Special Education: Moderate or Severe Disabilities

Please Note: The Special Education: Moderate or Severe Disabilities program is not currently accepting applications for enrollment. Please contact Graduate Admission to discuss your program options.

If you are applying to a graduate Education program through the New England Center for Children (NECC) partnership, please visit the apply page for more information.

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Please Note: The Special Education: Moderate or Severe Disabilities program is not currently accepting applications for enrollment. Please contact Graduate Admission to discuss your program options.

If you are applying to a graduate Education program through the New England Center for Children (NECC) partnership, please visit the apply page for more information.

Degree Options

Simmons offers a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) in Moderate Disabilities (48-credits) and Severe Disabilities (46-credits) which includes initial license preparation. A non-licensure program of study is also available.

MSEd in Moderate Disabilities

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.

MSEd in Severe Disabilities

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.

  • Our MSEd programs in Special Education are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to lead to initial teaching licensure for the following fields and grade levels:
    • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Grades PreK-8 OR 5-12)
    • Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (All grade levels)
  • Simmons-trained teachers achieve exceptional job placement rates, and the demand for licensed special educators continues to grow. As reported in the most recent U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Area list, Special Education is now identified as a high need area in most US states.
  • Teacher candidates prepared at Simmons may take advantage of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which allows teachers prepared through a Massachusetts approved program to earn an equivalent license in another state or the District of Columbia, pending completion of any state-specific prerequisites for licensure.

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/ae. In many instances, students who have the support of their employers have been able to complete their practicum hours in paid positions as paraprofessionals or classroom teachers. 

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 RimLighthouse School
ACCEPT CollaborativeLexington Public Schools
Andover Public SchoolsMalden Public Schools
Boston Public SchoolsMATCH Charter School
Brookline Public SchoolsNewton Public Schools
Cambridge Public SchoolsProspect Hill Academy
Carter Development CenterQuincy Public Schools
The Cotting SchoolSEEM Collaborative
Crossroads SchoolSomerville Public Schools
City on a Hill Charter SchoolWellesley Public Schools
Innovation AcademyWeston Public Schools

Awards of up to $25,000 will be granted to students who have demonstrated a commitment to the field of special education.

Learn more about scholarship options.

Offered As
  • Masters
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Education Programs at Simmons University

We offer graduate level programs in elementary education and special education. We provide a highly collaborative environment, individualized programs of study, supportive faculty mentors, and plenty of hands-on experience.

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If you are passionate about a teaching career, our graduate Education programs can help you to acquire the skills needed to be an impactful teacher in today's complex classrooms. 

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Our Faculty

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Janet Chumley

  • Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Education On-Campus Programs