EdM in Special Education

Program Facts

  • Spring or summer/fall admission
  • Full-time or part-time study
  • Minimum credits required: 36
  • Full-time program duration varies

Does the thought of doing any of the following make you excited?

  • Providing evidence-based instruction to teach students with dyslexia to read
  • Ensuring access to the general education curriculum for high school students with disabilities
  • Implementing the school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports framework to provide tiered levels of support to students with and without disabilities
  • Designing targeted strategies based on applied behavior analysis
  • Utilizing augmentative and alternative communication strategies and providing social skills instruction to students with autism
  • Providing community-based instruction to teach daily living and vocational skills to students with Down syndrome
  • Implementing the social emotional learning curriculum to promote the well-being of all students and to prevent bullying of and by students with disabilities

If so, you have found the graduate program designed for you.  The graduate program in Special Education at Boston University will prepare you to work successfully in a high-demand profession in roles such as a co-teacher in an inclusive classroom, inclusion facilitator, resource room teacher, or teacher in a self-contained classroom.  Through a combination of carefully sequenced coursework and field experience, you will learn to adapt the general education curriculum and use the explicit instruction model to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.  You will be part of a supportive learning community with faculty members who are invested in your learning and development and peers who share the same interests and drive to become successful special educators.


You will select courses 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.

You may also apply to the School of Social Work to enroll in our dual degree program to 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 General Special Education.

If you prefer to work with individuals with disabilities in non-school settings, the General Special Education program will provide you with a basis on which to pursue further degrees or careers in vocational and recreational programs for individuals with disabilities, without completing requirements for licensure as a teacher.


You will be able to select a specialization from the following areas.  Those marked with an asterisk (*) have a 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* (in the licensure field and grade levels listed above) and Social Work (Dual Degree Program)
  • Special Education Administration*
  • General Special Education
  • General Special Education and Social Work (Dual Degree Program)

Field experience

You will be engaged in field experience to learn from veteran teachers in public and approved private schools to see how the instructional methods that you learn in our courses are applied in classroom settings.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to pursue paid internship opportunities in neighboring school districts.  Alternately, if you are interested in working in non-school settings, you will be able to complete practicum experiences in community agencies with goals relating to vocational skill development, recreation, community accessibility, and assurance of civil rights.


You will be working closely with a program faculty member who is engaged in teaching and research that informs policy and classroom practice.  Your faculty advisor will help you design a sequence of courses that meet your career goals and recommend additional learning opportunities.  You may choose to collaborate with a faculty member as a research, teaching, and/or graduate assistant to develop knowledge and skills through these experiences.

Program Fast Facts

  • Program Requirements: To view a list of program requirements and coursework information, please visit the BU Bulletin.
  • Program Duration: A minimum of 2 semesters of full-time study (36 credits minimum). The program duration is longer for those doing the following: (a) seeking a teaching or administration licensure, (b) pursuing a dual degree with the School of Social Work, or (c) attending part-time.
  • Start Term: Students may begin the program during the summer, fall, or spring semester.
  • Licensure: Upon completion of the required coursework, practicum, and the Massachusetts required licensure test, students can be licensed at the initial level in the fields listed above.
  • Prerequisites: This program requires a bachelor’s degree or an international equivalent. For teaching licensure track or non-licensure track prerequisites, your undergraduate degree does not need to be in education in order to apply.

Graduate Certificate in Autism and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

Students enrolled in our EdM in Special Education, or who hold an Initial or Professional license as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, or Teacher of the Visually Impaired are eligible to pursue our 26-credit graduate certificate. Pending state approval, students on the Autism Endorsement Track will be able to receive the MA DESE Autism Endorsement upon completion of the courses articulated in the Certificate program. More details can be found on the BU Bulletin.

Contact Info

Faculty Contact Information: Dr. Nancy Harayama, harayama@bu.edu, 617-353-2071
Graduate Admissions: whegrad@bu.edu, 617-353-4237

Next Steps