While our master’s degree programs incorporate various specializations, we also offer non-degree specialization and certification-preparation programs that are designed to satisfy the State Board for Educator Certification’s requirements in specific educational areas. The additional specialization training prepares teachers for the respective certification exams; all SBEC certifications require that a candidate pass a state test. These advanced credentials are attached to the standard teaching certificate, so as a prerequisite to earning a graduate certification, a candidate must already hold a bachelor's degree and the initial teaching certificate.
The Urban Education program is designed for teachers of diverse student populations who wish to cultivate more culturally responsive classrooms. Educators explore the historical context of urban education and learn how culturally responsive curricula increase student outcomes, reduce student behavioral infractions, and enhance teacher-student relationships. The 4-course sequence can be taken as standalone professional development or applied to a Master of Education degree at SMU.
The ESL specialization is for practicing educators interested in working with ESL populations. The programs 4 courses may be applied toward SMU’s 36-credit hour Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a specialization in ESL. Graduates are prepared to take the TExES (Texas Examination for Educator Standards) English as a Second Language (ESL) supplemental certification exam, a passing score on which qualifies them to work with ESL students populations.
The Bilingual specialization is designed for teachers who work with students who do not speak English as their native language. Students who succeed in this four-course sequence are qualified to take the TExES (Texas Examination for Educator Standards) supplemental certification exam in bilingual education, a passing score on which qualifies them to work with students who do not speak English as their native language.
The Gifted and Talented specialization is ideal for teachers of the gifted and talented, both specialists and regular classroom teachers. Those who successfully complete the 4-course sequence (12 credits) are prepared to take the Gifted and Talented TExES (Texas Examination for Educator Standards); those who pass the exam earn GT certification. Additionally, the program‘s courses can be applied to requirements for the M.Ed. degree.
The Special Education specialization is for practicing educators interested in working with students with special needs. Content mastery equips graduates to work with special-needs students; they are able to employ evidence-based practices, monitor response to intervention, individualize intervention based on assessed needs, understand special education law and policy, deliver positive-behavior support, and collaborate with the colleagues and families of special-needs individuals.
The Mathematics specialization is for practicing educators who wish to advance their content knowledge or pedagogical skills for the purpose of teaching mathematics. Those who successfully complete the 4-course sequence will have to the skills and knowledge to model effective mathematics instruction, translate evidence-based research into classroom teaching, differentiate with diverse learners, and instill creative problem solving. The program’s coursework can be applied to SMU’s M.Ed. degree.
The Early Literacy Scholars Program is designed for K-5 classroom teachers in high-need public schools (including charters). Those who successfully complete the program’s 18-credit hours are equipped to provide comprehensive, coherent, and complete early-literacy programs in regular classrooms. The program’s coursework applies to the requirements of SMU’s M.Ed. program.
The Literacy Studies specialization is ideal for teachers who desire to advance their knowledge of literacy instruction and assessment specifically for early literacy and late literacy and for those who desire to pursue Reading Specialist certification. Those who successfully complete the program will be more effective teachers, improving student outcomes in literacy. The program's coursework can be applied toward SMU's M.Ed. degree.
The STEM specialization is designed for practicing educators who wish to advance their content knowledge or pedagogical skills for the purpose of teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content. Those who successfully complete the program are equipped to be more effective STEM educators. Additionally, the program’s 4 courses can be applied to the requirements for SMU’s M.Ed. program.
The Montessori specialization is for practicing Montessori teachers or individuals interested in enhancing or pursuing Montessori teaching skills. Those who successfully complete the program should be more effective Montessori instructors.
The Learning Therapy specialization is ideal for individuals interested in working with children or adults who have dyslexia or related language learning disorders. Those who successfully complete the specialization are qualified to take the Alliance National Registration Exam for Multisensory Structured Language Education at the therapy level, a passing score on which qualifies the individual for membership in ALTA as a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT).