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.

Admission Requirements

Candidates for the Master of Education in Special Education with a concentration in Moderate and Severe Disabilities are required to submit credentials supporting their academic ability to succeed at the graduate level as well as positive dispositions for teaching. Positive dispositions include: effective communication and critical thinking skills, professionalism, and commitment to diversity as well as the teaching profession. Admission credentials will include official transcripts, professional writing requirements, and letters of recommendation.

Candidates should review the following rubrics, used to assess admission credentials:

  1. Professional Dispositions Rubric [PDF]
  2. Diversity Rubric [PDF]
  3. Effective Written Communication Rubric [PDF]

Application Process

Questions about the application may be sent to gradadm@louisville.edu. Candidates should apply no later than three weeks prior to the beginning of the semester (August 1st for Fall, December 1st for Spring and April 1st for Summer). Candidates will be notified via e-mail regarding the admission decision.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed Online Graduate Application for Admission
  • Application fee (non-refundable)
  • *Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended with a minimum GPA of 2.75 in the Bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA or higher for graduate work.

    Please have transcripts sent to:

    University of Louisville
    School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
    2211 South Brook Street
    Houchens Bldg, Room 105
    Louisville, KY 40292

    Or gradadm@louisville.edu (for official electronic transcripts)

  • Two letters of recommendation – Please list the email addresses for two recommenders in the appropriate section of the online application. Recommenders will receive instructions and forms that they will complete electronically.
  • GRE Scores – When submitting GRE scores through ETS, have scores sent to the general University of Louisville code, 1838. GRE scores are required.
  • Kentucky Teaching certificate or statement of eligibility – Candidates certified in Kentucky are not required to submit this documentation as the information can be verified through the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.
  • Signed Technology and Code of Ethics Form [PDF]. Please print, sign and upload with the on-line application.
  • Current Resume
  • Professional Writing Requirements. Please complete the following and upload with your application. Each essay should be double-spaced (Times New Roman 12 point font) and no more than three pages.

    Essay #1

    • In what ways has your cultural heritage and background influenced the way you teach, and impacted your interactions with others who come from a different cultural background? Describe an example of an injustice or inequity that you witnessed, experienced, or became aware of during teaching - and your response at that time. Then, explain how you would respond if it occurred again. Finally, explain how you support respect for diversity in your classroom, and how you demonstrate a commitment to social justice and equity when teaching.

    Essay #2

    • Please review the Professional Dispositions Rubric [PDF] and consider how you would evaluate your areas of strength as well as those for potential growth in each of the categories. In your essay, please identify three categories that you would rate yourself as "target" or "exemplary" and explain why. Then, identify one area for professional growth, and explain how you envision this program supporting your growth in this area.

*Note: Candidates who earned a baccalaureate (and/or advanced) degree outside the U.S. and whose native language is not English must submit official TOEFL scores that meet minimum criteria, and must submit an evaluated transcript from WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators).

Contact Us

Monica Delano
Office: 502-852-2546
Department of Special Education
College of Education and Human Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292 502-852-2546

Special Education Faculty

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.

College of Education & Human Development (CEHD) Scholarship

The CEHD has a long history of offering scholarships to prospective and current students pursuing an education degree program. The CEHD provides over $225,000 annually and selects recipients three times per year. Scholarship selection is competitive and applies to tuition only. Apply online for a CEHD Scholarship before the deadline (March 1st, June 1st and/or October 1st). Applicants should expect notification in four to five weeks after the posted deadline.

Kentucky Traineeship Program

Traineeship Program funds are available to help defray part of the tuition costs for courses that lead to teacher certification in special education or early childhood education. The Kentucky Department of Education has allocated federal professional development funds to provide tuition assistance for special educators and preschool teachers in obtaining certification in the area in which they are teaching. With the increasing shortage of fully certified teachers seeking teaching positions in special education and early childhood education, a major focus of the Traineeship program is on teachers seeking alternative certification, emergency or probationary certification, and working toward full certification while enrolled in a Kentucky institution of higher education. Further information can be found at: http://kytraineeship.org/about/, including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and more!

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.

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.

TEACH Grant

Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides up to $4,000 per year to those who intend to teach in a public or private school that serves students from low-income families. Teachers must be certified in a high-need field. (Amount is pro-rated based on part-time or full-time status up to a maximum of $8,000 for graduate students.)

Applicants must complete the FAFSA (although financial need is not required) and be admitted to a teacher certification program. Applicants must score above the 75th percentile on a college admission test or maintain a cumulative gpa of 3.25 for eligibility.

Recipients must teach for a minimum of four years within eight calendar years of completing the teacher certification program. Those who fail to complete the service obligation must re-pay the loan, with interest charged form the first date of disbursement.

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.