Special Education - specialization in intellectual disability


Master's degree in Special Education with specialization in intellectual disability 

"Science with a soul"

Head of Program: Prof. Batya Hefziba Lifshitz

Email: hefziba.lifshitz@biu.ac.il

The "compensatory age" theory (Lifshitz –Vahav, 2015) argues that developmental delay in the early years of the mentally handicapped has compensation in later years and intelligence continues to develop and progress even in adulthood. Accordingly, graduates with intellectual disabilities can acquire previously un-acquired skills and competencies - including academic studies.

According to the new special education law, it is within each parents' rights to choose the school in which their child studies. Thus, special needs populations such as students with developmental and intellectual disabilities will attend regular school systems.

"[Countries] shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to the development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential"  (The UN Convention on Human Rights, 2006)

The Master's degree program in Special Education with specialization in intellectual disability is intended to change the attitudes of professionals (teachers/kindergarten teachers /paramedical professionals/social workers and others) toward the abilities inherent in students and graduates with intellectual disabilities and those with borderline intellectual disabilities.

The program equips them with theoretical and empirical information about the capabilities of those with intellectual disabilities in order to help them develop their cognitive skills in accordance with the principles of the UN Convention.

Degree Objectives: Acquisition of innovative theories in the field of education, genetics and neuroscience relevant to the field of intellectual disability. Imparting knowledge in the areas of language and thinking of people with intellectual disabilities, diagnosing reading difficulties and developing intervention programs, mental disorders and more.

Program Curriculum:

  • Chronological age, cognition and leisure - Compensation resources in the population with intellectual disabilities and borderline level
  • Psychological diagnoses and detection of academic difficulties among children and adults with intellectual disabilities and borderline level
  • Intellectual disability - an adaptive model for society, family, and community
  • Etiologies - Innovations in the genetic, behavioral, and cognitive fields
  • New: Mental Disorders - Characteristics and intervention methods

Practicum - within the walls of the university:

  • "Sefer - Troni" - Guiding children with normal development on how to mediate a story for children with intellectual disabilities
  • "Otzmot" project - a 3-stage academic integration for graduates with intellectual developmental disabilities

Framework of studies

Our program is built for the following professionals: Teachers, educational counselors, preschool teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, and graduates of a bachelor's degree of all programs in the humanities and social sciences. Prior experience with special education is not a requirement.

For students accepted for the 2020-2021 academic year, the program is taught over 2 years (4 semesters). Studies during the first year are on Thursdays and the second year on Sundays.

There may be changes in the curriculum and in study days for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Study Tracks

Track A – Master's degree with thesis (18 course credits)*
Track B – Master's degree without a thesis (22 course credits)

*Students studying in track A have the possibility of obtaining a research grant of 7,000 NIS from the "Keren Fund" according to the criteria appearing on the fund's website. Details can be found at Prof. Lifshitz.

Opening the program depends on the number of registrants.

Admission requirements

  • Applicants must be bachelor's degree graduates in special education or similar fields (e.g. psychology, brain science, behavioral sciences, etc.) with an average grade of 85 or above from an accredited university or college
  • Experience preferred in education or special education
  • Provide recommendations- an academic recommendation and a letter of recommendation from an employer
  • Pass a personal interview

Application Process

  1. Registration online on the Bar-Ilan University website
  2. Two recommendations must be sent – a letter of recommendation from an employer and an academic recommendation (students who completed their degree requirements beyond the two year period can instead submit two letters of recommendation letters from an employer).
    1. Academic recommendation form (Hebrew) - Recommendations from a lecturer in an academic course (preferably a seminar course)
    2. Letter of recommendation from an employer (Hebrew) - Recommendation from a professional who knows the candidate from field experience.

The recommendations must arrive at the Faculty of Education, the secretariat for M.A. studies directly from the person providing the recommendation and not from the applicant. (Applicants must note their personal details on the back of the recommendation forms which the recommenders fill out).

Applications can be sent by e-mail: toar2.edu@biu.ac.il or by post to: Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002, Faculty of Education, M.A. studies

After registering, the following documents must be sent to the M.A. Committee office:

  • Graduation certificate – official and original (should include the stamp of the accredited university or establishment, signature, and establishment logo)
  • An updated curriculum vita (CV)
  • Photograph of identity card
  • A passport picture

An invitation to an interview is dependent on the completion of registration and confirmation of receiving the abovementioned forms by the university.  Applicants who are eligible will be invited to an interview. The above mentioned are the minimum requirements and do not guarantee acceptance

For more information, please refer to the program secretariat: meytal.goldberger@biu.ac.il | Tel: +972.3.531-8456

Telephone reception hours Sunday through Thursday: 10: 30-11: 30 and 13: 30-14: 30
Reception hours on Sunday, Wednesday between the hours of 11: 30-14: 00 and on Mondays, Thursdays between 8:30 and 10:30. On Tuesdays, there is no reception.

Last Updated Date : 18/01/2023