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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences:
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Special Education (K- Age 21)

Walden’s Minnesota state-approved teacher preparation program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Special Education is designed to prepare candidates to become special education teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of exemplary educators who work in diverse settings. This program prepares candidates to teach students with mild to moderate exceptionalities ages K–21. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Services is committed to individuals who seek to become skilled classroom teachers and to providing them developmentally appropriate, student-centered learning experiences that build their students’ knowledge and skills.


Walden is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) to offer a program leading to a Minnesota Tier 3 license in Special Education: Academic Behavioral Strategist. Candidates seeking licensure in Minnesota are responsible for completing all Minnesota requirements beyond Walden’s state-approved program, including passing the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams. The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses.

Individuals interested in licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify by virtue of completing a state-approved educator preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. Individuals who reside in certain states may be ineligible to enroll in this program. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide guidance on licensure questions; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure.

Note to all Pennsylvania residents: Walden University’s teacher preparation program is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board as leading to licensure. Because this program is not reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, candidates are instructed to apply for Pennsylvania certification as out-of-state graduates of a teacher preparation program.

Note to all Washington residents: Eligibility for initial educator certification in Washington is based on completion of a state-approved educator preparation program. This program is approved in Minnesota and is authorized for field placements in Washington by the Professional Educators Standards Board. Even though you may be residing in Washington while in this program, your application for educator certification in Washington will be processed as an out-of-state application. Go to for more information. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for teacher advancement.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this program, teachers are able to:

  1. Understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
  2. Understand how children learn and develop, and can provide learning opportunities that support a child’s intellectual, social, and personal development.
  3. Understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage student development of critical-thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills.
  4. Plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.
  5. Understand and use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
  6. Be a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his or her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
  7. Use knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  8. Foster relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students’ learning and well-being.
  9. Understand how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  10. Use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

Degree Requirements

  • 46 semester credits
  • Core courses (18 semester credits)
  • Specialization courses (24 semester credits)
  • Demonstration teaching (4 semester credits)
  • Field experience**: a minimum of 105 hours of classroom-based and virtual experiences in conjunction with coursework; 12 weeks of full-time demonstration teaching
  • MAT courses
  • ePortfolio

**Note: In addition to Walden’s general technical requirements, candidates must have access to technology (i.e., scanner or camera) that allows them to electronically submit signed documents verifying their field experience hours.


Core Courses (18 semester credits)

Specialization Courses (24 semester credits)

  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Demonstration Teaching (4 semester credits)

Course Sequence

Candidates undertake courses in the following sequence.

Semester Course Credits
Semester 1

EDUC 6605 - Teacher as Lifelong Learner and Professional Educator

3 semester credits

EDUC 6606 - Today’s Classroom and the Diverse Learner

3 semester credits
Semester 2

EDUC 6627 - Foundations of Literacy

3 semester credits

EDUC 6626 - Foundations of Special Education

3 semester credits

EDUC 6628 - Individualizing Education Programs for Learners With Exceptionalities

3 semester credits
Semester 3

EDUC 6607 - Effective Practices: Assessment, Teaching, and Learning

3 semester credits

EDUC 6608 - Classroom Management

3 semester credits

EDUC 6636 - Characteristics of Learners With Exceptionalities

3 semester credits
Semester 4

EDUC 6637 - Literacy Assessment and Intervention to Support Student Learning

3 semester credits

EDUC 6638 - Behavior Management to Support Learners With Exceptionalities

3 semester credits

EDUC 6639 - Instructional Strategies for Learners With Exceptionalities

3 semester credits
Semester 5

EDUC 6209 - Collaboration to Support All Learners

3 semester credits

EDUC 6688 - Action Research

3 semester credits
Semester 6

EDUC 6649 - Seminar for Professional Educators

3 semester credits

EDUC 6648 - Demonstration Teaching

4 semester credits

Note: The Teacher Preparation Program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) does not offer any courses during the summer that have field experience or demonstration teaching requirements.


Walden University requires that all candidates in its teacher preparation program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) review the Candidate Guidebook and Field Experience and Demonstration Teaching Handbook to help them understand the guidelines and requirements of the program, including transition points and field experiences.

Candidates can access the Candidate Guidebook and Field Experience and Demonstration Teaching Handbook in their ePortfolio. Candidates enrolled in the teacher preparation program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) should refer to the Candidate Guidebook for complete information on the programs and related policies and procedures related to them. Candidates should refer to the Field Experience and Demonstration Teaching Handbook for detailed information regarding the field experience requirements in the program.