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DE Track: Special Education

Degree: Master of Arts in Teaching
Program: Teaching

Delivery Method: Online

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The MAT program is an accelerated, distance education, teacher licensure program that leads to both an initial teaching license and a master’s degree in as little as a year-and-a-half (full-time).

You will be prepared to teach in any type of learning environment, including in-person, remotely or a mix.

In the MAT program, we expand our knowledge and impact, and continue to support teachers’ needs to integrate practice with theory as well as to experience today’s culturally diverse and technology-enhanced classrooms. The MAT provides an outstanding teacher preparation program at a reasonable cost.

The MAT program in special education is designed for those who hold a Bachelor’s degree but do not hold a valid NC teaching license. In addition, in order to be eligible for admittance, applicants must already have at least 6 college-level credit hours (with a grade of “B” or better) in each of the following content areas: English, Social Studies, Math, and Science.  Candidates lacking in these content area courses can complete them at another college or university or as a NDS (non-degree student) at NC State prior to admission.

Please note that the MAT’s focus is on preparation to teach in K-12 schools rather than an advanced credential for practicing teachers or a precursor to research-oriented doctoral studies in education.

Program Description

The MAT program at NC State University follows a mixed instructional model that includes courses that are online, face-to-face on campus, a mix of online and face-to-face (i.e., hybrid), as well as Distance Education off campus (i.e., in schools not far from the NC State campus in Raleigh). A total of 30 credit hours are required to complete the MAT degree program in special education (see below). Students are allowed to enroll in either part- or full-time status and begin studies in the spring, fall, or summer academic terms.

In order to satisfactorily complete the MAT program all students must pass the edTPA assessment protocol, which “is a performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by teacher preparation programs throughout the U.S. to emphasize, measure, and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom” (see Similarly, in order to receive initial teaching licensure in NC Exceptional Children: General Curriculum, all MAT special education graduates must pass the state of NC Foundations of Reading test, as well as the General Curriculum test administered by the NCDPI (see

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a college or university that holds regional accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency (e.g., Southern Association of Colleges and Schools—SACS)
  • 3.00 GPA or higher in prior college work, as required by the Graduate School
  • For International Students: Minimum passing score of 100 on the TOEFL, and an official, course-by-course evaluation from an accredited foreign credential evaluation service required for applicants with non-U.S. degrees. Please note that the MAT degree is a Distance Education program, so students on university-sponsored visas are not eligible for this program. Please contact the Office of International Services with any questions (see
  • Up to 12 credit hours with a grade of “B” or better can be transferred into the MAT degree program (either from NDS studies at NC State or from partner institutions). See the NCSU Graduate School policies at

Course of Study

MAT participants can undertake this program full-time or part-time. The program includes 10 courses (30 hours).


Course descriptions can be found in the NC State University catalog at .

MAT Core Courses (Required for all MAT students):

  • ECI 579 Behavioral Management of Inclusive Classrooms (3 hrs.)*
  • ED 508 Diversity in Classroom and Community (3 hrs.)
  • ED 507 Developing and Interpreting Assessment (2 hrs.)
  • ECI 650 Full-semester Student Teaching Experience (4 hrs.)

Special Education Area Required Courses:

  • ECI 571—Methods & Materials in Learning Disabilities (3 hrs.)
  • ECI 576—Teaching Functional and Life Skills to Students with Disabilities

(3 hrs.)

  • ECI 581—Educational Diagnosis and Prescription For Children With

Exceptionalities (3 hrs.)

  • ECI 584—Intervention for Behavior Problems of Students with Disabilities

(3 hrs.)

  • ECI 585—Education of Exceptional Children (3 hrs.)
  • ECI 681—Seminar in Special Education Literacy (3 hrs.)

Note: In rare cases, the advisor may substitute or add one or more other special education courses dependent upon the individual student circumstances.

* ECI 579 Organization and Behavioral Management of Inclusive Classrooms is a required course for all MAT students regardless of specialization area. Special education MAT students, however, take the cross-listed course, ECI 579/573–Organization and Behavioral Management of Inclusive Classrooms/Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers.

Additional Info

Approximate total program cost (North Carolina residents) for the MAT in elementary education program: $1,599.21 per 3 hour course, or $15,992 total

Visit the NC State’s Graduate Distance Education Tuition rates page for detailed information about tuition and fees.

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