M.Ed. in Special Education (Moderate and Severe Disabilities) (w/ Online Option)

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Who should apply for this program?

  • Individuals interested in teaching students with moderate/ severe disabilities
  • Individuals with a bachelor's degree in education and a teaching certificate or statement of eligibility
  • Individuals with strong academic credentials

The special education licensure program provides a strong foundation in general education content, special education theory and methods, and teaching experience. Extensive classroom experience allows students to develop the skills, competencies, and confidence for successful teaching, including strategies for inclusion, behavior management, social skill instruction, and modifying instruction in the general curriculum. Students also benefit from the supervision and mentorship of experienced practitioners, field supervisors, or university faculty. The program's special education professors are experienced practitioners who are experts in their fields as researchers, teachers, and administrators.

Licensure to teach students with moderate and severe disabilities prepares candidates to teach students with intellectual disabilities that impede academic achievement and adaptive behavior skills (e.g., communication, social behavior, and daily living activities). Elementary teachers work primarily with beginning or remedial skills in academic content (English language arts, math, science, and social studies) and adaptive behaviors. Middle Grades and Secondary teachers address these skills in addition to preparing students to transition to vocations or to post-secondary education. Students with moderate and severe disabilities may spend all or part of their time in traditional classroom settings, but may also receive special education instruction for part of the day in resource rooms, or in self-contained classrooms within the school. Students with moderate and severe disabilities may have intellectual disabilities, autism, multiple disabilities, or other health impairments.

Sarah Wiljanen

The Moderate and Severe Education Masters Program at U of L has prepared me for real life situations in and out of the classroom. The program has enhanced my teaching with researched based techniques, constructive feedback from professors and support from other students in the program.

Sarah Wiljanen, Moderate and Severe Disabilities Education Student

Related Links

All classes in the major concentrations are offered online through Blackboard. Blackboard is the course management system used by U of L to facilitate online learning. Among other things, students use Blackboard to...

  • Read the course syllabus or handouts
  • Submit papers and assignments
  • Take tests
  • View grades
  • Send email to other students or the instructor
  • Participate in an online chat
  • Discuss case studies with classmates on a discussion board

The biggest benefit of online learning is that you can work to earn your degree from your own home while raising your family, working full time, or experiencing particular life circumstances that make commuting to campus difficult or impossible. At U of L, you are taught by the same world class faculty as our on campus students. You read the same textbooks, do many of the same assignments and earn the same degrees. The biggest difference is that you are able to do it in a way that best fits your lifestyle.

Be prepared for online learning. Online learning is learning that is facilitated in an online environment. Rather than attend class in a traditional classroom setting, online learning allows you to attend class from a location that is readily accessible.

Will you be a successful online learner?

Online learning is not for everyone. Successful online students...

  • Have a desire to learn online
  • Are motivated
  • Have strong time management and organizational skills
  • Can work independently
  • Have college level reading and writing skills
  • Are not afraid to speak up when problems arise

For more information, view /online.

Program Curriculum

Detailed requirements for completing this degree are provided in the Graduate Catalog.

Note: Meeting GRE score and GPA minimums does not guarantee admission to the program.

Admission Requirements

Students may apply to the program by first going to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies web site.

Students must also submit the following information:

  • Official transcripts with a GPA of 2.75 in the Bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA or higher for graduate work.
    Applicants who have attended a college or university outside of the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through either WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

    Please have transcripts sent to:
    School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292

    If transcripts are sent electronically,
    please have them sent to the following e-mail: gradadm @ louisville.edu

