University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas logo
​Earn a Masterís in Ethical Special Education Leadership

Earn a Masterís in Special Education Leadership

This is a unique Master’s program for the preparation of special education leaders. We call it the Preparation of Ethical Special Education Leaders (PESEL) program.

A 2+ Minute Overview of the program:

What makes PESEL unique?

PESEL is a 36 credit hour/two year program that results in a Master Degree and can lead to Principal Certification. Coursework includes five special education courses focused on ethical leadership issues and five educational leadership courses focused on ethical special education issues. A two semester practicum as well as two research seminars is required in the program too.

Why the emphasis on ethics?

Educators are pulled and pushed in many directions when it comes to special education.  These pulls and pushes include legal requirements, meeting state testing goals, and responding to parent demands.  How can educators best navigate these conflicting forces to do what is best for the student with special needs?

The answer lies in being able to work through these ethical dilemmas created by these conflicting forces.  Thus, ethical leadership is the underlying focus of the PESEL Master of Education Program. Because UST is a Catholic University grounded in the Social Justice Teachings of the Catholic Church, ethic is a UST strong suit.

What is ethical special education leadership?

The UST School of Education and Human Services hosted a distinguished lecture on this topic in the spring, 2018 semester.  If interested, the following links will take you to the recordings of this event.

The Ethics of Special Education Leadership: Doing What is Right for the Student

Why choose this program?

  • You can pursue your degree online or in person at UST or at a satellite location close to home. You choose!
  • PESEL is geared to developing ethical leaders at all levels of special education—the classroom/case manager level, department chairperson/campus level, and at the district/regional level.
  • UST is a small university with small in person class sizes and online group sizes.  This will give you a chance to develop close relationships with your professors and cohort classmates.
  • Because the PESEL program focuses on developing and refining your ability to successfully work through ethical special education dilemmas to do what is best for the student, you will be very marketable when exiting the program. 
  • Lastly, as previously indicated, you have the option of pursuing Principal Certification within the scope of the program. 

Who can participate in the program?

Special education teachers, other teachers, diagnosticians, speech therapists, and other special education support staff members are prime candidates for the program. Individuals already in leadership positions, such as Department Chairs, are encouraged to apply.

Admissions Requirements

Admission decisions are based on a combination of your undergraduate GPA and an essay. GRE/MAT scores may be required if the undergraduate GPA is between 2. 75 and 2.99.

Application Checklist

All materials listed should be submitted to the Office of Admissions.

Application form
  • $35 Application fee 
  • Official Transcripts 
  • Essay of 250 - 300 words describing interest in the program and how the program contributes to your career goals.
International Applicants:
  • Transcript evaluation from an approved evaluation service 
  • Proficiency exam: TOEFL (Reading 22, Listening 22, Speaking 26, Writing 24), 7.0 IELTS, Level 112 ELS or 53 PTE Academic
Application Deadlines
  • Spring - December 15
  • Summer - April 15
  • Fall -July 15 
Program Information

To attend an information ession or learn more about 
the Master of Education in Ethical Special Education Leadership, contact:

Dr. Randy Soffer
Director, Special Education Leadership 
sofferr@stthom.edu
713-942-5922

Admissions Questions
Office of Admissions
713-942-5998