The Inclusive Education Master's Degree Program at Stonehill is a 30-to-36-credit degree program leading to a master's in education and a specialization in autism, a specialization in diversity, equity and inclusivity, or Massachusetts initial licensure in special education, PreK-8 or 5-12.

Program Prerequisite: A child development course or equivalent completed with a grade of B or better.

Core Coursework

All students in the Inclusive Education Master's Degree Program are required to take these five core courses before completing the additional coursework for their specialization.

This course covers current policy and practice related to English learners (ELs) in schools with a special focus on Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) settings. Topics will include diversity issues, content/academic vocabulary development and literacy skills (including listening, speaking, reading and writing) to provide teachers with the knowledge and strategies to support ELs in classrooms.

*May be waived with documented, state-approved sheltered English immersion (SEI) endorsement.

This course introduces students to the reality of schools as diverse spaces encompassing a range of student needs and examines efforts to ensure equity in education. Issues of race, class, culture, language, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and ability will be discussed & examined, especially how they intersect to reproduce inequality. Students will reflect on individual beliefs in relation to social justice education and democratic education and examine unintended consequences of policy/practice that create or perpetuate inequitable environments and opportunities in schools. Strategies for promoting educational equity and inclusivity will be discussed. 

This course examines and unpacks contemporary issues in the field of education and provides prospective teachers with a beginning foundation for understanding the teaching profession and the US education system, including policy and governance. The historical, legal, ethical, and pedagogical foundations for social justice education and democratic education will be explored, as well as the education reform context and emerging policies. The course will include an examination of professional ethics and standards.

Required field experience.

This course explores supportive, preventative, and proactive approaches to addressing the social and academic behaviors of students with disabilities and other diverse populations. Strategies for developing a positive classroom climate to support social and emotional development, including trauma and anxiety, will be central to the learning of the course. A variety of approaches, including the connection between communication & behavior, identifying contributing factors to challenging behavior, functional behavioral assessment (FBA), and behavior support plans, will be explored.

This course is taken concurrently with a graduate practicum or internship. This capstone seminar will focus on social justice education, professional culture, family & community engagement, collaboration, and curriculum and planning for educational contexts. Students will reflect on experiences in the practica/internship site and current issues and best practice in education, including trauma and social emotional learning.

Courses may be waived based on previous coursework, which may reduce the total number of program credits.

Total program credits: 30–36
Total minimum credits: 30*

Special Education, PreK-8 Teacher Licensure Courses

This graduate course focuses on the Individual Education Program (IEP) and the role of the special educator in the process, from pre-referral to eligibility determination and placement, as well as implementation. Federal and state laws related to special education will be explored. Collaboration, communication, building trust, and relationships with families and school/community colleagues will be an emphasis of the course.

This course is designed for preservice special education teachers and other related service providers interested in expanding their knowledge base for understanding and supporting the needs of students with language-based learning disabilities. Both assessment and intervention issues for school-age children and adolescents with language learning disabilities (LLD) will be discussed, with an emphasis on oral language and literacy connections.

This course provides an in-depth look at the causes and correlations of math difficulty, contemporary methods of assessment in the domain of math as well as evidence-based instructional approaches and interventions for students with math learning disabilities. Students will acquire an understanding of typical development in the domain of mathematics, profiles of various mathematics learning disabilities, methods for assessing mathematical competencies and research-proven instructional techniques for this population.

This course addresses issues in the assessment of children and youth with disabilities, and reviews norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, developmental scales, and formal and informal observation techniques. Students will acquire an understanding of the issues related to selecting and administering a variety of assessment tools, and to interpreting, communicating and utilizing data from assessments to support the education of students with disabilities.

This course focuses on increasing access to the curriculum using the lens of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help educators customize instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities and other diverse learners. Course participants will determine how to deconstruct curricular barriers and create and apply curricular solutions that maximize access and academic success. Assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) will be explored and leveraged.

Field experience requirement.

Special Education, 5-12 Teacher Licensure Courses

This graduate course focuses on the Individual Education Program (IEP) and the role of the special educator in the process, from pre-referral to eligibility determination and placement, as well as implementation. Federal and state laws related to special education will be explored. Collaboration, communication, building trust, and relationships with families and school/community colleagues will be an emphasis of the course.

This course explores language and literacy for middle/high school students with disabilities. Reading and writing challenges for students in middle and high school, including literacy challenges that develop due to development, gaps in learning, English language acquisition, engagement and motivation, and identified disabilities such as Specific Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Autism Spectrum Disorders will be addressed. The course will emphasize instructional design and techniques, RTI, and progress monitoring to boost student achievement and literacy outcomes, including comprehension, vocabulary, and writing for diverse student populations. Assessment for middle/high school students with disabilities will be addressed.

This course examines the pedagogy of math instruction for middle and high school aged students with disabilities, contemporary methods of assessment in the domain of math as well as evidence-based instructional approaches and interventions for students with math learning disabilities. Students will acquire an understanding of typical development in the domain of mathematics, profiles of various learning disabilities involving mathematics difficulty, methods for assessing mathematical competencies and instructional techniques.

This course addresses issues in the assessment of children and youth with disabilities, and reviews norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, developmental scales, and formal and informal observation techniques. Students will acquire an understanding of the issues related to selecting and administering a variety of assessment tools, and to interpreting, communicating and utilizing data from assessments to support the education of students with disabilities.

This course focuses on increasing access to the curriculum using the lens of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help educators customize instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities and other diverse learners. Course participants will determine how to deconstruct curricular barriers and create and apply curricular solutions that maximize access and academic success. Assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) will be explored and leveraged.

Field experience requirement.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Specialization Courses

This course will examine intersectionality and the complex racial, gendered, and class based dimensions that perpetuate inequitable environments and opportunities in schools. We will explore critical race theory (CRT) and its theoretical relevance as a framework to examine and challenge disparate educational opportunities for students of color. The course will offer an examination of the policies, procedures, and structures that perpetuate disproportionality and overrepresentation. This course will analyze assumptions about race, gender, and class, as well as how these dynamics play out in U.S. public schooling and history through political, sociological, theoretical, and pedagogical lenses. 

This course will examine disability through the lens of democratic education. The concepts of equity, ableism, and “othering” will be examined through philosophical educational theories to unpack pervasive disagreement about the best methods for improving outcomes for students with disabilities. The course will explore repositioning schools as democratic spaces where diversity and individuality can be enhanced and better understood. Theories of democracy and democratic education will be explored as a means of a more socially just orientation of disability. 

This course will examine the complexities of gender, identity, expression, and sexual orientation in schools, as well as how their interrelated dynamics and complexities unfold in the history of U.S. schools to present day. The course will explore the concepts of identity development and school structures that disenfranchise non-binary and LGBTQA+ students and examine constructions of gender identity, sexuality, and equality and binary/nonbinary conceptions. The course will examine inclusivity and exclusion through an examination of gender models, perpetuation of stereotypes, and implicit biases. The course analyzes key conceptual and methodological frameworks of gender, class, sexuality, power, and intersectionality. 

This course focuses on race, religion, culture, and language through the lens of social justice education. This course will unpack bias and explore the diverse ways in which power and traditional structures intersect with different cultural, social, and religious practices. We will examine strategies for designing and creating safety in classrooms, schools, educational spaces, and communities which honor students’ cultural backgrounds and lived experiences. The course will explicitly examine privilege, equity, and cultural responsiveness in educational spaces. 

Autism Specialization Courses

This course provides class participants with an introduction to autism and neurodiversity, a grounding in the neurodiversity paradigm, and exposure to autistic self-advocates and perspectives. The course will include an examination of the sociopolitical context and the resulting ideals, conceptions, assumptionst and biases in education, media, and community. Course participants will unpack educational discourse, diagnosis, labels, and the ethics of different educational approaches and ideals. The course will explore tenets of collaboration and the complexity of different organizational approaches.

This course will explore communication and competence, from the highly to the minimally or non-verbal autistic student, and the theoretical foundations of speech, language and communication. The core skills of communication, communication reciprocity, core skills necessary for social communication and literacy development will be a focus. The course will examine frameworks for effective communication strategies and approaches, as well as the role of communication in social understanding/interaction and behavior. The impact of cultural values and beliefs on communication will be examined. Collaborative and interdisciplinary models of support and service delivery be will and be guided by self-advocate accounts.

This course will review social understanding, stress, anxiety and trauma in autistic people. The course will explore the role of anxiety, stress, and trauma on relationships, self-regulation, health/ well-being and academic achievement. This course will stress intersectionality and explore gender/culture/race influences on understanding autism. Course participants will develop social supports and curricula focused on neurodiverse social behavior that help to mitigate the effects of stress/anxiety/trauma and develop resilience.

In this course, autistic behavior, including tenets of neurodiversity, sociocultural views of "normalcy," and self-regulation will be explored. Participants in the course will examine a range of strategies and systems to support, develop, actualize, and sustain positive behavior. Participants will examine sensory development and regulation, connections to behavior, stress, and learn de-escalation techniques.

This course explores quality of life considerations, measures, and supports for autistic students/persons. Educators will learn techniques to support autistic students moving from school to adult life, including developing self-advocacy skills, educator advocacy/allyship, family advocacy, person-centered planning, and transition plans. Ethical issues and philosophical challenges relating to sociocultural context, theories, and positioning, anti-oppressive education, and involvement/lack of involvement of self-advocates' perspectives will be explored in the development of pathways to higher education, career and technical education, employment, and independent living.