Students Need Advocates. They Need You.

Exceptional learners need your support and advocacy. You can make this happen through our Special Education program. At A&M-Commerce, we turn your passion for teaching into a reality. Our master's degree prepares you for a rewarding career as an educator or as an educational diagnostician. You'll learn the characteristics of mild to severe disabilities, application of assessments and development of all learners. Gain the opportunity to interact first-hand with assistive technologies that you'll use in the classroom. You can make a difference in the lives of exceptional learners. Are you ready to respond to the call?

Students making projects with markers.


Gain the recognition you deserve by earning your master’s degree in special education. Graduate with confidence, knowing our program boasts a nearly 100% employment rate throughout Texas.

Career Possibilities and Current Median Salaries

Special Education Teacher
Educational Diagnostician

US DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2022.

See Yourself Succeed with a Degree In Special Education

Female teacher instructing college students in classroom.

Distinguished Faculty

Work with excellent, supportive faculty to cultivate the skills and knowledge you’ll need to work with students of all abilities.

Frank Young Education North building.

Advice as You Need it

Mentor Center in the Frank Young Education North building for support and information to help reach your career goals.

Three students working on a computer together.

Hands-on Training

Gain experience at the Assistive Technology Lab, designed to assist and empower individuals with disabilities and educate future teachers.

Female teacher with elementary age girl at school desk.

Career Readiness

Reinforce your confidence and skills to become an effective special education teacher through field-based experiences in real-world classroom settings

An A&M-Commerce professor instructing students

what you will learn

A master’s degree in special education offers the opportunity to:

  • Understand techniques to promote achievement in language, reading and math
  • Gain knowledge of diagnostic characteristics and their effects on learning
  • Learn to provide instruction while accommodating students’ needs
  • Earn specific training in diagnosis and intervention strategies for exceptional learners
  • Conduct behavioral assessments, promote behavioral management and develop intervention when needed
  • Studying in courses such as Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis, Characteristics of Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities, School-Based Interventions.
Student doing special education activity.

Focus Your Passion

Our department offers three tracks designed to meet your research interests and career goals. The three tracks include emphases in one of the following: Assistive Technology, Applied Behavior Analysis, or Educational Diagnostician Certification. All tracks are offered as Master of Science (MS) or Master of Education (MEd) degrees. We also offer a MS in Special Education with Initial Certification. Additionally, if you'd like to earn a graduate certificate without a master's degree, we offer a stand-alone Educational Diagnostician Certification program.

Current Educators

Already have a Texas teaching certificate? Consider earning your master's degree in special education! Our program teaches you to identify and equip students with exceptional needs. You’ll learn to support students with disabilities in K-12 grade levels. We offer a thesis and non-thesis track. (Total Hours: 39-42)

Future Educators

Are you ready for a career change? Interested in becoming an educator but don’t have a teaching certificate yet? We’re here to help! Earn your teaching certificate while studying special education through our post-baccalaureate certification program. Our non-thesis track educates you in student engagement, classroom management and teaching interventions. (Total Hours: 36)

Special Education with Educational Diagnostician Certification

Do you want to become an educational diagnostician while earning your master’s degree in special education? Our program expands your knowledge and teaches you to support your students with disabilities through assessment, planning and implementation of an academic plan to meet their educational needs. This track has a thesis and a non-thesis track. (Total Hours: 39-42)

Educational Diagnostician Certificate Only

Do you have three years of teaching experience, a master’s degree in special education and a desire to advance your career? Then, we have a certification-only program for you. As an educational diagnostician, you may consult with your colleagues and students’ parents as you develop and implement an academic learning plan for each student. (Total Hours: 21)

Faculty Spotlight

Beth Jones, Ph.D.

A&M-Commerce has afforded me the opportunity to explore my passion of meeting the needs of stude…

Kelly M. Carrero, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA-TX

Our student body, faculty and administration are comprised of people from many racial, cultural, soc…
Social worker playing with a child.

Course Delivery and Resources

Designed for current educators and working professionals, our fully online master’s degree program in special education offers a flexible way to earn your degree. We also offer some face-to-face courses at the Mesquite Metroplex Center, Navarro College and our main campus location. The master's degree in special education with an Educational Diagnostician certification requires two face-to-face classes, which are offered in a summer block.

Please check the schedule of classes for locations and times. Locations and times are subject to change.

Degree Plans

Assistive Technology Lab

As a collaboration among the Department of Psychology and Special Education, the Center for Information Technology Excellence, and Velma K. Waters Library, this unique facility features multiple examples of assistive technology specifically designed to empower individuals with disabilities and educate future teachers.

