Moderate/ Severe

Learn about the Moderate/ Severe specialization in the Department of Special Education.

Contact: Program Coordinator - Dr. Bonnie Kraemer

Students who specialize in moderate/ severe special education may pursue:

  • Preliminary Credential (2- or 4-semester programs available)
  • Clear Education Specialist Credential (Induction Program)
  • Master's Degree

We are pleased that you are interested in the Department of Special Education at San Diego State University. You are considering an important field at an exciting time, and there are many opportunities for special educators in our community and throughout the nation.

Preliminary Credential

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing issues a two-level special education teaching credential. The levels are ‘preliminary’ and ‘clear’. A Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential is the first document issued after an individual has met basic credential requirements. The Clear credential is issued once all credential requirements have been completed including a commission-approved Teacher Induction Program.


The Education Specialist Instruction Credential authorizes the holder to conduct Educational Assessments related to student’s access to the academic core curriculum and progress towards meeting instructional academic goals, provide instruction, and Special Education Support to individuals in the area of specialization listed on the credential in the following settings:

  • Resource rooms or services
  • Special education settings
  • General education settings
  • Special schools
  • Home/hospital settings
  • State hospitals
  • Development centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Non-public, non-sectarian schools and agencies
  • Alternative and non-traditional instructional public school settings other than classroom

Moderate/Severe Disabilities (M/S)

The moderate/severe specialization includes autism; deaf-blindness; moderate to severe intellectual disabilities; multiple disabilities; serious emotional disturbance; and authorizes service in grades K–12 and in classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.

Program Options

There are 2 options in the moderate/ severe program: - Starting Fall 2021

Apply online and allow yourself adequate time to gather the information and complete the application. There are a number of details that require your attention, and in some cases you may have to request information from others. If you have questions or need clarifications after you have reviewed all of the material, you may contact the Department office for assistance. If you have not attended a Group Advising Session, please plan to attend. All students are also required to complete a Practicum Handbook 2019-2020 (PDF) Practicum Handbook 2020-2021 (PDF) during the course of their studies.

For more information on deadlines and how to apply, please visit Preliminary Moderate/ Severe Credential Admissions

Clear Education Specialist Credential (Induction Program)

Admission Requirement:  Completion of Preliminary Education Specialist Credential in Special Education and must be employed as a Special Education educator (not subbing, but teacher of record).

Include the development of the Individualized Induction Plan (IIP) and non-university experiences. The District Support Provider and the University Advisor will work in partnership to support the Clear Education Specialist Credential Candidate in the context of field work in the schools and coursework at the university.

Master's Degree

Admission requirements for the M.A include the prerequisite course SPED 527 and at least a 3.0 GPA from credential and undergraduate studies. 

For more information on deadlines and how to apply, please visit the Moderate/Severe Master's Admissions page.   

Opportunity for Funding for Preliminary Moderate/Severe Credential

Residency Flyer 

For more information contact Dr. Bonnie Kraemer