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Special Education, MEd with Type 10 Certificate Option
The Special Education MEd program offers three different strands to support students who want to improve the education of children with disabilities in urban settings. Students have opportunities to work with students (ages 5 to 21) in multiple ability populations, in various content areas, and learn a variety of instructional models – all of which strengthen the overall program and student experience.
- Strand A offers the MEd only. Students focus on key aspects of teaching all populations with an emphasis on differentiated instruction.
- Strand B offers the MEd and Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS II) Certificate. Current special educators can enhance their practice through an advanced certificate. We offer all six ISBE-approved specialization options. Students can choose to earn only the certification(s) or do that with earning a masters degree.
Earn your Learning Behavior Specialist II certificate and join one of the top teams of educators in the nation. UIC is the only university in the Chicago area to offer all 6 options. Read more about the certificates and learn how to apply so you can advance your career!
- PULSSE: Are you a special educator who wants to earn a masters degree, become a specialist in Multiple Disabilities (earn the LBS2 endorsement) and move toward multiple IL endorsements? The scholarship opportunity, PULSSE (Preparing Urban Leaders in Secondary Special Education), is now available. Please contact
for more information about this one-year, five semester plan offered in evenings and through online course study.
- Strand C offers the MEd and the special education teaching certificate, Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I). Students can enter teaching for the first time or, if previously certified, add a special education certificate.
Visit the Council on Teacher Education for more information about the certification process.
The special education profession offers rich employment opportunities and many general educators move into the field to enhance their professional growth. Our outstanding programs produce exceptional special educators who are well prepared to serve in urban classrooms. Because of the chronic shortage of special educators, our graduates are always in high demand.
Strand 1 - MEd only (no certificate)Students must complete a minimum of 35-36 course credit hours for the degree.
- ED 445 Adolescence and the Schools
- SPED/EPSY 582 Forging Collaboration with the Family and Community
- SPED 573 Understanding Research in Special Education
Political and Social Context (select one)
- SPED 461/ED 461 Political and Sociocultural Perspectives on Special Education
- ED 402 Philosophy of Education and Urban School Policy
- ED 403 Policy Issues in the History of American Education
- EPSY 449 History and Philosophy of Early Childhood Education
- DHD 401 Foundations of Disability and Human Development
- DHD 430 Introduction to Disability Policy and Organization
- DHD 514 Ethical Issues in Disability
- DIS 535 Advocacy and Empowerment in Disability
- EDPS 406 Politics of Urban Education
- EDPS 570 Educational Policy Historical and Philosophical Analysis
- EDPS 571 Education Policy Formation, Implementation and Outcomes or PS 582 Cultural Pluralism and Education Policy
Characteristics of Learners (select one)
- SPED 466/EPSY 466 Language Development, Diversity, and Disabilities
- SPED 465/EPSY 465 Cognitive Development and Disabilities
- SPED 467/EPSY 467 Social/Emotional Development and Disabilities
- EPSY 420 Social Development of Urban Children
- EPSY 429 Constructivist Approaches to Development Piaget and Vygotsky
- EPSY 446 Characteristics of Early Adolescence
- EPSY 502 Social Psychology of Education
- ED 421 Advanced Educational Psychology
- ED 422 Advanced Developmental Psychology and Educational Processes
Promoting Academic Learning (select one)
- SPED 463 Instructional Adaptations in Reading and Writing I
- SPED 473/ED 473 Teaching Math and Science with Adaptations
- SPED 471 Curricular Adaptations for Learners with Significant Disabilities
- SPED 583 Instructional Adaptations in Reading and Writing II
- CI 482 Assessment and Instruction:A Multicultural Perspective
- CI 480/SPED 480 Technology and Multimedia: Learning Tools in the Classroom
Promoting Social and Emotional Learning (select one)
- SPED 472/ED 472 Promoting Academic and Prosocial Behavior I
- SPED 572 Promoting Academic and Prosocial Behavior II
Assessing Learner's Needs (select one)
- SPED 462 Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities
- SPED 576 Internship in Assessment
Internship (select one)
- SPED 578 Classroom-Based Inquiry
- SPED 577 Field Teaching Internship
- SPED 579 Research Internship
- 9 semester hours
Strand 2 – MEd and LBS II certificateStudents choose from six State of Illinois certification specializations
- Assistive technology
- Behavior intervention (certificate offers hybrid courses, both online and in-class)
- Bilingual special education
- Curriculum adaptation (inclusion)
- Multiple disabilities
The state of Illinois created the LBS II to recognize that many special educators may seek to develop specialized knowledge for working with particular populations. The LBS II enables special educators to construct knowledge and skills related to six specializations: assistive technology, behavior intervention, bilingual special education, curriculum adaptation (which focuses on inclusion), multiple disabilities, and transition. Educators with LBS II can focus on teaching in those areas, and might also provide leadership.
