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Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education


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Guide all students toward success.

You believe all students deserve engaged, responsive instruction regardless of ability. You’re not alone — school districts in Idaho and across the country seek out compassionate special education teachers and administrators ready to make an impact. Prepare to become a special education instructor or to train teachers to effectively work with students with special needs. Our graduates go on to secure positions in public and private schools.

Drive change and lead tomorrow’s classroom by earning a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education, geared toward current and future professionals, from the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Throughout your enrollment, you'll participate in high-quality programs and network with special education professionals. You'll also have the opportunity to participate in interdepartmental research. This state-approved program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Expand your own knowledge while elevating and guiding all students toward success.

Fast Facts

  • The Special Education program offers an undergraduate teaching major as well as two different tracks to a master's degree. One track is for certified teachers to earn the Idaho Exceptional Child Generalist teaching endorsement and the other is for special educators who are already certified.
  • Receive opportunities to learn from and collaborate with faculty from the Center on Disabilities and Human Development, the University of Idaho’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), which champions through education, outreach, research and service the mission of having all people fully participate in their communities.
  • Online option available.

Degree Options

This program takes three possible formats:

Are you already a certified teacher with a special education endorsement? Expand your knowledge of the field and gain greater insight into pressing topics and the latest curriculum-planning techniques.

Are you a certified teacher who would like to add a special education teaching endorsement to your license? This master’s program builds on your bachelor’s and prepares you to qualify for the Standard Instructional Certificate with Exceptional Child Endorsement.

Or, are you interested in pursuing the M.Ed. in Special Education as a 30-credit endorsement in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree in elementary or secondary education? Complete this combined pathway in five years to qualify for both your initial Idaho teaching certification and the Exceptional Child Endorsement.

The University of Idaho's special education program offers a flexible online course of study tailored to your needs, guided by your major professor or advisor. Our Department of Curriculum and Instruction provides an undergraduate teaching major and two distinct tracks for a master's degree in special education.

A master’s-only track is available for experienced special educators who have a bachelor’s degree in special education or a closely-related field. This track is appropriate for individuals who wish to earn a master’s degree while expanding their knowledge of the field. In this track, students register for a number of common courses covering topics designed to broaden teachers’ knowledge of special education strategies and promote professional development. Students also select, in conjunction with their advisor, additional classes to enhance their knowledge in a selected area of focus. Students in this track culminate their experience with a master’s project, designed by working with their faculty advisor.


Research (Min. 6 cr)

  • EDCI 570*: Introduction to Research (3 cr)
  • EDSP 531: Single Subject Design Research (3 cr)
  • EDCI 573: Action Research (3 cr)

* Required

Special Education Courses (Min. 18 cr)

  • EDSP 520: Education of People with Disabilities (3 cr) fall
  • EDSP 530: Assistive Technology & Universal Design for Learning for Pre-K12 (2 cr) fall
  • EDSP 531: Single subject research (3 cr) spring every other year; if not taken as the research requirement
  • EDSP 540: Applied Behavior Analysis (3 cr) fall
  • EDSP 548: Special Ed Curriculum (3 cr) fall
  • EDSP 549: Language, Communication, and Social/Emotional Enhancement (3 cr) fall
  • EDSP 423: Collaboration (3 cr) spring
  • EDSP 425: Assessment (3 cr) spring
  • EDSP 426: IEP Development (3 cr) spring
  • EDSP 519: Orientation to Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 cr) spring every other year 2019
  • EDSP 504: Evidence Based Practices in Special Education (2 cr) spring every other year 2020
  • EDSP 504: Trends and Topics in Developmental Disabilities (3 cr) fall every other year starting 2019

Additional Courses (3 - 6 cr)

Credits arranged with Major Professor. These credit hours may include coursework in EDSP, EDCI, EDAD, ADOL or ED. Examples of classes:

  • EDAD 513 Administration of Special Education Law (3)
  • EDAD 582 Special Education Director Administration (3)
  • EDAD 595 Supervision of Personnel (3)
  • EDCI 511: Planning and Administering the Curriculum (3)
  • EDCI 513: History of Education Thought (3)
  • EDCI 524: Models of Teaching (3)
  • EDCI 572: Measurements and Evaluation (3)

