Special Education

Student and teacherIndividual planning. Small classes. Careful placement. These are just some of the distinguishing features of Loyola's graduate program in special education. Designed to provide initial career certification as well as advanced professional development, the M.Ed. in Special Education blends theory and practice to support the immediate professional needs of teachers in all stages of their careers. In the program, you will gain knowledge of best practices in teaching, student learning, transition, and serving students with special needs in a variety of settings. Successful completion of the M.Ed. leads to state certification and full qualification as set forth by the Council for Exceptional Children.

Loyola's certification and master's degree programs in special education are nationally recognized, and meet the professional development needs of new career entrants as well as advanced career professionals. Emphasizing the Jesuit dedication to cura personalis, or "care of the whole person," Loyola's special education programs promote a deep respect for, and understanding of, the unique needs of every child. In the same vein, Loyola's programs are flexible in order to support the individual needs of adult graduate students, typically working professionals with multiple commitments.

Built on the latest educational research and designed with input from local school administrators, Loyola's programs emphasize proven strategies, specialized instructional methods, legal issues, service delivery models, and advanced professional skills necessary to provide high-quality services to children and adolescents with special needs. Program faculty members are actively engaged in research and other partnerships with local schools, providing coursework that is relevant, applicable, and proven effective in changing children's lives.

Currently, graduate students can choose from two program concentrations, elementary and middle school special education (grades 1-8) or secondary special education (grades 6-12).  This 39 credit graduate program can be completed through a part time (2-5 years) or a fulltime (just 14 months) course of study. Loyola’s accelerated program starts with 2 courses during the first summer session followed by two courses in the midsummer session. During the Fall and Spring semesters, this unique program combines 3 credits of paid field-based experience during the day with 9 credits of coursework in the evenings. Typically, by the fourth and last semester, students only need to complete the 3 credit practicum. Depending on the student’s program of study, additional prerequisite classes, which can be taken at the undergraduate level, may be needed. Students considering the program are encouraged to consult with advisors early, preferably as juniors.  Additionally, Loyola offers a 30-credit post-graduate program that leads to a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) for students who have already completed a master's degree in special education. Applicants who have not yet completed the required program prerequisite skills may be accepted into the program but will need to take the appropriate courses (or complete the appropriate experiences) before beginning program coursework.

Explore the Curriculum

Emphasizing service delivery, classroom techniques and advanced professional skills, the graduate program in special education aims to produce qualified—not just certified—teachers capable of administering quality services to students with special needs. The program's practical orientation and personal approach serves a critical market need by training future leaders in special education. Open to students from a variety of academic backgrounds and careers, the program mainly attracts practicing professionals seeking advanced training and preparation, and a more comprehensive, unified degree. The curriculum emphasizes collaboration and sensitivity to prepare educators for working with and supporting parents and co-educators.

Partnerships with schools create numerous opportunities for students seeking field experience and professional development. Loyola's close ties to school systems, non-public schools, and state approved special education facilities provide training as well as links to prospective employers. Courses in grant writing and action research enhance knowledge and skills development for students interested in more advanced career training.

The special education program may be taken full-time (to be completed in 14 months) or part-time (to be completed in 2-5 years).

Loyola's nationally recognized special education programs have been approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and can be used to obtain teacher certification credentials which have reciprocity across the United States.