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M.S. in Special Education

 Special Education: Ken Pool candid with student illustration


Applicants for fall 2017
To begin a new application or complete one in-progress to begin study at McDaniel College in the fall 2017 term, please use this link »

Applicants for 2018 and beyond
McDaniel College has switched to a new application system. Any information that you started prior to 8.15.17 will not be available in the new system and you will be required to use the new application. We apologize for any inconvenience and will always be happy to assist you in the process or answer any questions.

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 M.S. in Teaching 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
Merritt 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

  • 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 a program plan in consultation 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

Applications are accepted and processed throughout the year but the College recommends that students submit their applications and supporting materials well in advance of the start of the semester in which they plan to enroll.

Recommended Application Filing Dates:
Fall Semester – by or before August 1
Spring Semester - by or before December 15
Summer Session - by or before May 1

These filing dates are after the opening of registration for those semesters so students wishing to have the greatest choice of courses should submit their applications earlier.