Final Research Project

  • EDSP 599*: Research: Non-thesis project/Capstone portfolio (1 - 3 cr)

* Required: EDSP 599 (1 cr) the semester of graduation

The master’s plus certification track is available to people new to special education and affords the opportunity to earn a degree while gaining initial Special Education Exceptional Child K-12 teaching preparation and certification. Students who pursue this track will exit with the master’s degree and an Idaho teaching certification in Exceptional Child Generalist. Because this track results in initial preparation in special education, coursework is paired with field experience so that students will gain the opportunity to link their subject knowledge to pedagogy and practice. The culminating activity for students in this track is a semester long teaching internship during which students will gain valuable hands-on experience. Candidates in this track already will hold an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and have no previous degree in special education.



  • EDSP 300: Education for Exceptionalities (3 cr) (all semesters)
    Or EDSP 520 Education of People with Disabilities (3 cr) (fall)
  • EDSP 325: Classroom Application of Learning Theory (2 cr) (summer)
  • EDSP 350: Language & Communication Development & Disorders (3 cr) (summer)
  • Elementary Certification through U of I
    Or EDCI 463 Content Reading (3 cr)
  • *Pass Praxis #5001 Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (this Praxis exam must be passed within the first semester of student’s graduate studies)

Fall Courses

  • EDSP 540: Behavioral Analysis for Children and Youth (3 cr)
  • EDSP 548: Special Education Curriculum (3 cr)
  • EDSP 549: Language, Communication and Social/Emotional Enhancement (3 cr)
  • EDSP 530: Assistive Technology & UDL in K12 (2 cr.)

Spring Courses

  • EDSP 423: Collaboration (3 cr)
  • EDSP 425: Assessment (3 cr)
  • EDSP 426: IEP Development (3 cr)

Any Semester Courses

  • EDCI 570 Research (3 cr) (all semesters)

Final Semester Courses

  • EDSP 599: Research: Non-thesis project (1-3 cr) must have one credit of EDSP the semester of graduation
  • EDSP 597 :Internship/student teaching (6-8 cr) (8 weeks)

The required courses below depend if certified for elementary or secondary education.

Elementary Education

  • EDCI 320: Teaching Reading and Literacy (3 cr)
  • EDCI 463: Literacy Methods for Content Learning (3 cr)

Secondary Education

  • EDCI 463: Literacy Methods for Content Learning (3 cr)

Note: EDSP 325 and EDSP 350 may be waived based professional experience and equivalent coursework.

EHHS offers a 31 credit endorsement (teaching major) in special education, open to elementary and secondary education majors. Students who complete the endorsement will meet the requirements for an initial Idaho teaching certification/credential and the exceptional child generalist teaching certification, enabling them to teach elementary or secondary as well as special education grades K-12.

The schedule of coursework will be determined with academic advisors based on the required coursework listed below: 

Option 1: Elementary Education

Option 2: Secondary Education

All courses listed above plus:

Through all pathways, you’ll focus on developing and teaching appropriate curriculum for students with mild to moderate disabilities, with emphasis placed on learning disabilities, mental conditions and other disabling conditions. Learn to create assignments and lesson plans geared toward each individual’s needs and abilities based on behavior, social and academic development and equip them for life beyond school.

As you progress, you’ll refine your teaching methods by better understanding disabilities, special education and developmentally responsive school models; the principles of developmentally appropriate instruction and teaching strategies; methods for conceiving challenging, integrative and exploratory curriculum; and techniques for encouraging inquiry and collaboration in the classroom. You’ll learn to identify special education needs, evaluate and monitor students, and gather and analyze data through educational research.

In addition to coursework, you’ll complete a one-semester internship, where you’ll gain insights from an experienced professional in a classroom environment.

You’ll cultivate bonds that will help grow your career. Beyond your internship, you’ll receive more personalized instruction through small class sizes, and build your network and industry knowledge through community-based programs and interdepartmental studies.

Prepare for a rewarding career and influence the next generation of students. Before applying to U of I’s highly ranked M.Ed. in Special Education program, review all admission requirements.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Mailing Address:
College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3082

Phone: 208-885-6587

Fax: 208-885-1071