4+1 Accelerated Master's Degree in Special Education

4+1 Accelerated Master of Education in Special Education

The 4+1 Accelerated M.Ed. in Special Education allows students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Special Education at the University of Maine, the University of Maine at Augusta, or the University of Maine at Machias to earn a bachelor’s degree (B.S.) and an M.Ed. in Special Education: High Incidence Disabilities Concentration at the University of Maine in five combined years of study. Students will take classes during their senior year at their home institution and online that will be applied to an M.Ed. in Special Education: High Incidence Disabilities Concentration (to be completed at the University of Maine after their bachelor’s degree).

UMaine’s online M.Ed. in Special Education with a Concentration in High Incidence Disabilities prepares you to provide high-quality education to students with mild to moderate disabilities such as learning disabilities and/or emotional/behavioral disorders. You’ll learn how to use the latest evidence-based strategies to adapt general education curriculum and create safe, inclusive, and culturally responsive classrooms. By understanding how to apply best practices, you can give students the proper attention, assistance, and instruction to help them succeed.

Note: Students must apply to the 4+1 track before completing their undergraduate degree or Teacher Certification postbaccalaureate.


Students who intend to apply for the 4+1 program and students who have been accepted into the 4+1 program must work closely with their advisors to ensure course completion aligns with the courses below.

UMA/UMM Courses

  • SED 420: Special Education Law (3 credits)
    UM equivalent: SED 520
  • SED 425: Assessment in Special Education (3 credits)
    UM equivalent: SED 553
  • SED 435: Program Planning in Special Education (3 credits)
    UM equivalent: SED 543
  • SED 445: Behavior Support Systems & Strategies (3 credits)
    UM equivalent: SED 532
  • SED 455: Transitional Issues for Students with Disabilities (3 credits)
    UM equivalent: SED 587

+1 Course Options to be Taken Online at UMaine

  • SED 505: Diversity of Development in Childhood (3 credits)
  • SED 520: Law and Policy Affecting Individuals (3 credits)
  • SED 528: Educational Methods for Students with Autism (3 credits)
  • SED 532: Behavior Management and Intervention (3 credits)
  • SED 544: Math Methods in Special Education (3 credits)
  • SED 545: Intervention for Reading Difficulties (3 credits)
  • SED 546: Intervention of Writing Difficulties (3 credits)
  • SED 564: Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning in Pre-K-12 Classrooms (3 credits)
  • SED 605: Critical Issues in Special Education (3 credits)

Students seeking certification in Maine are required to take SED 500: Adapting Instruction for Students with Disabilities (3 credits) and a multicultural course in addition to the program of study.

Contact Us

Have questions about earning your accelerated M.Ed. in Special Education online with UMaine? Contact Amanda Cupps, UMaineOnline Senior Advisor, at 207.581.3452 or at amanda.cupps@maine.edu.

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Note: This program is only available to undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Special Education through the University of Maine, the University of Maine at Augusta, and the University of Maine at Machias.

Students must apply to the 4+1 track before completing their undergraduate degree or Teacher Certification postbaccalaureate. 

Interested students complete a 4+1 application for early admissions directly to the program rather than to the Graduate School (Post-baccalaureate students should apply as soon as possible after graduating). The Advising Center (UM) or your advisor (UMA/UMM) will work with potential students to create a plan of study that leads to graduation within 15 months after matriculation into the program.

The program of study and the conditional admission is communicated to the Graduate School and the student must complete a formal application through the Graduate School during the last semester of their senior year or post-baccalaureate for admission to the M.Ed. program.

We have rolling admissions so you can apply and be accepted into the program at any time after meeting the requirements. However, The following dates are recommended:

  • Fall Semester: August 15
  • Spring Semester: December 15
  • Summer Semester: April 15


  • At least 60 but no more than 100 completed credit hours applicable towards the B.A. degree
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • SED 500 or SED 302
  • Applicants must be working or volunteering with students with disabilities prior to being accepted to the M.Ed. program.
  • 12 credits (4 courses) of 400-level coursework in the area of Special Education taken during their undergraduate degree or Teacher Certification post-baccalaureate program. 
  • The credits will be transferred to the student’s graduate record upon formal admission to the Graduate School and successful completion of the 4+1 curriculum. 

Application Materials

An advisor can walk you through the application process and answer any questions about prerequisites and important dates. We recommend contacting Amanda Cupps, UMaineOnline Advisor, at 207.581.3452 or amanda.cupps@maine.edu prior to applying. When you are ready to apply, please submit the following:

  • An application
  • Official academic transcripts
  • A 400 to 500-word essay describing your motivation for obtaining a concentration in High Incidence Disabilities that demonstrates your writing skills and capacity for reflection
  • Evidence of fingerprinting and a completed background check
  • Proof of teaching certification if you currently hold a teaching license. After completing the undergraduate or post-baccalaureate teacher certification program, students must apply to the Maine Department of Education for initial certification. 
  • Letters of recommendation about your ability to perform graduate-level coursework and potential for success as a special education teacher
  • CV or résumé

Applicants may be invited for a personal interview with the Special Education faculty.

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The need for well-trained and knowledgeable special education teachers has never been greater. The demand for special education teachers is rising as children with disabilities are increasingly being identified earlier and more are being enrolled in special education programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of special education teachers is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030 with about 38,600 openings per year. The median annual wage for special education teachers was $61,500 in May 2020, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $41,950.

The concentration can lead to Maine certification in Teacher of Students with Disabilities (K-8 or 7-12) (282E or 282S). Earning certification in other states through this program may be very simple. Please visit your state’s department of education for information or visit the United States Department of Education website. Specific information regarding Maine certification is available through the Maine Department of Education.

Graduates can also find opportunities outside the classroom as supervisors and administrators or in fields such as social work, health care, or therapy.


Our faculty actively conduct research in effective special education practices giving them a depth of knowledge about the unique challenges experienced by those who work with students with disabilities. They are also leaders in institutions, such as the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research, dedicated to improving the lives of those with special needs. Their passion and expertise will help you develop practical skills and grow as a professional educator.

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NC-SARA Statement

This program will prepare students to be eligible for licensure within the State of Maine. Visit the UMS State Authorization & Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, in addition to the contact information needed to inquire further into the licensure requirements associated with this program.

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