Courses for Special Education Ph.D. Autism/Behavior with Certification

The coursework below is for students in the Ph.D. Special Education program taking the Autism/Behavior with Certification track.

Course NumberCourse TitleCredits
GESL 501

Helping English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes

English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction aims to provide English Language Learner (ELLs) with social, cultural and basic and academic language skills to improve their academic achievement. Granted that the developmental goals of ELL’s language and academic skills are inseparably interdependent, ESL instruction cannot be perceived as the sole responsibility of ESL specialists. This course aims to support pre-service content area teachers in developing adequate level of competency in addressing the special needs of linguistically and culturally diverse learners in their classes. It also prepares pre-service content area teachers to work with ESL professionals on various levels. The course provides them with basic knowledge and skills appropriate and effective instructional experience for the ELL population. It also focuses on how content area teachers can make accommodations, adaptations and modifications in their instructional planning and implementation to create an inclusive instructional environment for all learners. In light of PDE requirements, the course covers content related to the five TESOL standards, including language, culture, instruction, assessment, and professionalism.

GPSY 511

Psychology of Learning

Several theoretical mechanisms of learning and cognitive processing are examined. The goal of the course is to establish the practical utility of operant conditioning theory, social learning theory, and information processing theory.

GPSY 512

Psychological Testing

Introduction to basic principles of test theory, construction and measurement. Topics include reliability, validity, item analysis as well as other test construction considerations. Test interpretation focuses on standardized test scores and factor analysis. Survey of general ability tests, achievement tests, personality tests and interest inventories.

GPSY 625

Academic Interventions

The purpose of this course is to develop student competencies regarding academic assessment for intervention, evidence-based intervention, and response-to-intervention (RTI) procedures in general. This will be done by taking a holistic view of the student that includes the student’s academic environment and the student’s pattern of academic performance compared to himself/herself and others. Knowledge of these leads to the selection of evidence-based interventions that must be implemented with fidelity, appropriate progress monitoring techniques, and procedures to gauge RTI. Data-based decision making is the goal of this process. Students will complete an academic intervention project to demonstrate academic assessment, intervention selection, treatment integrity monitoring, progress monitoring, and data-based decision making competencies.

GPSY 705

Single Subject Methods in School Psychology

This course will introduce students to methods of conducting single subject designs for school psychology research and practice. Students will learn the salient features of common single subject designs as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these methodologies. Students will learn to analyze and critique published research based on single subject methods and will have opportunities to explore how these methods can be used to answer research applied and basic science questions pertaining to school psychology.

GREV 510

Statistics I

This course is an introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics addressed include: basic statistical and research concepts, graphical displays of data, measures of central tendency and variability, standardized scores, normal distribution, probability, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, sampling distributions, correlation, simple linear regression, t-tests, one-factor analysis of variance, and chi-square test. The SPSS for Windows computer software package will be used.

GREV 610

Educational Statistics II

This course is the second in a sequence of three statistics courses. The major topics focused upon are analysis of variance and multiple regression. Specific areas include: one-way ANOVA, factorial ANOVA, post-hoc analysis, evaluation of model assumptions, repeated measures analysis, analysis of covariance, and bivariate and multiple regression procedures.

GREV 611

Statistics III

This course is the third in a sequence of three statistics courses. Students are introduced to the multivariate normal distribution. Topics include multiple regression analysis, multivariate analysis of variance and covariance, factor analysis, canonical correlation, discriminant function analysis and logistic regression. Class sessions will consist of direct instruction and whole- class discussion of the statistical concepts and underlying foundations, in- class team work to solve problems and interpret results, and a lab component designed to illustrate and practice the use of statistical software to conduct analyses.

GREV 701

Research Methods & Design

This course provides an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches to research design and methodology. Through the use of specific research cases, students will analyze the practical problems faced by a researcher and the solution he or she selected. Students will also learn to evaluate the researcher's solutions and consider alternatives.

GREV 721

Theoretical Foundations of Qualitative Research

This course is designed to explore the use of qualitative research techniques in educational and clinical applications. Course content will cover the historical, philosophical and cultural issues involved in qualitative research as well as strategies and tactics for fieldwork, types of ethnographic approaches, ethical concerns, types and nature of interpretative research and participatory approaches to research.

GSPE 500

Orientation In Special Education

This required course is an orientation meeting designed to introduce new candidates to the Graduate Special Education Program. It is held each semester for new candidates in their first term of enrollment in the program. Generally, the meeting provides information regarding the planned program of study for each academic track (PreK-8 or 7-12) and the Candidate Assessment System. This includes an overview of the candidacy and exit requirements, performance assessments, practicum, and capstone portfolio assessment.

