Graduate Certificate in Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities

The Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development offers a Graduate Certificate program for qualified post-baccalaureate students who are interested in receiving an Initial Licensure as a Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, all grades. Students who are successful in completing this program will develop the knowledge and skills necessary as a beginning teacher of students with severe disabilities. Specifically, the learning outcomes are as follows:

Students will:

  • Plan, implement, and evaluate individualized and data-based instruction for students with disabilities using the principles of explicit instruction, school-wide positive behavior supports, and other evidence-based practices.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of typical child development and learning, characteristics of common disabilities, and tenets of special education policy and practice; and, describe how they impact students’ experiences in schools.
  • Demonstrate a disposition and articulate a teaching philosophy that promotes equity, includes collaboration with families, and reflects the principles of inclusive education for students with disabilities.
  • Engage in a professional manner with colleagues, students, and families.

For those students successful in completing all the courses and practica in this certificate program, the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development provides a recommendation for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Office of Educator Licensure. Students must also apply directly to the DESE and are required to take additional tests (Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensures [MTELs]) to secure licenses.

Requirements for licensure as Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, all grades are listed below. Please note, prior coursework may be submitted for review to determine equivalency. If determined to be equivalent, required courses listed may be waived as a part of the certificate program.

To be eligible for the student-teaching practicum in the Special Education Program, graduate students must have:

  • earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all BU coursework;
  • obtained a grade of B or higher in the required pre-practicum Special Education course;
  • passed the Gateway Assessments.

Additionally, students must have:

  • maintained a record of having consistently demonstrated professional behavior in person and in written communication;
  • provided documentation of having met school district CORI/SORI and fingerprinting requirements; and
  • gained approval for student-teaching by their academic advisor, placement coordinator, and the program director.

Total Credits: 56

  • SED SE 615 Fieldwork in Severe Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED LS 560 Introduction to Language and Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED SE 706 Introduction to Special Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 760 Cognition, Learning & Behavior (2 cr)
  • SED SE 751 Assessment in Special Education: Procedures (4 cr)
  • SED LR 551 Reading Development, Assessment, and Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED ME 503 Mathematical Reasoning in the Elementary Grades: Number and Operations (4 cr)
  • SED ME 504 Mathematical Reasoning in the Elementary Grades: Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics (4 cr)
  • SED SE 504 Introduction to Early Childhood Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED SE 505 Introduction to Severe Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED SE 507 Severe Disabilities: Assessment and Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED SE 508 Severe Disabilities: Curriculum & Methods (4 cr)
  • SED SE 580 Methods in Special Education (4 cr)
  • SED TL 520 Teaching English Language Learners (4 cr)
  • SED SE 595 Practicum: Students with Severe Disabilities, Ages 3–21 (8 cr)