Format Credit Hours Tuition Application Deadline Test Requirements
100% Online 33 credits $550/cr. in-state and out-of-state* Rolling Admission

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*This special e-tuition rate applies to out-of-state students enrolled in a UMaineOnline degree or certificate program. Tuition rates for those not enrolled in a program/non-degree students can be found on Tuition & Fees.

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

Master of Education in Special Education: Individualized Program

The University of Maine’s online Master of Education in Special Education: Individualized Program develops an understanding of how to apply current evidence-based practices in PreK-12 classrooms for children with special needs. You’ll learn how to apply effective practices to address the needs of students in inclusive, general-education learning environments as well as in special education settings. By understanding how to apply best practices, you can ensure students with disabilities receive the proper attention, assistance, and intervention to succeed in school

The Individualized Program is a custom-designed program in consultation with a faculty advisor to meet your specific needs and goals. This program does not lead to certification in Special Education.

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 #108 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs by U.S. News.
  • 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.


With a faculty advisor, students select courses around their professional background and goals, prior academic work, and areas calling for professional growth. Students can take any of the Special Education courses offered at the University of Maine. Other courses in areas in the College of Education and Human Development can be taken as well, although at least 50% of credits must be in Special Education. You can find a list of courses offered in the Graduate School course catalog.


Possible course options include but are not limited to:

  • SED 506: Assessment and Program Planning in Early Intervention (3 credits)
  • SED 511: Planning Inclusive Early Childhood Programs and Environments (3 credits)
  • SED 514: Administration and Public Policy for Early Childhood Programs (3 credits)
  • SED 517: Servings Infants and Toddlers in Natural Environments (3 credits)
  • SED 523: Home-based Practicum and Seminar in Early Intervention (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 564: Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning in PreK-12 Classrooms (3 credits)
  • SED 585: Autism and Social Communication (3 credits)
  • SED 598: Special Topics in Special Education (1-3 credits)

Note: You must be working or volunteering with PK-12 students with disabilities in a public school setting in order to complete course requirements.

Course Schedule

Student Handbook


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 and the Council for Exceptional Children, 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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Explore Research and Outreach


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 it’s 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 (If an applicant’s GPA is below 3.0, admission may be considered with the provision of obtaining a B or better in the first two graduate courses)
  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (waived if not required by the state where the applicant will be teaching or if the applicant holds current teaching certification)
  • A “B” or better in SED 302, SED 500, or equivalent course about teaching students with disabilities. 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 students with disabilities in a PK-12 classroom. 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
  • Official Praxis Core scores (candidates currently certified in Maine may have documentation on their teaching certificate stating they have met Praxis requirements; waived if not required by the state where the applicant will be teaching or if the applicant holds current teaching certification)
  • A 400 to 500-word essay describing your motivation for obtaining an M.Ed. in Special Education 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.

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The need for well-trained and knowledgeable special education teachers has never been greater. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of special education teachers will grow 3-8% from 2019-2029. 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.

An M.Ed. in Special Education can lead to opportunities for career advancement, including positions as lead teachers, coaches, and special education directors. Graduates can also find opportunities outside the classroom as supervisors and administrators or in fields such as social work, health care, or therapy.

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

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Out-of-State Certification and Licensure

Out-of-state Students: Once completed, graduates can apply for professional special education teaching certification through the department of education in the state they are seeking certification in. Please refer to the U.S. Department of Education for the contact information needed to determine teacher certification or licensure requirements for each individual state.

*A criminal record may prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure, certification, or employment in this field of study.