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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

The School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh is announcing the approval of a new teaching certification program from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  The MOSAIC (Master’s of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification) program will lead to a master’s degree in special education and eligibility for two Pennsylvania teaching certificates: one in secondary special education (grades 7-12) and another in a secondary content area (grades 7-12; English, foreign language, mathematics, science, or social studies).  Graduates will be able to secure both general and special education teaching positions.

“Students with disabilities are included in general education classes more than at any time in history.  All teachers need to be able to meet their individualized needs regardless of whether the teacher is a general or special educator,” says program Co-director Chris Lemons.  “The MOSAIC program will allow the Pitt School of Education to prepare a highly qualified group of new teachers who will be able to do this.  Graduates of this program will not only be very competitive on the job market, they will be able to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners.”

The program is being developed with support from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) through a $1.5 million dollar contract awarded to the University of Pittsburgh.  Program co-directors, Chris Lemons and Sheila Conway, and faculty from the secondary content areas have been working together for the past year on program development.  Students gain the knowledge and skills needed to teach content area subject matter to adolescents and learn how to meet the instructional and behavioral needs of adolescents with disabilities.  Unlike any other University of Pittsburgh School of Education program, MOSAIC students who graduate in the first cohorts will have the option of receiving two years of post-graduation on-the-job support.  This induction support will be provided at no-cost and will include technology components (e.g. iPad, web camera, video recorder) to facilitate teacher-supervisor communication.  Research has demonstrated that induction support increases teacher effectiveness and the number of years that teachers stay in the classroom. Potential students should have completed a bachelor’s degree in an eligible content area prior to starting the program.  The four-term program (June to June) is currently accepting applications for admission until January 2013.  Students should email Sheila Conway at or visit the University of Pittsburgh School of Education website for more information.