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Exceptional Student Education

The M.S. in Education with a specialization in Exceptional Student Education is a state-approved program in Florida for add-on certification for teachers. It focuses on the area of teaching students with disabilities. This specialization provides educators with the skills for assessing and teaching life skills and academic content to children and youth with disabilities across the spectrum. Course content is research-based and infuses best practices in education, while aligning directly with the Florida Department of Education’s certification requirements for exceptional student education. Course content is research-based and infuses best practices in education.

  • Completed admission application packet, including a $50 nonrefundable application fee made payable to Nova Southeastern University
  • Official transcript indicating conferral of a bachelor’s degree by a regionally accredited institution (2.5 minimum cumulative grade-point average required)
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions
  • Valid professional teaching certificate or temporary teaching certificate with passing scores for General Knowledge Test (GKT)

Additional Entrance Requirements

  • Valid Teaching Certificate (Temporary  or  Professional)

If entering with Temporary Teaching Certificate, please provide test scores:

  • General Knowledge Test (GKT), or
  • GRE score of 300 (combined verbal and quantitative scales only)

PROGRAM OF STUDY: Florida State-Approved Program for Add-On Certification


Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
EDU 5000 Orientation to the M.S. and Ed.S. Program 0
CUR 526 Educational Research for Practitioners 3
ESE 600 Survey of Exceptionalities of Children and Youth 3
ESE 610 Speech and Language Development and Disabilities 3
ESE 620 Behavior Management of Exceptional Students 3
ESE 630 Educational and Psychological Assessment of Exceptional Students 3
ESE 640 Transition Skills and Services for Exceptional Students 3
ESE 650 Instructional Strategies for Exceptional Students 3
ESE 660 Curriculum and Instructional Materials for Exceptional Students 3
ESE 670 Inclusive Education for Exceptional Students 3
ESE 680 Teaching Social and Personal Skills to Exceptional Students 3
ESE 690 Consultation and Collaboration in Exceptional Student Education 3
ESE 699 Applied Professional Experience in Exceptional Student Education 3


The applied professional experience is the capstone in the completion of this program. Conducted in an appropriate educational setting, candidates will maintain reflective journals and create files of samples of their students' work and the assessment instruments used to demonstrate achievement of the state professional and content standards. All applied professional experiences are accompanied by a portfolio detailing the rationale, process, and evaluation of the project. This course is one of the many practical applications included in the program.

Coursework for the exceptional student education specialization state approved in Florida is available online and at many of the NSU Campuses throughout the state of Florida. The online delivery option allows students to receive and submit coursework and interact with participants and professors via the Internet. The site-based delivery option allows students to take classes in the evenings or on weekends in a location near their homes. The distance delivery option allows busy professionals to complete degrees without having to leave their jobs or travel long distances.

Faculty members in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction are dedicated to preparing aspiring teachers and those seeking careers as professionals in education-related fields. Hailing from NSU and other major universities and institutions throughout the country and around the world, our faculty are highly respected professional practitioners and recognized scholars who are carefully selected on the basis of their subject area expertise, teaching abilities, and professional involvement. Furthermore, they are united in their desire to not only educate, but to inspire students to use what they learn to motivate others.

Meet the Faculty and Staff of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction

  • Satisfactory completion of all required coursework
  • Successful completion of the Applied Professional Experience, including the portfolio, demonstrating competence with the Educator Accomplished Practices
  • Cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Completed Application for Degree
Students with a Temporary Teaching Certificate must provide:
  • Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) – Passing scores on the following areas: 
    • Professional Education Test (PED)
    • General Knowledge Test (GK)
    • Subject Area Exam (SAE) in Exceptional Student Education K-12
    • Evidence of student teaching experience, supervised teaching internship, or a minimum of one (1) year of full-time teaching experience in a K-12 school.
Students with a Professional Teaching Certificate must provide:
  • Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) – Passing scores on the following area:
    • Subject Area Exam (SAE) in Exceptional Student Education K-12

The master of science in education degree program with a specialization in exceptional student education (state-approved in Florida) meets all requirements of the Florida Department of Education exceptional student education (grades k–12) add-on certification.

Florida participates in the Interstate Agreement on Qualification of Educational Personnel with 38 other states for teacher certification and/or licensure. Graduates who wish to teach outside the state of Florida must contact the state’s department of education for information for attaining certification through reciprocity.

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