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Development of the program of study for the M.S. and M.Ed. degrees usually occurs when the student's proposal for the thesis or creative project is accepted by the supervisory committee. The Program of Study form must be presented to the committee specifying the courses to be taken and the title of the research or project to be conducted, signed by each member of the committee and the department head, and then submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for approval at least two months before the final examination. The Program of Study form becomes a contract between the candidate, his or her supervisory committee (who represent the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation), and the School of Graduate Studies. When all requirements specified on the Program of Study form and all School of Graduate Studies requirements have been satisfactorily completed, the candidate is awarded the master's degree.

The Program of Study form can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies or the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation or downloaded from the Graduate School web site .


Upon formal acceptance into the department, an advisor and supervisory committee is assigned to each student. The purpose of the advisor is to help a student understand program requirements, designing appropriate experiences consistent with the individual's background and level of expertise, and provide supervision and feedback as the student completes the creative project or thesis.

Supervisory Committee Members

Master's degree students must have a three-member supervisory committee. The membership of the committee is assigned at the time of the student's admission to the program.

For the M.S. degree, the committee must consist of two members from the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation and one member from another department in the university. The chairperson must be from the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation. For the M.Ed. degree, all three members may be from the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation; however, one member of the committee may be from another university department.

If a change in the membership of the committee is desired, a new Supervisory Committee Approval form is required. Contact Teresa Simonsen for more information. Committee members are not to be changed within six weeks of the final defense.


  1. All course work must be preplanned in conjunction with the student's supervisory committee. Each student's program of study is first approved by the advisor, then the supervisory committee and department head, and finally by the School of Graduate Studies.
  2. A minimum of 24 Utah State University credits is required. Of these 24, no more than 8 workshop credits will be accepted.
  3. Normally, up to 12 credit hours from other accredited graduate institutions are acceptable to transfer pending approval by the student's supervisory committee. The transfer credits will need to be graduate level, a grade of B or better, taken within the past 8 years, and have not been used for a previous degree. Credits with P grades will not be accepted as transfer credits. Transfer credits cannot replace required residency credit.
  4. Work for a master's degree must be completed within 6 years. If students have not completed their degree within the 6-year limit, a letter from the student's supervisory committee to the Graduate School is required.
  5. Course work for the master's degree is valid for 8 years. To revalidate outdated course work, the supervisory committee and the major professor must sign a statement of procedures taken to update such credits. Procedures may be testing or requiring additional course work. This statement must be submitted to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for approval. The 8-year time limit also applies to transfer credits and procedures for validation are the same as above.
  6. Credit earned by special examination (e.g., in challenging a course) cannot be used for satisfying the requirement for a graduate degree nor used to meet the resident requirement for graduation.
  7. No more than 12 graduate credits taken prior to matriculation will be accepted toward a master's degree.  Credits cannot have been used towards another degree.
  8. Graduate students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Students whose semester GPA falls below 3.0 will be notified that the semester's grades were below the acceptable standard for a graduate degree program. Students whose accumulative GPA falls below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters will either be reduced to nonmatriculated status or terminated from the degree program. Nonmatriculation requires a special application to regain matriculation. In addition, grades below C will not be accepted. Students will be permitted to retake a maximum of one course only one time. Students receiving more than two course grades below C may be terminated from the program.
  9. Dissemination of Course Session Videos:  As a general policy, videos are not available to students.  However, exceptions may be made under the following circumstances:
    • Incapacitating illness which requires medical attention for the student or a member of his or her immediate family
    • Death in the immediate family
    • Professional responsibilities related to the student's employment (e.g., required attendance at a district meeting on the same night as class).
    In all other cases, students will need to obtain information about the missed class from their peers.  Videos will be viewed at the extension site.  Students will not be allowed to take videos home.
  10. Elective Course Credit:  Twelve credits associated with the Distance Masters degree program in Special Education are elective credits.  Credit options within concentrations may vary. The criteria used to determine if a course qualifies for elective credit is, the course number 5000 level or above and the course is educationally relevant.
    Subject to the discretion of the committee, no more than six elective credits may come from nontraditional courses, (e.g., workshops, conferences, institutes, PBS, UEN, KUED).   All nontraditional courses must be graded and be affiliated with a university graduate program.  Finally, all nontraditional courses must be pre-approved by the student's graduate committee to determine if the course qualifies for elective credit.
  11. Creative Project/Thesis Grades:  A "P" or "F" grade will be given for the first three credits of Creative Project/Thesis (proposal stage).  For the final three credits of Creative Project/Thesis (defense stage) students producing exceptional creative projects may be awarded an "A," others would receive a "P" for pass or an "F" for fail.  The decision to use an A or P/F grade is left up to the committee.

