Special Education, M.A.

Engage all students in high quality academic and social settings.

Obtain the skills needed to become a licensed Special Education teacher who is a leader and advocate for students with disabilities.

This program is right for you, if…
  • You want to approach teaching students with disabilities from a social justice perspective
  • You intend to be both a teacher and a leader
  • You believe all children deserve high quality academic and social environments
  • You would like to complete your degree within seven semesters as part of a cohort group
The focus of our Master of Arts in Special Education program is on teaching from a disabilities rights and inclusive education perspective. Lewis University's Master of Arts in Special Education can be completed in seven semesters, requires 41 semester credit hours to complete, and offers you the opportunity to earn your Learning Behavior Specialist 1 Professional Educator licensure from the Illinois State Board of Education.

This program involves placement in special education classrooms to give you hands-on experience in diverse teaching environments within public and private schools. Through coursework and field experiences, you will learn how to modify your teaching styles for different students, abilities, cultures, and environments. You will be prepared to utilize a variety of teaching methods across academic disciplines, as well as employ instructional strategies and technology to engage all students.

Your education will include coursework and field experiences in topics such as:
  • Instructional Planning and Performance-based Assessment
  • Development and Characteristics of Learners
  • Using Assistive Technology to Teach Students with Special Needs
  • Teaching Methods Across Content Areas
  • Understanding Disabilities and their Implications in the Classrooms
  • The Concept of Inclusive Education

Learn Skills That School Districts Look For in Educators

Employers are looking for highly skilled special education professionals, and in the special education graduate program at Lewis University you will develop skills in specialized curriculum design, research-driven instructional strategies, and differentiation of instruction.

Market Demand

Currently, there is high demand for special education teachers across the United States and in Illinois.

Why Lewis for Your Advanced Special Education Degree?

  • Ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Tier Colleges”
  • Small class size allows for high interaction with our experienced faculty
  • Classrooms equipped with SMART boards and other audio-visual equipment, enabling students to develop skills with technologies they will use within the field
  • Great partnership with surrounding districts for field work and job placement
  • Cohort-style class sequence for synergistic learning, support, and building professional networks

Scholarship Options

Along with a wide variety of Education Scholarship Options, the Teach Grant is available specifically for students pursuing specialization in special education.

Life after Lewis

Graduates of the M.A. in Special Education program at Lewis University are qualified to work in various positions, including:
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Social and Human Service Assistant
  • Museum or other nonprofit educational coordinator
  • Remedial Skills Instructor
  • Curriculum Textbook Writer/Editor
  • Pediatric Hospital Educator

Admission Requirements

To be accepted for admission in the M.A. in Special Education program at Lewis University, candidates must meet the following credentials:
  • Fulfillment of House Bill 150 (Survey of Exceptional Children and Adolescents or Exceptional Learners in Inclusive Communities)
  • Pass the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) or have a minimum composite ACT Plus Writing score of 22 with writing portion
  • Successful completion of Lewis University COE Graduate Writing Sample
  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) for the final 60 credit hours completed
  • Submission of graduate application form with non-refundable application fee
  • Two completed College of Education recommendation forms
  • Official college transcripts from all institutions previously attended
  • Meet with the appropriate Department Chair or Program Director for a personal interview to discuss educational goals

Already hold an Illinois teaching licensure in another content area but want to obtain your LBS1 endorsement?

Educators who currently hold Illinois teaching licenses also have the option to earn a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) Endorsement towards their teaching license without obtaining the Master’s degree. Learn how to support and engage learners with disabilities across the curriculum by contacting Graduate Admission at grad@lewisu.ed or (815) 836-5610.

Your endorsement coursework will include the following four courses, delivered through a disability studies perspective:
  • Development and Characteristics of Learners
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Instructional Strategies and Learning Communities for Exceptional Learners
  • Exceptional Learners in Inclusive Communities


Dr. Christy Roberts

ChristyRoberts.jpg "Here at Lewis University, individuals in our Special Education programs learn how to design systems of education that promote the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of all students."


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