Special educators are more than teachers – they are passionate advocates.

Our Special Education students are constant innovators, dedicated researchers, and promoters of social justice. With a focus on evidence-based best practices, this degree provides the skills and teaching license you need to launch a meaningful career and meet the needs of all students in your classroom.

Through our five-year Accelerated Special Education program, students begin taking graduate courses while completing their undergraduate degree at Simmons. The fifth year of the program includes a full-year student teaching internship and additional graduate courses that lead to conferral of a master's degree and endorsement for initial teaching licensure in Massachusetts for Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8 or 5-12) or Severe Disabilities (all grades).

With Special Education now identified as a high need teaching area in nearly every US state, our graduates enter the workforce ready to make a lasting impact. As teachers in Massachusetts are required to earn a master's degree, our graduates seamlessly transition into teaching careers with exceptional preparation, significant classroom experience, and opportunities to connect with prospective employers before graduation at Simmons' Education Careers Networking Fair.

Faculty
    Judah Axe
    • Judah Axe
    • Associate Professor of Education and Behavior Analysis and
    • Phone: 617-521-2144
    • Office: W304A
    Amy Ballin
    • Amy Ballin
    • Assistant Professor, Department of Education
    • Office: W304E
    Janet Chumley
    • Janet Chumley
    • Associate Professor of Practice of Education
    • Phone: 617-521-2239
    • Office: W303A
    Jennifer Edge-Savage
    Christine Evans
    • Christine Evans
    • Associate Professor of Practice of Education and Director
    • Phone: 617-521-2552
    • Office: W303K
    Jane Hardin
    Hyun Uk Kim
Program Overview

Teaching licensure in Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8 or 5-12) or Severe Disabilities (all grades) is available to Simmons undergraduate students through our 4+1 (five-year) Accelerated Special Education programs. Students wishing to pursue teaching license in Moderate Disabilities or Severe Disabilities through the Accelerated Special Education programs complete at least five graduate-level education courses during their four years of undergraduate study. Candidates apply during their junior year for admission to the Master of Science in Education program and complete their remaining education courses and master's degree requirements during their fifth year at Simmons.

Students who plan to enroll in a 4+1 Special Education program may choose to pursue any undergraduate major, but should seek advising to ensure that their chosen major allows for completion of subject matter coursework to prepare for the curriculum they will be required to teach, as well as to prepare for the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs), which are required for teaching licensure. Students should plan their majors, college requirements, and subject matter courses in consultation with an advisor. Areas of undergraduate study that 4+1 students may wish to consider to enhance their preparation include Biology, English, History, Mathematics, Psychology, and the Joint Social Studies/Education major.

In order to be eligible for admission at the graduate level, aspiring 4+1 students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the undergraduate level, and should have achieved passing scores on the Communication & Literacy MTELs.

Students in the 4+1 program must complete a minimum of 128 credits to complete their bachelor's degree. An additional 46-48 graduate credits are required to earn the master's degree in Special Education; students will complete at least 16 of their graduate credits during their four years of undergraduate study.

Upon completion of the graduate program, students are endorsed by Simmons for an initial Moderate Disabilities or Severe Disabilities license in Massachusetts.

Undergraduate Program Requirements

The following courses are required at the undergraduate level for all 4+1 Special Education students. This coursework meets the requirements for the Special Education minor. All courses require fieldwork.


Education Coursework

(24 credits total; four credits per course, unless otherwise noted )

  • EDUC 156 Schools in an Era of Change
  • SPND 350 Independent Study
  • RDG 410 Multisensory Structured Language Strategies for Reading
  • SPND 422 Differentiating Educational Strategies Using Technology Across the Curriculum
  • SPND 444 Special Education Law (2 credits)
  • SPND 445 IEP Development (2 credits)
  • SPND 446 Learners with Special Needs

Students will be evaluated for writing competence at the conclusion of EDUC 156. Students who have not demonstrated strong academic and literacy skills may be offered other options and will work closely with their advisors to find a match for their child-related interests in a non-licensed field.


Subject Matter Coursework*

(48 credits)

*Students seeking licensure in Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8) or Severe Disabilities (all grades) must complete the subject matter courses listed below to prepare for the General Curriculum MTEL (Multi-subject and Math subtests). Students seeking licensure in Moderate Disabilities (grades 5-12) are not required to take these specific subject matter courses, but are strongly encouraged to select a major that will prepare them to pass an approved secondary subject matter MTEL (eg. English, History, Math). Students should plan their liberal arts majors, college requirements, and courses to fulfill particular subject requirements with their education advisers.

ENGLISH
  • One course in World literature or American literature
  • CHL 313 Survey of Literature for Children and Young Adults
MATHEMATICS
  • MATH 115 Number Systems and Algebra for Elementary School Teachers
  • MATH 116 Geometry and Data Analysis for Elementary School Teachers
HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
  • HIST 100 World Civilizations I: Pre-Modern Societies
  • HIST 101 World Civilizations II: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
  • HIST 140 History of American Civilization I
  • POLS 101 Introduction to American Politics
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING
  • *BIOL/PHYS 103 Great Discoveries in Science or *BIOL 113 General Biology
  • PHYS 105 Science and Technology in the Everyday World: The Way Things Work
CHILD DEVELOPMENT
  • *PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science
  • *PSYC 235 Developmental Psychology
  • *PSYC 236 Psychology of Adolescence
ART/MUSIC
  • One course chosen with advisor

*Recommended

MSEd: Moderate Disabilities

A total of 48 graduate credits are required to earn the Master of Science in Education: Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8 or 5-12) degree. Students will work closely with an academic advisor to plan which courses may be completed at the undergraduate level and which will be taken during their fifth year, which begins during the summer semester immediately following completion of their undergraduate program. Students must take a minimum of 30 credits at the graduate level to be eligible for the MSEd degree. Most graduate education courses require fieldwork.