GSPE 501

Exploring Inclusive Practices

This online course allows teacher candidates from various disciplines to explore methods and supports for delivery of instruction to students with high incidence disabilities. A foundations will laid for acquiring the necessary background and skills in the process(es) of universal design, differentiated instruction, and co-teaching. With an emphasis on literacy development, candidates will become familiar with adapting curriculum based on student learning needs, IEP, and 504 plan goals and objectives, and environmental considerations.

GSPE 502

Legal/Ethical Issues: Special Education

This online course will examine current trends and issues in the field of special education and provide a solid foundation in various assessment procedures. Instructional certification and educational specialist candidates in a variety of programs will explore the intent and extent of the current laws related to special education and serving students with disabilities in school settings. Experiences will include an introduction and overview of basic assessment, as well as general research, discovery, and exploration of history, etiology, laws, theories, and techniques related to special education. The impact of current trends and legal issues on the educational processes in preK-12 public schools will be addressed.

GSPE 503

Social Justice and Empowerment

This course is designed to be taken by special education majors and those interested in learning more in the area of social justice as it applies to persons with disabilities. Topics include a review of the historical treatment of and current issues in the lives of persons with more significant disabilities. The course content, activities and experiences provide the candidate/student with the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to teach and/or support persons with more significant disabilities to live meaningful lives in inclusive settings and to be empowered by developing communication (including augmentative and assistive communication), self-determination and social skills.

GSPE 602

Applied Behavior Analysis

This course provides an introduction to the history, dimensions and characteristics of behavior analysis and its link to providing special education services. Skills focus on creation and analysis of data management systems, graphing behavior, and interpreting single-subject research and experimental analysis designs. Students will develop strategies to functionally assess behavior, create and modify behavior change interventions, use data collection methods to monitor student progress, and analyze experimental evaluations of interventions. A particular focus will be placed on applying the knowledge and skills of this course to individuals with ASD. This course requires 20 hours of field related work.

GSPE 650

High Incidence: Learning

This course is designed to prepare special education majors for the teaching and learning process as it relates to students with learning disabilities and other cognitive related learning problems. The nature of teaching students with learning problems will be examined with emphasis on the IEP process and implementing evidence-based practices in the general education environment. Inclusive education, culturally responsive instruction, co-teaching, and appropriate accommodations and modifications with focus on literacy instruction will be explored.

GSPE 651

High Incidence: Behavior

This course focuses on techniques used in teaching students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. An emphasis will be placed on the selection and implementation of evidence-based instructional methods including social and emotional behaviors. How to select and adapt materials using best practices in applied behavior analysis and functional behavior assessments will be explored. Identifying behavior interventions for implementation in a variety of settings will also be addressed.

GSPE 652

Low Incidence: Access to the General Education Curriculum

This course is designed to be taken by special education majors. The course content covers the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to assist students from low incidence populations make meaningful progress in the general education curriculum in inclusive classrooms. Individualized assessment and instructional design for this population of students will be the foundation for the course as candidates apply the evidence based practices for teaching literacy, math and science skills.

GSPE 653

Autism Spectrum Disorders

This course provides a global perspective of Autism Spectrum Disorders and focuses on facilitating an understanding of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. This includes: the history, philosophical underpinnings of supporting students with ASD, current definition, assessments, and diagnostic criteria as well as the wide range of interventions and current strategies of support. The course provides guidance for identifying and matching specific support strategies to the individual with ASD’s challenges including specifically: language and communication; social understanding and social skills; special interests; sensory integration and movement issues; visual supports and cognitive functioning; and behavioral assessment and intervention/support planning. This course requires 5 hours of field related work.

GSPE 654

Early Intervention and Child Development

This course focuses on the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed by special education professionals to support the development and learning of children from birth to 8 years and their families in special education and inclusive settings. The course is organized in three parts: Examination of the historical, legal and philosophical foundations of early intervention; Focus on child development pre-K - 8 and methods for supporting development and learning in young children; and Focus on the developmental characteristics of young children with specific developmental delays or disabilities and on early intervention strategies and evidence-based techniques for promoting development and learning in young children with diverse support needs.

GSPE 655

Secondary Practices and Transition

This course will be taken with Transition Seminar and Transition Practicum. This course is designed to provide an overview of critical issues for students with challenging needs in secondary school settings, as well as the process of transitioning to post-secondary education, employment and community involvement. The course content focuses on: secondary curriculum, strategies for successful inclusive school experiences, transition planning as well a global support strategies. These strategies are designed to support persons with challenges in becoming successful independent, as well as interdependent adults in a complex society.

GSPE 656

Evidence Based Practices for Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This course provides a systematic review of the evidence-based practices for learners with ASD. These practices are introduced in the following five major areas: a. behavioral interventions, b. instructional strategies, c. interventions for language and communication, d. interventions for social skills, and e. interventions for motor skills. The course provides guidance for identifying and matching specific supports and strategies to the challenges or needs of learners with ASD under these five major intervention categories. This course includes 15 field hours.

