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Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): Special Education

Do you want to make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities?

Have you considered working toward a degree in special education, but you have an undergraduate degree in something other than education?

Have you considered a teaching career, but you don’t have the required teaching certificate?

Consider enrolling in Clemson University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree in special education.

Specialty Concentrations

The purpose of the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) in special education is to prepare well qualified teachers who demonstrate knowledge and skills in identifying and implementing research-based practices to improve academic and social outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Candidates who complete the MAT will demonstrate competence across the Council for Exceptional Children Professional and Ethical Principles and Special Education Standards for Professional Practice in teaching and assessment. 

Graduates of the MAT in special education will:

  • Use evidence, instructional data, research and professional knowledge to inform practice.
  • Identify and use evidence-based practices that are effective in meeting the specific needs of individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Use assessments to accurately measure the learning progress of individuals with exceptionalities, and individualize instruction variables in response to assessment results.
  • Use behavior change practices that are evidence-based and appropriate for individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Advocate for and use positive behavior supports to enhance academic and social outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
  • Create safe, effective and culturally responsive learning environments which contribute to learning for all students, especially those with disabilities.

Admission to the Program 
Applications for the Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education must be complete by the listed deadline below to be considered.  Admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis.

Application Deadline
All application materials must be submitted by the following deadline:

  • April 1, to enroll in Summer

Application Requirements
To be considered for the program, applicants must: 

  • Have completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a recognized international university with a baccalaureate degree equivalent to a US bachelor's.
  • Submit a Graduate School application which requires:
    • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts will be required if you are accepted into the program.)
    • Competitive, official GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or MAT (Miller Analogies Test) scores
    • A current resume
    • Two letters of recommendation 
    • A personal statement- a writing sample that addresses knowledge, accomplishments and future career goals
    • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students
  • An interview, in person or virtually, that reflects strong communication skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching and learning is also a required portion of the admission requirements. 

Additional information concerning supporting materials can be found at:

First Summer of the Program

EDF 8010(3 credit hours): Human Growth the Development
EDSP 8100(3 credit hours): Characteristics of Individuals with Learning Disabilities
EDSP 8210(3 credit hours): Educational Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities
EDSP 8770(3 credit hours): Introduction to Exceptionalities

Fall Semester

EDSP 8550 (3 credit hours): Intensive Academic Interventions for Individuals with Disabilities
EDSP 8200 (3 credit hours): Language Arts Instruction for Individuals with Disabilities
EDSP 8220 (3 credit hours): Teaching Mathematics to Individuals with Disabilities
EDSP 8560 (3 credit hours): Intensive Behavioral Interventions for Individuals with Disabilities
EDSP 8120 (3 credit hours): Practicum in Learning Disabilities
EDSP 8121 (0 credit hours): Practicum in Learning Disabilities Laboratory

Spring Semester

EDSP 8580 (6 credit hours): Directed Teaching in Special Education
EDSP 8570 (3 credit hours): Integrating Knowledge and Skills to Develop Preservice Special Educators’ Instructional Expertise
EDSP 8800(3 credit hours): Methods for Conducting Research with Individuals with Disabilities for Beginning Researchers 

Second Summer of the Program

EDSP 8530 (3 hours): Legal and Policy Issues in Special Education
EDLT 8140 (3 hours): Reading and Writing Instruction and Assessment for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

In addition to completion of coursework, all candidates for the MAT in special education must complete the PRAXIS II: Principles of Learning and Teaching and PRAXIS II Specialty Exams.

Program graduates meet the requirements to earn initial teaching licensure in special education (learning disabilities) in elementary and secondary settings.

For job-seeking Clemson graduates with an MAT in special education, 100 percent received job offers before graduation.

Starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is almost $5,000 more than a teacher with a bachelor’s degree (in Upstate South Carolina school districts).

Clemson graduates are highly trained and competent special education teachers.

Tuition and Fees

Explore information on tuition and fees using the Student Financial Services’ tuition and fee calculator. (Be sure to choose the ‘graduate’ tab at the top of the page.)

Financial Aid

For information regarding Financial Aid, please contact the office of Student Financial Aid.

For more information on alumni news and events, please visit our Alumni Resources website.

For more information, please fill out this form or visit the Clemson University Graduate School website. For questions regarding the program, please contact Catherine Griffith at or 864-704-9937. If you need assistance with admissions, please contact Alison Search.

View the brochure

copy of brochure

Student Handbook 

Download the MAT Special Education Handbook