Moderate & Severe Disabilities
Degree Options: Master of Science in Education, with licensure preparation for moderate or severe disabilities. A non-licensure program is also available.
Credits: 44-credit licensure preparation program, 40-credit non-licensure option
Program Advisors: On-campus programs — Allan Blume
Off-campus programs — Jane Hardin
Simmons's highly respected special education licensure programs provide a strong foundation in general education content, special education theory and methods, and teaching experience. Students may specialize in teaching learners with moderate disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12) or severe disabilities (PreK-12). A non-licensure track is also available.
"What I love about the Simmons program is that we're not just learning about theories and scientifically based practices- we're putting them into place. We actually design behavior plans and write Individualized Education Programs, so that when we go on to lead our own classrooms, we're fully prepared."
—Shelby Superneau, '13 M.S.ED. Special Education
Teaching Assistant, Wellesley High School, Wellesley, Massachusetts
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 addition, most internships come with stipends from the school or school district where students do their practicum.
Simmons offers a highly supportive, collegial environment. Small classes facilitate individual mentoring and provide opportunities for group discussions, team projects, and collaborative research with faculty. Simmons special education professors are experienced practitioners who are active in their fields as researchers, teachers, administrators, and nationally distinguished experts.
To accommodate working professionals, classes are held in the late afternoon and evening, as well as on weekends and during the summer. One-week courses are also available.
Simmons's program for Massachusetts state licensure in moderate disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12) prepares specialists to provide direct service to learners in inclusive classrooms. Students are prepared to teach all core education curriculum areas and to address a variety of learning styles. This program provides the skills and strategies to work with learners with moderate disabilities in a variety of settings, including general education classrooms, resource rooms, self-contained classes, and day and/or residential programs.
The severe disabilities program provides preparation for initial licensure in teaching learners with severe disabilities (PreK-12). Coursework and related practicum experiences prepare teachers to work in a variety of settings, including special education classes in public schools, as well as private residential or day schools. Students are prepared to teach in all core general education curriculum areas, as well as communication, social behavior, job competency, and life skills.
Simmons offers a 48-credit Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Special Education, with licensure preparation for moderate or severe disabilities. A 40-credit non-licensure program of study is also available.
Sequence of Courses
Students design individual plans of study in consultation with the program director, and may complete the program on a full- or part-time basis. A yearlong, full-time practicum is required for all students. During year one, full-time students complete two semesters of coursework and a summer component. During year two, students take coursework and fulfill practicum requirements. Part-time students must do the full-time practicum, but have a four-year period to complete the coursework.