Master of Arts in Special Education

Preliminary Special Education Credential

NDNU’s  Education Specialist Credential in Special Education is designed to train teachers to alleviate the increasing shortage of special education teachers in the State of California.

NDNU’s Education Specialist Credential in Special Education and Master of Arts in Special Education programs prepare students to teach in special education settings in public and private schools. Mild/Moderate credential holders teach students in resource specialist programs, students in special day classes for learning disabilities and some full inclusion students. Moderate/Severe credential holders will be able to teach students in grades K-12 whose needs are more severe.  Students may pursue a special education credential whether or not they have a regular education credential.

See the NDNU General Catalog for course descriptions:


  • By taking additional coursework (which must include the capstone course), students may qualify for the master’s degree after earning 47 units. Many of these units are met by completing the preliminary credential.
  • As part of their credential program, it is sometimes possible for education specialist students to complete their fieldwork as a paid intern teacher. Prerequisite coursework and other state and NDNU requirements need to be met in order to secure a California University Internship Credential before beginning any internship in a public school.
  • Each course in the program meets once per week in the late afternoons and evenings. Summer courses meet two times per week.
  • A program plan is arranged for each student when he or she meets with the program director.

Admission Requirements

Students may apply to enter the Single Subject Credential program in fall, spring and summer and should meet the following requirements:

  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, with one transcript showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S., or equivalent academic preparation outside of the U.S.
  • Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Proof of completion of the Basic Skills Requirement through one of the CTC approved tests to meet this requirement (see CTC website: or proof of having taken or registered for CBEST examination.  NOTE: Basic Skills completion verification is required prior to enrollment in student teaching.
  • Proof of subject matter competency (CSET for Multiple Subject and Education Specialist applicants; CSET or a Subject Matter Competency waiver form from an accredited subject matter preparation program for Single-Subject applicants) or proof of having taken or registered for CSET examination.  NOTE: Subject matter competency verification is required prior to enrollment in student teaching.
  • Verification of 40 hours of pre-acceptance field experience by teaching or volunteer experience completed with appropriate age in a school setting.
  • A Statement of Intent – Describe your interest in the Credential/MA program applying to, relevant experience, connection to our NDNU mission, and qualities you would bring to our program
  • Personal interview with the program director


Catholic School Teacher’s Scholarship

The NDNU Catholic School Teacher’s Scholarship honors the efforts of teachers in Catholic Schools who wish to pursue a higher degree in Education. NDNU students who are currently teachers, coaches, or classroom aides at a Catholic school are eligible for a scholarship that covers 30% of the tuition charged to the student per semester. Scholarship is limited to students who enroll in Credential or Master’s in Education programs at NDNU.

Endowed Scholarships for Graduate and Credential Students
Most NDNU graduate students fund their studies through a combination of student loans, outside scholarship, employer reimbursement, or individual payment plans, however, there are limited Endowed and Restricted Scholarship Funds available. Learn More. 

Tracy Promise Scholarship Program

The Tracy Promise provides much needed scholarships to help NDNU students finish their undergraduate degree, complete an MBA or earn a teachers credential. Apply now. 


Caryl Hodges, Dean
(650) 508-3493

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