M.Ed. in Special Education: Early Intervention - Early Childhood Concentration

*Check the Department of Education requirements for your state to determine if testing is required.

Master of Education in Special Education: Early Intervention – Early Childhood Concentration

The University of Maine’s online Master of Education in Special Education with a Concentration in Early Intervention – Early Childhood gives you the skills to prepare children with a range of special needs 5 and younger and their families for success. You’ll learn how to use the latest evidence-based strategies and advanced teaching methods, support and nourish family relationships, collaborate with other professionals, and gain hands-on teaching experience. By understanding how to apply best practices, you can effectively provide young children with disabilities with the critical developmental and educational experiences essential to thrive.

Why UMaineOnline?

  • Earn your degree from anywhere. Our program is 100% online so you can learn when you want, wherever you are.
  • Learn from experienced faculty who are leaders in their field. Our faculty understand the challenges of special education professionals and conduct research in the areas they teach.
  • Same high-quality education as on-campus. Courses are designed and taught by on-campus faculty who are passionate about online teaching at Maine’s only public research university. Our program is also ranked #147 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Develop skills to collaborate effectively. You will work with co-teachers, families, and other service providers and advance your connections within the field.
  • Experience multiple perspectives. We use case studies, simulations, and reflective exercises to prepare you for diverse settings.


Our curriculum explores every element of the early intervention environment. Courses supply the foundations of early intervention professional practice using advanced content in a variety of research areas. Throughout your coursework, you’ll work closely with a faculty advisor to ensure the program meets your needs.

Note: You must be working with young children birth to five years old in order to complete course requirements.

Core Courses

The following core courses are required (33 credits):

  • SED 505: Diversity of Development in Childhood (3 credits)
  • SED 506: Assessment and Program Planning in Early Childhood (3 credits)
  • SED 511: Planning Inclusive Early Childhood Programs and Environments (3 credits)
  • SED 513: Individualized Practicum (1-3 credits)
  • SED 514: Leadership, Advocacy, and Public Policy in Early Childhood Intervention (3 credits)
  • SED 516: Collaborative Consultation in Early Childhood (3 credits)
  • SED 517: Servings Infants and Toddlers in Natural Environments (3 credits)
  • SED 524: Supporting Play and Social-Emotional Development for Young Children (3 credits)
  • SED 529: Language Development and Literacy for Diverse Young Learners (3 credits)
  • SED 532: Behavior Management and Intervention (3 credits)
  • SED 598: Interactions and Interventions for Working with Young Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 credits)
  • SED 598: Partnering with Families (3 credits)


Students complete a capstone in lieu of a thesis. Generally completed during your final year of study, the capstone is a project showcasing the skills you’ve gained over the course of the program. This course will guide you through the project (3 credits):

  • SED 655: Interdisciplinary Project in Early Intervention (3 credits)

Printable Program of Study

Course Schedule

Student Handbook


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

  • Fall semester (starts in September): submit by August 15th
  • Spring semester (starts in January): submit by December 15th
  • Summer semester (starts in May): submit by April 15th

After these dates, your application will be considered for the next semester.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 6 credits of graduate coursework from another institution or 12 credits from the University of Maine can be transferred into the student’s program. Factors determining if credits can be transferred can include how recently the course was taken and its equivalency to courses in the program. However, graduate courses taken as an undergraduate cannot be transferred into the M.Ed. program. In order to be transferred, courses must be approved by the Special Education faculty during the application process.


  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university with a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • A “B” or better in CHF 450: Early Childhood Special Education or equivalent course. Applicants can still be accepted as long as they complete the prerequisite coursework prior to enrolling in M.Ed. courses.
  • Current experience working or volunteering with young children (birth-5 years old) and their families. Applicants without prior experience may be admitted but may be required to complete additional credit hours of field experience concurrent with course work.

Application Materials

The admission evaluation process begins once we’ve received all your application materials. Before you apply, please review the application instructions. When you’re ready to apply, please submit the following:

  • An online application
  • Official academic transcripts
  • A 400 to 500-word essay describing your motivation for obtaining a concentration in Early Intervention 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
  • CV or résumé

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

Contact Us

Have questions about earning an M.Ed. in Special Education online with UMaine? Contact Amanda Cupps, UMaineOnline Advisor, at 207.581.5858 or at umaineonline@maine.edu.

photo of Amanda Cupps

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The need for well-trained and knowledgeable special education professionals has never been greater. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of special education teachers will grow 8% from 2016-2026. The demand for special education interventionists is rising as children with disabilities are increasingly being identified earlier and more are being enrolled in special education programs.

The concentration can lead to Maine certification in Teacher of Students with Disabilities (0 to age 5) (282B). 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 young children with disabilities and their families. 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 an early intervention specialist.

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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.


The CONTAACT-ME program will assist students in earning a master’s degree that leads to state-approved certification in early childhood special education (birth-age 5). The project is supported by a nearly $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs, which will help 40-45 graduate students working toward master’s degrees in special education or communication sciences and disorders with an early childhood intervention focus.

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