Special Education

MS in Special Education - Effective Instruction and Assessment for Students with Suspected and Identified Disabilities

The Effective Instruction and Assessment Master’s degree concentration is for individuals seeking knowledge and skills in providing evidence-based services for students with suspected and identified disabilities.  The courses include principles of systematic and explicit instruction and assessment, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Multi-Tiered Systems of Student Support, and assistive technology.  The subplan is designed for people not seeking special education teacher certification.  The audience includes individuals with teacher licensure in other areas of teaching such as general education, individuals licensed in other educational services, such as school psychology or social work, and individuals with experience with agencies and programs serving students with mild to moderate disabilities.

This concentration is available in an accelerated (7 week classes) online format.

30 credits

All courses are 3 credit hours each.

  • EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
  • SED 518 Targeted and Individualized Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities
  • SED 604  Behavioral Principles to Analyze Learning, Teaching, and Assessment
  • SED 625  Multi-Tier Mathematics Instruction and Assessment 
  • SED 627  Multi-Tier Reading Instruction and Assessment 
  • SED 615  Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) 
  • SED 653  Assessment in Special Education
  • SED 682  Special Education Regulations, Procedures and the IEP Team
  • SED 687 Technology for Communicating and Learning
  • SED 699 Special Education Research Capstone

Applicant Qualifications

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 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program.

Applicants who do not have a 3.0 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.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline:

Rolling with priority deadlines of May 1 for fall matriculation and October 15 for spring matriculation

Applicants are required to provide the following materials: 

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Fee waived for all applicants.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience. Please list in the resume any present or past professional certifications or licenses that are part of your credentials.  Include the name and number of the licensure category, issuing state, and dates in effect.  
  • EssayAs someone with experience supporting individuals with suspected or indicated disabilities, describe why you are seeking a master's degree in special education. What is one aspect of your knowledge or experience that will be strengthened by earning this degree? How will earning this master's degree make a difference to the people and communities with whom you work?
  • Recommendation: One letter of recommendation attesting to applicant's experience working with individuals with disabilities, which can include Pre-K and school-age students.
  • References:Names and contact information of three references who can speak to the applicant’s knowledge of experience with Pre-K to 12th grade students and 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.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

Where to send transcripts and application materials 

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

International Applicants 

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

English Proficiency Test Scores

Official English proficiency examination scores are required from international applicants and/or applicants whose primary language is not English, unless the applicant has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. The University of Southern Maine accepts the following score reports sent directly from the testing agency.  TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for a graduate program.