- Students will understand the nature and needs of individuals with disabilities by developing competencies in the assessment, academic, and behavioral support for students with special needs, collaborative teaching/consultation skills, and knowledge about New Jersey special education law.
- Students will participate in professional and scholarly communities (e.g., Council for Exceptional Children [CEC]) through communication and collaboration (research, publications/presentations, service).
- Students will understand the importance of the role of social justice in educational settings and promote educational equity by creating an environment where diverse backgrounds and perspectives (educational, cultural, personal, social, economic) are an integral part of the learning experience.
- Students will recognize and consider the social-cultural factors in special education identification, placement, and service provisions.
- Students will enhance their ability to accommodate the diversity of student needs by developing a deep understanding of special education services and community resources available for individuals with special needs.
- Students will learn to collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with special needs, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with disabilities across a range of learning experiences.
- Students will conduct original research on students with special needs and use that research, as well as interpret and evaluate findings from other research studies, to inform their professional practice in special education and address problems of practice that may require change in policy and programs.
- Students will select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance the learning of individuals with special needs.
- Students will understand the variations in learning and development in cognitive and affective areas between and among individuals with gifts and talents and apply this understanding to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with special needs.
- Students will use foundational knowledge of the field, professional ethical principles, and programming standards to inform special education practice.
- Students will evaluate, identify, and use models and approaches that will be effective in the successful design and implementation of assessment.
- Students will use multiple methods of assessment and data sources in making educational decisions about identification of individuals with special needs and the monitoring of student learning progress.
- Students will use valid and reliable assessment practices to minimize bias.
- Students will capitalize on opportunities for continuous professional learning and development, including reflective self-inquiry, to make significant contributions to field of special education.
- Ed.M. in Special Education General Studies Program (non-certification)
- Ed.M. in Special Education with Teacher of Students with Disabilities Certification only
- Ed.M. in Special Education with Teacher of Students with Disabilities Certification and Gifted Education GSE Certificate
- Ed.M. in Special Education with Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant Certification
- Download the program guide (includes course list and application requirements)
- Contact Matt Winkler, Assistant Dean for Advisement in the Office of Student and Academic Services
Offered jointly by the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, the Ed.M. in Special Education with ABA Sequence program provides advanced graduate preparation in special education while enabling students to take 6 out of 7 courses* required to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. Certified special and general education teachers who wish to learn to identify, assess, and address both the behavioral needs of students and the instructional needs of students with mild and moderate cognitive disabilities, most often apply.
*An additional, seventh ABA course (18:820:522 Personnel Supervision and Management in ABA) must be taken to meet the academic requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Students will need to meet additional fieldwork experience requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. This seventh course, as well as the experience requirements, are not currently included in this degree program.
Coursework will help students develop competencies in the assessment and interventions of students with disabilities, teach collaborative teaching and consultation skills, and integrate principles of New Jersey special education law. ABA-specific required core classes will also cover the basic principles of applied behavior analysis, ethics for behavior analysts, application of ABA principles, and strategies for teaching children with autism and related disorders.
This is a non-certification program and does not include coursework resulting in a NJ school personnel license. Students with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in initial teacher certification in special education should contact the Office of Student and Academic Services. The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified our courses toward academic requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Applicants will need to meet additional experience requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. Experience requirements are not currently included in this degree program.
Program Goals as of 2022-2023
(Last updated: 7/19/2022)
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
The following programmatic offerings are also available for students seeking an Ed.M. in Special Education:
For more information about the Ed.M. in Special Education with ABA Sequence program:
Feb 1 / Oct 15 / May 15 *Late applications will be considered.
Fall / Spring / Summer
Degree + BCBA Exam Coursework
What You’ll Learn
With guidance from expert faculty, students enrolled in the Ed.M. in Special Education program with BCBA exam preparation coursework will learn the foundational principles of special education and applied behavior analysis. Coursework will help students develop competencies in the assessment and remediation of students with learning disabilities, teach collaborative teaching and consultation skills, and integrate principles of New Jersey special education law. ABA-specific required core classes will cover the basic principles of applied behavior analysis, ethics for behavior analysts, application of ABA principles, and strategies for teaching children with autism and related disorders. Students will also have the opportunity to take a minimum of one elective course in the area of Educational Psychology, Learning, Cognition, and Development, or Counseling Psychology.
This program typically takes 2 years to complete and includes:
- 36 Graduate Course Credits
- 18 Credits – Applied Behavior Analysis Core Courses
- A grade of B or better is required for all ABA Core courses. An additional, seventh ABA course (18:820:522 Personnel Supervision and Management in ABA) must be taken to meet the academic requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Students will need to meet additional fieldwork experience requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. This seventh course, as well as the experience requirements, are not currently included in this degree program.
- 15 Credits – Special Education Core Courses
- 3 Credits – Elective Course
- Elective course must be within Educational Psychology, Special Education, Counseling Psychology, or Learning, Cognition, and Development; No ABA/BCBA courses are permitted to fulfill the elective requirement. Electives must be approved by an advisor.
- 18 Credits – Applied Behavior Analysis Core Courses
- 36 Graduate Course Credits
Accepted students have 5 years to complete the program.
Careers and Outcomes
Graduates of the Ed.M. in Special Education with ABA Sequence program will have fulfilled the academic requirements needed to be eligible to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. In turn, they commonly go on to seek independent field opportunities outside of the GSE to complete the coinciding experience requirements that are mandatory in order to then sit for the exam. Graduates of the program seeking positions that do not require BCBA certification and who already have teacher certification may go on to pursue roles as special education teachers, special education consultants, or curriculum development specialists. Other opportunities may include roles as early intervention specialists, behavior coaches, student tutors, or advocates, advisors, or consultants in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors.
- Personal Statement
- 3 Letters of Recommendation
- Official Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts
How to Apply
- Collect the materials required for admission
- Submit your application online at http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/
- Submit supporting materials online
- Any supporting materials that cannot be submitted electronically should be mailed to Graduate Admissions’ New Brunswick office. Their mailing address can be found here: https://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/about/contact-us
Tuition & Financial Assistance
For tuition and fees information please visit the tuition landing page.
While students are encouraged to apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a number of other merit- and need-based support options, including loans and college work-study programs within and external to Rutgers. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid website.
Scholarships, Fellowships & Assistantships:
Generous GSE alumni, friends, and community members have established and continue to donate to more than one dozen fellowships and scholarships to help deserving students reach their goals. These awards are granted on the basis of academic achievement and or financial need. While these awards are competitive, interested students are encouraged to apply for consideration and submit the required materials. Students must also submit a FAFSA application to be eligible.
To review all current awards and learn more about the donors that established them, please click here.