Special Education

Areas of Focus

The Special Education department offers degrees and certificates that meet the needs of aspiring and practicing special education teachers, all in an online format. Read below to determine which program is right for you.

Master’s Degree Program: Initial Special Education Teacher Certification

(Preservice)

Degree: Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities

Who this program is designed for: current general education teachers, specialty area professionals such as occupational therapists, education technicians, and people with a bachelor's degree seeking initial certification.

The Master of Science in Special Education Pre-Service concentration is designed for individuals seeking initial certification to teach students with disabilities. This concentration provides:

  • Courses and internships for initial teacher certification in teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities,
  • Coursework in various specialty areas such as teaching students with learning disabilities and those who require intensive behavior support.
  • Preparation to collaborate effectively in school-wide, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), including, Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
  • And incorporates Standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Learn more: Read about our program requirements and application information.

Master’s Degree Program: Advanced Special Education for Practicing Teachers

(Inservice)

Degree: Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in inservice

Who this program is designed for: individuals teaching exceptional children, whether new to the profession or already having experience.

  • This concentration is especially designed for educators who are interested in working with students who have disabilities and/or are gifted and talented.
  • Incorporates standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  • Through this concentration students can:
    • Apply to the Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program and take courses to increase their knowledge of behavioral assessments, design interventions that facilitate the acquisition of prosocial skills and the reduction of behaviors that interfere with learning, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
    • Select a range of electives from working with students with mild disabilities in a general education classroom to working with students who are gifted and talented.

Learn more: Read about our program requirements and application information.

Master’s Degree Program: Special Education - Effective Instruction and Assessment

Degree: Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in Effective Instruction and Assessment for Students with Suspected and Identified Disabilities

Who this program is designed for: individuals who want to increase their fundamental skills, knowledge, and competencies to meet the needs of students with disabilities—in multiple settings.

  • Online in an asynchronous format.
  • 7-week classes offered six terms a year.
  • One set price for tuition and fees, no matter what your residency.
  • Prepares you to effectively apply theory to practice and learn ways to implement specialized teaching, build effective curricula.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to reach the best outcomes for exceptional students.
  • Curriculum promotes a multi-tiered system of support for students
  • Incorporates standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Learn more: Read about our program requirements and application information.

Master’s Degree Program: Special Education and General Education Teacher Certification

(Integrated)

Degree: Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in special education and general education

Who this program is designed for: individuals who want to be dual certified in both special education and a content area (K-8 elementary, or 7-12 social studies, English, Mathematics, Life Science, Physical Science, or World Language).

The concentration has three outcomes:

  1. USM Master of Science in Special Education
  2. Recommendation for 020 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 prepares students by:

  • Offering the courses online.
  • Design to be completed in two years, or six semesters.
  • Working in partnership with school districts, special purpose schools, and state approved agencies to make the program available to education technicians and others employed in education.
  • Offering an Individual Internship Plan (IIP) designed by school district, university, and candidate to accommodate employment responsibilities, program requirements, and family needs.
  • Incorporating standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Learn more: Read about our program requirements and application information.

Certificate of Graduate Study in Gifted and Talented Education

Who this program is designed for: educators who are interested in working with students who have gifts and talents, either in general education classrooms or in special resource programs.

  • Courses are offered during the summer only in one week intensive, online formats making it easy for educators to gain skills in a short amount of time.
  • Courses are taught on a two-year rotation cycle. (Even Years: SED 550, SED 667; Odd Years: SED 662, SED 668)
  • After completing the Gifted and Talented certificate, educators can apply through the state for an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education.

Learn more: Read about our program requirements and application information.

Accelerated Graduate Program in Special Education

Who this program is designed for: USM undergraduate students with an interest in special education certification to have courses taken in their undergraduate sequence apply toward the graduate Master of Science in Special Education degree.

  • Allows for exposure to education related courses over multiple years and a reduced course load while in the graduate program.
  • Courses taught by full time faculty in the program, allowing mentorship opportunities for undergraduate students.
  • Offers multiple field experiences in the K-12 classrooms.
  • Incorporates standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Learn more: Read about our program requirements and application information.