Required Courses

(48 credits total; four credits per course, unless otherwise noted)

  • RDG 406 The Structure of Language for Teachers
  • RDG 410 Multisensory Structured Language Strategies for Reading
  • SPND 415 Applied Research I
  • SPND 422 Differentiating Educational Strategies Using Technology Across the Curriculum
  • SPND 436 Formal and Informal Assessment
  • SPND 441 Classroom Management for Learners with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms
  • SPND 444 Special Education Law (2 credits)
  • SPND 445 IEP Development (2 credits)
  • SPND 446 Learners with Special Needs
  • TESL 417 Sheltered English Instruction
  • SPND 435 or 440 Field-based Experience
  • SPND 487 Seminar (2 credits)
  • SPND 438 or 439 Practicum
  • SPND 488 Seminar (2 credits)
MSEd: Severe Disabilities

A total of 46 graduate credits are required to earn the Master of Science in Education: Severe Disabilities (all grades) degree. Students will work closely with an academic advisor to plan which courses may be completed at the undergraduate level and which will be taken during their fifth year, which begins during the summer semester immediately following completion of their undergraduate program. Students must take a minimum of 30 credits at the graduate level to be eligible for the MSEd degree. Most graduate education courses require fieldwork.

Required Courses

(46 credits total; four credits per course, unless otherwise noted)

  • RDG 410 Multisensory Structured Language Strategies for Reading
  • SPND 415 Applied Research I
  • SPND 422 Differentiating Educational Strategies Using Technology Across the Curriculum
  • SPND 442 Analysis of Behavior: Principles and Classroom Applications
  • SPND 444 Special Education Law (2 credits)
  • SPND 445 IEP Development (2 credits)
  • SPND 446 Learners with Special Needs
  • SPND 447 Assessment and Curriculum Modification and Development for Learners with Severe Disabilities
  • SPND 448 Foundations of Transition (2 credits)
  • TESL 417 Sheltered English Instruction
  • SPND 467 Field-based Experience
  • SPND 487 Seminar (2 credits)
  • SPND 468 Practicum
  • SPND 488 Seminar (2 credits)
Special Education Practicum

The practicum provides students in the MSEd in Special Education programs with an in-depth learning experience under the guidance of skilled cooperating practitioners and University supervisors. In addition, it allows students the opportunity to collaborate with special education and general education instructors, enabling them to meet the standards under the state regulations for an initial teaching license in Massachusetts. This experience involves practicum students in all areas of the Massachusetts Curriculum.

All students are assigned to a yearlong, full-time teaching practicum in a school setting. This extensive classroom experience allows students to develop the skills, competencies, and confidence for successful teaching, including strategies for inclusion, behavior management, social skill instruction, and modifying classroom instruction. Students also benefit from the supervision and mentorship of experienced practitioners and field supervisors — many of whom are Simmons alumni. In many cases, we have been able to assist student interns in securing paid internships or paraprofessional positions in the school or district where they complete their practicum hours.

We place students in a wide variety of schools and communities, including public school districts, charter schools, private institutions, and educational collaboratives, including:

Academy of the Pacific Rim Lighthouse School
ACCEPT Collaborative Lexington Public Schools
Andover Public Schools Malden Public Schools
Boston Public Schools MATCH Charter School
Brookline Public Schools Newton Public Schools
Cambridge Public Schools Prospect Hill Academy
Carter Development Center Quincy Public Schools
The Cotting School SEEM Collaborative
Crossroads School Somerville Public Schools
City on a Hill Charter School Wellesley Public Schools
Innovation Academy Weston Public Schools
Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)

Students in MSEd programs in Special Education who plan to pursue teaching licensure in Massachusetts must pass all applicable sections of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) as designated by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8)

  • Communication and Literacy Skills (Reading and Writing subtests)
  • General Curriculum (Multi-Subject and Math subtests)
  • Foundations of Reading

Moderate Disabilities (grades 5-12)

  • Communication and Literacy Skills (Reading and Writing subtests)
  • General Curriculum (Multi-Subject and Math subtests) OR an approved subject matter test at the 5-8 or 8-12 grade level
  • Foundations of Reading

Severe Disabilities (all grades)

  • Communication and Literacy Skills (Reading and Writing subtests)
  • General Curriculum (Multi-Subject and Math subtests)
Special Education Undergraduate Minor

With several overlapping requirements, students may choose to complete a Special Education undergraduate minor and also enroll in the 4+1 Special Education program to complete their licensure preparation at the graduate level during their fifth year.

Required courses

(20 credits total; four credits per course, unless otherwise noted )

  • EDUC 156 Schools in an Era of Change
  • RDG 410 Multisensory Structured Language Strategies for Reading
  • SPND 422 Differentiating Educational Strategies Using Technology Across the Curriculum
  • SPND 444 Special Education Law (2 credits)
  • SPND 445 IEP Development (2 credits)
  • SPND 446 Learners with Special Needs
How to Apply

You'll enter the program as an undergraduate and should apply for the MSEd portion in your junior year. MSEd applications are currently available for entry in Summer 2019 and Summer 2020.

Get started on the undergraduate application.