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Frequently Asked Questions

Master's in Special Education
with Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Preliminary Credential


1. What jobs are available to program graduates?

Our graduates are K-12 resource specialists, inclusion specialists, special day class teachers, district special education administrators, program specialists, and educational researchers. The special education credential enables graduates to teach students with mild/moderate disabilities at all grade levels, Kindergarten through 12th grade. The credential is accepted through reciprocal agreements with most other states.

2. How do I apply for the program?

Visit the School of Education Apply page to see the options for applying to the program. After you have applied, you will also need to schedule an interview with a program coordinator.

3. What tests do I need to complete to enter the program?

To enter the program, you need to pass either the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) or the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Writing Skills Test. You will also need to pass all 3 subtests of the CSET Multiple Subjects Test.

4. What types of assignments will I be expected to complete?

Most coursework includes readings from various graduate level texts, as well as materials and articles provided in class. In-class work includes participation in individual and group activities designed to help develop classroom techniques and methods. Written assignments are job-related (e.g., lesson and unit plans, assessment plans, and reports).Reflection and research papers are also required.

Students are also expected to learn and demonstrate proficiency in several instructional technologies. The master’s degree requires a field project or thesis.

5. How are courses taught?

Classes begin during the summer of the first year. School year classes are held on Wednesday evenings from 4:45 to 8:45 p.m. In addition, there are some Thursday evening classes in the first school year. All classes are co-taught by a team of faculty members, assisted by doctoral fellows, to provide lectures, interactive classroom activities, technology experiences, and small group mentoring.

6. Do I need to work while in the program?

The program requires you to work in a special education position during the regular school year. You will need to obtain a position in a mild/moderate special education setting in one of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties prior to the fall semester. If you do not already have a job, the Fieldwork Coordinator can help you obtain an appropriate position.

7. How long does it take to complete the program?

Students can complete all coursework requirements in two academic years, including the summer. Graduates earn a teaching credential and the master’s degree within the same time period.

8. How much are the fees?

There is an initial $55 application fee. The current tuition rate per credit is listed on our Tuition web page under credential programs. In addition, there will be some costs for books and supplies.

9. Is there cost offset funding available?

YES! Most credential candidates are eligible to apply for federally-funded loan reimbursement programs that offset much of their tuition for teaching in low performing schools or in special education after graduation. For more information on how to apply for these programs, contact the USF One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services office online or at (415) 422-2020.

The State of California offers the APLE loan assumption program which can offset up to $19,000 in student loans for those who teach in special education after graduation. The School of Education has APLE information on the School of Education financial aid pages or call (415) 422-2117. There is a list of USF, state, and federal resources also on the School of Education financial aid pages, or the USF One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services office at 415-422-2020 has information on student loans and other financial aid.