Special Education

Preparing students for successful careers in teaching students with special needs in both inclusive and non-inclusive classroom environments. The program also strives to educate its graduate students to exemplify good character and integrity in all aspects of their professional lives.

Special Education Program

Program Tracks Available

On campus

Admission Deadline

Fall (August start): Rolling
Spring (January start): Rolling
Summer: Rolling

Degrees Offered

M.A., C.A.G.S.



Program Contact

Susan M. Cahill

Assistant Director of Graduate Recruitment
book an Appointment
508-767-7365 Admissions House - Room 205

Nanho Vander Hart, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Special Education, Director of Special Education
508-767-7380 Kennedy Memorial Hall - Room 157

Mary Mahan

Academic Affairs Support Team
508-767-7297 Kennedy Hall - Room 169
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Program Curriculum


Admissions Requirements

Special Education-specific Admission Requirements

Enrollment in the Special Education program is open to any qualified individuals who meet the admissions standards. Individuals may enroll in the master's program whether or not they seek Massachusetts teacher licensure. Candidates for the graduate program in special education may submit an application at any time.

Please note that a grade point average of 3.0 or better is expected of students who enter the program. Exceptions to this policy are not common. When extenuating circumstances exist, the admissions committee can recommend to the Special Education director that a student is permitted to take courses as a special student. In these cases, formal admission to the graduate program is deferred until a candidate has successfully met criteria specified by the admissions committee.

All Candidates for Initial Licensure must meet the following criteria
  • Possess a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree;
  • Have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
  • Candidates for the Massachusetts Initial License for Teacher of students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12) are not required to have passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) prior to applying to the program, however, to be eligible to enroll in the practicum, students must submit evidence of passing scores on all MTEL required for licensure.
Candidates seeking a license for PreK-8 must pass the following tests:
  • Communication and Literacy Skills;
  • Foundations of Reading OR Reading Specialists; and
  • General Curriculum, including two subtests (i.e., multi-subject and mathematics subtests).
  • Candidates seeking licensure for 5-12 must pass the following tests:

Candidates for the Initial License who do not already hold a Massachusetts teacher license may be required, at the discretion of the special education faculty, to take additional coursework in the content areas and/or curriculum and methods of teaching prior to enrollment in the practicum.

NOTE: Individuals who complete approved programs are eligible for licensure reciprocity with the approximately 45 other states that are parties to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, 2010-2015.

All candidates for Professional Licensure must meet the following criteria
  • Possess a Bachelor of Arts of Bachelor of Science degree;
  • Have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0;
  • Possess an Initial license as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities or Elementary Education from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;
  • Have at least one year of full-time employment in an educational setting.

For information concerning the Commonwealth of Massachusetts teacher licensure, contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

Office of Educator Licensure
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 338-3000

Note: The following is required for a Professional License. For more information, visit

  • 3 years of employment under an Initial License
  • Completion of a teacher induction program
Candidates Who Do Not Seek Massachusetts Educator Licensure (non licensure students)

Prospective students for the MA program only must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a Bachelor Of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree;
  • Have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0

General Graduate Studies Admissions Requirements

  • Completed Application Dated & Signed
  • $30 Application Fee (waived for AC Alumni)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript(s)
  • Personal Statement
  • Current Resume
  • TOEFL or IELTS for applicants whose native language is not English
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