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 licensure you need to launch a meaningful career and meet the needs of all the students in your classroom.

Through our five-year Accelerated Special Education program, students begin taking graduate courses while completing an undergraduate degree in liberal arts or science. The fifth year of the program includes a full-year student teaching internship that leads to a master's degree and 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 state, our graduates enter the workforce with a full year of teaching experience and gain assistance with the job search through faculty support and Simmons' Education Careers Networking Fair with representatives from area schools.

    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
    Jennifer Edge-Savage
    Janet Chumley
    • Janet Chumley
    • Associate Professor of Practice of Education
    • Phone: 617-521-2239
    • Office: W303A
    Christine Evans
    • Christine Evans
    • Associate Professor of Practice of Education and Director
    • Phone: 617-521-2552
    • Office: W303K
    Jane Hardin
Program Requirements

The licensure program in Special Education is available as a 5-year program through the Accelerated Graduate program. Students wishing to pursue a program leading to a license in Special Education take some, but not all, of their Education courses at the Undergraduate level, and complete the remaining Education courses during the fifth year of their graduate programs. All students must take the courses listed in Stage I.

All Education students must complete a liberal arts major in addition to the Education courses. Students may choose from any of the liberal arts majors offered at Simmons. Highly recommended majors are: Psychology; English; the Joint Social Studies/Education Major; Mathematics; Biology Education Track.

In addition, Special Education students must take a variety of courses that prepare them for their subject matter. These courses are listed in Stage II.

Stage I. Fundamentals of Education in the Inclusive Classroom (Common Core) (4 semester hours)

The following course is required for all Education students:

  • EDUC 156 Schools in an Era of Change (freshman or sophomore year)*

*Includes fieldwork

Students will be evaluated for writing competence at the conclusion of EDUC 156. Those students who have not demonstrated strong academic and literacy skills will 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.

Stage II. Subject Matter Field (48 semester hours)


  • CHL 313 Survey of Literature for Children and Young Adults
  • One course in world literature or American literature


  • 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 Science and Technology Engineering: Great Discoveries in Science or *BIOL 113 General Biology
  • PHYS 105 Science and Technology in the Everyday World: How Things Work

Child Development:

  • PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science

Art/Music: One course chosen with advisor

Stage III. Licensure Preparation Courses

Students must take the following Special Education courses in their junior and senior years. This coursework meets the requirements of the Special Education minor. All courses require fieldwork:

  • Fall of Junior Year: SPND 446 – Learners with Special Needs
  • Spring of Junior Year: RDG 410 – Multisensory Structured Language
  • Fall of Senior Year: SPND 422 – Technology Across the Curriculum
  • Spring of Senior Year: SPND 444 and 445: Special Education Law and the IEP
  • Senior Year: Independent Study (at least 4 credits)

The Fifth Year
During the fifth year, starting the summer following the completion of their undergraduate program, students complete the following Special Education courses:

  • Summer: RDG 406 (Moderate) or SPND 448 (Severe) – Reading or Transition
  • Summer: elective
  • Fall: SPND 436 (Moderate) or 447 (Severe) – Assessment
  • Fall: SPND 441 (Moderate) or 442 (Severe) – Classroom/Behavior Management
  • Fall: SPND 435-01 - Special Education Practicum (Moderate Disabilities, PreK-8)
  • Spring: SPND 415 – Applied Research I
  • Spring: TESL 417 – Sheltered English Instruction

In the fall students being their year-long internships.

Fall Semester:

  • SPND 440-01 – Special Education Practicum (Moderate Disabilities, 5-12)
  • SPND 467-01 – Special Education Practicum (Severe Disabilities, All)
  • SPND 487-01 – Special Education Seminar (Moderate)
  • SPND 487-02 – Special Education Seminar (Severe)

Spring Semester:

  • SPND 438-01 – Special Education Practicum (Moderate Disabilities, preK-8)
  • SPND 439-01 – Special Education Practicum (Moderate Disabilities, 5-12)
  • SPND 468-01 – Special Education Practicum (Severe Disabilities, All)
  • SPND 488-01 – Special Education Seminar (Moderate)
  • SPND 488-02 – Special Education Seminar (Severe)

Students must take a minimum of 30 credits at the graduate level to be eligible for their M.S.Ed. degree.

Special Education Minor Requirements

A student may pursue a minor in special education by completing at least 20 credits from the following courses:

  • *EDUC 156 Schools in an Era of Change (first or sophomore year)
  • *SPND 446 Learners with Special Needs (junior year)
  • *RDG 410 Multisensory Structured Language (junior year)
  • *SPND 444 Special Education Law (senior year)
  • *SPND 445 IEP Development (senior year)
  • SPND 422 Technology Across the Curriculum (junior or senior year)
  • SPND 441 Classroom Management (senior year; moderate program)
  • SPND 442 Analysis of Behavior (senior year; severe program)
  • *SPND 350 Independent Learning (senior year)


How to Apply

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

Get started on the undergraduate application.