Grievance Procedures

The department’s Graduate programs provide students with a rigorous course of study. As students proceed through their program, they may occasionally feel they have been treated unfairly. This may include unfair application of existing rules and regulations or grievances against the department or professors whom a student believes is not following the policies and procedures described in university, college or department student handbooks.

When a student believes that rules and regulations were not applied fairly or that department policies and procedures were not followed, there is a sequential process which should be followed in handling the situation.

  1. The student should go to the specific professor and discuss the situation. It may be resolvable at this level. Should no agreement be reached;
  2. The student may present the case in writing to the Chair of the department’s Master's Committee, Dr. Robert Morgan, who will review the student’s grievance. During this review the student may be asked to clarify information either in person or in writing. The Graduate Committee will provide the student with a written response after considering the student’s grievance. If the student is not satisfied with the decision rendered by the Master's committee;
  3. The student may present the case in writing to the Department Head, Dr. Timothy Slocum. The Department Head will meet with the student and attempt to resolve the situation. After considering the student’s grievance, the Department Head will provide the student with a written response. If the student is not satisfied with the decision rendered by the department head;
  4. The student may take the problem to the Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Richard Inouye. The Associate Dean will conduct an inquiry and attempt to resolve the matter.
Semester Course Title / Description Syllabus Instructor(s) Days Time
Fall 2015 REH/SPED 6510 Seminar in Competitive and Supported Employment
This course provides students with knowledge to understand and analyze evidence-based transition to employment for individuals with disabilities.
Morgan, R. L. M 7:15 PM
9:00 PM
Spring 2016 REH/SPED 6520 Practicum in Competitive and Supported Employment
This practicum (i.e., field based applied course) provides students with competencies necessary to carry out evidence based transition services leading to employment of individuals with disabilities.
Morgan, R. L.
Summer 2016 SPED 6060 Legal Issues in Special Education
Provides knowledge of a wide range of legal issues concerning the provision of special education services to students with disabilities.
Miller, A.
Fall 2015 SPED 6700 Introduction to Behavioral Research in Education
Provides an introduction to behavioral research in education, with a special focus on measurement, observation, and ethics. Discussion of basic single-subject experimental designs. Exploration of how to select appropriate measures and experimental designs.
Sellers, T. M 4:30 PM
7:00 PM
Spring 2016 SPED 6710 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis in Education
Expands students’ understanding of the theoretical and conceptual framework and experimental research of behavior analysis. Reviews philosophical underpinnings and experimental research in behavior analysis.
Higbee, T. S. T 4:30 PM
7:00 PM
Fall 2015, Spring 2016 SPED 6750 Supervised Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis
Through this supervised practicum, students accrue supervised hours in applied behavior analysis.
Sellers, T.
Spring 2016 SPED 6770 Coaching & Systems Change
This course will give students the skills to facilitate effective academic and behavior support across each tier of need in the school. Students will ascertain strategies in the assessment and intervention of schools, learn to create effective teaming and meeting structures to better support all students, and methods to provide support for individual teachers in their classrooms through evidence-based coaching and walkthrough practices.
Ross, S. W. M 4:30 PM
7:00 PM
Fall 2015 SPED 6790 Legal Foundations in Transition and Vocational Rehabilitation
Riesen, T. W 4:30 PM
7:00 PM
Fall 2015, Spring 2016 SPED 6960 Creative Project
Culminating experience of M.Ed. program.
Fall 2015, Spring 2016 SPED 6970 Thesis
Culminating experience of M.S. program.