Learn More and ApplySpecial Education (MEd)


COE 2024 DePaul student writing

​The Master of Education in Special Education will prepare you to teach students with exceptionalities in kindergarten through 12th grade in a variety of urban and suburban educational settings, including public and private schools. By completing the Special Education program, you will be eligible for the Illinois Learning and Behavior Specialist I (LBS1) license, provided you complete additional state requirements.

The program contains three concentrations:

  1. Pre-service Special Education (PSE) for candidates seeking an initial Illinois licensure.
  2. Special Education for Teachers (SET) for candidates who already hold a current and valid Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL). 
  3. Special and Elementary Education (SEE) for candidates seeking an initial Illinois licensure with endorsements in special education and elementary.

The PSE concentration has two tracks, a 6-quarter general program and a one-year residency program. The residency track is offered in collaboration with the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL).  Please note that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may change the State licensure and endorsement requirements at any time and without prior notice.


Pre-service Special Education (PSE) candidates are eligible for Illinois licensure with an LBS1 endorsement (preK-age 21) upon completion of the master's program, and any additional Illinois State Board of Education requirements (e.g., licensure tests, edTPA, etc.).

Special Education for Teachers (SET) candidates pursuing a master's are eligible for an LBS1 endorsement (preK-age 21) upon completion of the program and any additional Illinois State Board of Education requirements (e.g., licensure tests). Endorsement-only options (without a master's degree) for either preK-age 21 or for the grade band of the initial PEL are also available. Note: Courses in the SET concentration are designed for practicing educators and are not open to students seeking an initial Illinois teaching license.

Special and Elementary Education (SEE) candidates are eligible for Illinois licensure with an LBSI endorsement (preK-age 21) and an Elementary Education Endorsement (1-6).

Requirements are subject to change per the discretion of ISBE.

Program Requirements Quarter Hours
Degree Requirements (Pre-Service Special Education (PSE)) 58
Total hours required 58
Program Requirements Quarter Hours
Degree Requirements (Special Education for Teachers (SET)) 52
Total hours required 52
Program Requirements Quarter Hours
Degree Requirements (Special and Elementary Education (SEE)) 80
Total hours required 80

Students will be able to:

  • Understand how exceptionalities may interact with development.
  • Use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional ethical principles and practice standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.
  • Create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments.
  • Use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Use multiple methods of assessment and data sources in making educational decisions.

College Requirements


The academic programs within the College of Education have set forth these dispositions as educational and professional expectations for all students. Students should be aware that failing to abide by DePaul University or College of Education policies including, under certain circumstances, these dispositions, could result in adverse consequences for the student, including removal from his or her program, the College of Education, or the University.

  • Is receptive to faculty feedback and acts meaningfully and professionally upon suggestions
  • Reflects on his or her own progress and identifies strengths and weaknesses, including evaluating strategies for success, finding alternatives for inappropriate strategies, and modifying future practices
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and commitment to the profession
  • Demonstrates thoughtful, effective verbal and non-verbal communication and listening skills
  • Respects and considers cultural contexts in order to determine how to be responsive to learners and to proactively promote all students' learning
  • Is committed to collaboration with colleagues, families, and communities in order to promote all students' learning and development
  • Demonstrates professional ethical and legal behavior as defined by the respective codes of ethics and laws
  • Recognizes and fulfills professional responsibilities and habits of conduct (e.g., dress, language, preparedness, attendance, punctuality, etc.)
  • Demonstrates concern for and protection of safety and well-being of others 

Degree Conferral and Graduation

The awarding of a degree is not automatic. You must submit an application to be considered for the degree. DePaul awards and posts degrees at the end of each regular academic term (autumn, winter, spring, summer).

It is your responsibility to initiate the degree conferral application process by submitting an online application. Submitting an application means you intend to finish your degree requirements by the end of the term for which you have applied.

Graduate students must be approved for student teaching and complete student teaching, seminar, and induction courses to be cleared for the degree. Student must submit graduation application for the quarter you are completing the final course (student teaching is considered a course).

After you submit the application, you cannot register for any term after the one selected in the application.

To apply for degree conferral, log on to Campus Connection. Select FOR STUDENTS, then GRADUATION, then APPLY FOR DEGREE CONFERRAL. On screen instructions will take you through the application process.

Provided that all requirements and financial obligations are met, degrees are posted 30 days after the official end of the term. Official dates are listed on the Academic Calendar.

DePaul holds one commencement ceremony each year in June. If you intend to participate, you must first apply for degree conferral for the current academic year and then submit a cap and gown order. Honors are not announced at the ceremony for undergraduates completing their final courses in spring quarter because a final GPA is not available at the time of the ceremony.

Additional information about degree conferral and graduation can be found on the College of Education website.​

Degree Requirements

Concentrations are available in Pre-service Special Education (PSE), Special and Elementary Education (SEE), and Special Education for Teachers (SET).

Specific degree requirements are determined according to the Concentration chosen by the student. Please review the concentration requirements pages for more information.

Concentration Requirements

Concentrations, tracks and specializations provide focus to the degree. In addition to any degree requirements, students are required to choose one of the following:​