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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Concentration

Master of Arts

Our Emotional and Behavioral Disorders concentration prepares you to serve K-12 students who have been identified with emotional and behavior disorders ranging from mild to severe.


Mostly Online

You'll complete over 80% of your coursework online.

Location: Online

Start Dates: Spring 2018


Mostly Online

Courses will be a mix of online and face to face sessions. You'll complete 30-80% of your coursework online.

Location: Anderson Center, and St. Paul

Start Dates: Summer 2017, Fall 2017, and Spring 2018

Total Credits


Approximate Program Length

24 months (plus thesis)


  • Educational Research (EDUC614)

    Focus is on understanding and reporting educational and psychological research. Students will conduct online computer searches, appraise the quality of professional literature, cite research using APA style, and understand the options of writing a master's thesis or conducting an action research project.

    1 credits

  • Preparing the Thesis/Action Research Project (EDUC755)

    Assists students in preparing their master's thesis or conducting an action research project. Focus is on the design process and includes the following topics: information on the nature and scope of the master's thesis/action research project; selection and refinement of topic; APA style; and the oral examination process.

    1 credits

  • Writing the Thesis/Action Research Project (EDUC790)

    Exploration of a significant educational issue relevant to the student's professional involvement through an independent, individually supervised thesis or project.

    3 credits

  • EBD: Child & Adolescent Psychopathology (SPED604)

    Major clinical perspectives, psychological disorders, terminology, and issues in child and adolescent psychopathology with emphasis on areas of special relevance to educational settings. Background to be informed communicators with mental health professionals collaborating in serving students having emotional/behavioral disorders. Distinguishing between problems falling in normal and clinical ranges.

    3 credits

  • Introduction to Special Education (SPED605)

    Special education historical and legal issues. Basic characteristics of mild-moderate disabilities. State and federal laws, due process, data privacy requirements, exclusionary rules. Special education historical and philosophical background. Attitudes toward the exceptional child. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Significant litigation related to special education. Preview into the child with LD, EBD, OHD, DCD, or ASD.

    1 credits

  • Introduction to Academic Instruction and Behavior Management for the Exceptional Learner (SPED608)

    This course will prepare special education teachers for their unique role as academic instructors and skillful classroom managers. Students will become familiar with a wide range of evidence-based teaching and behavior management methods that include approaches for one to one, small group and class-wide delivery. An emphasis on universal design as it relates to the needs of both typically developing and exceptional learners will accompany a foundational introduction to Behavioral management through antecedent-based intervention and environmental arrangement.

    2 credits

  • Norm-Referenced Assessment (SPED610)

    Introduction to special education teacher role in assessment processes. Norm-referenced, standardized assessment as part of identification and instructional planning process for students with emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, other health disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, or developmental cognitive disabilities. Issues of test quality (reliability, validity, standardization), scoring, and interpretation. Survey of instruments commonly used in assessment.

    3 credits

  • Interventions for Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (SPED613)

    Role of special education teachers as social/emotional and behavioral intervention implementers meeting individual needs of students with moderate to severe behavioral disabilities. Skills to function on multidisciplinary teams implementing school-based behavior management programs. Individual and group intervention strategies emphasizing social skills training and academic adaptations for general education curriculum mastery. Importance of observation, assessment, and intervention sequence and crisis management.

    3 credits

  • Foundations of Instructional Strategies for Students with Mild-Moderate Disabilities (SPED618)

    Course provides teacher-students a framework for designing, implementing, and evaluating instructional methods to teach exceptional students writing, mathematics, social skills, organizational skills and transition skills. Examine and apply evidence-based instruction while making instructional modifications and accommodations to address the needs of students with a range of disabilities and needs.

    3 credits

  • Reading Foundations (SPED620)

    Identification of relationships among reading, writing, and oral language, comprehension processes, and instructional strategies. Description of the structure of the English language and word identification strategies, and the role of vocabulary knowledge in language. Analysis of different texts for K-12 classrooms. Assessment strategies for reading and writing needs.

    3 credits

  • Reading Field Experience (SPED621)

    Supervised reading instruction in a K-12 setting. Assessment and analysis of reading ability. Creation of lessons and application of reading instruction skills/strategies. Designing of an environment that fosters reading. Identification of how personal faith connects with the professional responsibilities of a teacher. 30 hours over 12 weeks.

    1 credits

  • Special Education: Planning and Programming (SPED625)

    Special education delivery systems. Using assessment data to write academic and behavioral goals and objectives for incorporation into an individual education plan (IEP). Evaluation of available service delivery options to choose the most appropriate setting to meet students need. Effective multidisciplinary team processes with consideration of influence of diversity and language on eligibility, placement decisions, and programming.

    3 credits

  • Introduction to Behavioral Methods & Mental Health for Mild to Moderate Special Needs (SPED641)

    Introduction to behavioral methods and foundations of mental health for students with mild to moderate special education needs. Students analyze behavior methods/interventions for the classroom with emphasis on brain-based research. Understanding behaviors and mental health are explored within behavioral, social, emotional, educational, cognitive, physical, communication, and functional contexts as well as foundations of cognitive/emotional development and informal tools for screening.

    3 credits

  • Classroom-Based Assessment (SPED655)

    Focus is primarily on non-standardized assessment techniques including curriculum-based assessment/measurement; observations; functional behavioral assessment; learning styles/multiple intelligences; and ecological, authentic, and portfolio assessments. Review of behavior rating scales and various assessment data in evaluation reports. Students practice techniques in actual classrooms.

    3 credits

  • Special Education Assessment Field Experience (SPED670)

    Eighteen-week, 35 hour clinical field experience designed for students to demonstrate understanding and competent application of assessment. Students identify specific educational needs and judge eligibility for special education or response to intervention (RTI) process while using both formal, norm-referenced assessment as well as informal, classroom-based assessment.

    1 credits

  • EBD Field Experience (SPED672)

    A 35-hour field experience in which students complete observational experiences in mild, moderate, and severe K-12 EBD settings. Participate in behavioral techniques and programming, accommodations and modifications both in the resource and general education classrooms, and observe mental health providers for K-12 EBD students with mild, moderate and severe needs.

    1 credits

  • Consultation, Collaboration & Resources (SPED675)

    Focus is on the communication skills necessary to consult and collaborate effectively with parents, administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and agency personnel about the special needs of students. Students will become acquainted with outside agencies, as well as transition needs and services. Clarifying personal beliefs and adjusting to diverse student needs within their student teaching environments are critical elements of this course.

    2 credits

  • Select one from:

    • EBD: Student Teaching (SPED783)

      A 12-week student teaching experience working with K-12 students who have moderate to severe emotional/behavioral disorders (M/SED). Minnesota State Standards for Special Educators, school-based program planning, and service provision for students with M/SED.

      4 credits

    • EBD: Practicum (SPED788)

      A seven-week practicum experience with K12 students who have moderate to severe emotional/behavioral disorders (M/SED). The course plan aligns with Minnesota State Standards for Special Educators and includes all aspects of school-based program planning and service provision for students with M/ SED.

      3 credits

Premier Paraprofessional Partnership with Anoka-Hennepin

We partner with the Anoka-Hennepin School District to offer you opportunities to work as a full-time float para in area schools while you earn your master’s in special education. This program is a chance to gain first hand experience, get full-time pay and benefits while you work towards your degree, and make connections that will help you build a successful career.

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