Mar 31, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Learning Disabilities [M.A.]

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Program Type

Students accepted into the graduate program in learning disabilities may elect a teaching endorsement in learning disabilities or, if a specified previous special education endorsement has been earned, a dual endorsement in learning disabilities and cognitive impairment or emotional impairment and a master of arts degree. The learning disability endorsement is K-12.


Eastern Michigan University’s advanced professional education programs support inquiry, advocacy, and leadership education for a diverse and democratic society. In addition, the masters-level programs in the Department of Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders produce professionals with the comprehensive knowledge, skills, and attitudes to deliver a continuum of habilitative/rehabilitative services to persons with special needs, and their families, within a diverse society.

Program Outcomes

Exit criteria include the demonstration of acceptable levels of performance in the following areas:

  • Ability to carry out suitable procedures for assessment of listening, thinking, talking, reading, spelling, writing, mathematics, or other skill deficiencies
  • Ability to specify, in behavioral terms, the instructional objectives, that are appropriate to the skill needs and entry-level characteristics of, an individual student
  • Ability to set up and maintain conditions and procedures of instruction suitable to the learning goals set for the individual student
  • Ability to assess instructional outcomes in terms of the student’s behavior change and use this data in the formulation of an on-going instructional plan adjusted to changed student conditions
  • Ability to use appropriate techniques with the student to help develop the self-management skills required for constructive social participation and independent learning
  • Ability to function as a member of interdisciplinary teams and maintain effective liaison with parents and others working with the student

Acceptable levels will be determined by course grades, GPA, competency examination, practicum evaluations, and performance in research colloquium, including production at the end of practicum of a comprehensive written document which demonstrates the understanding, synthesis of knowledge and the practical applications of diagnostic-prescriptive planning for K-12 students with disabilities. This product is considered a culminating activity for the degree program.

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in the Summer, Fall, or Winter. See Application Deadlines.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants who do not meet minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Applicants must also meet the following program requirements. Requirements may be more stringent than the minimum graduate school requirements.

  • Possess a valid Michigan teacher certification with a special education endorsement. Applicants who have earned a teaching certificate, but no special education endorsement, are required to complete additional deficiency and/or elective courses, as determined by their advisor.
  • Submit two references (name and contact information).
  • Submit a personal statement of purpose describing why you would like to pursue graduate studies in learning disabilities and how you hope to benefit from these studies.
  • Have a successful personal interview, if requested, with an assigned advisor. Not required.


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application.

Domestic Applicants Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript from all previously attended institutions.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.

Department Information

Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders 128 Porter, 734.487.3300

David Winters, PhD, Department Head

Jennifer Desiderio, EdS, Graduate Coordinator

Advisor Information

Rebecca Louick, PhD, 128 Porter, 734.487.3300

Degree Requirements: 30 hours

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours; however, exact coursework requirements will be determined based on the student’s previous coursework and experience.

Learning Disability Core: 6 hours

Students who previously earned credit in SPLI 468 must substitute SPLI 568 with another elective course. Students should see their advisor for course options. The graduate advisor must submit a substitution request to Records & Registration.

Restricted Electives: 2 hours

Students must complete a minimum two credit hours of elective or deficiency coursework, at the 500-level or above. Course(s) must be approved by the assigned advisor.

Dual Endorsement (Optional)

Students pursuing this degree program are eligible for an additional endorsement in either Cognitive Impairment or Emotional Impairment.

Required coursework for a dual endorsement consists of the 30 credit hour minimum required for the MA in Learning Disabilities and an additional 15 (EI) or 19 (CI) credit hours. Total hours required for the additional endorsement will vary, additional deficiency courses may be needed or in rare cases, students end up with less than 15 (EI) or 19 (CI) hours as a result of previous coursework completed (as determined by their advisor). To earn both endorsements a student must complete their program in its entirety.

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Program Type