Special Education

MS in Special Education - In-Service (certified educators)

The Master of Science in Special Education is designed for people teaching exceptional children, whether new to the profession or already having experience. The Special Education master's provides:

  • courses and internships for initial teacher certification in teaching students with mild to severe disabilities,
  • coursework in various specialty areas such as teaching students who are gifted and talented and students on the autism spectrum, and
  • preparation to collaborate effectively in school-wide, multi-tiered systems of support, e.g., Response to Intervention (RTI).

Current general education teachers, specialty area professionals such as occupational therapists, special education teachers, education technicians (Ed Techs), and people with a bachelor's degree seeking a new teaching career in special education are among those for whom the program is intended.

In-Service Concentration (certified educators)

This concentration is especially designed for educators who are interested in working with students who have disabilities and/or are gifted and talented. The flexibility of twenty-four elective credits makes this program unique, as students can take courses that are geared towards the special education environment in which they are working. Through this concentration, students can also complete the Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate or the Certificate of Graduate Study in Gifted and Talented Education. In addition, the courses that graduate students may select for their electives range from working with students with mild disabilities in a general education classroom to working with students in a life skills classroom who have severe disabilities to students who are gifted and talented.

Program Requirements: 33 credits

Core Courses (9 credits)
     EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
     Two of the following research courses:
         SED 697 Universal Design Implemented
         SED 699 Directed Study
         SPY 602 Clinical Research Methods

Electives (24 credits)

The elective courses allow students to tailor their master's program to their interests and the areas they feel they need further study in to become better teachers for students with exceptionalities. These courses will be discussed with the student's advisor and written in an agreement between the student and his/her advisor. Any course changes from this agreement will need to be approved, in writing, by the student's advisor.

At least fifteen of these credits need to be directly related to working with students with exceptionalities. All courses need to be graduate level. They can be taken from any graduate department at USM or through the Professional Development Center at USM with prior approval by the advisor.

Admission Requirements for the In-Service Concentration:

Minimum Requirements: Applicant must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program.

Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied. The applicant must also have attained teacher certification in any subject and in any state.

Application Deadline: Rolling with priority deadlines May 1 for fall matriculation and October 15 for spring matriculation

Candidates should submit all application materials to the Application Processing Center, University of Maine System, P.O. Box 412, Bangor, ME 04402-0412. Electronic transcripts and other application materials can be emailed to: edocs@maine.edu

Application must include:

  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine system. A transcript is official when it comes directly from the institution. If an applicant is submitting an official transcript, it must be in a sealed envelope from the institution indicating that it is an official document. If the envelope has been opened prior to arriving at the Office of Graduate Admissions, it is no longer considered an official transcript;
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of success in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study. Recommendations are easily submitted using our online application form. You will simply need to provide the name and email address for each of your recommenders during the application process. Once you submit your application, an email will be automatically generated to your recommenders directing them to fill out the electronic letter of recommendation.
  • Essay: see essay question below;
  • Current resume;
  • Completed and signed Teacher Credential Summary form
  • Certification of finances (international students only);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not the applicant's first language);

Special Essay Questions for In-Service Concentration
Describe why you are enrolling in this program.
     a. What goals do you have for yourself by obtaining a master's in Special Education in the In-Service strand?
     b. What is at least one aspect of your teaching that you feel you will strengthen through earning this master's degree?
Describe your past experience with youth, either in teaching or in another capacity.
     a. What did you learn about youth through this experience?
     b. What did you learn about yourself through this experience?

Transfer Policies

Transferring courses into the degree: Non-matriculated students may take two graduate-level courses (six credit hours) that they pass with a grade of 'B' or better prior to applying. Students may enroll in up to two graduate-level courses for the semester in which they apply (six graduate credit hours). A possible total of twelve graduate-level credits may be completed before matriculating in the program. Only courses taken within five years of application will be considered. Transfer credits are evaluated during the admissions process, so syllabi and course description of courses for transfer credit requests should accompany the application. If an applicant has questions on whether courses will transfer into a program or not, s/he should discuss the credit transfer with the Program Coordinator.

Transferring to a different concentration after matriculation: A candidate must apply to the new concentration using a Re-Application form with a processing fee of $15. The application and supporting materials are sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The application will be reviewed by faculty for approval.