  • Applicants must complete EDSP 540, Introduction to Exceptional Children prior to admission to the program. If an applicant meets all other admission criteria and has not completed EDSP 540, the applicant may be admitted conditionally.
  • For GRE scores prior to August 1, 2011, a minimum combined (verbal and quantitative) score of an 800 is required for unconditional admission. For GRE scores taken August 1, 2011 and after, please refer to the table below.
    SectionExceeds expectationMeets expectationFalls below expectationsDoes not meet expections
    Verbal157 (73%) and above147 (32%) to 156 (70%)143 (18%) to 146 (28%)142 (15%) and below
    Quantitative153 (53%) and above142 (13%) to 152 (49%)138 (5%) to 141 (11%)137 (3%) and below
    Please note: when submitting GRE scores through ETS, have scores sent to the general University of Louisville code, 1838.
    Need help preparing for the GRE? Sign up for a GRE Information Session.
  • Two letters of recommendation (use graduate recommendation forms [PDF]). At least one Faculty/Academic recommendation must be included in the application materials.
  • Teaching certificate or statement of eligibility
  • A personal statement of no more than 250-500 hundred words, along with the Personal Statement Cover Sheet [PDF]
  • (Application materials, including the personal statement, will be evaluated using the Ideas to Action Unit Dispositions Rubric [PDF], Ideas to Action Holistic Construct Rubric [PDF], and University of Louisville Effective Communication Rubric [PDF] by a faculty member committee).
  • Signed statement: Technology and Code of Ethics Form [PDF]
  • TOEFL is required of all foreign students from countries in which English is not the native language. Students who hold a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the U.S. are exempt from this requirement.

Additional Admission Requirements

Upon admission to the program, students will be assigned a faculty advisor and will work collaboratively with that advisor to complete a Program Sheet.

Also, upon admission to the program students will be required to complete a LiveText orientation in which students will be introduced to the Professional Growth Plan format. The Professional Growth Plan is part of the exit work sample used to document the student's performance related to the Kentucky Teaching Standards. This evidence is used for degree and certification requirements.

Information about the Personal Statement

The personal statement is the applicant's opportunity to demonstrate his/her writing ability as well as provide a personal introduction to the admissions screening committee. The personal statement should be no more than 500 words, and should be double spaced and word-processed. Applicants are encouraged to proofread their writing, and to submit the best work possible. The attached rubrics (Ideas to Action Unit Dispositions Rubric [PDF], Ideas to Action Holistic Construct Rubric [PDF], and University of Louisville Effective Communication Rubric [PDF]) are provided to help applicants understand how their writing will be evaluated.

If you have questions about applying to the program, please contact Aaron Phillips, Assistant Director for Education Academic Services, at 502-852-3214.

Contact Us

Ginevra Courtade
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education and Human Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Special Education Faculty

Graduates of this program acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to address the needs of students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities.

Financial Aid

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities.

Supervising and Resource Teachers

In recognition of valuable service to the preparation of teachers and the need for all teachers to have continual professional growth, a supervising teacher or a resource teacher for teacher interns may, with prior approval of the course-offering institution, take a maximum of six (6) credit hours per term at any public postsecondary institution and pay no tuition. The postsecondary institution shall waive the tuition up to a maximum of six (6) credit hours.

To apply, you must complete the Tuition Waiver Certification for Supervising and Resource Teachers Application [PDF]. It should be completed by the supervising teacher, certified by their principal, and returned to our office. Return the form to the Student Financial Aid Office at U of L, attention: Wesley Partin.

Eligibility: 6 credit hours of tuition benefits for each semester served as a full responsibility supervising or resource teacher, or 3 credit hours of tuition benefits for each semester served as a shared supervising or resource teacher. Students may exercise the tuition waiver option up to twelve months following the assignment. Tuition benefits are paid directly to the University of Louisville.

I have some credit hours from another program/university. Can the credit be transferred?

Once you are admitted to the program, you may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours if your UofL advisor approves the request. Transfer requests are then submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

What degrees or endorsements do I receive if I complete the program?

You will receive a Master of Education in Special Education degree. You will also receive certification to teach Moderate and Severe Disabilities.

How long does it take to complete the MEd program?

The program can be completed in as few as two years or as many as six years.