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Educational Studies, Master of Science, Special Education

The Master’s Degree: Educational Studies Concentration with a Specialization in Special Education is designed for students who are interested in acquiring advanced knowledge, skills and competencies in Special Education and are not seeking initial teacher licensure. The Educational Studies concentration* is designed for students who:

  • hold a valid Tennessee teaching license, or 
  • wish to enhance their professional knowledge and expertise, or 
  • are preparing to teach on the post-secondary level, or 
  • are preparing for careers that do not require teacher licensure.

*The Educational Studies concentration does not lead to initial teacher licensure. 


How to Apply


The Educational Studies concentration does not lead to initial teacher licensure but, depending on the student’s program of study, may lead to an additional endorsement area for an already licensed teacher. It is for students seeking to enhance their professional knowledge and expertise, for those preparing to teach on the post-secondary level, or for those preparing for careers that do not require teacher licensure.

Thesis and non-thesis options are available as are specializations in several subjects and specialty areas. Both the thesis and non-thesis options require students to submit a written comprehensive examination and 2/3 of total credit hours must be 500-level or above. In addition, students completing theses must sit for an oral examination of their theses.

  • Thesis: Minimum 30 graduate credit hours, satisfactory completion of a written thesis and oral defense of thesis; 2/3 of total hours for MS degree must be 500-level or above.
  • Non-Thesis: Minimum 33 graduate credit hours, satisfactory completion of written comprehensive examination; 2/3 of total hours for MS must be 500-level or above.

Required hours vary depending upon whether students choose the thesis or non-thesis options. The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 hours and the non-thesis option requires a minimum of 36 hours.

Special Education

  • In addition to the Educational Studies Program (for already licensed teachers), we offer additional pathways to teaching Special Education. Our Undergraduate + 5th Year Master’s/Professional Internship leads to initial licensure for new teachers.
  • The Job-Embedded Practitioner Program (JEP) allows a partnering school system to employ an individual as “instructor of record” in Special Education before of coursework in Teacher Education provided the candidate is admitted to a JEP program.
  • Already in a teaching program or have a teaching license? You may be able to earn an additional endorsement in Special Education by taking the required graduate coursework.

Applied Behavior Analysis 

  • The Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program prepares teachers and professionals to use the science of ABA and encompasses the BCBA Coursework required to apply to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
  • Our BCBA Coursework includes a Verified Course Sequence* (VCS) approved by the Association for Behavior Analysis International® and is available for students enrolled in graduate, degree-seeking programs in Applied Behavior Analysis, Special Education, and School Psychology.

Tara C. Moore, PhD, BCBA-D
Associate Professor, Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education
tara.moore@utk.edu
865-974-6459