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Education, Teaching & Health | Special Education MA Program

Special Education: Learning Disabilities (MA)

Offered by the School of Education, Teaching and Health, College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Program

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants must earn a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record General Examination. To be admitted students must earn a passing score on the PRAXIS I: Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) as set by the District of Columbia.

Degree Requirements

  • 36 credit hours of approved graduate work
    • Option to waive coursework: Students with the appropriate prior study or professional experience in the field of education may be permitted to waive up to 6 credit hours of coursework without replacement. The waiving of credit hours and the specific courses to be waived are determined and approved by the advisor and the SETH dean upon admission to a master's program. In addition, one of the following may be required: an assessment provided by an educational institution or organization which has criteria and evaluation procedures approved by the School of Education, Teaching and Health; or a portfolio artifact submitted for evaluation and approval to the advisor and SETH dean.
  • Comprehensive examination
  • All students must complete the Praxis II Exam prior to graduation.

Course Requirements

Combined Bachelor's Degree and MA in Special Education: Learning Disabilities

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.

This program enables highly qualified students to earn both a BA or a BS in a related discipline and the MA in Special Education: Learning Disabilities.


Students should apply to the master's program in the second semester of their junior year. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.00 or higher in major and minor courses and must satisfactorily complete the following:

All requirements for the BA or BS in the student's major

 Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours from approved graduate-level courses, including EDU-502 and EDU-541 or EDU-545 to satisfy the requirements of both degrees.

All requirements for the MA in Special Education:

Learning Disabilities, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master's degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master's program.

Praxis Exam Requirements

Successfully passing the Praxis CORE exams is required for admission into the Special Education program. The Praxis II exam is required for graduation from the program. Please see the ETS website or the DC OSSE website for more information about the required exams. Please have your scores sent to American University, institution code 5007.

Teacher Licensure

Applications for licensure can be obtained in Gray Hall Room 111. Please see the Teacher Licensure page to find out detailed information about licensure.