Special Education

Students enrolled in the Special Education Master’s Degree program at Boston University dedicate themselves to learning about the nature of disabilities and the ways in which individuals, families, schools, and local, state, and federal agencies work to improve the quality of life and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Graduates prepare for a variety of careers working with and supporting the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families, in positions as teachers and administrators in schools as well as vocational, recreational, and residential settings.

While studying at Boston University, students have multiple, rich course work and practicum experiences in classrooms in public and approved private schools where they observe veteran teachers providing eduational support with identified  special education needs. Alternately, those interested in working in non-school settings complete practicum experiences in community agencies with goals related to vocational skill development, recreation, residential care, community accessibility, and assurance of civil rights.

Coursework in the master’s program are selected based on specializations and in consultation with an academic advisor. Many students choose to combine their academic study with preparation that leads to licensure in Massachusetts as a special education teacher or special education administrator.

Students can select a specialization from the following areas. Those marked with an asterisk (*) have specific sequence of courses that can lead to licensure by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8)*
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8) combined with Elementary Education (Grades 1–6)*
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Grades 5–12)*
  • Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (Ages 3–21)*
  • Special Education teaching licensure (see list above) and Social Work (Dual Degree Program)
  • Special Education Administration*
  • Disability Studies
  • Disability Studies and Social Work (Dual Degree Program)

Students may also apply to the School of Social Work to enroll in our dual degree program. In this program students simultaneously pursue an MSW in Social Work and an EdM in Special Education with a specialization in an area that leads to a teaching license in Special Education or a specialization in disability studies.

Program Fast Facts

  • Program Requirements: To view a listing of program requirements and coursework information, please visit the Boston University Bulletin for the EdM in Special Education.
  • Program Duration: A minimum of 2 semesters of full time study. For those (a) seeking a teaching or administration licensure, (b) pursuing a dual degree with the School of Social Work or (c) attending  part-time, the program duration is longer.
  • Start Term: Students may begin the program during the summer, fall, or spring semester.
  • Licensure: Upon completion of the specialization that includes licensure and the Massachusetts required licensure test, students can be licensed at the initial level or professional level as a:

Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8);
Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8) combined with Elementary Education (Grades 1–6);
Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Grades 5–12);
Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (Ages 3–21);
Special Education Administrator

  • Additional Program Information: Click here to view the brochure.
  • Faculty Contact Information:  Professor Donna H. Lehr, busped@bu.edu, 617-353-3240
  • Graduate Admissions Contact Informationsedgrad@bu.edu, 617-353-4237

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students at the School of Education benefit from the community feel of a small school along with the resources of a large university. Our students are in the field in both urban and suburban schools as early as their first year at SED.

Graduate Students

Talented graduate students from around the world prepare to become teachers, counselors, administrators, and more in as little as one year at the School of Education. Our students engage in diverse aspects of education both in the classroom and the field.