MS in Special Education - Pre-Service (Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities)
The Master of Science in Special Education is designed for people seeking initial certification to teach 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 moderate 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, and people with a bachelor's degree seeking initial certification and a new teaching career in special education are among those for whom the program is intended.
Pre-Service: Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities
Program Requirements: 39 credits, plus prerequisite
Prerequisite: Maine certification Exceptionality Course SED 540, SED 335, or course approved by the Maine Office of Certification. Passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
- EDU 562 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
- SED 518 Targeted and Individualized Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities
- SED 615 Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
- SED 625 Multi-Tier Mathematics Instruction and Assessment
- SED 627 Multi-Tier Reading Instruction and Assessment
- SED 653 Assessment in Special Education
- SED 682 Special Education Regulations, Procedures, and IEP Team
- SED 687 Technology for Communicating and Learning
- SED 688 Internship in Special Education for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities - 6 credits
- SED 693 Transitions Among Agency, School, and Community
Recommended for 282 certification following completion of internship, above coursework, and meeting Maine passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, and Praxis II Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications
Continuing coursework for Master’s degree:
- EDU 600 Research Methods
- SED 699 Special Education Research Capstone
Tk20 by Watermark is the comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system used by all students in Educator Preparation programs at USM. All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship/student teaching year are required to subscribe to Tk20. Students use Tk20 to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, Tk20 is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year. Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.
Please note Professional Education Council Policy: In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program completers to be recommended by the institution to the Maine Department of Education for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to her/his state-approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20).
Professional Licensure and Certification Notice
Students who are pursuing degrees leading to application for professional licensure or certification, and/or who will be participating in clinical placements, internships, or practica through their USM program should be aware that their host facility may require a criminal background check, finger printing, or drug screening. In such situations, each student is responsible for obtaining and paying for the background check or other screening process and for delivering required documentation to the facility. Although the University will make reasonable efforts to place admitted students in field experiences and internships, it will be up to the host facility to determine whether a student will be allowed to work at that facility. Students should further be aware that a criminal record may jeopardize licensure by the state certification body. Students may consult the certification body corresponding to their intended occupation for more details. Successful completion of a program of study at USM does not guarantee licensure, certification, or employment in the relevant occupation.
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.
Passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics
Prerequisite: Maine certification Exceptionality Course SED 540, SED 335, or course approved by the Maine Office of Certification. .
Interview: The Pre-Service concentration requires a formal interview. Candidates to be interviewed will be selected on the basis of the application materials.
Application Procedures and Required Materials
Application Deadline: Rolling with priority deadlines: March 1 for summer matriculation, May 1 for fall matriculation, Oct 15 for spring matriculation
Applicants are required to provide the following materials:
- Application: Online Application
- Application 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.
- Essay: A free, appropriate public education for students with disabilities represents our democratic society's commitment to educating all its children. A teacher lives out this commitment in his/her daily instruction and professional activities as an educator. Please describe what you think it means as a teacher to provide equitable learning opportunities for all students, including students with disabilities.
- Recommendation: One letter of recommendation attesting to the applicant's experience working with Pre-K to 12th grade children 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.
- References: Two references attesting to the applicant's with 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.
- Praxis Core exam passed based on Maine's standards;
- Completed and signed Completion of Exceptionalities Course Form. Completion of Maine’s required exceptionality course for all teachers at USM or another institution. If not from USM, the candidate provides documentation that the course has been approved as an exceptionality course by the Maine Office of Certification and include an official transcript showing the course;
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to email@example.com.
For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.
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.
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 descriptions 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 Faculty.
Transferring to a different concentration after matriculation: A candidate must apply to the new concentration using a Re-Application form. The application and supporting materials are sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The application will be reviewed by faculty for approval.