Moderate Disabilities PreK-8, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure


This program affords many students who have completed a bachelor's degree the opportunity to earn initial licensure.

Our vision is the outgrowth of community discussions among education faculty, liberal arts and science faculty, students, and prek-12 teachers. Central to all conversations has been the tenet of building learning communities, including the desire to strengthen the ability of teachers to advocate for their students and their profession. At a time of increased accountability, the larger Westfield State University learning community continues its commitment to prepare graduates to educate the children of the Commonwealth. Consequently, all our Teacher Education Programs embrace a vision of Teachers as Leaders Building Learning Communities.


Westfield State University has a history and abiding commitment of preparing educators who serve the educational needs of prekindergarten through secondary school students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The shared vision of Westfield's education programs is articulated as "Educators as Leaders Building Learning Communities."  Themes that support this vision are community building, reflective practice, diversity, and social justice.

Westfield State University teacher education programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Westfield is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). Westfield State is working toward accreditation of its educator preparation programs under AAQEP standards with anticipated Quality Assurance Review in 2020.

Master in Education (M.Ed.) Initial licensure programs are designed for individuals who wish to pursue a master's degree leading to an initial teaching license.  M.Ed. initial licensure programs are offered in:

Biology, 8-12, Initial, M.Ed. 

Early Childhood PreK-2, Initial, M.Ed. 

Elementary 1-6, Initial, M.Ed. 

History, 5-12, Initial, M.Ed. 

Mathematics, 5-8*, 8-12, Initial, M.Ed. 

Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K-8, Initial, M.Ed.  

Moderate Disabilities, 5-12, Initial, M.Ed. 

*Programs marked with an asterisk are not accepting new candidates as of spring 2016.

A English 5-12, with Initial Teaching Licensure, M.A. leading to initial licensure to teach middle or secondary English is also offered.

Applicants for the M.Ed. initial licensure programs may be required to take additional courses and/or document professional experiences in the cognate area of the license, in addition to the courses required for the master's degree.

Students who satisfactorily complete program requirements leading to a teaching license are recommended for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Education. Program requirements include completion of all coursework and other requirements for a master's degree, passage of Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs), and successful completion of a practicum experience.

Advising for graduate students seeking an M.Ed. leading to an initial teaching license facilitates student progress in degree programs and offers an opportunity to design and to amend programs of study, acquire career advice and address topics of particular interest to students involved in graduate study for career advancement or professional development. Registration advising is offered in advance of the semester to assist with course choices appropriate for graduate programs. Programs of study constructed during the first semester of matriculation allow students to remain active participants in their course selection.

Program Description

The M.Ed. in Moderate Disabilities PreK-8, Initial, leads to a master's degree with initial licensure to teach students with moderate disabilities in grades PreK-8. The program requires extensive school-based fieldwork in addition to a practicum experience.

See Admission requirements for graduate programs.

Applicants to this 36-credit hour program must pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Communications and Literacy test prior to admission.

Program of Study

A. Prerequisite coursework or experience

Content knowledge in the following areas must be documented in the student's previous academic record or professional experience. As determined by the student's graduate advisor, gaps in coverage must be fulfilled by additional courses taken as part of the student's program of study. 

  • Foundations of education
  • Students with special needs (intro course)
  • Child psychology
  • Computer applications
  • Early literacy and reading
  • Multicultural education
  • Other content coursework may be required as determined by the advisor upon transcript review.

B.Required courses (36 credits)

  • EDUC 0570 - Language and Communication Development and Intervention
  • EDUC 0576 - Developmental Disabilities and Self-Determination
  • EDUC 0577 - Learning Disabilities and Instructional Strategies
  • EDUC 0578 - Behavior Support for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
  • EDUC 0581 - Early Intervention: Birth to Age Five
  • *
  • EDUC 0665 - Consultation and Prevention of Learning Problems
  • EDUC 0571 - Special Education Curriculum
  • *
  • EDUC 0631 - Sheltered English Immersion
  • EDUC 0624 - Technology Applications in Special Education
  • EDUC 0652 - Research Issues and Problems in Special Education
  • EDUC 0690 - Curriculum & Instruction for Students with Special Needs in Least Restrictive Environment
  • **
  • EDUC 0597 - Practicum: Special Needs Teacher
  •  * Students who have already received the state SEI endorsement should enroll in EDUC 0665 and not EDUC 0631.** Seminar hours will be required in the practicum..      

Additional Guidelines

A 30-hour diversity experience is required before or during practicum.

Students must pass the required MTEL subject matter required for Teachers of Moderate Disabilities

PreK-8, and have a GPA of 2.8 or greater before beginning the student teaching practicum. Although students may be allowed to apply for the practicum with a 2.8 GPA, a 3.0 GPA must be maintained to remain in the graduate program.

Students must satisfactorily complete:

  1. EDUC 0570 - Language and Communication Development and Intervention 
  2. EDUC 0571 - Special Education Curriculum 
  3. EDUC 0576 - Developmental Disabilities and Self-Determination 
  4. EDUC 0577 - Learning Disabilities and Instructional Strategies 
  5. EDUC 0581 - Early Intervention: Birth to Age Five before enrolling in practicum.
    Practicum placements are generally within a 30-mile radius of the university unless otherwise specified and approved.
    Students are required to successfully complete a written comprehensive examination to demonstrate mastery of knowledge gained in coursework and to relate concepts across the curriculum. The comprehensive exam may be taken after completing a minimum of nine non-practicum courses within the Master's program.