Online M.Ed. in Special Education: Individualized Program

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Online Master of Education in Special Education: Individualized Program

UMaineOnline is ranked #35 in Best Online Master’s in Education for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

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.

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. 
  • 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.

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


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.

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.


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


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: May 10
  • Spring Semester: November 1
  • Summer Semester: April 1

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 (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)
  • 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
  • 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.

Contact Us

Have questions about earning an M.Ed. in Special Education online with UMaine? Contact Amanda Cupps, UMaineOnline Senior Advisor, at 207.581.3452 or at

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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.

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.


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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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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