We offer traditional and alternative master’s level teacher preparation programs.  The traditional master’s program leads to a certification in early childhood special education (birth – 8) only and is intended for students who currently have a teacher certification. Traditional master’s students gain knowledge and experience in working with young children with special needs and their families.  Our alternative master’s program prepares participants with professional experience and degrees in areas to work with young children with and without special needs and their families.  The alternative master’s program leads to dual teacher certification in early childhood special education (birth–3rd grade) and general early childhood education (preschool–3rd grade).

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting admission requirements for the Graduate School and the College of Education, students interested in the special education programs should also be aware of the admission requirements established by the Alabama Department of Education.

Traditional Class A Programs

For admission to traditional Class A programs of study in collaborative education, early childhood special education, or gifted and talented education, the appropriate prior certification must be held in a teaching field.

To enter the Class A program of study in severe disabilities, the appropriate prior certification must be held in early childhood special education or collaborative education.

Alternative Class A (Master’s-Level), Nontraditional, Initial Teacher Certification Program

The Special Education Program offers teacher education programs that do not require prior certification in a teaching field. These programs lead to Alabama Alternative Class A certification in special education (collaborative teacher, K–6; collaborative teacher, 6–12; early childhood special education, P-3;  or gifted, P-12) and are designed to allow individuals with undergraduate degrees in nonteaching fields to enter the field of education.

Admission to a nontraditional, alternative certification program in special education requires full admission to the Graduate School and the completion of specified undergraduate prerequisite courses.

For admission to the Alternative Class A (non-traditional) program in collaborative education, early childhood special education, or gifted and talented education, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An appropriate bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 OR a master’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 is required.
  • A transcript evaluation is required. Applicants should contact the Office of Student Services & Certification for a transcript evaluation to determine prerequisite courses.
  • Applicants must meet current basic skills requirements of the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP).
  • Fingerprinting/background clearance is required.

Application Process

  1. Complete the Application Form.
  2. Pay the application fee. The application fee is $65 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $80 for international students. Please note that application fees are non-refundable. The application fee is waived for the following groups:
    • Veterans and current members of the US military (please email your DD 214 or current assignment orders to gradschool@ua.edu).
    • Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program students (please email gradschool@ua.edu for more details).
    • University of Alabama undergraduates applying to a graduate program in the same subject area. To qualify for this application fee waiver a student must have no time break between the undergraduate and graduate program and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or greater.
    • Applicants who have previously enrolled in Graduate School at The University of Alabama.
  3. Within 48 hours of completing steps 1 and 2 you will receive an email with your Campus Wide Identification (CWID) number. It is VERY important that you keep this number somewhere safe.
  4. Submit supporting documents and check application status by selecting Manage Documents.

Program Requirements