Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education


Department Chair:  Dr. Janet Filer
Phone: (501) 450-5441

Program Coordinator:  Dr. Keith Lenz
Phone: (501) 450-5462

As a result of the current teacher shortage in Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Education approved Special Education as a non-traditional licensure program area, creating the option for institutions to offer Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degrees in Special Education. The MAT program is designed for individuals without teaching credentials but who have successfully completed a baccalaureate degree and wish to become a teacher.

While we welcome any out of state candidates, completion of any program, other than an initial licensure program, may not lead to licensure or endorsement in Arkansas or in the state in which you reside. It is your responsibility to check with your state’s department of education to determine if the license or endorsement requirements are met through the program of study. If you are a potential out of state candidate, please contact the program coordinator directly.

State Department of Education Contacts

The site below provides the contact information for the Departments of Education in each U.S. state and territory.  Contact your state’s department of education for specific licensing requirements for your state.

Information for Prospective Students

The MAT in Special Education K-12 is a 36 hour program delivered 90% online, and designed to ensure candidates will gain expertise in learner development and individual learning differences, learning environments, curricular content knowledge, assessment, instructional planning and strategies, professional learning and ethical practices, and collaboration. Recognizing the changing and complex role of the special educator, the MAT program prepares candidates to:

  • provide support and instruction to students with cognitive, physical, behavior, multiple, and/or health disabilities from kindergarten through 12th grade;
  • work in different educational settings such as self-contained, resource, and regular classrooms;
  • access the general education curriculum, demonstrating a strong knowledge and skill set in academic content areas; and
  • effectively collaborate and work closely with general education teachers, related service personnel, administrators, and families to ensure all students are given every opportunity to reach their full potential.

Guidelines for MAT in Special Education:

Candidates interested in pursuing the MAT in Special Education must meet the general admission requirements of the Graduate School as well as the MAT program-specific admission requirements. This includes an undergraduate minimum grade point average of 2.7, a 3.0 grade point average in all graduate work, an earned bachelor’s degree, and a program specific statement of purpose.

Application Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose will provide the program coordinator and selection committee an opportunity to learn more about who you are and why you want to be an educator.

Please provide a 500-800 word, double-spaced response to the following prompt:

Whether you are choosing this career after many years in a different field or have decided to move into this field immediately following an undergraduate program, please tell the committee why you want to be an educator.

Specifically, why have you chosen this career path, and why do you feel it is a good fit for you personally at this time?

Be sure to elaborate on experiences that may set you apart or showcase qualities that will help you be an effective educator.

 Program of Study

ELSE 6300 SPED 101 Academy: Philosophical, Historical, and Legal Aspects of Special Education
ELSE 6304 Behavior Management and Analysis in Special Education
ELSE 6308 Educational Assessment in Special Education
ELSE 6333 Math and Science for Diverse Learners
ELSE 6348 Multisensory Approach to Language I
ELSE 6349 Multisensory Approach to Language II
ELSE 6366 Educational Programming for Students with Mild Disabilities K-12
ELSE 6367 Educational Programming for Students with Significant Disabilities K-12
ELSE 6375 The Practice and Teaching of Diverse Learners
ELSE 6600 Special Education M.A.T. Internship
ASTL 6380 Research Methods

Additional Information for K-12 Special Education MAT Students


Federal TEACH Grant
 Up to $4,000 per year

State Teacher Education Program (STEP)
Loan repayment up to $3,000 per year

The Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP) offers tuition reimbursement grants to Arkansas teachers and administrators. Teachers and administrators may apply for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses paid for up to six (6) college credit hours completed for each academic year, not to exceed $3000.