Special Education (M.Ed., Ed.S.)
A master’s degree (M.Ed.) in special education from the University of Maine provides graduates with an understanding of how to apply current evidence-based practices in PreK-12 classrooms for children with special needs. Understanding a child’s needs is essential to ensure that he or she receives the proper attention, assistance and intervention to succeed in school. Our graduates apply best practices to address the needs of students in inclusive, general-education learning environments. We also offer an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree that goes beyond the master’s level and can serve as a good introduction to graduate research in the field of special education.
Careers in special education
To be successful in the special education programs, graduate students must have access to children with disabilities or be working as special education teachers to fulfill program requirements. A graduate degree in special education can lead to opportunities for career advancement, including positions as lead teachers, coaches and special education directors.
Our graduate program in special education at the University of Maine is delivered entirely online to meet the busy schedule of working educators. We offer a mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes. All of our M.Ed. degrees in special education require at least 36 credit hours. Students can choose one of four concentrations or do an individually designed program in consultation with a faculty advisor. Those seeking an Ed.S. will complete an individually designed program of study. The master’s concentrations are (Click the links for more information on our entirely online M.Ed. programs):
- Early Intervention — Early Childhood Special Education: Leads to state certification as a Teacher of Children with Disabilities (birth to age five). This program is designed to prepare students in the fundamentals of professional practice in early intervention for inclusive environments, provide students with advanced content in a variety of research areas (e.g., early childhood, early childhood special education, family relationships, collaborative consultation), and support students in practicum experiences with high needs children birth to age five and their families. To ensure program success, potential students should be currently working or volunteering with young children, birth to age five, and their families. We currently have funding available through a 5-year federal grant to provide support to 40-45 students in the EI/ECSE concentration. For more information, see our CONTAACT-ME website.
- High incidence: Leads to state certification as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities (K-8 or 7-12). The program prepares master’s level special educators to serve students in the areas of reading, math, writing and challenging behavior. All courses require fieldwork, so students must be working or volunteering in K-12 schools.
- Low incidence: Leads to state certification as a Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (K-8 or 7-12). This program prepares master’s level special educators to serve students with autism spectrum disorder, significant intellectual disabilities, and students with multiple disabilities. All courses require fieldwork, so students must be working or volunteering in K-12 schools.
- Dual certification: Leads to state certification for both Teacher of Students with Disabilities (K-8 or 7-12) and Educational Specialist for Students with Severe Disabilities. The program is designed for candidates who have an interest in flexible teaching environments while supporting all students with disabilities in various educational settings. All courses require fieldwork, so students must be working or volunteering in K-12 schools.
- Individualized program: A custom-designed program created by you in consultation with a faculty advisor to meet your specific needs and goals. This program does not lead to certification. However, it does give educators the tools to implement effective practices to address the needs of students in inclusive, general-education learning environments as well as in special education settings. By understanding how to apply best practices, you can ensure students with disabilities receive the proper attention, assistance, and intervention to succeed in school.
Professional portfolio and teacher certification
All students must complete a professional portfolio that demonstrates their competencies and achievements in the program. Elements of the portfolio are completed in each of the core courses.
Teacher certification is granted by the Maine Department of Education, not by the University of Maine. Students who successfully complete all the requirements of our NCATE-approved, professional preparation programs — including documentation of passing scores on Praxis II in Special Education — will be eligible for certification. Specific information regarding certification is available from the Maine Department of Education, Certification Services, State House Station 23, Augusta, Maine 04333.
Tuition and fees
For current information about tuition and fees, please visit the Bursar’s office.
Submit your online application through University of Maine Graduate School website. Requirements include:
- Official transcripts showing you have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university with a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
- A “B” or better in SED 302, SED 500, or equivalent course, if you are applying for the High Incidence, Low Incidence, Dual Certification or Individualized concentrations. If you are applying for the Early Intervention concentration, a “B” or better in CHF 450: Early Childhood Special Education or equivalent course is required. Applicants can still be accepted as long as they complete the prerequisite coursework prior to enrolling in M.Ed. courses.
- Current experience working or volunteering with students with disabilities in a K-12 classroom. Applicants without prior experience may be admitted but may be required to complete additional credit hours of field experience concurrent with course work
- A 400- to 500-word essay describing your motivation for obtaining an M.Ed. in special education in one of the concentrations listed above that demonstrates your writing skills and capacity for reflection.
- Evidence of fingerprinting and a completed background check.
- Proof of teaching certification if you currently hold a teaching license. Applicants who are seeking teacher certification in states that require the Praxis CORE will need to provide Praxis results. Applicants who are already professionally certified teachers do not need to provide Praxis exam results.
- CV or résumé.
Applicants may also be invited for a personal interview with the Special Education faculty.
Special education programs have rolling admissions, so you can apply and be accepted into the program at any time. However, the following dates are recommended:
- Fall semester (starts in September): submit by August 15
- Spring semester (starts in January): submit by Dec. 15
- Summer semester (starts in May): submit by April 15th
After these dates, your application will be considered for the next semester.
Download our most recent special education program flier:
For more information, see our tentative 4-year course schedule of Special Education classes.
National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) statement
This program will prepare students to be eligible for licensure within the State of Maine. Visit the UMS State Authorization & Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, in addition to the contact information needed to inquire further into the licensure requirements associated with this program.
Special education faculty
Sarah Howorth, Assistant Professor of Special Education, Program Coordinator
Courtney Angelosante, PBIS Initiative Coordinator
James Artesani, Associate Professor of Special Education and Associate Dean of Graduate Education, Research, and Outreach
Melissa J. Cuba, Assistant Professor of Special Education
Sara Flanagan, Assistant Professor of Special Education
Diane Jackson, Principal Lecturer of Special Education
Joshua Taylor, Assistant Professor of Special Education
Janet Spector, Professor Emerita of Special Education
Special Education graduate certificates
Students who are not ready for a full-time master’s program may be interested in starting with a graduate certificate program. Earn a graduate certificate and credits toward your master’s degree at the same time.
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- High Leverage Practices to Promote Inclusion
- Response to Intervention for Behavior
- Special Education Leadership: Assistant Special Education Director
Professional Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Plan information
The professional learning outcomes (PLOs) for our Master’s and Education Specialist degree programs in special education are adapted from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Preparation Standards, which describe the necessary skills and expertise for practicing special education teachers. The Council for Exceptional Children is the premiere professional organization for special education. To view the PLOs, click “download” below.
Click on one of the links below to access a program of study form for each of our four M.Ed. concentrations and our graduate certificates in Special Education.