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Education and Human Development

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Graduate Programs - Special Education

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

High Incidence Disabilities
Low Incidence Disabilities
Individually Designed

Certificate of Advanced Studies (C.A.S.)

Individually Designed

Program Goals

Graduate programs in Special Education at the University of Maine prepare educators to support students and youth with disabilities in attaining their highest levels of achievement. Programs and experiences are designed to prepare professionals who:

Program Hallmarks


Programs of Study

Special Education (M.Ed., C.A.S.)

Graduate programs in Special Education prepare educators to meet national standards of excellence in communication skills, professional knowledge and teaching competence. Programs of study are offered for both entry-level and experienced professionals and include certification and individually designed options.


High Incidence Disabilities (M.Ed.)

This 36 credit hour program leads to state certification as Teacher of Students with Disabilities(282) (K-8 or 7-12). It is designed for students who have a background in elementary or secondary education or have experience working with students with disabilities, and who can document competency and prior coursework in child/adolescent development and adapting instruction for students with disabilities (SED 302/500 or the equivalent).

Applicants who have not met these prerequisites may be admitted for part-time study if they are currently employed in work with students with disabilities. Prerequisite course work should be taken prior to enrolling in required courses for the M.Ed.

Low Incidence Disabilities (M.Ed.)

This 36 credit hour program leads to state certification as an Educational Specialist for Students with Severe Disabilities (286). It is designed for students who have a background in elementary or secondary education, but may be appropriate for students with undergraduate majors in related fields such as child development, psychology, communication disorders, occupational and physical therapy, and nursing.

Early Intervention (M.Ed.)

This 36-39-credit program provides a foundation in the field of early intervention/early childhood and preparation for leadership roles. The program leads to state endorsement as Teacher of Children with Disabilities (birth to school-age 5). The curriculum is designed to prepare students in the fundamentals of professional practice in early intervention for inclusive environments, provide students with advanced content in a variety of research areas (e.g., early childhood, early childhood special education, family relationships, collaborative consultation), and place students in practicum experiences with high needs children ages birth-5 and their families. Courses are delivered via distance education technology.
Option A: 5th-Year Masters in Special Education with Specialization in Early Intervention: This option is open to a limited number of high performing University of Maine juniors and seniors who are majoring in Early Childhood Education, and who have an interest in working with high needs children with disabilities, ages birth to five, and their families.
Option B: Masters in Special Education with Specialization in Early Intervention for Professionals in Early Childhood or Related Field: This option is appropriate for students with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field who are currently working with, or have a desire to serve, high needs children with disabilities, ages birth to five, and their families.

Individually Designed (M.Ed. or C.A.S)

M.Ed. or C.A.S.: Individually designed programs are for professionals who already hold certification in special education or are not interested in certification as a special education teacher.  Individually-designed M.Ed. programs are structured around a common core (research, seminar, and practicum) and require a minimum of 36 credit hours of study. Individually-designed C.A.S. programs are also structured around a common core (research, seminar, and practicum). A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for those with a master’s degree in Special Education; 39-45 hours for those with a master’s degree in a related field.

Potential candidates include:

With a faculty advisor, students select courses around their unique needs and interests.  Courses are drawn from Special Education and other areas in the College of Education and Human Development, although at least 50 percent of the student’s credits for the degree must be in Special Education.


Response to Intervention for Behavior

Field Work, Research and Service

Field work and internships are an important component of all graduate programs in Special Education. Faculty and students are an integral part of the social and educational service community in Maine, and close relationships are maintained with public schools and community agencies. Students also have the opportunity to participate in faculty research and service projects.



Areas of Program Involvement/Professional Interest

A. James Artesani, Ed.D., W. Virginia University
Associate Professor; Director Institute for the Study of Students At Risk
(207) 581-4061

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Emotional and behavioral disabilities

Diane Jackson, Ed.D., University of Maine
(207) 581-2401

Adapting instruction for students with disabilities
Math methods in special education
Adolescents and adults with learning disabilities

Deborah L. Rooks-Ellis, Ph.D. University of Arizona.
Assistant Research Professor, Special Education and Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies

Early intervention
Visual impairment
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Severe disabilities
Inquiry-based approaches to teaching

Janet E. Spector, Ph.D., Stanford University
Associate Professor
(207) 581-2459

Reading intervention
Learning disabilities
Literacy instruction for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders


For admission to a graduate program in Special Education, students must meet basic standards of the Graduate School and special eligibility requirements of the program. In addition, applicants seeking admission to programs that lead to certification must submit Praxis I scores with their applications. Candidates who are already certified in Maine and have taken Praxis I previously may submit a copy of their certificates to document that they have met state standards on the test. Applicants may be invited for a personal interview with the Special Education faculty. Students should request financial aid information from the University’s Student Financial Aid Office. Special Education scholarships are sometimes available for candidates with documented financial needs. To be eligible, applicants must have applied for financial aid through the University’s Office of Student Financial Aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain information about the Graduate Record Exam or Miller Analogies Test, and Praxis I?

Applicants must take either the GRE (no advanced test required) or the MAT. As a faculty, we have no particular preference. However, arrangement to take the MAT can be made by contacting the Office of Student Records (207-581-1317) and normally can be made on relatively short notice, and the results are quickly available. Students who choose to enroll in a thesis program must take the GRE. You can register at the Educational Testing Service website. Information about Praxis I is available on the Educational Testing Service website.

Does the M.Ed. program in Special Education require a thesis?


What about certification?

Teacher certification is granted by the Maine Department of Education, not by the University of Maine. Students who successfully complete ALL the requirements of our NCATE-approved, professional preparation programs (Teacher of Students with High Incidence Disabilities, Educational Specialist for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities) including documentation of passing scores on Praxis II in Special Education will be eligible for certification. Specific information regarding certification is available from the Maine Department of Education, Certification Services, State House Station 23, Augusta, ME 04333.

If I have taken graduate courses at another university, can they be transferred to my program at UMaine?

A maximum of 6 credit hours of previous graduate coursework from another institution can be transferred into the student’s program at the time of admission, or a 12 credits from the University of Maine. In order to be transferred, courses must be approved by the Special Education faculty. Determination of transfer acceptability depends on factors such as how recently the course was taken and whether it is judged equivalent to an established course in the program. Decisions on transfer of courses are made during the application/interview process. Graduate courses taken as part of one’s undergraduate program can not be transferred into the M.Ed. program.

How do I obtain a faculty advisor?

A Special Education faculty member is assigned to serve as a student’s advisor during the final stages of the application process. The advisor’s name will be included in the Graduate School’s letter of acceptance to the student.

Back to Graduate Programs


National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

Contact Information

Education and Human Development
5766 Shibles Hall
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-2412
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System