• Programs tailored to a range of student needs, from those seeking a master’s degree to those seeking advanced certification

• Meets Maryland State Department of Education requirements for certification; also recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

M.S. in Special Education


The graduate program in special education offers students the opportunity to join the ranks of professionals who are committed to ensuring that all children and adolescents, including those with disabilities, receive a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. Students enrolled in the program quickly come to embrace the position that the purpose of education is the same for students with and without disabilities: to provide experiences that facilitate the acquisition of school success and satisfaction. This is accomplished by focusing less on disabilities and more on students’ strengths and abilities and by matching individualized instruction to those strengths and abilities. 


Key features of the M.S. Degree in Special Education program include:

  • Programs tailored to a range of student needs, from those seeking a master's degree to those seeking certification.
  • Meets Maryland State Department of Education requirements for certification.
  • Encompasses both state-of-the-art research and best classroom practices.


Please note: 
This program is geared toward advanced certification for certified teachers and personnel holding provisional certification with teaching responsibilities for special needs students working in approved schools. This program has been evaluated and approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), the National Council for Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

For those seeking initial teaching certification, please see our BEST Special Education track.
Pennsylvania teachers currently certified in Elementary or Secondary education wishing to add Special Education to their credentials must complete an approved program in consultation with an advisor.

Dr. Henry Reiff, SED Program Coordinator
Academic Hall

Why McDaniel

  • Highly applicable content—apply what you’ve learned in our classroom in your district
  • Flexible scheduling to fit your busy life
  • Small class sizes ensure personal attention from faculty
  • Partnerships with local school systems and faculty who are school leaders in those systems make the program relevant and responsive to local concerns
  • Candidates are supported through ongoing and easily accessible advising
  • Highly competitive tuition

Career Opportunities

The Special Education program offers prepares graduates for careers such as:

  • Teaching in the field of Special Education
  • Leadership and teaching with social services organizations
  • Employment with child services organizations


View the positions that some of our Special Education alums hold  [[link to success stories/outcomes TK]]

Admissions Requirements

Initial Admission

  • Completed application for graduate study
  • Submit the non-refundable application fee
  • Official transcripts verifying completion of an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Submit Praxis I test scores that meet MSDE minimum score requirements;
  • Develop an initial 9-credit preliminary plan in consultation with the Program Coordinator.

*Students not meeting this criterion may be admitted to the program on a conditional basis. Full acceptance status will be reviewed after the student has completed 9 credits in the program.

Full Admission

  • Meet all requirements for initial admission;
  • Successfully complete nine graduate credits at McDaniel College with a minimum GPA of 3.0. (at least one course must be in Special Education);
  • Review full acceptance documentation and develop a Program Plan for remaining coursework with the Program Coordinator.

Degree Requirements

  • Creation of a program plan with the program advisor upon acceptance into the program:
  • 36 semester hours minimum, although students seeking certification with their master's degrees usually must complete additional credits to satisfy state certification requirements:
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA:
  • Satisfactory completion of a portfolio (master's only and master's + certification) or thesis (master's only track students).


Candidates complete coursework in Foundation Knowledge and Special Education, as well as meeting state certification and fieldwork requirements as appropriate.
Foundation Sequence
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Special Education Sequence
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Certification Sequence
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Fieldwork and Capstone Sequence
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Important Dates

Admission Deadlines for Graduate & Professional Studies*

Summer Session May 1
Fall Semester August 1
Spring Semester December 15

*Admission materials are accepted and processed throughout the year, but GPS recommends that prospective students submit their applications and supporting materials well in advance of the start of the intended semester of entry. The Application Deadlines occur after the opening of registration so students wishing to have the greatest possible selection of course options should submit their applications earlier.

Fall undergraduate registration
April 18, 2014, 12:00 am
"EVIL DEAD: The Musical"
April 18, 2014, 7:30 pm
Junior Visit Day
April 21, 2014, 9:30 am
Student Solo Recital
April 21, 2014, 7:00 pm
The Ridington Lecture
April 22, 2014, 7:30 pm
Musician Brandon Stiles
April 22, 2014, 8:00 pm
Larry Hogan: What I’ve Learned
April 23, 2014, 4:30 pm
Quazy in the Quad
April 23, 2014, 5:00 pm
Graduate Open House
April 24, 2014, 5:30 pm
Student Chamber Music Ensembles
April 24, 2014, 7:00 pm
McDaniel Dance Company Recital
April 25, 2014, 7:00 pm
Animal House - Decker Auditorium
April 25, 2014, 9:00 pm
Spring Undergraduate Awards Ceremony
April 27, 2014, 12:00 am
Junior Open House
April 27, 2014, 1:00 pm
Children's Chorus of Carroll County
April 27, 2014, 2:00 pm