Special Education (M.A.T.)
Do you want to be certified as a special education teacher? Are you wanting to empower students and other learners with disabilities and exceptionalities across a variety of settings, contexts and curricula?
Trinity’s Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) in Early Childhood Education program prepares individuals to meet D.C.’s certification requirements, which are reciprocal with most states, for special education teachers. Come learn and practice the science and art of teaching in Trinity’s classrooms and local schools to effectively teach children and youth with special needs in a range of special education settings.
Through a sequenced course of study, students gain knowledge, skills, and experiences in preparation for certification. Many of the professional education courses include a practicum, internship, or other field experiences in addition to regular class meetings.
Inclusive Education Dual Licensure
The Trinity School of Education offers the first and only dual licensure MAT program in the District of Columbia. MAT candidates seeking a dual licensure will receive licensure in their primary focus area AND special education. This option requires candidates to take four courses in special education in addition to their course sequence in their primary focus area in early childhood education, elementary education or secondary education. Click here to learn more about the dual licensure.
Featured CoursesCore Courses (18 credits) EDCC 510 Human Growth and DevelopmentReviews theory and research in human growth and development over the life span. Emphasis is given to the interdisciplinary nature of human development, particularly the relationships among the biological, cognitive, social, and psychological domains. Critical life events and their adjustments from the prenatal period through adulthood are discussed, stressing the interaction between the developing person and a continually changing world. This course contains a field component.
3 credits EDCC 530 Education of Exceptional Children and YouthSurveys major areas of exceptionality and legislated standards for special education and related services for students with special needs. Topics include inclusive education and collaboration between special educators, regular educators, related service providers, volunteers and parents. Also individual education programs (IEP) are examined in relation to students' needs and learning styles. The field experiences and observations are integral components of this course.
3 credits EDCC 541 Foundations of Education and the Art of Teaching and LearningExamines current theory and practice in the processes of teaching and learning. These processes are embedded in human development, learning and motivational theories, and learning assessment. The social/cultural factors that have an impact on teaching and learning are also studied. This course will focus on topics of interest for educational psychologists as well as teachers and other professionals working with students. The course reviews theories of learning and styles of teaching from the most traditional to the latest innovations in the field. Classroom management techniques and strategies are studied and teacher candidates are required to analyze these and develop a classroom management plan. Field observations are a component of this course.
3 credits EDCC 542 Positive Approaches to Teaching Students with Challenging BehaviorThis course reviews the history, theory, and implementation of providing positive behavioral supports to children with and without disabilities in a context of ethical interaction and reflective practice. Students will learn a variety of observational and planning tools for construction of authentic and responsive intervention strategies that lead to productive and inclusive learning communities. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Prerequisites: EDCC 510, EDCC 530, EDCC 541 EDCC 600 Research in EducationExamines qualitative and quantitative educational research methodologies. Students learn to read, analyze, and interpret the current literature in teaching and learning. Topics include defining the research process, writing a review of the literature, exploring methods of gathering quantitative and qualitative data, developing a research design, and examining ethical issues related to the research process. The skills developed in this course will be important for the development of the capstone topic in the Capstone course. Candidates will be able to interact and share research ideas with the other candidates from the other education programs, such as Teacher Education. Formally titled, "Research in Education and Counseling"
3 credits EDCC 606 Assessment and Preparation of Individualized Learning PrescriptionsThis course provides a general background in assessment and evaluation issues, strategies, and techniques. Assessments as well as criteria for selecting assessments, inventories, for TESOL (listening, speaking, reading and writing), Special Education (diagnostic and individual evaluations), Elementary Education and Secondary Education. Development of assessments and evaluation tools along with rubrics is included. This course provides review of measurement statistics and practice with the administration, scoring, and interpretation of commonly used norm-referenced instruments and procedures for determination of eligibility for special education. Comparisons are made with informal assessment results, and ways to communicate results are discussed . Writi ng a formal report based on multiple data points is explained and detailed. The IEP process, from referral to eligibility determination and placement, is examined. Extensive field component with hands-on activities are an integral component of the course. