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Pacific Oaks College    
2021-2022 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring addendum 
  May 25, 2024
2021-2022 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring addendum [Archived Catalog]

Master of Arts in Education - Special Education

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(This MA degree option integrates the preparation for the Preliminary Education Specialist Instructional Credential - Mild/Moderate)

Licensure Disclosure: For information on where Pacific Oaks College’s meets, does not meet, or has not determined if the program meets licensure eligibility requirements for the state in which you wish to be licensed, please visit:

43 Credits with Master of Arts

37  Credits for Stand Alone Credential Option


Pasadena, Online, San Jose

Program Overview

The M.A. in Education - Special Education integrates the preparation for the Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential (Mild/Moderate Disabilities) and provides students with a fundamental knowledge base for educating and developing learning environments for children from kindergarten through age 22 for. The curriculum is based on a constructivist framework that is responsive to multiple sources of diversity in the education of children. As actively engaged participants, candidates in this program learn about essential principles and theories of pedagogy and child development and engage in supervised learning experiences to integrate and apply their knowledge. Learning experiences throughout the curriculum are characterized by inquiry, self-reflection, collaboration with others, and problem solving. Acknowledging multiple influences on child development and learning, the program emphasizes the importance of developing respectful and reciprocal relationships to create supportive and challenging learning environments.

The capstone for the Master’s degree component consists of two three-semester credit courses (Research in the Art of Teaching and Action Research in Accomplished Teaching). At the completion of this program, candidates receive a California teacher Credential and a Master’s degree.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate and recognize state and federal mandates, legal requirements for assessment, Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP), Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and monitoring, services, and instruction of students with disabilities.
  2. Examine cross-cultural educational issues in order to determine instructional and assessment strategies that enhance learning of students with mild/moderate disability.
  3. Integrate research based best practices into instruction of students with mild/moderate disability.
  4. Communicate, collaborate and consult effectively with individuals with disabilities and their parents, general/special education teachers, related service personnel, and administrators.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and the ability to implement systems that assess, plan, and provide academic and social skill instruction to support positive behavior in students with mild/moderate disabilities.
  6. Use effective methods for teaching of reading, speaking, listening, written language, and mathematics to insure access to general education curriculum across settings.
  7. Combine authentic and effective engagement with best practices in education to respond to the unique needs and experiences of diverse learners and their learning communities.

Number of Admit Terms per Year:

Ground (3)

  • Fall Session I
  • Spring Session I
  • Summer Session I

*Dependent upon enrollment

Online (6)

  • Fall Session I and II*
  • Spring Session I and II*
  • Summer Session I and II*

*Dependent upon enrollment

Credential Program Admissions Process

In addition to the Admission requirements listed in the Admissions sections of this catalog, applicants to all of Pacific Oaks’ Credential programs must comply with the following Admissions procedures by the end of the first semester of enrollment in order to be fully admitted to the program and be able to register for subsequent classes:

  • Candidates must obtain and submit verification of a Certificate of Clearance or hold a valid CTC-issued permit or Credential. The Certificate of Clearance is a document that verifies the candidate has completed the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing fingerprint, character, and identification process. [Candidates are required to obtain a Certificate of Clearance prior to scheduling any coursework with a field experience component and/or prior to clinical practice (Practicum and Student Teaching).]
  • Candidates are also required to submit a negative TB test (valid within four years) prior to scheduling any coursework with a field experience component and/or prior to clinical practice (Practicum and Student Teaching).
  • Candidates who have coursework from other colleges/universities that may meet coursework requirements at Pacific Oaks should contact their faculty advisor for transcript review and approval by the Dean of the College.
  • Candidates with international degrees who do not hold a U.S.-approved bachelor’s degree or higher except in professional education must receive an evaluation from a CTC-approved international evaluation agency before being admitted to the University and starting the first course.

Program Requirements

Candidates in this program will complete an e-Portfolio in a designated platform Portfolium. The portfolio is comprised of Signature Assignments and other assignments completed and or collected by the candidate throughout their credential program coursework.

All 43 credits of Pacific Oaks course work must be taken to fulfill the requirements for the M.A. in Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential (mild/moderate). Six semester credits may be transferred into the student’s M.A. program from another MA degree program in a related field from other regionally accredited institutions or from a Pacific Oaks College program as long as the program did not already lead to completion of a degree.

Curriculum - 43 credits

Students still requiring further coursework to complete bachelor’s degree requirements will work with their faculty advisor to add further electives to their coursework to complete requirements.