Graduate Program Cost


Tuition and fees for graduate students taking nine credit hours are $3,669 for Texas residents and $7,341 for non-residents.

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Your Path to Becoming a Lion

Note: This program is not available to international students. If you are an H1B or H4 applicant, please contact the Graduate School for details.

Submit Application

  • Select “Create a new graduate school admissions application.”
  • Select “Texas A&M University-Commerce (Commerce)” as your “Target University.”

  • Select “Special Education, MS or Special Education, MED” as your “Major.”

Domestic Application Fee 395064

  • Pay the $50 application fee.
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Wait to receive an application confirmation email before proceeding to the next step.

  • After you submit your application, the Graduate School will send a confirmation email within two business days to the personal email account you used for ApplyTexas.

Submit the following documents to your graduate coordinator after you receive an application confirmation email.

Graduate Coordinator DeRene Sutton 395159

Your Graduate Coordinator

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Contact your previous institution(s) and request that they send your official transcripts to your graduate coordinator.

  • We recommend that you request transcripts for all of your academic work.

All international transcripts must be evaluated and the evaluation submitted to the Graduate School.

We accept evaluations sent directly from the following Agencies.

  • If a normal evaluation is submitted, official original transcripts with all marksheets will still need to be submitted.
  • If a WES ICAP or equivalent is submitted, we will not need the official transcripts to be submitted separately.

If your institution is unable to submit a digital copy, hard copies may be mailed to:

Texas A&M University-Commerce
Attn: Graduate School
PO Box 3011
Commerce, Texas 75429-3011

We will need official/original documents. If those documents are the only copies you have, the Graduate School can mail them back to you upon request. Contact your graduate coordinator or more information.

Request three signed letters of recommendation, on letterhead, from professionals who can attest to your goals and ability to succeed in the program.

  • At least one of the references should hold a doctoral degree.

Those individuals should

Submit a statement of educational and professional goals of 500 words or less on the following prompt:

  • Discuss your educational and professional goals and how you believe this graduate degree will help you achieve them.

Submit a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) which includes your academic and professional history and achievements.

You do not need to submit GRE scores if you have:

  • a completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university with a 3.25 GPA overall or higher
  • a completed master’s degree from a regionally accredited university with a 3.25 GPA overall or higher

If you do not meet the GPA exemption criteria, request that your GRE® scores be sent to Texas A&M University-Commerce (6188) when you register for the test. If you have already taken the GRE®, you can order additional score reports.

Look for application updates in myLeo > Apps > Check Application Status

  • Once an admission decision has been made, you will receive an email to your student email account at myLeo > Apps > Leomail.

Once your application to the Graduate School is complete, you can submit your Educational Diagnostician Certification Program Application right away using TK20. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

You will need to have the following documents ready for upload in order to submit the application:

  • Certification fee receipt
  • TEA Assessment fee receipt
  • Teaching service record
    • A minimum of zero years of experience is required for admission to the master's degree-seeking path for educational diagnostician. If you do not have a completed year of service yet, please submit a letter of explanation in TK20 in place of your service record. The application will not submit if this required attachment is missing.
  • Standard Texas Teaching Certificate
    • Note: Candidates on emergency permits, intern or probationary certificates will not be admitted.
  • Official transcripts from the Graduate Office will be reviewed by the certification office.
    • Official transcripts from all institutions must be submitted to the Graduate School in order to satisfy TEA certification admission requirements.
    • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a conferred master's degree or a minimum GPA of 2.75 on a conferred bachelor's degree is required for certification admission. Please note that certification admission requirements may differ from those of the Graduate School and are separate requirements.
If applicable:
  • TEA Transfers
    • If you have previously been admitted to another educator preparation program for educational diagnostician certification.
    • Request that a completed TEA transfer form be sent from your previous program to [email protected].
  • Transcripts from outside the United States
    • Contact [email protected] for any questions about TEA requirements for transcripts from outside the United States.
    • If your official transcripts are from institutions outside the United States and the country of origin is not exempt by TEA, send the following documentation to [email protected]:
      • A course-by-course evaluation from a TEA-approved Foreign Credential Evaluation Service
      • Minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT). Please note that TOEFL scores are only valid for a period of two years. Required minimum scores are 24 for Speaking, 22 for Listening, 22 for Reading and 21 for Writing.
        • As of 3/4/2022, a valid standard Texas educator certificate will be accepted in lieu of TOEFL iBT scores.

  • Go to
  • Scroll down and click “Admissions”
  • Select “Click here to create your account.”
  • Complete the “Create Applicant Account” form.
  • Note: You will be creating a password for this account.
  • Store the password you create in a secure location so you can refer to it later.
  • After completing the “Create Applicant Account” form, TK20 will provide your username.
  • Store your TK20 username and password in a secure location so you can refer to them later.
    • You will use the username to log in to review your admission application once submitted.

