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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Apr 14, 2024
 
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Master of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certificate (MOSAIC)


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The University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, offers a specialization that leads to a Master’s Degree in Special Education and dual teaching certificate for grades 7-12 - one in Special Education and one in a Secondary Content Area (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, or Foreign Language Education). Teaching candidates will study evidence based practices to improve adolescent learning through Special Education and Content Area coursework. Candidates will develop their professional teaching skills during practical experiences, in a variety of public middle and high school classrooms. The MOSAIC program is designed to provide future teachers with the skills, knowledge and experiences to be effective teachers of adolescents both with and without disabilities.

MOSAIC Master of Education (MEd) in Special Education with Instructional Certification in both Secondary Special Education and Secondary Content Area (English, Math, Science, Social Studies and Foreign Language Education) Grades 7-12

  • Satisfies the requirements for a PA Instructional I Certificate in Special Education Grades 7-12, pending passing scores on PECT Special Ed 7-12 exams and successful completion of the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430)
  • Satisfies the requirements for a PA Instructional I Certificate in a Specified Content Area (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, or Foreign Language) Grades 7-12, pending passing scores on Praxis II exam and successful completion of the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430)
  • Requires completion of 42 credits
  • Is completed in 12 months (summer II, fall, spring, summer I) beginning in June of the admission year
  • Lasts four consecutive terms for full-time students - Summer II, Fall, Spring, Summer I
  • Requires obtaining all Federal and PA state clearances before entering schools
  • Requires a full-time practicum experience (5 days per week) at a local school district in both the fall and spring terms. Fall practicum includes content area and low-incidence disabilities placements. Spring practicum includes content area and high-incidence disabilities placements.
  • Requires students to successfully complete the Special Education Comprehensive Exam
  • Students can apply for financial aid and may be considered for a merit based scholarship.

Interested in finding out more about our teacher education programs? Admissions representatives can answer questions you have at an upcoming Teacher Education Information Session.

MOSAIC Curriculum


Teaching and Learning in Secondary Content Areas I

Course based on subject area (English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies)

1.0

Practicum in Secondary Content

Course based on subject area (English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies)

3.0

Teaching and Learning in Secondary Content Areas II

Course based on subject area (English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies)

4.0

Teaching and Learning in Secondary Content Areas III

course based on subject area (English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies)

3.0

 

 

 

 

Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Programs


Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Programs

Teacher education certification programs are offered in both general and special education.

Option 1. Initial Certification-Available for Primary Plus PreK-4, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) PreK-12, secondary content areas - Math, English, Science and English Education 7-12 and Foreign Language (K-12).  These programs result in eligibility for a teaching certification without a graduate degree.

Option 2. Certification Plus a Graduate Degree-for students seeking initial general or special education teacher certification along with a master’s degree (e.g., Master of Arts in Teaching  [MAT] or Master of Education [MEd]).

Option 3. Dual certification (MOSAIC/CASE) e.g. Secondary Certification and 7-12 special education; PreK-4 and preK-8 special education.

Option 4. Additional Field Certification-for students already certified in one or more teaching fields who are seeking teacher certification in an additional specialty area but who are not pursuing a graduate degree.

Advanced certification programs include:

  • Supervisory Certification (e.g., Curriculum and Supervision, Special Education)
  • Endorsement (e.g. Autism Endorsement)
  • Educational Specialist Certification (e.g., as a reading specialist, TVI, Special Ed Teacher Prep.)
  • Administrative Certification (e.g., as a principal, superintendent)

University certificates are awarded to non-degree students who complete commonwealth teacher education certification programs offered in instruction and learning (certificates in teaching or reading specialist) and in administrative and policy studies (certificates in educational administration or educational supervision). Students in these programs must apply for graduation at the beginning of the term in which they expect to complete their programs.  Eligibility for the University certificate is verified at the same time that a student’s application for commonwealth certification is endorsed by the School of Education and sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg.

In addition, a University certificate in orientation and mobility is awarded from the Department of Instruction and Learning to non-degree students receiving vision study certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

Teacher education certification programs and advanced certification programs are described further in the sections for the departments that offer those programs.

Option 5. Joint Program - Available for students in the MSW/CAST program are eligible for an initial teaching certificate secondary content areas - Math, English, Science and English Education 7-12 and Foreign Language (K-12) paired with and a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW).

 

 

 

Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Regulations

The following section details regulations pertaining to the school’s teacher education certification programs.

