Special Education

Supplemental content for MS in Special Education - In-Service (certified educators)

Admission Information

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.

The applicant must also have attained professional teacher certification in any subject and in any state.

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.
  • Essay: As a teacher holding professional certification with teaching experience describe why you are seeking a Special Education Master’s degree in either the Gifted and Talented pathway or the Critical Core Knowledge and Skills pathway. What is at least one aspect of your teaching that you feel will be strengthened through earning this master's degree? What experiences will you bring with you as you complete this degree? How will earning this master’s degree make a difference to the students, colleagues, and school community you work in?
  • 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, the 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, the achievement of success in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study.
  • Proof of Teacher Certification: Visit Proof of Teacher Certification webpage for how to submit evidence.
  • 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.

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 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 Coordinator.

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.

Learn More

For more information about courses and credit hours, view our Program Requirements.