UT Tyler School of Education

Master of Education in Special Education with Two Specialty Tracks - Online:

Educational Diagnostician Certification (For Texas Educators Only) OR

Behavior Specialist with UT Tyler Certification

The Master's Degree in Special Education fulfills the educational qualifications necessary to meet the course requirements to become an Educational Diagnostician certified by the Texas State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC).

In addition, all courses for both tracks have been aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children Advanced Special Education Diagnostician Specialist Standards.

Master of Education in Special Education

  • Complete coursework online
  • Graduate in 24 months
  • M.Ed.= 36 hour program
  • Total in-state program tuition and fees costs approximately $10,019.88 based on the 2023-2024 tuition and fees schedule
  • Based on academic year 2023-2024 TExES scores, TExES passing rates among the best in Texas with 100% pass rate putting our graduates among the best prepared in Texas.
  • Currently employed full-time, K-12 teachers are eligible for up to $200 off the first graduate semester by applying for the Teachers in Excellence Scholarship.  Awards are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis.


We will begin accepting applications for the May 2025 cohort beginning September 1, 2024.  Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2025. All application materials, including GRE scores if you do not meet the GRE waiver, must be received no later than March 15, 2025 and all admission interviews must be completed no later than March 31, 2025 to be considered for the May 2025 cohort.

Applications submitted after March 1, 2025 or incomplete applications after March 15, will not be considered for the 2025 cohort and you will need to reapply to be considered for the 2026 cohort.  Application fees are non-refundable.

All completed applications will be reviewed monthly through March 2025.

Application Submission Process:


  • Start by applying through our online application.  Once your application has been accepted and processed, you will receive your student ID through email.


  • After you have received your student ID, submit a completed reference request form. Provide the name and email address for three people you would like to complete a reference form for you.  Please provide professional references including your current principal if you are employed, or your former principal if you are not employed.
  • After you have received your student ID, complete the Department Information Sheet and Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose prompt is as follows: 
    • Implementing inclusion in schools is not without its critics and proponents. Please share your thoughts on inclusive settings in public schools. In the statement, include a minimum of two scholarly sources to support your position (not to exceed  approximately 1 typewritten page). 
  • Send all of the following directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at the address below: 
    • All OFFICIAL academic transcripts reflecting the reception of a bachelor's degree and any other relevant undergraduate and graduate coursework.
    • GRE scores obtained in the past five years.  The GRE scores will be waived if your last 60 hours GPA is 3.25 or higher or if you have a previous master's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
    • Copy of your Texas teacher certification
    • Copy of your complete teacher service record, obtained from each of the district's Human Resources office.

The Office of Graduate Admissions, HPR 248
The University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Blvd
Tyler Texas 75799

You may also email documents to gradadmissions@uttyler.edu


  • This program requires an admission interview.  Within a week of receipt of all admission documents, you will receive an email providing you a link to our online scheduling system.  Once you receive this email, you may schedule a Zoom admission interview.  You must wait to receive this email to schedule the admission interview.

In accordance with Texas Administrative Code, all applicants must be fully admitted prior to taking any coursework in the area in which they are seeking certification. Therefore, no provisional admission is allowed.

Criminal History Acknowledgement:

As required by Texas HB1508, applicants need to be aware of the following.

  1. In order to receive an educational diagnostician certification, you must pass a criminal history background check.
  2. If you have been convicted of an offense that is considered not appropriate for an educational diagnostician, you could be ineligible to earn this certification from the state of Texas.
  3. You have a right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the Texas Education Agency.  The Texas Education Agency currently charges a $50 fee for this criminal history evaluation.

For more information, see Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation.

Requirements for Admission:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • Texas Teacher Certification (any field)
  • Have an appropriate GPA in degree plan as set by Texas Administrative Code and other administrative units.
  • Admission is determined based on undergraduate GPA and, if necessary, satisfactory scores on the GRE in combination with the undergraduate GPA, successful admission interview, letters of recommendation, successful completion of the Statement of Purpose, and the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to his or her chosen field of study.
  • The applicant must either have a GPA of 3.25 or higher on the last 60 hours or earn at least 5 points from the following table:


Points Awarded

GRE Verbal

Points Awarded

GRE Quantitative

Points Awarded



151 +


141 +














Additional Information

*Note: Students admitted to the program must pay a $250 admission fee to the School of Education Educator Preparation Program. This fee helps cover practicum supervision expenses. This fee is used to supplement program resources (i.e. needed assessment materials) and practicum supervision expenses.

Transfer of Credit/Experience:

In compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and in accordance with the policies of the UT Tyler Graduate School, transfer of graduate credit from an accredited institution is limited to nine (9) hours for the master’s degree. All transfer credit must have been completed with a grade of “B” or better, completed within the last seven years, and approved by the degree-granting program. Transfer credits should be evaluated and approved during the first semester. The course being transferred into a degree program should be a direct equivalent to the course within the degree program. Students who have extended work experiences that cover the content of a course should work with their advisor and Director of the School to determine if those work experiences cover course content. Students should work with their advisor to have courses evaluated for transfer.


For Educational Diagnostician Program Information:

Dr. Jessica Rueter
Email:  jrueter@uttyler.edu (Preferred method of contact)
Phone:  903.565.5544

For Behavior Specialist Program Information:

Dr. Staci Zolkoski
Email:  szolkoski@uttyler.edu (Preferred method of contact)
Phone:  903.565.5612

For Admission Information:

Email:  SOEgraduate@uttyler.edu (Preferred method of contact)
Phone:  903.566.7361

For complaints about this certification educator preparation program, please follow the policy outlined in the Certification Program's Complaint Policy.