Program Advising

Every student has an assigned faculty advisor who is available to provide program specific advisement related to a specific program field. These advisors are a resource for specific questions candidates may have about classes and curriculum.

Every student has access to the Credential Analyst to help navigate the specifics of the state Credentialing requirements. These requirements can vary and are in constant flux due to changing legislation and the dynamic nature of public Education. It is very important for candidates to work closely with the Credential Analyst to understand and educate themselves on the specifics of their particular Credentialing requirements.


Candidates in Credential programs will complete an electronic portfolio on a designated platform Portfolium. The portfolio is comprised of signature assignments and other assignments completed by the candidate throughout their program coursework. Satisfactory evaluation of the portfolio is required in order for degree conferral. A bachelor’s degree is a requirement for the Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential.

The Student Agreement

Credential program upon showing that the candidate has:

  • Committed acts or engaged in conduct that could constitute Grounds for denial of a Credential;
  • Failed to demonstrate the requisite skills and qualifications to satisfy the requirements for a Credential;


  • Demonstrated other qualities or behaviors enumerated in the student agreement inconsistent with Pacific Oaks’ recommendation of the candidate for an Education Credential. The student agreement also authorizes Pacific Oaks to release to the Commission all pertinent information pertaining to the candidate’s qualification or fitness for a Credential.

Student Assistance, Notice of Need to Improve, And Dismissal from School of Education Programs

Pacific Oaks is committed to maintaining quality Standards throughout its Credential programs and to graduating competent professional educators. As required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), Pacific Oaks identifies and assists candidates who need special assistance and retains in its programs only those candidates who are suited for entry to or advancement in the Education profession. The CTC is charged by the state with evaluating the moral character and fitness of all persons who wish to teach or perform certified services in California public schools. Every person who is an applicant for, or who now holds any Credential, certificate, permit, or license authorizing service in California public schools is answerable to the CTC and the Committee on Credentials for his or her fitness-related conduct. California’s Laws and Rules Pertaining to the Discipline of Professional Certificated Personnel (2002), available on the CTC website at, address legal, ethical, and behavioral Standards to which all such persons must adhere.

If a candidate is identified as being deficient or needing assistance to meet program standards at any point during his or her program, the candidate’s instructor of record during coursework or fieldwork supervisor during a fieldwork assignment will issue the candidate a Need for Improvement Plan. The plan will indicate one of three possible actions that the instructor/supervisor intends to recommend to the lead faculty in the program:

  1. The candidate is identified as needing improvement in designated areas. A plan of improvement, with an expected date of completion, is attached to the form. The candidate will be permitted to continue taking classes or continue in his/her fieldwork assignment while completing the plan.
  2. The candidate is identified as needing improvement in designated areas. A plan of improvement, with an expected date of completion, is attached to the form.
  3. The candidate receives a failing grade in the class or an unsatisfactory grade in the fieldwork assignment. The candidate will not be permitted to continue taking classes or continue in his/her fieldwork assignment until the plan is completed and the class or fieldwork assignment is re-taken, at the candidate’s expense.
  4. The candidate is identified as being unsuited for the Education profession and is recommended for dismissal from the program.
  5. Upon receiving a Candidate Assistance Plan, the candidate will meet with his/her instructor of record, fieldwork supervisor, and/or other faculty or administration. This Candidate Assistance Team will discuss any recommended plan of improvement with the candidate and will later meet with the candidate to evaluate the candidate’s performance of the expectations listed on the plan.

If the candidate is allowed to continue in the program and receives a second unsatisfactory grade in a practicum or student teaching assignment, the candidate will be recommended for dismissal from the program. The process for a hearing and appeal, upon recommendation for dismissal from a program, is outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.

Graduation Requirements

Students are required to submit the Petition for Degree Completion and fee to the Office of the Registrar the semester before they anticipate completing their degree requirements. Students must submit the application, settle all outstanding fees with the Student Finance Office, satisfy any deficiencies, and be in good standing in their program for the Master’s degree to be awarded. Degree will be conferred upon successful completion of academic coursework.  Recommendation for credential will be submitted to CTC upon completion of all credential requirements. 

Note: A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in credential coursework is required for the credential.

Fieldwork and Clinical Practice

Fieldwork consists of practicum observation and supervised clinical practice/student teaching. A negative TB test and Certificate of Clearance or other CTC-issued permit are requirements for both experiences. Credential candidates must complete 75 hours of practicum prior to student teaching. These hours are distributed in five to fifteen hour increments across seven core credential courses.

Student teaching is the culminating clinical practice experience and is undertaken during a candidate’s final semester. Student teaching is full-time, typically unpaid, and performed under the guidance of a seasoned mentor teacher. The Credentials Office coordinates all student teaching placements and mentor teacher assignments in conjunction with districts and/or school sites. The following prerequisites must be met by March 1 for fall semester placement or October 1 for spring semester placement:

  • receive faculty advisor approval to student teach;
  • satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement (e.g., CBEST);
  • obtain a valid Certificate of Clearance or any other California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)-issued permit;
  • obtain a valid negative TB Test;
  • demonstrate subject matter competence with passing CSET: Multiple Subjects scores (Subtest I, II, III);
  • maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above in credential coursework;
  • submit a Student Teaching Application by the appropriate deadline; and
  • complete a Student Teaching Interview.

The above requirements will be verified by the Credentials Office prior to approving a candidate’s Student Teaching application for fall or spring. Once a candidate’s placement is confirmed, the candidate and mentor teacher will be required to attend a mandatory Student Teaching Orientation.

Intern Credential

The Intern Credential is an alternative route for candidates in graduate-level programs to obtain a Preliminary Teaching Credential. The Intern Credential allows candidates to complete their teacher preparation coursework concurrent with their first year or two in a paid teaching position. If the district has a teaching vacancy they cannot fill with a credentialed teacher, then a qualified preliminary credential candidate may be hired as an intern teacher. Intern teachers receive a full salary and benefits. In order to become eligible for an intern credential, candidates must meet the following pre-requisites and have a pending job offer at a public, charter, or nonpublic school. Nonpublic schools are private, nonsectarian and certified by the state of California to provide special education services to students based on their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Intern credentials are site specific and cannot be issued for intern placements at private schools, unless they fall in the nonpublic category. The Credentials Office recommends candidates for intern credentials on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Candidates must have met all of the following pre-requisites in order to become intern eligible:

  • hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution with official transcript on file;
  • satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement;
  • submit a valid Certificate of Clearance or any other valid California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)‐issued permit;
  • verify completion of U.S. Constitution requirement;
  • fulfill 120-hour pre‐service requirement through the following coursework:
    • ED 530 - Methods of Teaching Language and Literacy in a Diverse Classroom
    • ED 531 - Teaching and Learning Methodologies for English Language Development
    • SPED 563 - Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities: Creating Inclusive Learning Environments
  • demonstrate subject matter competence with passing CSET scores (#101, #102/214, 103);
  • maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in credential coursework (grades of “D” and “X” are not accepted);
  • submit a valid TB Test (skin tests are valid for 4 years, chest x-rays are valid for 8 years)


ED 703A Intern Seminar :  Intern Candidates who do not complete credential requirements after completing the Directed Teaching Intern courses, will be required to enroll in a 0-unit Pass/Fail Intern Seminar course until they have completed all credential requirements or at the expiration of the Intern Credential. The fee for the course is $175 per session.

ED 703B Student Teaching Seminar : a 0-credit course for candidates in the traditional program who complete student teaching but do not fulfill all credential requirements such as RICA or CalTPA). Candidates will remain enrolled until all credential requirements have been met. The fee is $175 per session)

Recommendation for a Preliminary Teaching Credential

The following credential items must be completed and on file with the Credentials Office in order to be recommended to the state of California for a Preliminary Teaching Credential:

  • bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution with official transcript on file;
  • completion of Basic Skills Requirement;
  • Certificate of Clearance or any other valid California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)‐issued permit;
  • valid negative TB test;
  • completion of U.S. Constitution requirement;
  • passing CSET: Multiple Subjects scores;
  • certification of infant, child, and adult CPR training; and
  • passing RICA scores.

All credential items must be valid at the time of credential recommendation.

At the end of the student teaching semester, the teacher candidate’s faculty advisor and the credential analyst will evaluate the candidate’s degree and credential requirements. If all requirements have been met, the credential analyst will recommend the candidate to the CTC for his/her credential. If there are outstanding credential requirements that have not been met, the credential analyst will notify the teacher candidate. Upon credential recommendation, the CTC will send the teacher candidate an email prompting payment. Payments are made directly to the CTC. Teacher candidates cannot receive their credential until they have paid for it on the CTC website. Once completed, candidates will be in the CTC database and listed publicly as a preliminary credential holder. All initial California teaching credentials are known as “preliminary.” Candidates have five years to “clear” their credential. Some school districts will provide support but it is the candidate’s responsibility to fulfill the requirements to clear his/her credential within the allotted timeframe.

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