Special Education


Available Courses of Study

In August 1996, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) adopted new standards for special education credentials. The new model for professional preparation calls for revisions to the structure of Special Education Specialist Instruction Credentials and new program standards for all special education specialist credentials. The three major policy changes implemented in the new credential structure and program standards are: (1) elimination of a general education teaching credential as a prerequisite to receiving a special education credential; (2) elimination of the current categorical credentials in Learning Handicapped and Severely Handicapped; and (3) creation of a two-level credential structure in Mild/Moderate Disabilities and Moderate/Severe Disabilities: Preliminary Level I Education Specialist Credential and Professional Level II Education Specialist Credential. Level I programs are based on a core curriculum that emphasizes competencies for all prospective special educators. Level II programs focus on the induction and mentoring of beginning teachers.

California State University, Stanislaus offers the Preliminary Level I and Professional Level II Education Specialist Credential in Mild/Moderate Disabilities and Moderate/Severe Disabilities. At the undergraduate level, students may select a major in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Exceptional Children & Youth or minor in Exceptional Children & Youth.


The specific coursework and applied experiences in the undergraduate and credential programs are based upon research on the most effective ways to promote the academic, social, and emotional growth of exceptional pupils. This literature, known as "teacher effectiveness" research, forms the keystone of our programs and much of the coursework centers around teaching about the variables that affect student performance. More specifically, the focus is on understanding and applying strategies and techniques for promoting student achievement. In addition, a critical characteristic of the credential program is its emphasis on applied experiences. Students work closely with University supervisors during practica and fieldwork courses to ensure mastery at all levels.

Faculty Information

The faculty advisors in the area of Special Education are Drs. Granger Dinwiddie, Karen Sniezek, and Cathy Watkins. They can be reached at the Department of Advanced Studies in Education, Demergasso-Bava Hall, Room 348, (209) 667-3364.


The University does not require students to meet with advisors prior to registration each semester. However, undergraduates in the concentration, Exceptional Children & Youth, and candidates in the Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe Disabilities Credential Programs are encouraged to do so. Frequent contact with your advisor will alert you to scheduling changes and ensure that the appropriate coursework is taken.