while taking special education courses.

Curriculum Requirements

Program Courses
Core Courses
SEED 501Philosophy and Values in Schools and Society3
SEED 503Educational Research and Statistics3
SEED 524Research in Culture and Intercultural Instruction3
SEED 548Collaborative Research 11
SEED 553Writing Literature Reviews 22
SEED 596Professional Development Module1
SEED 7320The Life of Christ for Educators3
Capstone Course
Select one of the following:3
Curriculum Research Project 3
Thesis 3
Special Education Courses (Online)
SEED 561Issues in Special Education3
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Assessment and Eligibility in Special Education
Inclusive Instructional Practices for Learners with Mild to Moderate Support Needs
Learning Environments for Learners with Mild to Moderate Support Needs
Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
SEED 632Reading Assessment and Evaluation for Learners with Mild to Moderate Support Needs3
SEED 682Consultation, Collaboration, and Communication in Special Education3
SEED 683Education Programming for Learners with Mild to Moderate Support Needs3
Total Credits40

Students must participate on a research team in their first semester and continue on their assigned project until 1 credit is completed.


Successful passage of SEED 553 is required for advancement in the program. Writing support and documentation may be mandatory for some students. SEED 554 may be substituted for SEED 553.


This course must be completed in the final semester. To produce quality research, it is recommended to be the only course taken in the final semester. Course must be completed with a grade of B or higher.