Master of Arts in Special Education with Initial Licensure

The primary focus of this program is to prepare candidates for a Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I), Licensure. Licensure requires teachers to build a knowledge base to identify and intervene with students who exhibit a wide range of disabilities, including learning disabilities, cognitive impairments (mental retardation and traumatic brain injury), autism, social/emotional disabilities, and physical disabilities/other health impaired. Moreover, although the licensure will cover grades K-12, candidates will have a working knowledge of issues and strategies appropriate for the grades P-12. The coursework is designed to allow the candidate both to evaluate research and conduct action research in the classroom. Furthermore, varied clinical practice and field experiences are considered an integral part to all courses so that the candidate can apply theory to practice and practice to theoretical conceptualizations. Candidates will be required to student teach.

For a candidate for whom this will be an initial licensure with student teaching, there are 51-53 total hours for the master's degree, which includes the two-course cognate. The main objectives of the coursework are twofold: to build the pedagogical expertise of the candidate; and to facilitate collaboration with his or her students, their families, their colleagues, and the community.

Candidates should be aware that the Illinois State Board of Education requires that these additional assessments be passed before an LBS I license will be issued:

  • The LBS I Content Area test (#155)
  • The Special Education General Curriculum test (#163)
  • edTPA

State licensure tests must be passed before the candidate may begin the final student teaching experience, except for the edTPA, which will be assessed during the student teaching experience.

Cognate requirements

Candidates will receive a Master's in Special Education if they complete all requirements for licensure as a Learning Behavior Specialist I and a two-course cognate in an area jointly agreed upon by the candidate and his or her advisor. Suggested areas include:

  • Bilingual Education
  • Reading Specialist
  • Educational Leadership
  • Regular education pedagogy

Additional Information