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M.A.E. in Special Education


M.A.E. in Teacher Leadership Special Education

  • To directly impact student learningThe Teacher Leader programs are designed to empower teachers to address authentic needs in classroom management, differentiated instruction, and most importantly improve student learning. Teacher leaders are essential in leading schools to overcome student barriers to learning, particularly those that emerge from high-need environments. Placing highly trained teachers who are prepared for systemic change and leadership in schools will help close achievement gaps, facilitate learning for all students, and develop equitable practices to meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • To include a Professional Education Core rooted in Pedagogy, Leadership, and Content applicable to all programs of study in teaching
  • To allow individualized programs based on the candidates' professional learning goals

There are two tracks from which to select in the MAE in Special Education:

  1. Moderate and Severe Disabilities
    The Master of Arts/Teacher Leader in Special Education for Moderate and Severe Disabilities Advanced Preparation program is designed to develop Teacher Leaders who can positively impact student learning in their classrooms and schools while serving students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities (MSD). Courses and experiences include Professional Learning Communities in which students interact with other graduate students from various content areas and grade levels to discuss and work on real world challenges and promising practices they encounter in schools.
  2. Learning and Behavior Disorders
    The MAE in Special Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders (LBD), is program is designed to develop Teacher Leaders who can positively impact student learning in their classrooms and schools while serving students with Learning and Behavior Disorders. The School of Teacher Education, through the Exceptional Education program area, offers courses and experiences for initial preparation of Exceptional Education teachers and for those seeking advanced preparation. Advanced preparation programs include Professional Learning Communities in which students interact with other graduate students from various content areas and grade levels to discuss and work on real world challenges and promising practices they encounter in schools. There are two concentrations for advanced preparation:

LBOC: Advanced Preparation in LBD for those with prior teacher certification in any area other than Exceptional Education LBD.

LBLB: Advanced Preparation in LBD for those with prior certification in LBD.

For additional information on specific program requirements for the M.A.E. in Special Education visit the School of Teacher Education's website at wku.edu/ste/sped/graduate.php.

WKU Graduates

Applicants who are alumni of WKU teacher preparation programs must have or be eligible for a teaching certificate and must submit a copy of the certificate or statement of eligibility with their applications.

Non-WKU Kentucky Graduates
Applicants who completed their initial certification program at another Kentucky institution with at least a 2.75 GPA for all previous coursework (undergraduate and graduate) must have or be eligible for a teaching certificate and must submit a copy of the certificate or statement of eligibility with their applications.

Out-of-State Applicants

Applicants who complete their initial certification program at an accredited out-of-state institution with at least a 2.75 GPA for all previous coursework (undergraduate and graduate) must have or be eligible for a teaching certificate and must submit a copy of the certificate or statement of eligibility with their applications.

Admission Deadlines:

Along with all graduate studies admission deadlines (see current graduate catalog), for priority consideration for admission, students should submit application materials to graduate studies by the following dates:

  • Summer Admission: March 1
  • Fall Admission: May 1
  • Spring Admission: November 1

Students submitting materials after the above deadline dates cannot be guaranteed that applications will be reviewed in time for admission for the upcoming term nor that course space will be available.

APPLY THROUGH GRADUATE STUDIES ONLINE AT: wku.edu/graduate/prospective_students

Required Courses:

Learning and Behavioral

TCHL 500 (3 hours)
TCHL 530 (3 hours)
TCHL 560 (3 hours)
TCHL 540 (1 hour)
TCHL 544 (1 hour)
TCHL 548 (1 hour)
TCHL 550 (1 hour)
TCHL 554 (1 hour)
TCHL 558 (2 hours)
SPED 518 (3 hours)
SPED 530 (3 hours)
SPED 531 (3 hours)
SPED 532 (3 hours)
SPED 533 (3 hours)
SPED 630 (3 hours)
SPED 595 (3 hours)
*SPED 516 (3 hours)


Total – 37 hours

Moderate and Severe

TCHL 500 (3 hours)
TCHL 530 (3 hours)
TCHL 560 (3 hours)
TCHL 540 (1 hour)
TCHL 544 (1 hour)
TCHL 548 (1 hour)
TCHL 550 (1 hour)
TCHL 554 (1 hour)
TCHL 558 (2 hours)
SPED 630 (3 hours)
SPED 530 (3 hours)
SPED 595 (3 hours)
SPED 535orSPED 615 (3 hours)
SPED 518orSPED 618 (3 hours)
SPED 532orSPED 612 ( 3 hours)
SPED 619 (3 hours)
*SPED 516 (3 hours)


Total – 37 hours

* Students who enter the program without having completed a previous introductory special education course must take SPED 516 – this will add an additional 3 hours to the required 37 hour program.


Program Completion Requirements

Students must successfully complete TCHL 560 with a course grade of C or higher and present research results in an approved venue.

Students must achieve a minimum 3.0 gpa overall and in program course work.

General Eligibility

Financial Aid includes grants and loans for educational purposes. The government requires the student to file a form online to the government agency for this purpose which is called FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov  to apply. Once that form is completed and filed, the student will receive an email from WKU about the status. All financial aid comes through the WKU Student Financial Aid office and they communicate mostly through email. The email will explain all the grants and/or loans that are available to the student and how to receive the money.

Nearly all students are eligible for some form of financial assistance. In fact, over 90% of the students who applied for financial aid in recent years received an award offer. Every effort is made to assist you and your family in obtaining the resources necessary to meet the difference between the total cost of attending Western Kentucky University and your ability to contribute toward your education.

If you would like to apply for financial assistance (loans, grants, scholarships, veteran's benefits) the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. Please refer to the Financial Aid Guide for additional information and complete instructions.

Please keep in mind, student must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to qualify for financial aid. For additional information on receiving, and keeping your financial aid, please refer to the WKU Financial Aid website to review the complete policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress at wku.edu/financialaid/sap.php.


Eligibility for On Demand

On Demand courses may also be covered by financial aid if the student has met basic eligibility requirements and has a current FAFSA on file. Students must fill out an On Demand Agreement found on the WKU Financial Assistance website. Students receiving financial aid must complete their course(s) in the current semester. For more information please contact the Student Financial Assistance office at (270) 745-2755.


Veterans and Active Military

All college courses offered by On Demand have been approved for veterans and other persons eligible under the provisions of the GI Bill. Each student must assume the responsibility for submitting the proper forms to assure payment of appropriate entitlements. Please contact the Veterans Coordinator in Student Financial Assistance.

Department Contact

Program Contact: Dr. Gail Kirby 
Web: wku.edu/ste/sped/graduate.php
Email: gail.kirby@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-3746


WKU Online

Email: learn.online@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-5173
Toll-Free: (888) 4WKUWEB / (888) 495-8932
Website: wku.edu/online 


The Graduate School

Email: graduate.school@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2446
Website: wku.edu/graduate 

For more information about the program, fill out the form below.

Did you know? The Kentucky P-12 Professional Educator Rate is a special tuition rate for Kentucky teachers in specific master degree programs. It is $395 per credit hour. Click here to learn more!



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 Last Modified 4/11/18