Glowing Lightbulb Project BRITE

Project BRITE (Bringing Research and Intervention to Trauma-Informed Education) is a federally funded program from the Office of Special Education Programs (Grant #H325K210017) that provides interdisciplinary coursework and supervised experiences to prepare special education teachers with expertise in trauma-informed services for students with disabilities.  Successful completion of the program will result in recommendation for Pennsylvania Special Education Licensure Level 1.  The 2-year resident program is only offered at the University Park Campus.

Project BRITE scholars will receive full tuition for the duration of the 2-year program. Please contact Dr. Paul J. Riccomini, Program Director, for assistance with the Project BRITE eligibility and application process. Full tuition support is available for up to 10 scholars starting in Fall of 2022. 

The Project BRITE program is an innovative and interdisciplinary model focused on trauma-informed evidence-based practices for students with disabilities combined with the academic and practical experiences supports students in learning to meet the intensive needs of all learners through the development of expertise in:

  • trauma-informed practices,
  • development, implementation, and evaluation of trauma-informed services,
  • problem-solving skills to address ill-defined nature of trauma,
  • strategies to increase quality in student-teacher relationship,
  • leadership skills for school team communication and collaboration,
  • core principles of trauma-informed practices such as:
  • identification of trauma-informed socioemotional and academic goals and strategies for students,
  • identification of trauma-informed instructional goals and strategies for educators

Download a flyer with additional information here.

The Project BRITE Program

Students who have completed (or who are currently enrolled and will complete) in an undergraduate program in any area have the opportunity to complete the M.Ed. in Special Education (and earn special education teacher certification in Pennsylvania) through the Project BRITE Program at the University Park campus.

M.Ed. students must accumulate a specified number of credits, complete a sequence of practicum courses, and write a master's paper. Students will follow this course sequence:

Fall Semester #1 

  • SPLED 525
  • SPLED 504
  • SPLED 554
  • SPLED 512
  • SPLED 495e-School Practicum

Spring Semester #2

  • SPLED 411
  • SPLED 573
  • RHS 433
  • EDPSY 521
  • CNED 530

Summer Session

  • Summer Institute on Trauma-Informed Pedagogy 
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis Conference
  • CNED 523 of CNED 524

Fall Semester #3 

  • SPLED 418
  • SPLED 409A
  • SPLED 409B
  • SPLED 409C
  • SPLED 597

Spring Semester #4 

  • SPLED 521
  • EDPSY 408
  • SPLED 595-Student Teaching

Graduate in May of 4th Semester

Completion of the 2-YEAR Project BRITE program will result in


1.     a Masters degree in Special Education, and

2.     recommendation for PA special education teacher certification


Individuals interested in this program should complete or will complete their undergraduate program prior to the start of Project BRITE fall Semester. You are eligible to apply if you will graduate by the start of the Fall semester.


Please contact Dr. Paul Riccomini of your intent to apply for Project BRITE. Dr. Riccomini will then assist you in your application process to the SPLED M.Ed. program. Once the candidate is accepted into the SPLED M.Ed. program, eligibility for Project BRITE funding will be determined by Dr. Riccomini. Funding is limited, so please complete the application to the SPLED M.Ed. program as soon as possible and notify Dr. Riccomini of your interest in Project BRITE. 

Project BRITE is a federally funded program and requires all scholars who receive support to work in education settings providing services to students with disabilities for 2 years for every year funded. For example, the service obligation for 2 years of Project BRITE funding equates to 4 years of service. If the service obligation is not met, Scholars are responsible for repaying the full amount of support. The PSU Special Education program has a 100% job placement for its graduates.

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.


All applicants are expected to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from prior coursework.

The following requirements for citizenship for a Project Scholar to be eligible for funding are:

  • Is a citizen or national of the United States.

  • Is a permanent resident of

    • Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; or o  

    • The Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau during the period in which these entities are eligible to receive an award under the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities program; or

  • Provides evidence for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the individual is

    •   A lawful permanent resident of the United States; or (ii) In the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident;

(NOTE: The citizen requirement above is Specific to the OSEP funding requirements)

The process of applying for graduate admission at Penn State requires the following application materials, all of which are submitted via The Graduate School's online application.


  • Graduate Application and application fee – Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your online application.


  • Résumé or curriculum vitae


  • Personal statement – A one to two page statement addressing your purpose and objectives in enrolling in a graduate program in Special Education.


  • Transcripts – A copy of an official transcript from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. Upon admission and your acceptance of admission, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.


  • Three references – Reference forms will be uploaded directly to the Graduate School application by the reference writer who will receive an email from the Graduate School after the applicant enters reference contact information into the application.


  • Proof of English Proficiency – The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with some exceptions. For detailed information please visit the Graduate School's Requirements for Graduate Admissions page. Applicants should request that TOEFL scores be sent to Penn State electronically. Applicants should request that IELTS scores be mailed directly to Penn State's Graduate School at the following address:


  • The Pennsylvania State University
    Graduate Enrollment Services
    114 Kern Building
    University Park, PA 16802


  • GRE test scores are NOT required for M.Ed. applicants.

Apply Now

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose “DEGREE ADMISSION” as your enrollment type.
  • Choose "UNIVERSITY PARK" as your campus.
  • Choose “SPECIAL EDUCATION” as your major.
  • Choose “M ED” as your degree.

Your degree application, including receipt of all application materials, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete:


July 31 for Fall semester admission