Project PLUS Scholarship

Applications for PLUS are due October 1

Preparing Leaders in Urban Special Education (PLUS) is a special education master’s program that will prepare scholars to become school leaders with expertise to develop, implement, and evaluate effective inclusive programs for students with disabilities. PLUS scholars will participate in an interdisciplinary program that will include coursework in special education and educational leadership. Graduates will acquire the skills to become school leaders who are able to support the instructional needs of students with disabilities within the broader school context.

PLUS scholarships include costs for tuition, university fees, and an annual book stipend. The one- year program will consist of three interrelated components:

1. Coursework in special education and educational leadership to be completed across two semesters and will lead to a master’s degree in special education; eligibility to earn a Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS2) credential in Curricular Adaptations Specialist; and a concentration in educational leadership;

2. Participation in a summer Urban Leadership Research Experience in which scholars work alongside current school leaders to understand an issue related to the development and implementation of effective inclusive practices for students with disabilities;

3. Participation in a post-graduation Community of Practice in which individuals network with special education leaders to discuss common challenges associated with the implementation, supervision, and evaluation of inclusive learning environments for students with disabilities.

Upon completion of the program, scholars will be prepared to assume leadership roles (e.g., department chairperson; inclusion specialist; lead teacher) in special education. The program will begin in the Spring 2020 with completion of the program requiring 1 year of study (typically 3 classes and one seminar a semester).  Scholars are required to complete a service obligation in the field of special education (2 years for each year of support) within schools and districts within the United States.


  • Current and Full Grade Span LBS1 (i.e., eligible to teach K-12)
  • 2 years teaching experience by December 31, 2019
  • 1-year commitment (January 2020–December 2020)
  • Service obligation in special education (2 years)
  • Acceptance to MEd Special Education program, Group 3

The scholarship program is only open to individuals who have taught for 2 years as of December 31, 2019 and who have a current full LBS 1 teaching endorsement, thus able to teach students with disabilities across all grade levels. Unfortunately, individuals with an LBS1 approval or limited LBS1 endorsement (e.g., only able to teach students with disabilities in certain grades) are not eligible for the scholarship.

To be eligible to receive funding from PLUS, applicants must first be accepted into the MEd Special Education program.  The program will accept no more than 14 scholars for the upcoming year.  The next cohort begins S2020.

Program Requirements

The program requires 36 credits and is completed in two years starting in the spring semester.

  • 22 credits in special education (6 classes)
  • 5 credits in summer Urban Leadership Research Experience
  • 6 credits in electives
  • Participation in Community of Practice (post-graduation)

Program Benefits

  • Fully paid tuition and university fees
  • Annual book stipend of $500
  • Interdisciplinary coursework
  • Summer urban leadership research experience
  • Post-graduation participation opportunity through community of practice

Application Process

Applications for the Spring 2020 cohort are due October 1, 2019.

1. Complete the Preparing Leaders in Urban Special Education (PLUS) Application

The application includes a goal statement and resume.  Submit this application to the project directors following the instructions. Applicants will be contacted to schedule the interview with special education faculty.

2. Complete the MEd Special Education Application.

Complete the online application for the MEd Special Education program, including an application to the UIC Graduate College and uploading transcripts and recommendation letters. Payment of application fee required.

To be eligible to receive funding from PLUS, applicants must first be accepted into the MEd Special Education program.  The program will accept no more than 14 scholars for the upcoming year.

Upcoming Information Sessions

In-person and online information sessions take place in the summer and fall semesters. Times and dates for 2020 are TBD.


Read through Frequently Asked Questions.

Have further questions?  Submit a question to the project coordinator, Amanda Passmore at

Informational PowerPoint

Download the informational PowerPoint as a PDF.

Project Directors

Marie Hughes, PhD
Special Education

Daniel Maggin, PhD
Associate Professor
Special Education