Nov 29, 2023  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 

Master of Science in Education in Special Education

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Specialization in Advanced Special Education Practices
Specialization in Blind Rehabilitation
Specialization in Early Childhood Special Education
Specialization in Learning Behavior Specialist I
Specialization in Orientation and Mobility
Specialization in Visual Impairments

The M.S.Ed. in special education is designed to serve the needs of both experienced and beginning special education teachers who have baccalaureate degrees or are seeking career changes at the master’s level. In addition, the department offers master’s degree courses at regional sites, information on which can be obtained from the department.

Provisions are made to assist nonlicensed persons who hold baccalaureate degrees in fields other than special education to acquire licensure and an M.S.Ed. in special education. In some cases more than 35 semester hours will be necessary to meet the requirements for both licensure and the master’s degree.

Students seeking licensure must successfully complete the Illinois Licensure Testing System Test of Academic Proficiency prior to admission to the Teacher Education Program in special education and the tests required by their licensure field prior to student teaching. Completion of all program requirements satisfies the requirements for Illinois educator licensure as a learning behavior specialist I. See also “Educator Licensure Information.”

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at


From among the applicants satisfying the requirements for admission to the Graduate School, the faculty select those most qualified, utilizing the General Test of the GRE and ordinarily requiring a GPA of 3.00 or higher for the last two years of undergraduate work.

Each prospective student must have three letters of recommendation from employers, supervisors, or professors.

Final decisions regarding admissions are made by the admissions committee of the department on the basis of a total profile of an individual’s qualifications. Applicants who fail to meet these admission criteria may request special consideration from the admissions committee. If the student then fails to achieve admission, an appeal may be made to the department’s Admission, Retention, and Professional Standards Committee.

Deficiency Study/Field Work

In cases in which students’ backgrounds in their chosen specialty are limited, they may be required to fulfill deficiency requirements established by the department. Deficiency course hours are not counted toward the minimum 36 semester hours of the master’s degree program.

Supervised clinical experiences are required in all areas of special education. Students not seeking initial licensure may not be required to engage in clinical experiences, depending on the area of specialization in which they are enrolled.

Internship Programs

The Department of Teaching and Learning currently utilizes internship programs in some areas of special education. All internship placements are arranged and supervised by the department. For further information and internship possibilities, see course descriptions.


To be retained in the program, a student must demonstrate acquisition and application of specific competencies, through practical experiences, that are requisite in the student’s specialization.

Students must earn a B or better in the course work listed in the Graduate Catalog required for the specialization in order to take the comprehensive evaluation and/or enroll in the graduate practicum. Students receiving lower than a B in any of these courses must retake the course. In concert with the university policy, students may retake a course only once. If this required grade is not achieved on the second attempt, the student may be dropped from the program. In addition to meeting all Graduate School and College of Education standards for retention, students must meet the Council for Exceptional Children Code of Ethics and Standards for Professional Practice for Special Educators.

All other rules regarding academic regulations follow those described by the Graduate School.


A student is assigned an adviser when admitted to the program. The adviser is a faculty member in special education. Courses of study are developed for each student. Students are required to take the comprehensive examination. It is always the responsibility of the student to be aware of university policies and regulations affecting his or her program. Students should, therefore, familiarize themselves with the Graduate Catalog early in the program.


Each student must select a specialization. Each specialization requires a minimum of 35 semester hours of study which must include a research course approved by the adviser. Specific courses required for each specialization are listed below. Elective courses are selected with the approval of the student’s adviser. A student wishing to write a thesis may, with the approval of the adviser, include 3-6 semester hours of credit in SESE 699 in the elective portion of the program.

For a student whose undergraduate major was in special education, course work in other appropriate fields may be substituted for a portion of the special education course work, with the approval of the student’s adviser. However, in all cases, at least 50 percent of the semester hours required for the degree must be in special education. For students whose undergraduate major was not in special education or who have limited background in their chosen specialization, deficiency requirements may be established by the department. Deficiency course hours will not be counted toward the minimum 35 semester hours of the master’s degree program.

Specialization in Advanced Special Education Practices

This specialization focuses on study to strengthen the professional development of licensed special education teachers. Students enrolled in this M.S.Ed. program may incorporate requirements for one or more special education licenses of graduate study in their programs of study.

Specialization in Early Childhood Special Education

This specialization prepares students to obtain early childhood special education approval to teach young children with special needs in early childhood (birth to 6 years) settings. Students must hold or obtain a Standard Special License in special education or an Early Childhood License in order to apply for early childhood special education approval. This specialization also prepares students to apply for an early intervention credential to work with infants and toddlers with special needs. Students who wish to obtain one of these educator licenses in addition to the M.S.Ed. with a specialization in early childhood special education must complete course work required for the type of license desired. This course work will be identified through advisement.

Specialization in Learning Behavior Specialist I

This specialization prepares students to obtain learning behavior specialist I educator licensure.

In addition

In addition, individuals not currently holding educator licensure in the State of Illinois must include the following (see adviser for course selection).

  • One course in educational foundations (3)
  • One course in child development (3)

Specialization in Orientation and Mobility

This specialization prepares students to instruct individuals with visual impairments in the concepts and skills related to independent travel, and to obtain national certification as orientation and mobility specialists from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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