Special Education, EdM

for the degree of Master of Education in Special Education

department head: Michaelene Ostrosky

director of graduate studies: Stacy Dymond

graduate admissions information: Linda Stimson

overview of admissions & requirements: College of Education

overview of graduate college admissions & requirements: https://grad.illinois.edu/admissions/apply

department website: http://education.illinois.edu/sped

program website: College of Education Programs

department faculty: Special Education Faculty

college website: http://education.illinois.edu/

department office: 142 Education Building, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820

phone: (217) 244-3542

email: gradservices@education.illinois.edu

The Department of Special Education offers several master's program areas of emphasis and licensure: Infancy and Early Childhood Special Education, Learning and Behavior Specialist I (LBS-I), and Learning and Behavior Specialist II (LBS-II). LBS-I is the master's program that prepares teachers for their initial teaching licensure. The other master's programs are available for practicing teachers and other professionals interested in graduate studies. Several of these programs can be completed on a full or part-time basis. In most cases, full-time students take two years to complete their program of studies. 

Graduate Degree Programs in Special Education

Special Education, EdM (on campus & off-campus)

optional concentrations: Bilingual-Bicultural Education|Digital Learning

Special Education, MS

optional concentrations: Bilingual-Bicultural Education|Digital Learning

Special Education, PhD


Applicants must submit a complete application for admission. The applicant must submit three letters of reference and transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work. A 3.0 grade point average (A = 4.0) for the last two years of the undergraduate program and for any previous graduate work is a minimum requirement for admission. The applicant must also submit a goal statement indicating his/her interests, experiences, and goals for pursuing graduate study in special education. In addition to the above items, international students must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score (taken within two years of the start of the semester for which the student is requesting admission). International students must have a total iBT score greater than 102 (72nd-79th percentile). The minimum speaking score is 24 (79th percentile).

Off-Campus Program

The Department of Special Education offers master’s degree programs off-campus in coordination with Federal Personnel Preparation Grant awards. The focus of the off-campus program changes depending on the type of grant award. For example, past emphases have been on behavior intervention and multiple disabilities. For information on currently available off-campus programs, please visit the Department's website at https://education.illinois.edu/sped.


The Council on Teacher Education functions as the all-University governance system for licensure. Graduate students who wish to qualify for the council's recommendation for a teaching or administrative license must complete the appropriate graduate program. The Department of Special Education offers graduate-level licensure programs in Learning and Behavior Specialist I (LBS-I), and Learning and Behavior Specialist II (LBS-II). Early Childhood Special Education master’s students who already hold a Professional Educator License who went through an Early Childhood approved program qualify for the Illinois ECSE approval.

Faculty Research Interests

The Department of Special Education faculty have a variety of research interests. There are multiple opportunities for graduate students to engage in research activities with faculty. For information about specific faculty research interests, current grants, and publications, please visit the Faculty Finder.

Facilities and Resources

The College of Education also has many resources to assist graduate students through their academic career. The Bureau of Educational Research works with students to secure research funding. The Council on Teacher Education entitles candidates seeking a Professional Educator License and provides accreditation of professional education programs. Each student completing a degree program is assigned a graduate adviser, who is available to assist the student with planning the program of study and determining degree requirements, courses and timelines for degree completion.

Information on University resources can be found at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/current-students.

Financial Aid

Students engaged in graduate study and research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign find an environment where collaboration among faculty members and students is nurtured and rewarded and where the students' contributions are recognized and valued. In many cases, this recognition comes in the form of financial awards that enable students to devote concentrated attention to their studies. Virtually all doctoral candidates receive assistantships/ traineeships. Traineeships are grant funded and are available for full-time students pursuing initial teacher licensure and leadership preparation in specific areas. Other financial aid opportunities (e.g., fellowships and assistantships) are available on a competitive basis. Students receiving traineeships, assistantships, and fellowships are exempt from payment of tuition and some fees.

Financial aid in the form of assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and tuition waivers can be found throughout the college and campus. Campus opportunities can be found at the Graduate College and the Office of Student Financial AidPlease note: Graduate students employed as Staff by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are not eligible for a College of Education Award or Scholarship.

for the degree of Master of Education in Special Education

The Department of Special Education offers many programs leading to the degree of Master of Education (Ed.M.).  A list of programs and additional requirements can be found on the program's website, the College of Education Graduate Programs Handbook, and the Graduate College Handbook.

Students may select a concentration in Bilingual-Bicultural Education or Digital Learning.

Psychological Foundations Courses in Educational Psychology
Select one of the following:4
Psychology of Learning in Education
Child Language and Education
Sociocultural Influence on Learning
Adjustment in School Settings
Personality and Soc Dev
Psychology of Classroom Management
Adult Learning and Development
Learning and Human Development with Educational Technology
Early Adolescent Development
Assessing Student Performance
Developments in Educational Psychology
Global Issues in Learning
Philosophical and Social Foundations Courses in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Select one of the following:4
History of American Education
Asian American Education
Historical and Social Barriers
School and Society
Professional Ethics in Education
Critical Thinking in Education
Aesthetic Education
Sociology of Education
Racial and Ethnic Families
Politics of Education
Economics of Education
Technology and Educational Reform
Political & Cultural Context of Education
Select a minimum of 18 hours from the following:18
Disability Issues in Special Education
Supervised Practice in Special Education
Collaborative Leaders in Special Education
Leadership in Early Childhood Special Education
Field Study and Thesis Seminar
Elective Hours: 6
400/500-Level Hours Required: 6 hours (Independent Study included)
Research/Project/Independent Study Hours (min/max applied toward degree):0-6
Total Hours32

Other Requirements:

Program/Licensure Requirements 10-61 hours depending on emphasis, http://education.illinois.edu/sped/programs
Minimum GPA 3.0