  • Log into your TK20 account
    • Click on the “back to login” link.
    • Enter your username and password.
    • Click the green “Log Into Your Account” button.
  • Click on the “Create New Application” button.
  • Select “Educational Diagnostician” application
  • Click the “Next” button.
  • Complete the application.

  • Upload documents by clicking on the “+ Select File(s)” button for the item you are uploading.
  • Once you have completed all fields in the application, click the “Submit” button.
  • Look for an email from TK20 confirming your submission.

To check your application status:

  1. Log in to your TK20 Student Admissions account
  2. On the “Home” tab, locate your application under “Recent Messages”
  3. Click on the application.
  4. If you are admitted, the message will indicate your application was “Admitted”
  5. If you lack admission requirements, the message will indicate “Denied.”
    • Click on “Review Document” to view your deficiencies and reason(s) for denial.

Once both the Graduate School and Certification Program Applications are complete, the Educational Diagnostician Program Director will reach out to schedule an interview. Interview days are typically scheduled on a monthly basis.

Once accepted, please sign and return the “letter of invitation.”

  • Apply for scholarships and graduate assistantships once you are admitted.
  • Apply for financial aid by submitting a FAFSA and sending it to school code 003565.
  • Contact your financial aid advisor with any questions.

Once registration opens and you are eligible to enroll, your graduate enrollment specialist is here to help you complete registration.

Contact your graduate enrollment specialist if you have any questions regarding your degree plan and registration.

Graduate Enrollment Specialist Audrey Weiss 395278

Your Graduate Enrollment Specialist

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Featured Courses

We are here to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there prerequisites I need to be sure to complete?

Yes, SPED 572 is a prerequisite for SPED 573 and 574.

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Can I get my certification to be an educational diagnostician without completing a master's degree?

If you hold a Master’s Degree and have completed three years of teaching, you may decide to go Educational Diagnostician-Certification Only.  This plan is 6 classes plus a practicum (21 hours), and you do not take the Comprehensive Exam or complete a thesis.  If this is what you choose, you will apply through the Educational Diagnostician Certification program.

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What does practicum for the educational diagnostician candidates entail?

Practicum must be done in a school setting. The TEA requirement is 160 hours with 1/3 of those being direct service hours. Practicum is typically completed in your last semester (fall or spring) and you take your TExES 153 during your practicum semester. Most students complete Practicum while working full-time.

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When are application deadlines?

For either degree-seeking applicants or those for certification only, we have rolling admissions, which means you can apply anytime. We typically hold interviews once a month via Zoom. If you don’t get scheduled for the month you apply, you will be interviewed the following month.

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What happens after we receive your completed application?

Once our department receives your complete file from the Graduate School, the faculty will review it and make a determination regarding whether to move forward to the interview process. If so, you will be contacted to schedule the interview.

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How do I apply?

To apply to the program (degree-seeking; can apply without an existing mater’s or two years of teaching), you will need to apply formally through the Graduate School.

As part of the application packet, you will need to include:

  • 3 letters of recommendation (current and preferably from professionals, not friends; signed and on letterhead)
  • a writing sample giving your goals statement (why you are applying to our program and your future goals)
  • all college transcripts
  • GRE examination results (the printout provided by the testing company) ONLY if your undergraduate GPA is less than a 3.25
  • a copy of your teaching certificate (educational diagnostician applicants only)
  • any language equivalency test results
  • Attend face to face interview, if invited

When our Department receives communication from the Graduate School that your complete application has been received, your file will be dispersed to the special education faculty. They will then independently review your file and submit a vote on whether to move to the interview process. If an interview is recommended, I will be in contact with you to set it up.

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What is the course sequence in Special Education graduate program? What about in Educational Diagnostician certification program only?

Download the Course Sequence for details.

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What are the degree options in Special Education?

  • Master of Special Education (36 hours)
  • Master of Special Education (Educational Diagnostician) (39 hours for non-thesis/42 hours thesis;
    • Candidates that already hold a master’s can apply for Educational Diagnostician certification only—18 hours plus a practicum)
  • Post-baccalaureate with initial certification (36 hours)
  • A minor in Special Education (12 hours).

All degree plans have a thesis or non-thesis option (thesis does not apply to certification only).

Class offerings are primarily online. However, that the assessment courses (SPED 573 and 574) on the educational diagnostician track will remain face-to-face, but they will be offered in a block in the summer to accommodate teachers.

Find more information on available degree plans and required coursework on the catalog.

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