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The MEd in Special Education prepares graduates to work with people with disabilities, diverse in strengths, ages (5-21), and teaching and learning in educational and community settings, and schools. The need for special education teachers is urgent, especially in urban areas like Chicago. Research indicates that a shortage of special education teachers disproportionately affects minority students, particularly in urban school districts that have large majorities of African American and Latina/o/x students. Special educators work in a range of instructional settings in school and in communities.

All students earn a master's and can add on initial Illinois licensure and credentials. The program welcomes students entirely new to teaching, current teachers new to special education, current special education teachers and students seeking new knowledge about special education.

About UIC's MEd Special Education program:

  • Several tuition funding sources & scholarship opportunities
  • No GRE and no IL TAP test required
  • Evening courses can be taken full- or part-time, with face-to-face, blended and online formats

2023 MEd Special Education Graduate Gerald N. Daye Jr. Heading link

Gerald N. Daye graduated with an MEd in Special Education.


Scholarships and Financial Support Heading link

Financial assistance is available through national, state, and UIC funds:

Assistive Technology Leaders in Special Education II (ATLiS2) is a special education scholarship program that will prepare currently licensed educators to earn an Illinois learning behavior specialist (LBS1) endorsement and an advanced learning behavior specialist (LBS2) endorsement in assistive technology. ATLiS2 scholars will participate in interdisciplinary coursework and community building activities to establish a community of assistive technology specialists.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

The TEACH Grant provides federal student aid to teacher candidates who seek to become teachers in low-income schools.

As a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve in which you agree to (among other requirements) teach: (1) in a high-need field; (2) at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families; and (3) for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which you received the grant.

Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program

Students in the MEd Special Education program pursuing licensure to teach special education (including current teachers with an Illinois Professional Education License who are not currently qualified to teach special education) may be eligible for the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program.  This program exempts students from paying tuition and mandatory fees for up to four calendar years.  By receiving the tuition waiver, you must teach in Illinois in the field of special education. If this teaching commitment is not fulfilled, the amount of benefits received converts to a loan, and you must repay the entire amount plus interest.

UIC Graduate College Tuition Waiver

Students in any graduate program at the College of Education are eligible for a UIC Graduate College tuition waiver.  Available on a semester-by-semester basis, a limited number are available, but all students are encouraged to apply.

CHIME (Collaborative teaching for young and diverse children with high-intensity needs and multiple disabilities in blended environments) is a federally funded special education scholarship program that will prepare current teachers with an Illinois educators license to earn a master’s degree, an IL Learning Behavior Specialist (LBS1) endorsement, and the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) approval. CHIME will prepare educators to teach young children with disabilities, especially those between the ages of 3 and 5, in inclusive environments with a commitment educational justice, accessibility, and equity.

CHIME will provide students with a scholarship that consists of tuition, fees and a book stipend. The program will last two-years across five semesters with students taking two to three classes per semester. Each student must complete a service obligation that requires one year of teaching in an approved position for each semester of funding.


  • Current teachers with a professional educator’s license (PEL) without LBS1 endorsement or ECSE approval
  • Interest in learning about special education, evidence-based interventions, and inclusion for students aged 3-21.
  • US Citizen or Permanent US Resident

Program Content

Between January 2025 and July 2026, CHIME scholars will complete 37 credits in the following areas:

  • 18 credits to earn the LBS1 endorsement
  • 14 credits to earn the ECSE approval
  • 5 credits for CHIME cohort seminar

Program Benefits

  • Full tuition, fees, and a book stipend
  • Credentials to teach young children with disabilities
  • Community-building activities
  • UIC Early Childhood Special Education Cooperative participation
  • Hybrid and online courses held in the evening, includes two summer semesters.

Application Process

Apply through the Graduate College deadline is Oct 1st, 2024.

Information sessions

We will host virtual information sessions over the coming months to review the project and answer questions. Please register for an information session at the link below. We will send login information to those who register prior to the event.

April 23rd 2024 @ 5:00pm

May 15th 2024 @ 5:00pm

June 7th 2024 @12:00pm

Aug 22nd 2024 @ 5:00pm

Click Here to Register for an Information Session


Program Support

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

University of Illinois, College of Education, Department of Special Education


For Further Information Contact the Program Coordinator

Stephanie Fernandez, MEd

CHIME Program Coordinator

Special Education

Information Session Dates Heading link

Interested in pursuing a special education license, endorsement, or in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst? Attend an upcoming information session to learn more about our programs. (Note: there are no info sessions during the summer.) All information sessions start at 5:00pm on the following dates. Please complete the interest form to receive the login information prior to the session.

Join an upcoming Info Session! Heading link

Add Credentials to your Illinois teaching license (PEL) Heading link

Special Ed master’s students have the option to pursue several different credentials from the State of Illinois in addition to licensure:

  • Early Childhood Special Education Approval
  • Bilingual and/or English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsements
  • Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS1) for ages 5-21
  • Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS2) for advanced specialization:
    • Assistive technology
    • Behavior intervention
    • Curriculum adaptation (inclusion)
    • Multiple disabilities
    • Transition

Endorsement only: Licensed teachers have the option to earn these endorsements without completing a master’s degree program through UIC Extended Campus (LBS1 starting Fall 2020).

Frequently Asked Questions Heading link

Commonly asked questions about the MEd Special Education program.

Contact Us Heading link

Fill out the form below, and someone from the MEd Special Education program will be in contact with you.