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Master of Science in Exceptional Student Education

The Master of Science in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) with a concentration in Varying Exceptionalities is designed for students who wish to obtain a teaching certification in Florida. The purpose of this program of only 36 credits of coursework is to prepare culturally sensitive educators to respond to the special and unique needs of children with exceptionalities in grades K-12.

Albizu University’s (AU) unique Master’s in Exceptional Student Education program design integrates the study and understanding of human behavior and sensitivity toward culturally diverse populations. It emphasizes psychological principles to better prepare teachers for the demands of teaching in a multicultural setting or classroom. A highlight of the M.S. ESE program is the completion of an action research capstone course in which the student uses instructional strategies, methodologies, curriculum development, educational technology, and behavior management and assessment to produce changes in the context of an educational environment under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Exceptional Student Education

Opportunities for professionals with a Master of Science Degree in Exceptional Student Education are in K–12 education, academia, research, or consulting in public or private organizations, and leadership positions in public or private service agencies, among others. As of May 2015, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported special education teachers in the United States earned an average annual salary of $56,800, although the top 10 percent earned significantly more, at $90,260.

Available in the following locations:


Program Details


36 credits

Academic Level

Master's Degree


2 years

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MIA - Dr. Sharrie R. Dean

Program Director:

Sharrie Dean Ph. D.

(305) 593-1223, ext. 3248
2173 NW 99th Ave
Miami, FL 33172-2209

Program Highlights

  • The Master’s in Exceptional Student Education program is offered online and in a hybrid modality.
  • Students will be equipped to work in K-12 education both in the classroom as well as in school leadership positions, as behavior management consultants, and in leadership positions in public and private agencies.
  • Our Exceptional Student Education program stands out, due to its systematic and rigorous capstone project. ESE degree program students will write a literature review and conduct a capstone project in 15 weeks. Most students do their projects in MDC K-12 schools, as it provides students whose projects excel with the opportunity to prepare their work for publication.
  • Students will have a faculty advisor/mentor throughout the program.

In Focus

  • The Master’s in Exceptional Student Education program provides a quality educational opportunity in graduate pedagogic training for its students that consists of both theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as the attitudes necessary to apply their training in the classroom setting effectively.
  • Students from any undergraduate program can apply to the M.S. program. However, priority will be given to students from undergraduate elementary and ESE programs.
  • Alumni learn to incorporate unique methodologies and interventions to help their students undergo different transitions: from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school, from high school to community settings, and from family support to independent living. They are exposed to various curriculum development and enhancement strategies within exceptional student education while developing an appreciation for each student’s worth and dignity regardless of background, origin, and life circumstances.

Choosing the right university matters.

Albizu University student carrying a backpack
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Applicants must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale at the undergraduate level.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) institutions attended.
  • Complete the online application for admission through the following link: In addition, you can attach your admission documents in PDF format.
  • Copy of resume or curriculum vitae that summarizes the applicant’s credentials.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from a professor, employer, or a community leader (in accordance with the AU format).
  • A maximum of six (6) credits can be transferred from another graduate program at the program director’s discretion. Only courses with a grade of “B” or higher can be accepted for transferred coursework.
  • International students must submit an official evaluation of academic credentials by an authorized agency.
  • A statement of purpose, which should be double-spaced and one-page long. It must provide a clear indication of the applicant’s interest in the field, career goals, and how they expect Albizu University to contribute to such goals.

Once the Admissions Office receives all the required documentation and the interview process is completed, academic program advisors will contact successful candidates to provide program direction and guidance.

Albizu University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and licensed by the Commission for Independent Education of the Florida Department of Education.

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