Instructional I and II Certification

The Instructional I, or provisional, certificate is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to applicants who:

  • possess a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 grade point average;
  • have successfully completed a PDE-approved teacher certification program;
  • pass all required PRAXIS, PECT and/or PAPA Examinations; and
  • are recommended for certification by the college or university offering the PDE-approved teacher certification program.

An Instructional I certificate is valid for six years.

The Instructional II, or permanent, certificate is issued by PDE to applicants who have completed all of the following:

  • A PDE-approved induction program for beginning teachers.
  • Three years of satisfactory teaching in the field specified on an Instructional I certificate, attested to by the chief school administrator of the approved public or non-public school in Pennsylvania in which the most recent service of the applicant was performed.
  • Twenty-four credit hours of post-baccalaureate study or in-service courses approved by PDE. (Some credits earned beyond the baccalaureate degree in teacher education study at the University of Pittsburgh may be used to satisfy this requirement.)

Applicants already holding the Instructional I certificate who are seeking admission to the School of Education in pursuit of Instructional II certification may be admitted under special graduate status. Applicants desiring to combine Instructional II certification with a master’s or doctoral degree must apply for admission to an academic program offering the desired degree.

Additional Field Certification

The School of Education offers additional field certification study opportunities to students already holding a Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II certificate. Students must complete major field prerequisites, course work in the subject area pedagogy, and an advanced teaching practicum (modified student teaching) and pass the PRAXIS or PECT Examination specialization test in the additional area. They must also successfully complete a PDE 430 in the additional area. Individuals who possess an Instructional II certificate and who complete requirements for an additional certification area will receive Instructional II certification in the additional certification area.

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled for teacher education study are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment for teacher education study. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.00. No student on academic probation is permitted to participate in student teaching, a teaching internship, or an advanced teaching practicum. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by transfer students count toward the total number of credits required for teacher education study, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations, except in determining GPA’s required for admission to the School of Education.

Credit Requirements

Teacher education study in the Instructional I certification program requires the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credits of course work approved by the department and the school. The Master of Arts in Teaching option requires 36 credits. Credit requirements for other certification options vary. Certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education is recommended only for those students who have satisfactorily completed all courses required for certification with at least a 3.00 GPA.

Teacher Certification Testing Program

The PAPA battery of tests, required for some students seeking their first Instructional I certificate, consists of a series of examinations to assess basic communication skills, general knowledge, professional knowledge, and specialized area knowledge. Persons with an undergraduate degree already holding a Pennsylvania Instructional I or II certificate are exempt from the PAPA series. Individuals seeking Instructional I certification in more than one area must take and pass specialization area tests in all areas in which certification is sought. Individuals seeking additional field certification must pass the PRAXIS Examination in the specialization area.

Students completing an Instructional I certificate in preK-4 education, a certificate in preK-4/preK-8 special education or a secondary/7-12 special education certificate must pass the appropriate PECT tests.

Students may take the PRAXIS Examinations at any point during or after attendance at a post-secondary institution. The tests are administered four times each year at the University of Pittsburgh. Some tests are offered every day (when the testing sites are open) while others are administered during a “testing window” which is usually a two week period, usually occurring monthly. Go to the PRAXIS website for information on registering to take the exams.

Student Teaching

In most programs, field experience in local public schools is required throughout the academic year (August to June). When a student accepts their offer of admission, they are required to complete information about student teaching. Applicants must also submit results from a tuberculin test, child abuse clearance, and criminal history check, as required by Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34. Students must also submit results from a Federal Criminal History Record check by obtaining fingerprint results through the FBI. Lastly, students must successfully pass an online training, Protecting Children from Abuse and also read the PA Mandated Reporter law and sign to indicate understanding.

Student teaching usually begins in late August and sometimes sooner than the opening day of University classes. Specific procedures and regulations governing student teaching practicum can be found in the student teaching handbook.