Degree and Certification RequirementsFor each specialization, you must take six courses as specified in the LBSI I courses chart (pdf). Except for students pursuing the LBS II in bilingual special education only, all students will take SPED 522 in the first or second semester. All students in all specializations will take SPED 578 in the last semester of the program. SPED 578 is an internship in which all students complete 90 hours of work in settings closely aligned to the student’s chosen LBS II specialty.
If you are earning a master’s degree with the LBS II specializations, you must earn 36 credits (12 courses at 3 credits each). Some specializations require the same courses. In those cases, the adviser and student will choose elective courses within the student’s area of specialization so that the total credits will be 36.
Completing the LBS II ProgramAt the end of the LBS II program, students must demonstrate their competency in their specialization. Candidates will be assessed throughout their CGS programs for competency on the appropriate LBS II Content Area Standards, and will submit a summative electronic portfolio at the completion of SPED 578. By the end of the program, all students must:
- Meet LBS II Content Area Standards for specialty, as evidence by meeting or exceeding requirements on all standards-based assessments included in courses
- Meet disposition requirements as indicated by scores on assessment checklist at conclusion of SPED 578
- Receive “proficient” ratings on submitted portfolio
- Successful completion of content test for LBS II (and APT if not completed previously)
Strand 3 – MEd and the Illinois Special Education Teaching Certificate (IL Type 10, Learning Behavior Specialist I [LBS I])Those with an LBS I certificate are eligible to teach children and young adults ages 5 to 21 in seven disability categories including: Learning Disabilities; Emotional and Social Challenges; Mental Retardation; Autism; Physical Disabilities; Traumatic Brain Injury; and Other Health Impaired.
Core Curriculum (50 semester hours)Block One
- SPED/ED 461 Political and Sociocultural Perspectives on Special Education - 3 hours
- SPED 462 Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities 3 - hours
- SPED/EPSY 465 Cognitive Development and Disabilities - 3 hours
- SPED/EPSY 466 Language Development, Diversity, and Disabilities 3 - hours
- SPED/EPSY467 Social/Emotional Development and Disabilities 3 - hours
- SPED 573 Understanding Special Education Research 3 - hours
- SPED 463 Instructional Adaptations in Reading and Writing I - 3 hours
- ED/SPED 473 Teaching Math and Science with Adaptations - 3 hours
- SPED 471 Curricular Adaptations for Learners with Significant Disabilities - 3 hours
- SPED/ED 472 Promoting Academic and Prosocial Behavior I - 3 hours
- SPED/EPSY 582 Forging Collaborations with Family and Community - 3 hours
- SPED 583 Instructional Adaptations in Reading and Writing II - 3 hours
- SPED 576 Internship in Assessment3 hours
- SPED 577 Field Teaching Internship3 hours or SPED 578 Classroom Based Inquiry - 3 hours
- SPED 572 Promoting Academic and Prosocial Behavior II - 2 hours
- SPED 580 Special Education Student Teaching - 6 hours
If you are unsure which strand to pursue, please call our department offices at 312-996-5650.
