Reaching All Students in General and Special Education

Inclusive learning provides all students with access to flexible learning choices and effective paths for achieving educational goals in spaces where they experience a sense of belonging. As special and general education teachers move toward creating more inclusive classrooms, the frameworks of Disability Studies in Education and Universal Design for Learning employ strategies to meet the expectations of IDEA and expand understanding of student ability. Collaboration and critical insight remain crucial while considering the role of the Common Core Standards in this context. This specialization is appropriate for K-12 special education and general education teachers.

Engage all learners in your classroom as you challenge the status quo, remove curriculum barriers, present educational goals in interesting ways and serve all students equitably

Course of Study

Earn this Masters of Education specializing in Inclusive Learning: Special Education and Universal Design by completing 10 courses (3-units each) for 30 units of coursework. Your program consists of five foundation courses including a capstone action research project as well as five diversified specialization courses (at a minimum across three of our different specializations). You may start in any semester with any of the courses offered. The Capstone Seminar is the final course in the program and builds on knowledge gained in the research and specialization courses. Earn your MEd online inclusive education masters today.

Program Course Curriculum

The Master of Education with UDL and Inclusive education masters specialization program spans over five different semesters which includes a mandatory orientation course. Each semester is fourteen weeks and is split into two different courses. The first course is seven weeks and the second course is seven weeks. Below is a sample outline of what the span of the Master of Education with UDL and Inclusive education masters specialization program may look like:


Course Units
Master of Education Orientation

This course introduces you to the University of San Diego and provides important information about the program. Throughout the orientation, you will learn to successfully navigate through the Blackboard learning environment and locate helpful resources. You will practice completing tasks in Blackboard as preparation for success in your online graduate courses. This orientation course will be available to you as a reference tool throughout the entirety of your program.


Semester 1

Course Units
Qualitative Methods in Educational Research

Applied exploration of qualitative research methodologies such as ethnography, grounded theory, case-study and cross-case comparisons, surveys, observations, document analyses, focus groups and interviews. Opportunity to learn and apply a variety of techniques to analyze data and interpret findings.

Teaching Students on the Autism Spectrum

Exploration of our evolving understanding of autism in the research literature, educational practice, and popular imagination. Examination and application of instructional strategies for supporting autistic students in communication, organization, and social interaction.


Semester 2

Course Units
Social Justice and Educational Equity

Analysis of the American educational system with a particular focus on issues of diversity, inequity, conflict and social justice within a school context. Historical case studies, contemporary policies and practices, and international comparisons compel consideration of the social construction of education.

Identifying and Responding To the Needs of Diverse Learners

Examination of variability of ability and experience among students. Investigation and application of assessment tools and instructional design strategies that provide differentiated support for the success of all students.


Semester 3

Course Units
Educational Research Methodology

Introduction to the major educational research methods and paradigms with an emphasis on reflective, practitioner-directed inquiry. The course encompasses quantitative methods, qualitative methods, mixed methods, and action research frameworks. Particular emphasis is placed on action research as a reflective and collaborate inquiry for improving educational practices.

Co-Teaching: Collaborating in an Inclusive Environment

Examination of research, policy, and practice of co-teaching and collaboration models that support general education and special education students in inclusive classrooms.


Semester 4

Course Units
Cognition & Learning

Explore key cognitive studies on human cognition and learning. You will critically discuss research and contemporary debates on cognitive processes, learning, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, developmental mechanism, cognitive styles, motivation, and the socio-cultural foundations of learning with an emphasis on the implications for educators and educational researchers.

Disability in Education Policy and Law

Investigation of the historical, philosophical, legal, political and sociological constructions of disability in education. Analysis of application of current law to classroom and school policies and practices.


Semester 5

Course Units
Capstone Pathways

For the concluding phase in the program, Masters candidates have the option of three culminating final projects: studies employing action research, studies employing other methodologies, or the curriculum research project.

Designing Learning Environments For All

Theoretical and practical exploration of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Investigation of brain research into recognition networks, strategic networks, and affective networks and consideration of how these networks can inform instructional design decisions.


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