University of Pittsburgh 
School Of Education

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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

  • Graduates of MOSAIC will be competitive for both general education and special education teaching positions in middle and high schools.

  • 80% of students with disabilities spend a significant portion of their day in general education classrooms (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012).  This means that classrooms are more diverse than ever before -- thus, almost all teachers in secondary classrooms are responsible for teaching students with disabilities.  MOSAIC graduates who become content area teachers (English, foreign language, math, science, social studies) will be well prepared to meet the needs of all their students.

  • Employment of special education teachers in the US is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2010 to 2020 -- meaning that there will be about 77,400 more jobs for MOSAIC graduates.  Due to the significant number of expected retirements and challenges that schools in urban and rural areas face in keeping special educators, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that “special education teachers should have little difficulty finding employment.” (See here for more information).

  • Special education is currently identified as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) in Pennsylvania.  This means that MOSAIC graduates who become full time special educators in the state with a Federal Perkins Loan may qualify for cancellation of up to 100% of their loan. (See here for more information).

  • The first cohorts of MOSAIC graduates are eligible to receive two years of post-graduation support at no cost.  This means that unlike most graduate teaching programs, MOSAIC faculty will maintain a close relationship with graduates and support them as they enter the teaching profession. Students participating in induction will receive an iPad and other technology to facilitate the induction support.

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  • Students must have a Bachelor’s degree in a content area (e.g. English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language).

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Who is eligible?

  • All students are required to have completed IL 2500 Foundations of Special Education and IL 2257 Teaching English Language Learners.

  • Additional content area prerequisites are required.  These vary by content area.

  • See here for more information.

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What are the prerequisites?

  • Requires completion of 42 credits of graduate level coursework  
  • Includes in-field practicum and student teaching experiences in both general and special education settings  

  • Program is completed in 12 months – students will begin the program in the second 6-week summer session and complete the program following the first 6-week summer session of the subsequent year (summer II, fall, spring, summer I beginning June of the admission year)


  • Requires obtaining all Federal and PA state clearances before entering schools

  • Requires a practicum experience 4 days per week at a local school district in the fall term and full-time (5 days a week) student teaching experience in both special education and content area in the spring term

  • Requires students to successfully complete the Special Education Comprehensive Exam

  • <Description of Program - Courses/Placements/Support/Induction>

  • See here for more information.

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What does the program involve?

  • You can apply through the School of Education website.  If you have any questions about this process, please contact Project Co-Director Dr. Sheila Conway at

  • <Links to application & financial aid>

  • See here for more information.

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How can I apply?

  • If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact the Project Co-Director Dr. Sheila Conway at

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How can I get more information?

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