What are my options in obtaining an MEd in Special Education?Our MEd programs are unique because of the flexibility; we offer 3 strands with a range of experiences within each. All programs have a focus on the study of special education in urban and culturally diverse schools.
Okay, strand A, B, or C? How the heck do I know which one?Strand A is for persons who want to gain additional knowledge about students with disabilities and skills. Close to 60% of students with disabilities are educated in general education classrooms, and general educators often seek additional understandings in order to support all students learning. With Strand A, you earn the masters degree and no entitlement to teacher certification.
- Number of Required Semester Hours = 35
- With an advisor, tailor program to your interests
- Choose among three internships as culminating experience
- Students interested in strand A: practicing general and special educators with a teaching certificate who want to learn more about serving all students; occupational and physical therapists; students who are taking the first step toward a career in research and aim to seek the PhD; students who plan to go to other professional schools (e.g., law school) and are interested in linking their future profession to education.
Strand B is for persons who already hold an Illinois LBS 1 (or equivalent from another state) and want to specialize in knowledge and skills related to particular populations. Students choose one or two specializations (click here for list of specializations).
- Required Semester Hours = 35
- In addition to the master’s degree, students in strand B will seek the LBS II Illinois certificate.
- Number of Required Semester Hours for Degree and Certificate = 44 or 50
- Strand C is designed for individuals who aim to become special education teachers. These students will earn the master’s degree plus the special education teaching certificate called the Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I). Those with an LBS I certificate are eligible to teach children and adolescents in 7 disability categories: Learning Disabilities; Emotional and Social Challenges; Mental Retardation; Autism; Physical Disabilities; Traumatic Brain Injury; and Other Health Impaired.
- Examples of students who are interested in Strand C: practicing early childhood, elementary, or secondary teachers who want to become special education teachers; those entering the teaching profession from other fields (e.g., accounting, business management, sociology, psychology).
How long will it take me to complete each of the programs?It varies upon how many credits are taken each semester. Students usually complete our programs within about 1.5 years to 2.5 years, depending on how many credits are taken each semester. Usually, students take 2 to 3 courses per semester and a summer course (while working full-time). Full-time and part-time options are available.
What are the admission requirements?Applicants are considered on the quality of their admission portfolio, including:
- Professionals Goal Statement: Statement must reflect your interests in working within an urban setting and/or experiences with students with special needs.
- Letters of Recommendation: Three letters need to be submitted with specific comments regarding the applicant’s qualifications and commitment to teaching in an urban setting.
- Transcripts: Official, sealed transcripts from each college or university you have attended must be submitted. At least 2.75 GPA (A=4.0) for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study, and 3.0 GPA for post baccalaureate or graduate coursework.
- Interview and Impromptu Writing Sample: Applicants will be contacted by the Special Education Program to schedule a faculty interview and will be asked to write a short essay at that time.
What are the admission requirements for the LBS II?All applicants must:
- Hold Illinois LBS I
- 2.75 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work, and 3.0 grade point average in graduate work (as shown in university transcripts the applicant submits)
- Completed or willingness to take a course in research methods
- One or more years of teaching experience with students with disabilities, including student teaching (as shown through letter from current principal)
- Three letters of recommendation (including evaluation of dispositions)
- Professional goal statement (according to directions)
- Interview and impromptu writing sample
Why would I want a LBS II?The state of Illinois created the LBS II to recognize that many special educators may seek to develop specialized knowledge for working with particular populations. The LBS II enables special educators to construct knowledge and skills related to six specializations: assistive technology, behavior intervention, bilingual special education, curriculum adaptation (which focuses on inclusion), multiple disabilities, and transition. Educators with LBS II can focus on teaching in those areas, and might also provide leadership.
Do I have to teach for a particular number of years before I earn the LBS II?Yes, you need to have taught two years in special education (in Illinois or elsewhere). You can take the coursework before you complete those years and then be entitled to the LBS II certificate after completing the teaching years. Though some students may not have two years of special education teaching when they begin their studies, they do have it completed by the time they finish and are entitled to the certificate.
