A master’s degree (MEd) in special education 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.
Upon graduation, students seeking initial certification must apply through the Maine Department of Education’s (or their state’s DOE) transcript review process to obtain certification.
The MEd is a 36 credit hour program that can be completed online. Students can choose one of four concentrations or do an individually designed program in consultation with a faculty advisor. The master’s concentrations are:
- 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.
- 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 High and Low Incidence: 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.
*Those applicants who are seeking teacher certification in states that require the Praxis CORE will need to provide Praxis examination results. Applicants that are already professionally certified teachers do not need to provide Praxis exam results.
An Educational Specialist (EdS) degree is also offered that goes beyond the master’s level and can serve as a good introduction to graduate research in the field of special education. Those seeking an Ed.S. will complete an individually designed program of study.
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.
Degrees offered: EdS, MEd
Program Format: Online
Application deadline: Rolling with recommended dates: August 15 (Fall), December 15 (Spring), April 15 (Summer)
Test Required: Praxis Core for non-certified teachers (if the state requires)
Contact: Sarah Howorth
Contact Email: email@example.com
Program Website: Special Education
Accelerated Program Information for UMaine Undergraduates
Major Pathways: Education Majors
Accelerated Program Deadline:
When a student applies for teacher candidacy, typically during their second year in the bachelor's program.