GSPE 658

Legal /Ethical Issues: Applied Behavior Analysis

This course will prepare graduate-level special education teachers and other supportive personnel with an introductory knowledge related to the history of applied behavior analysis, laws and mandates that govern service eligibility as well as the common ethical issues found in the field. This course provides an overview of the theoretical and legal issues related to eligibility, service delivery, and educational planning in applied behavior analysis. Students will investigate the impact of the legal and ethical realities related to education from various levels, including: family, school/practitioner, and community. Students will also learn about professional codes of ethics for behavior analysis as well as ethics of research and teaching.

GSPE 679

Exit Assessment Cognitive, Behavior, Physical/Health Disabilities

This course is a final performance assessment for candidates in the graduate CBP/HD K-8 and 7-12 special education program. Candidates conduct a self-evaluation based on the Special Education Candidate Self- Assessment Profile (SECSAP) to determine their perceived level of competence in each Specialist Role (Assessment, Instruction, Curriculum, Behavior Support, Professional Advocate and Collaborative Partnership) and to identify goals for continued professional development related to the NBPTS 5 core propositions. Candidates submit a final portfolio documenting competence in the six Specialist Roles including a videotape of accomplished teaching and data reflecting an impact on student learning. A presentation is made to a panel of Special Education Faculty and key stakeholders from the Special Education Advisory Council and school administrators.

GSPE 681

Professional Core: Practicum for Behavior

This field based practicum will be taken with corresponding GSPE 651 High Incidence Behavior. Teacher candidates will observe, instruct, assess and explore settings serving students with behavior related disabilities.

GSPE 682

Professional Core: Practicum in Low Incidence

This field based practicum will be taken with corresponding GSPE 652 Low Incidence Disabilities. Teacher candidates will observe, instruct, assess and explore settings serving students with more moderate to severe disabilities.

GSPE 683

Professional Core Practices and Autism

This field based practicum will be taken with corresponding GSPE 653 Autism Spectrum Disorders. Teacher candidates will observe, instruct, assess and explore settings serving students with disabilities on the spectrum.

GSPE 684

Professional Core Practices and Early Intervention

This field based practicum will be taken with corresponding GSPE 654 Early Intervention and Child Development. Teacher candidates will observe, instruct, assess and explore settings serving preschool and young students with a variety of disabilities.

GSPE 685

Professional Core Practices and Transition

This field based practicum will be taken with corresponding GSPE 655 Secondary Practices and Transition. Teacher candidates will observe, instruct, assess and explore high school settings serving students with disabilities who are preparing for post-high school activities.

GSPE 689

Special Education Practicum Orientation

Orientation meeting that is required for students registered for GSPE 690. It is held each semester prior to the student's placement in the field. Provides information regarding requirements and procedures for the practicum and is a prerequisite for 690.

GSPE 690

Practicum in Special Education

Practicum of teaching under the supervision of a university supervisor and a master teacher in a classroom situation. Required of all students who are not certificated in teaching students with disabilities. Admission with approval of Advisor.

GSPE 695

Field-Based Action Research in Special Education

This course will allow candidates to apply Action Research Methodology in a field-based setting. In this practicum, students will identify a problem at a field site, create an action research plan, gather and analyze data, and report findings.

GSPE 702

Professional Seminar: Current Issues in Special Education

This course is designed to provide a systematic in-depth review of current topics in special education. Emphasis will be placed on theory and research. This course connects students with leaders and emerging scholars through a shared learning environment.

GSPE 703

Professional Seminar: Special Education Within an International Context

In this course students will explore special education issues from an international perspective. Specifically, students will also explore different models, classification schemes, and multicultural perspectives on disability. Students will learn to use a comparative approach in applying special education theory and research across, populations, cultures, countries, and regions of the world. Topics will include disability issues, laws and policies, inclusion, and mainstreaming.

GSPE 706

Scholarship and Teaching at the University

In this course students will learn how to develop a research agenda including grant writing and submitting a manuscript for publication. Students will explore teaching philosophies and how that is related to course development and delivery. Students will also explore ethical issues that arise for university faculty (e.g., human subject protections and academic integrity).

GSPE 751

Advanced Behavior

This course will deal with assessment, implementation, and monitoring procedures involved with the use of behavior change techniques in special education programming. Particular attention will be given to positive non-aversive techniques that focus on the prevention of behavior problems.

GSPE 789

Dissertation Proposal

This course is designed to help students in developing and successfully defending their dissertation proposal. In this course students will explore the proposal and dissertation writing process and complete the first three chapters of their dissertation.

GSPE 790


This course is designed to help students in developing and successfully defending their dissertation proposal. In this course students will explore the proposal and dissertation writing process and complete the dissertation research and write chapters of their dissertation.