Teaching Internship

Students in the Master of Arts in Teaching option must complete an academic year (August to June) teaching internship in lieu of student teaching. The internship requires a minimum of 20 hours per week in the Fall term and 30 hours per week in the Spring and Summer terms. To qualify for the internship and the Pennsylvania Teacher Intern certificate, applicants must:

  • As required by Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34 submit the following clearances: Federal Criminal History Record; Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check; Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance. If there is a criminal infraction on any of these clearances, school placement for the school is unlikely, which will require the student to withdraw from the class. The University cannot guarantee that a person with entries in their criminal record will be permitted to do assignments in a school. While State law bars certain offenders from schools, districts often impose more extreme requirements. Students who have entries in their records should consult the Coordinator of Clinical Practice on whether a placement will be likely
  • pass the Content Knowledge test (Praxis II) during the first semester of their program in order to obtain their Intern Certificate
  • satisfy the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate (pending passing scores on the national PRAXIS II Exam, successful completion of the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430), and satisfactory performance in courses and in the internship)

Students must also submit results from a Federal Criminal History Record check by obtaining fingerprint results through the FBI. Lastly, students must successfully pass an online training, Protecting Children from Abuse and also read the PA Mandated Reporter law and sign to indicate understanding

Advanced Teaching Practicum

Students in the additional field certification option must complete an advanced teaching practicum, (modified student teaching experience) which vary based on the program requirements. Students must file an application for advanced teaching practicum in the Office of Teacher Education, 5300 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, during the term prior to the practicum. Specific guidelines governing advanced teaching practicum are available in the Office of Teacher Education, 5300 Wesley W. Posvar Hall.

Master’s Degree Requirements


The requirements presented in this section are school-wide requirements that have been established in addition to the University-wide requirements detailed under general academic regulations. Students should review the general academic regulations section in addition to the specific school information detailed below.

Common Requirements

All master’s degrees awarded by the School of Education require the completion of an approved plan of studies consisting of a minimum of 36 credits (including 9 credits in Basic Areas of Education) and the passing of a comprehensive examination.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

For University-wide rules, see Acceptance of Transfer Credits under General Academic Regulations. School-specific detail follows.

A maximum of 6 transfer credits may be counted toward an MA or MS degree. A maximum of 12 transfer credits may be counted toward an MAT or MEd degree. Only graduate courses taken as a graduate student may be transferred and applied toward a master’s degree.  The only exception are courses taken while an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh during the final term of undergraduate study that meet the following requirements, as explained in the Graduate Catalog 

Undergraduate students who need fewer than 15 credits to complete requirements for the baccalaureate degree and who intend to continue study toward an advanced degree may be permitted during their final term to register for graduate courses that will later apply toward a graduate degree. The student must obtain written permission from the school of proposed graduate study that the courses may count when and if the student is admitted into the graduate degree program. This privilege should not be granted if the proposed total program exceeds a normal full-time load. Although these credits will appear on the undergraduate transcript, they will not count toward fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements. They will be posted as advanced standing credits on the graduate transcript.

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled in master’s degree programs are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.000. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment in the appropriate graduate program. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA after 6 credits or more, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.00. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by students enrolled in the School of Education count toward the total number of credits required for the graduate degree, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations.

While on probation students are limited to registering only for courses in which a letter grade is given.  To be removed from probation status, a student must achieve a 3.50 GPA in 6 credits or more.  A student can only be placed on academic probation status once during their program of study.  Students placed on academic probation status will receive notification in the form of a letter from the School of Education, and they will be recommended to seek guidance from their academic advisor.

Ordinarily, students are required to terminate graduate study after two terms on probation.  A student who does not meet the GPA or credit requirements will be dismissed from the School of Education, unless serious extenuating circumstances exist. The request for continuation must include a recommendation made by the Department Chair (or designated faculty member) and the academic advisor, with the recommendation approved by the Dean of the school.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within a period of four consecutive calendar years from the student’s initial registration for master’s study in an MA or MS degree program or within five years in an MAT or MEd program.

Under certain conditions, the dean/associate dean may grant an extension of a student’s statute of limitations. The request for extension must include a recommendation made by the academic advisor, with the recommendation approved by the Dean of the school.  The statute of limitations can only be extended once.

Leave of Absence

Under special conditions, graduate students may be granted one leave of absence. A maximum leave of one year to may be granted to master’s students. The rationale for the leave of absence must be stated in advance, recommended to the dean by the department, and approved by the dean. If approved, the time of the leave shall not count against the total time allowed for the degree being sought by the student. Readmission following an approved leave of absence is a formality.

Academic Integrity Policy

Students have the right to be treated by faculty in a fair and conscientious manner in accordance with the ethical standards generally recognized within the academic community (as well as those recognized within the profession). Students have the responsibility to be honest and to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while pursuing academic studies. Should a student be accused of a breach of academic integrity or have questions regarding faculty responsibilities, procedural safeguards including provisions of due process have been designed to protect student rights. These general procedures may be found in Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures at www.provost.pitt.edu. The School of Education has its own academic integrity policies, posted on the School of Education website.  Students are encouraged to review these school-specific guidelines as well.

Plan of Studies

Before completion of 15 credits, students, in consultation with their academic advisor, should complete a Plan of Studies that conforms to program requirements. The plan of studies, approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator, is filed in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Any changes in the Plan of Studies must be approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator, conform to program requirements, and be filed in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. At the time of graduation, completed courses must comply with the approved Plan of Studies.

Basic Areas of Education Requirement

All master’s degrees conferred by the School of Education require a minimum of 9 credits of study from the Basic Areas of Education (BAE), 3 credits each from courses offered in the content areas of psychological perspectives on education, social and cultural perspectives on education, and research methods. A maximum of 6 credit hours of BAE courses may be taken from those offered within a single department. The courses in each area that may be used to meet this requirement are listed below. See also individual program curricula for exceptions to how their master’s degree programs meet the Basic Areas of Education Requirement.

Additional Requirements


Master’s Comprehensive Examination

The School of Education requires a comprehensive examination for all master’s degrees. The comprehensive examination is designed to assess the student’s mastery of the general field of graduate study. The comprehensive examination is constructed, administered, and scored by the program or department to which the student has been admitted. Procedures and schedules of administration are available from the program or department. *The student must be enrolled to take the comprehensive examination.

*See also Comprehensive Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees . The University-wide regulations on comprehensive examinations detailed there apply to all School of Education master’s programs.

Thesis, Thesis Equivalent, and Research Paper Requirements

Some MA and MS degree programs within the School of Education are offered with a thesis requirement while others are offered with the option of completing either a thesis or a thesis equivalent. All MAT degree programs and some MEd programs require the completion of a research paper.

Master’s Degree with Thesis

The master’s degree with thesis is intended for graduate students who have pursued advanced graduate study in at least one field of education specialization and have demonstrated through the master’s thesis the capability to plan and carry through a project of original research. The plan of studies should include at least 6 credits in thesis work.

Thesis Overview

The thesis overview is a written proposal for the thesis. The overview is presented to the master’s committee, which consists of a minimum of three faculty members (at least one from another program or department) selected in consultation with the student by the research advisor and approved by the department. The student must submit a form for approval of the thesis committee. A student must be registered in the term during which the thesis overview meeting is scheduled. A unanimous vote of the master’s committee is required for approval of the overview. The outcome of the overview meeting is submitted on the appropriate form along with a corrected copy of the overview to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Approval of Research with Human Subjects

If the research proposed in the overview involves human subjects, the proposed research must be approved by the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects before it may be carried out. Information on materials that must be submitted and the procedures that must be followed for an IRB review are available in departmental offices and the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Advancement to Master’s Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy for the master’s degree with thesis a student must:

  • be admitted to full graduate status;
  • have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 (transfer credits not considered);
  • have an approved plan of studies on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services;
  • have passed the comprehensive examination;
  • have an approved overview on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services; and
  • if the proposed research involves human subjects, have a letter on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services from the IRB approving the proposed research.

Thesis Preparation

The thesis research is completed and the thesis is prepared under the direction of the research advisor according to the approved overview. In preparing the thesis, the student must follow the University’s ETD Format Guidelines, and specific departmental or program requirements.

Final Oral Examination

The completed thesis is submitted to the master’s committee for the final oral examination. The student must be registered in the term during which the final oral examination is scheduled. The final oral examination is devoted primarily to the thesis, and an affirmative vote by a majority of the committee members is required to pass the examination. One corrected copy of the thesis as approved by the master’s committee must be filed, along with one copy of a research advisor approved abstract and the form showing a passed final oral examination, no later than one week before the end of the term during which the student expects to graduate. The dean/associate dean must approve any exception to this requirement.

Master’s Degree with Thesis Equivalent Option/Research Paper

Master’s degrees with the thesis equivalent option or research paper requirement are intended for graduate students who have pursued advanced study in at least one field of educational specialization and have demonstrated capability of presenting information relevant to an issue or problem in education. The plan of studies should include at least 3 credits in a research seminar, supervised research, or directed study involving research in the student’s focus area.

Research Paper Requirements

Each candidate for the master’s degree with the thesis equivalent option or research paper requirement must complete, in acceptable form, a research paper that demonstrates the ability to locate, organize, and summarize information bearing on an issue or problem in education. This project is usually initiated and completed in the research seminar of the student’s major. For certain majors, this requirement may be met by other means, such as successful exhibits or demonstrations.

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