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The Department of Special Education recommends that prospective students familiarize themselves with the application deadlines, program guidelines, application requirements, and additional resources below.

Graduate Application Deadlines

  • May 1 - extended from April 1 - (Fall admission) 
  • November 1 (Spring Admission) 

Before You Apply

Attend an Information Session

The information session covers the admissions process, application requirement, and programs offered by the Department of Special Education. Information sessions are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 4:00-5:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Select a Program

All applicants must select one of the program objectives:

  • Master of Arts (M.A. Only)
  • Master of Arts plus Credential (M.A.+CRED)
  • Credential Only (CRED Only) — CRED Only applicants must already possess a master’s degree

After selecting a program objective, applicants must select one program area to focus their studies:

Added Authorizations:

The Added Authorizations in Special Education are authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and are designed to provide advanced preparation for credentialed teachers who seek supplementary knowledge and skills, beyond their prerequisite teacher preparation programs.

Program Requirements

Prospective students should prepare application materials in advance before starting the online Cal State Apply application. Application materials vary by program objective and program area.

Program Requirements for All Applicants: The following requirements apply to all prospective students.

  • Possession of a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA — can be cumulative GPA or last 60 semester/90 quarter units

Additional Requirements for M.A. Only Applicants:

Additional Requirements for M.A.+CRED Applicants:

Additional Requirements for CRED Only Applicants:

Application Process & Guidelines

Prospective students seeking graduate degrees, graduate certificates, and credentials must complete the online application through Cal State Apply. Applicants must complete all required sections of the online application for admission to SF State and to the Department of Special Education. The complete admission process requires approximately 4 to 6 weeks from the application deadline.

Submit Your Application

Visit Cal State Apply and start an application by selecting the semester you intend to enter the program. Applicants must complete all four quadrants of the online application in order to submit the application.

All program requirements are uploaded onto the Program Materials quadrant of the online application. Refer to the SPED application tips for specific details on which sections to complete, how to complete them, and other important information.

Applicant Document Extension

If you are currently working towards meeting the Written English Proficiency (WEP) Requirement (also known as the Pre-admission Writing Assessment),  Basic Skills Requirement (BSR), or the Certificate of Clearance (COC), and expect that you will receive them after the application deadline, please complete this Applicant Document Extension Notice. You may submit this notice in lieu of the listed requirements to submit your application on or before the deadline. Please note that you are still responsible to complete the requirements and submit them to us at If recommended to join the program, your admission will be conditional until all requirements are met.


Following initial screening and review of applicant files, interviews will be conducted by faculty selection committees to assess the applicant’s communication skills and behaviors required to meet professional standards. Additional information may also be considered to assess the applicant’s professional qualities including test results, previous experience, and observations in coursework/fieldwork.

Additional Application Resources

Completion of Credential Requirements

Prior to recommending a candidate for the credential, they must meet all legal requirements for the credential, including but not limited to:

  • Possession of a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Satisfaction of the Basic Skills Requirement
  • Completion of an accredited professional preparation program
  • Completion of the Subject Matter Requirement
  • Demonstration of knowledge of the principles and provisions of the Constitution of the United States
  • Passage of the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)
  • Passage of a Commission-approved Teaching Performance Assessment (currently for candidates in the MMSN and ESN program that enrolled after Jul 1, 2022).


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