Jul 22, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin 
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Education (Elementary Education)

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Specialist Programs

The Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education offers the Specialist in Education degree with a education: elementary education emphasis or special education emphasis.

Entrance into a particular specialist’s degree program presupposes that the student has completed, or is willing to complete, the coursework required for that program at the master’s degree level, and holds or will obtain a Class AA Mississippi license or equivalent.

All specialist’s degree programs require a minimum of thirty-three (33) graduate semester hours beyond the master’s degree.

The specialist’s degree program requires admission to a particular program; submission of an approved program of studies; completion of all required coursework; successful completion of the specialist’s comprehensive examination; or completion and defense of an approved thesis or field problem. Students must have a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

Admission Requirements

Admission to specialist’s programs offered in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education is selective. To be considered for regular admission to a specialist’s degree program, an applicant must have

  1. an academic record reflecting a superior grade point average on previous graduate work;
  2. results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) a national standardized achievement/aptitude test predictive of the ability to complete a specialist’s program successfully; (All sections)
  3. three letters of recommendation sent to the department from professionals in the field of education who are qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study;
  4. a letter of intent (describe reasons for pursuing a specialist’s degree); also serves as a writing sample;
  5. a professional resume; and
  6. a copy of educator license.

Admission Deadlines

The department reviews qualified applicants for graduate work throughout the academic year. Applications adhering to these dates will receive notification on the specified date as mentioned.

  Semester Application Deadline Notification Date

  Fall First Monday in April First Monday in May
  Spring First Monday in September First Monday in October
  Summer First Monday in March First Monday in April

Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Admission to specialist’s programs offered in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education is contingent on the approval of the Departmental Graduate Committee, department chair, and the dean of the college. An applicant who fails to meet the above criteria for regular admission may be considered for conditional admission on an individual basis. Additional requirements may be specified based on the applicant’s deficiencies.

Students accepted on a conditional basis MUST obtain a 3.40 GPA or better on their first nine (9) hours of specified coursework 600 level or higher on all coursework taken while completing this 9-hour requirement. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the department chair or graduate coordinator when conditional status is to be removed.

Teaching Experience Requirement

No student will be eligible to receive a specialist’s or doctoral degree until he or she has completed at least three years of teaching experience at a grade or in the area of disability appropriate for the degree.

Plan of Study. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study form to the Graduate School by the end of the first semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study forms are available at www.usm.edu/graduateschool/planofstudy.php - click on the “Plans of Study” link.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

All faculty holding regular or associate graduate faculty status, must complete RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments. All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduateschool. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy or training information.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the requirements specified in the front section of this Bulletin for continuous enrollment.


The specialist’s program with an emphasis in elementary education consists of a minimum of thirty-three (33) semester hours beyond the master’s degree. Substitutions for required courses must be approved in advance and in writing by the graduate coordinator or the department chair. Transfer credit must have prior approval by the graduate coordinator or department chair. In addition to the above requirements, the individual must plan, conduct, and report the results of a research-based field problem. The comprehensive examination requirement for this degree will be met by presenting the results of the study to a committee of no fewer than three (3) faculty members in the department. A chair will be appointed to direct the research by the graduate coordinator and the department chair.

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