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Prerequisites: EDCC 510 and EDCC 541 Specialization (12 credits) EDTE 627 Literacy Assessment and Instruction for Emergent and Early ReadersPrepares beginning teachers to instruct young children (Pre-K-Grade 3) in reading, writing, and the language arts. Current theories of reading acquisition and the reading process are discussed in order to provide a theoretical foundation for the practical work. Students learn how to use informal assessments and knowledge of the paths of literacy development to create lesson plans targeting the "cutting edge" of student learning. Strategies and procedures for fostering each of the five recognized elements of strong reading instruction: phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency as well as the teaching of writing, spelling, listening, and speaking will be introduced and practiced. Strategies for fostering engagement and motivation in literacy activities will be infused throughout the course. Course content also includes principles of planning, classroom organization, and management to meet the needs of diverse learners. Candidates coach a beginning reader. The field experience is an integral component of this course. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Prequisites: EDCC 510, EDCC 530, and EDCC 541 EDTE 629 Teaching Students with High Incidence DisabilitiesParticular attention will be paid to the role of educators/individuals working with children identified as having learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral d isabilit ies, speech and language disabilities, mild intellectual disabilities, autism, and those presenting with learning/emotional difficulties. Educational approaches developed to meet the special needs of these students will be discussed. Field observations/visits are an integral component of the course. Formerly EDTE 629, Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disturbances. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Prerequisites: EDCC 510, EDCC 530, and EDCC 541 EDTE 630 Human Relations and Career Education in Special EducationThis course examines contemporary trends and issues in career education and various strategies and methods established to provide for, and to improve the delivery of, appropriate educational and vocational services for students with disabilities as well as personal/social adjustment. A major focus is on the importance of transition planning. Parent/family and professional collaboration in multicultural settings is stressed. The field experience and practica assignments are integral components of this course. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Prerequisites: EDCC 510, EDCC 530, and EDCC 541 EDTE 634 Teaching Students with Significant DisabilitiesThis course provides an in-depth examination of the theory and research associated with the etiological, psychological, and social factors related to students with signif icant di sabilities (including intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities). Curriculum development, materials and resources, and teaching strategies and methodologies for students with significant disabilities are introduced, with an emphasis on inclusive settings. Includes field component. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Formerly EDTE 634, Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities.
Prerequisites: EDCC 510, 530, and 541 Student Teaching Internship (6 Credits) EDTE 675 Student Teaching in Special EducationProvides students with a semester-long, full-time teaching internship in a special education setting under the guidance and supervision of a teacher and college supervisor. Internship is designed to provide a graduated, incremental learning experience in the classroom and other learning environments. In addition to planning student learning experiences, the teaching intern is engaged in active research. Professional development seminars are held in conjunction with the teaching internship. Formerly EDU 597G Supervised Teaching Internship in Special Education. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Prerequisites: Completion of all core and specialization courses and a 1ualifying score on comprehensive examination in Special Education.
Co-requisites: EDTE 689 EDTE 689 Advanced Seminar in TeachingFocuses on professional development and is held in conjunction with the student teaching internship. Students examine personal theories of teaching and learning. Formerly EDU 588A Advanced Seminar in Teaching. A grade of B or higher is required to advance.
Co-requisites: EDTE 671 or EDTE 673 or EDTE 675 or EDTE 677 or EDTE 681
- Special Education Teacher (Grades K-12)
- Resource Teacher
- Co-Teacher in an Inclusion Setting
Sample student teaching sites include:
McKinley Middle School
Center City PCS
All School of Education programs are approved by the DC State Education Agency, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), and meet requirements for state certification.
Trinity’s initial-license and advanced-level Education programs are accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Individual teacher preparation programs hold recognition from Specialized Professional Associations, as follows:
- Early Childhood Education: the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- Educational Administration: the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC)
- Elementary Education: the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
- Special Education: the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Licensure and Certification Notification
The teacher education preparation program at Trinity Washington University is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Successful completion of a teacher education academic program (ECE, ELE, SPED, SEC, SPEECE, SPEELE, SPESEC) at Trinity Washington University will meet the education requirements necessary to pursue initial teacher licensure in the District of Columbia and most states in which a student intends to practice. Some states have additional requirements such as completion of First Aid training or courses in Multiculturalism, Diversity, etc. Students should contact the appropriate state licensing board to determine if the program at Trinity Washington University can lead to licensure in that state and what, if any, additional licensure requirements exist in that state. Trinity stands ready to assist with state licensure questions, and students should consult with their advisor, program director or Dean, in case of doubt.
You may access teacher certification requirements by state, including information regarding state reciprocity here:
You may also access certification requirements and contact information for your state department of education at the Federal Department of Education here: