MA, MS, MEd with Endorsement in Special Education: K-12 Licensure

Our generalist (K–12) licensure program prepares professionals to help children and youth with disabilities succeed.

A master’s degree in special education prepares professionals to work as specialists and consultants in programs that serve individuals with diverse learning needs (e.g., behavioral, academic, social).

Graduate students typically earn a master’s degree upon program completion and enjoy almost 100% rate of employment.

Graduate studies in special education build capacity through:

  • Personnel preparation
  • Research
  • Outreach
  • Dissemination

These four focus areas allow students to learn systems and approaches that prevent and reduce the incidence and prevalence of disabilities, as well as how to provide supports for students with disabilities to successfully participate in schools and communities.

Our programs are designed for students who want to learn through rigorous coursework and a diverse array of unique practicum experiences. Courses and practicum experiences focus on:

  • Characteristics of learners and services
  • Cutting-edge assessment techniques
  • Evidence-based approaches to designing and delivering instruction
  • Effective classroom and behavior management techniques
  • Coaching and collaborative educational practices
  • Family support
  • Transition services

American Indian/Alaska Native applicants interested in fostering Indigenous methodologies in teaching and learning may apply to the Sapsik'ʷałá Indigenous Education Program. Federal Department of Education grant funding is available to applicants pursuing high need areas such as special education. Sapsik'ʷałá grant scholars complete service payback by teaching in a K-12 school or district that serves a high proportion of Native students for 2 years. Applicants must complete their applications for Special Education and for the Sapsik’ʷałá Program by January 15th to be considered for the Sapsik'ʷałá program.

Sapsik’ʷałá scholars participate in an Indigenous cohort learning community:  

  • Receive support from Indigenous faculty, staff, and Graduate Employees
  • Sapsik’wałá Indigenous Learning Community (SILC) seminar
    • 4 terms of class, beginning summer term
    • Required to apply in order to register regardless of receiving federal grant funding
    • 4 credit seminar substitutes for 4 credit SPED course

Sapsik’ʷałá grant recipients:

  • Must obtain both a Master’s degree and endorsement in Special Education to qualify for funding
  • Typically receive the following Department of Education grant support for up to 4 terms:   
    • tuition   
    • books   
    • computer   
    • living stipend   
    • dependent allowance 

Generalist (K–12) Master’s Degree and Licensure Program

Our special education generalist (K–12) licensure program is designed to provide pre-service training and support the development of special education professionals who are prepared to design, deliver, and continuously improve effective educational, employment, and community experiences for persons with disabilities.

This program responds to the many changes in education for students with and without disabilities. It affords the opportunity to align efforts with general education and its curriculum, licensure structure, reform efforts, and goals for students in the 21st century.

Our program ensures that future special education teachers are prepared to work collaboratively with general educators to assist students in making progress toward meeting state benchmark standards.

Our program also addresses how to meet the needs of students with more severe disabilities both developmentally and in terms of community-referenced functional skills.

Our faculty and curriculum provide the foundation for K–12 special education teacher preparation that is anchored to nationally recognized empirical and best practices research.

Students in our licensure programs typically simultaneously complete the requirements for the MS degree, with a specialization embedded in their program as their ‘terminal activity’.

Program Requirements

Students in the Generalist (K–12) program typically complete the requirements for the master’s degree and endorsement program in 3–4 terms.

All of our master’s degree programs conform to the established University of Oregon and College of Education requirements and procedures.

Students must complete an integrated program:

  • Minimum of 45 credits in courses approved for graduate credit taken as an admitted master’s degree student (51 credits minimum if doing a specialization area)
  • Up to 15 credits may be officially transferred in through a petition process
  • 24 credits must be in UO graded courses passed with a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • At least 9 credits in 600 level courses must be taken in residence
  • Minimum 30 credits in SPED courses

All credits for the degree (including transfer credits) must be completed within seven years.

Students who earn their first master’s degree at the UO may receive a second master’s degree in another field by taking at least 30 graduate credits of which at least 24 must be in graded courses taken after official admission to the new major.

This can be particularly useful for students wishing to pursue a master’s degree in general teaching via our UOTeach program, and then add a special education focus as part of second year master’s level studies.

Generalist (K–12) Master’s and Licensure Degree Plan


Applicants need to have taken and passed a child/human development course as a prerequisite to the K–12 licensure program. Students who don’t meet this requirement, will have a child development course added to their program.

First Year

Fall Term - 17 Credits

course and Title CREDITS
SPED 511 Foundations of Disability I [online] 3
SPED 526 Behavior and Classroom Management [online] 4
SPED 540 Early Literacy for Diverse Learner 4
SPED 610 Assessment in Special Education 3
SPED 510 Child/Adolescent Development* 3

Winter Term - 14 Credits

course and Title CREDITS
SPED 510 Diversity 3
SPED 541 Intermediate Literacy for Diverse Learners 4
SPED 543 Supporting Students with Low Incidence Disabilities (Hybrid*) 4
SPED 4/510 Special Education Law [online] 3

Spring Term - 14 Credits

course and Title CREDITS
SPED 542 Adolescent Literacy for Diverse Learners 4
SPED 522 Special Education Math (Hybrid) 4
SPED 588 Professional Practices 3
SPED 609 Practicum 1 3

* Waived if students have taken equivalent course. Prerequisite beginning with the 2019–21 cohort. If prerequisite is not met, students can take CSPY 621 (Fall); CDS 455 (Winter); EDST 411 (FWS). 

Second Year

Fall Term - 14 Credits

course and Title CREDITS
SPED 536 Advanced Behavior Management 3
SPED 588 Professional Practices 3
SPED 660 Design of Instruction 4
SPED 609 Practicum 2 4

Winter Term - 15 Credits

course and Title CREDITS
SPED 588 Professional Practices 3
SPED 633 Transition Planning and Instruction I 3
SPED 655 Final Supervised Field Experience 9

Spring Term - 6 Credits

course and Title CREDITS
EDUC 611 Survey Education Research Methods 3
SPED 634 Transition Planning & Instruction II 6