In Strand B, for the different specializations, how many courses do I need to take?For each specialization, you must take 6 courses as specified (review the LBS II courses chart) (pdf). Except for students pursuing the LBS II in bilingual special education only, all students will take SpEd 522 in the first or second semester. All students in all specializations will take SpEd 578 in the last semester of the program. SpEd 578 is an internship in which all students complete 90 hours of work in settings closely aligned to the student’s chosen LBS II specialty.
If you are earning a masters degree with the LBS II specializations, you must earn 36 credits (12 courses at 3 credits each). Some specializations require the same courses. In those cases, the advisor and student will choose elective courses within the student’s area of specialization so that the total credits will be 36.
What must I do at the end of the LBS2 program to demonstrate my competency?Candidates will be assessed throughout their CGS programs for competency on the appropriate LBS II Content Area Standards and will submit a summative electronic portfolio at the completion of SPED 578.
- Meet LBS II Content Area Standards for specialty, as evidence by meeting or exceeding requirements on all standards-based assessments included in courses.
- Meet disposition requirements as indicated by scores on assessment checklist at conclusion of SPED 578.
- Receive “proficient” ratings on submitted portfolio
- Successful completion of content test for LBS II (and APT if not completed previously)
Internships – what are they, and what do they require?All strands in all programs require internships that are supervised. In some programs, the student will take an additional internship called Assessment Clinic.
In Strand A, the advisor and student choose the final internships, and usually choose between Classroom-based Inquiry or Research Internship. In Strand B, all students will take Classroom-based Inquiry. In Strand C, students will be advised and take either Field Internship (if you have no prior teaching experience) or Classroom-based Inquiry (you have a prior certificate.)
Both the Classroom-based Inquiry and Field Internship are 90 hours, and all hours must be completed in an approved setting that has a sustained partnership with UIC Department of Special Education. Specifics about the internships will be discussed at new student orientations and, during the program, in Internship Information Sessions.
*** For students completing the Behavior Interventionist Specialization in LBS II who also wish to earn BCBA Board Certification, a total of 780 hours will need to be completed and an exam taken. More information is available through our department.
What about student teaching?If you have no previous certification or student teaching, you will need to student teach for one semester in a Chicago Public School. We have numerous partner relationships with schools, and you will be placed according to your interests and other factors. In student teaching you follow the school hours where you are placed (generally, about 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.), and attend every day. On Thursdays, you spend the afternoon on campus in seminars with two professors. You learn ways to plan, teach and assess all students with a range of strengths and challenges.
If you are already certified, have completed a successful student teaching, and meet other requirements connected to minimal years of teaching, you might qualify for a waiver of student teaching in special education and instead complete the program with the SpEd 578 Classroom-based Inquiry Internship. Each situation is reviewed individually.
Is financial aid available?We encourage applicants and students to check the College of Education’s Financial Aid page.
Our Department of Special Education has a limited number of tuition and fee waivers, so please call 312-996-5650 for information.
Who should I contact if I have questions?For general information about our programs, please contact Alex Cantero, assistant to the chair, at 312-996-5650 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the deadlines for applying to the program?March 15 for Fall admission
October 1 for Spring admission
*** Please note that we do not offer summer semester admission in any of our master’s programs.
- Advising Guide for the MEd in Special Education Strand A (Degree only) (pdf)
- Advising Guide for the MEd in Special Education Strand B (Degree plus LBS II) (pdf)
- Advising Guide for the MEd in Special Education Strand C (Degree plus LBS I) (pdf)
- Fall 2002 to Fall 2009 Admits -- Advising Guide for the MEd in Special Education Strand B (Degree plus LBS II) (pdf)
- End of LBS II program document (pdf)
- LBS II Teacher Candidate Dispositional Qualities (pdf)
- SPED LBS II Teacher Candidate Evaluation Form (pdf)
- SPED Faculty Final Exit Evaluation LBS II (pdf)
- Masters handbook (pdf)