Special Education

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Admissions and Program Options

Course, Program, and Advising Questions

Admissions and Program Options

How do I become matriculated into the Special Education Program?
A matriculated (degree-seeking) student is a degree-seeking student who has been admitted  into the Master of Science in Special Education. Some of the benefits of becoming matriculated include

  • Through careful advising all  courses you complete work toward your degree. Taking courses while not being matriculated may mean taking courses that will not count toward a degree, as only certain courses can transfer into degree programs when you matriculate. The graduate school’s rule about transfer credits is two courses (six credits) can be taken before matriculating and two courses (six credits) can be taken while in the application phase. Courses which are being transferred into a program are evaluated when applying, with no guarantees of acceptance.
  • Priority registration  and access to a faculty advisor who can meet ( in-person, or via phone, or online) with you. You will receive emails regarding upcoming events, reminders, and other important information (via our program and/or advisor listserv).

Special Education also offers Certificates of Graduate Study, typically four course sequences in a particular area of focus, Teaching ALL Students and Gifted and Talented Education. Some of the benefits of submitting an admission application and becoming enrolled in a Certificate of Graduate Study include:

  • Early registration for courses prior (two weeks is typical) to non-matriculated students;
  • Access to a certificate advisor to discuss various aspects of your program;
  • Receive emails regarding upcoming events, reminders, and other important information (via our program and/or advisor listserv).

I am not clear on the admissions requirements. Do I need to take the GRE, MAT, or the PRAXIS?
For the pre-service strand, applicants must complete and successfully pass the Praxis Core. For the in-service strand applicants must submit  proof of teacher certification, or another professional certificate, conditional, provisional, or professional. This proof of certification  replaces the need to take any admissions testing.

How many classes can I take before I actually apply to the program?
Non-matriculated students may take two courses (six credit hours) that they pass with a grade of “B” or better prior to applying. Students may enroll in up to two courses for the semester in which they apply (for a total of six credit hours). Only courses taken within five years of application will be considered for transfer. Transfer credits are evaluated during the admissions process, so syllabi and course descriptions of courses you want transferred should accompany your application. If an applicant has questions on whether courses will transfer into a program or not, they should discuss the credit transfer with the Program Coordinator. Not all previously taken courses, or courses taken during the application process, are guaranteed to be transferred and accepted as credits toward a program of study, including University of Maine System courses. All courses are evaluated during the application process and compared with the required courses for the program of study the student is applying. For details, please see the admissions information page.

What are my choices of concentrations, or focus area, for the Masters of Science in Special Education?
Students have the following three options:

A.  Pre-service: Initial Certification: Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

This strand includes the coursework for an initial special education teaching certification: teacher of students with disabilities K-8 and 7-12 (Maine 282). Maine initial special education teacher certification requires student teaching. Student teaching is available and can completed as a Special Education Teacher under conditional certification or sometimes while working as an Ed Tech.

B. In-service: special education, and gifted and talented education

The in-service strand includes a core set of 9 research credits (3 courses) specifically designed for certified educators. The strand also includes 24 elective credits which are designed with an advisor to meet the needs of the student, for a total of 33 credits.

Elective credits can focus on:

    • a particular certification or endorsement such as Gifted and Talented Education or Certified Behavioral Analysis Course work;
    • different areas which the student would like to concentrate on such as multi-tiered interventions and transitions;
    • special education courses, and courses connected to other programs in the school such as educational leadership, Literacy, and TESOL.

C. Integrated General Education and Special Education

The Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in integrated general education and special education is designed for those seeking initial teacher certification in general education and special education. The program has three outcomes: (1) USM Master of Science in Special Education, (2) recommendation for K-8 elementary or 7-12 content area teacher certification, (3) recommendation for K-8 or 7-12 (282) teacher of students with disabilities. The program begins in May of each year.

What are my choices of certificates of graduate studies, in Special Education, if I do not want to complete a full master’s program?
Students have the following two options:

A. Gifted and Talented: This 12-credit certificate has one required courses of three credits and nine credits of electives, chosen with a faculty member in Special Education. The certificate program is designed to meet the requirements of 690 Gifted and Talented Teacher Endorsement, and education for those who would like more knowledge and understanding in working with youth who are gifted and talented.

B. Teaching ALL Students: This 12-credit certificate has students take a course from each of the specialty areas: students with disabilities, who are gifted and talented, and who are English language learners. The fourth course focuses on differentiated instruction.

Course, Program, and Advising Questions

Do I really need to schedule a meeting with my advisor?
It is very important to meet with your faculty advisor. Advisors support students in developing their program of study to make sure they are planning to take courses when they are offered, so they can finish their program in their time frame. Advisors also approve electives in programs of study. Taking a course for an elective without prior advisor approval may result in the course not being accepted as an elective toward your degree.

Advisors are available to work with students in multiple ways (in office meeting, via phone or online ). Please contact your advisor to schedule an appointment.

How long do I have to complete my program of study?
You have five years to cmplete your degree from the date of your semester of matriculation into the program.

How can I register for classes? When can I register? How much will it cost?
You can search for the courses that you are interested in MaineStreet. Some course prefixes which you can look under for courses are SED, SPY, EPA, EPB, EPC, and EPS. These prefixes are for courses in special education and in the Professional Development Center, where students may take electives. To see the proposed schedule of when Special Education courses will be offered, please see our 3-year course schedule (pdf).

If you are a non-matriculated (non-enrolled) student, it is possible you will not be eligible to take some special education courses. If you have any questions, you can contact the instructor directly to ask for permission to enroll and/or the coordinator of Special Education. If you do not have a MaineStreet account, you will need to register directly with the Registrar’s Office.

What happens if a class is "closed" or "canceled"?
If a course is "closed," it means that it has reached its capacity. The course search function will indicate course status by highlighting the course information in a gray tone.

If a course is closed, you can place yourself on the wait-list through MaineStreet. If seats become available, people on the wait-list will be contacted in the order that they are listed. If you do not hear from someone about the course, then no seats are available, and you should consider other course options.

If a course has been "canceled," it means that the course section is no longer offered that semester. Courses can be canceled due to low enrollment or other factors. If you are registered for a course that has become canceled you will be contacted as soon as possible through your maine.edu email address. The course search function will indicate course status by highlighting the course information in a gray tone.

I will not be able to enroll in classes for one semester. Is there anything I need to be aware of?
The University has a continuous enrollment policy, which states that matriculated students must take at least six (6) credits a year to remain active in the program. If you decide that you cannot take courses or you have a medical/family reason which prevent you from enrolling, then you need to send a written letter/email to your advisor informing him/her of your intentions, and fill out and submit a leave of absence form.

How do I find out if a course has prerequisites?
This information is in the class search function. Students who wish to take EDU 600: Research Methods must be matriculated.