Special Education (M.Ed.)


The special education program prepares highly qualified educators who possess the knowledge, disposition, and skills necessary to take the lead in establishing effective teaching and learning environments for a diverse population of learners, who are capable of collaborating with classroom teachers as team leaders or consultants, and who utilize these skills within their school communities, and within the profession itself. The program meets current certification requirements in the state of New Hampshire in General Special Education and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Admission Criteria

In determining admission of students to teacher education graduate programs, several criteria are used:

  1. The undergraduate record. The undergraduate overall minimum grade point average for admission is 3.0.  The undergraduate grade point average of students admitted to the graduate programs in teacher education is approximately 3.55 (based on 2020 admissions).
  2. Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) exam scores are required. Applicants must obtain, at a minimum, a qualifying score (as set by the state of New Hampshire at the time of testing) on all three (Reading, Writing, and Mathematics) Core exams in order to be considered for admission. Current NH qualifying scores may be found at the ETS Praxis Website under the “Tests required for all licensure areas” page.
  3. Additional required application materials can be found at the Graduate School website under programs.

Degree Requirements

Prerequisites for General Special Education Certification

  1. All candidates are required to complete a course in mathematics teaching methods and a course in reading teaching methods.  At UNH, courses that meet the requirements are EDUC 806 Teaching & Learning Literacy in the Elementary Classroom . Courses that meet the mathematics requirement are MATH 601 Exploring Mathematics for Teachers I and MATH 703 Teaching of Mathematics in Grades K-5.  Equivalent courses taken at another college or university may be substituted.
  2. All students are required to complete EDUC 850 Introduction to Disability in Inclusive Schools and Communities, and EDUC 851A Inclusive Elementary Education: Literacies and Learning for Diverse Learners,or EDUC 851B Methods of Inclusive Secondary Education: Literacies, Learning, and Transitions. Equivalent courses taken at another college or university may be substituted.
  3. Credits for prerequisite courses will not count toward those needed for the M.Ed. degree.

Required Courses for All Students

The M.Ed. degree requires a minimum of 36 hours of graduate-­level credits. The exact number of credit hours will depend on the student's background, competencies, and professional goals, and will be determined by the adviser.

Core Courses (12 credits)
EDUC 856Advocating for Diverse and Inclusive Family-School-Community Partnerships4
EDUC 882Introduction to Research Methods (or equivalent)4
EDUC 959Issues in Education (or equivalent)4
Elective Courses (12 credits)
Students will elect a minimum of 12 graduate credits in consultation with their academic advisor. 1
Concluding Experience
All students will have the option of one of two concluding experiences:
1. Inquiry research project with presentation.
2. A research thesis (EDUC #899) that meets the requirements of the Graduate School and the Education Department (6-10 credits). 2
Additional requirements for students seeking certification
EDUC 839Equitable Assessment and Individualized Educational Planning: Building Access and Agency4
EDUC 840Advanced Methods for Inclusive Curricular Design and Teaching: Building Access and Agency, Part II4
EDUC 900CInternship and Seminar in Special Education3 or 6
EDUC 901CInternship and Seminar in Special Education3 or 6

Students will select elective courses in consultation with their advisor. Other courses may be included on recommendation from the advisor.


The research thesis meets the requirements of the Graduate School and the Education department.  Requirements for the thesis are explained in the Graduate School publication entitled Thesis and Dissertation Manual. Which can be found at www.gradschool.unh.edu

Requirements for the project may be obtained from the adviser or on the program website.

Optional Certification

Optional additional certification is available in Special Education Administration.

Special Education Administration Certification

In addition to the coursework necessary for the M.Ed. and certification in General Special Education, those wishing to obtain additional certification in Special Education Administration are required to take the following courses:

Core Courses
EDUC 956Developing Positive Behavior Supports to Ensure Success for All Learners4
EDUC 962Educational Finance and Business Management4
EDUC 964Human Resources in Education4
EDUC 974Educational Administrative Internship4
EDUC 977Leadership: The District Level Administrator4


Graduate credit is granted only for coursework completed with a grade of B- or higher. Any grade below B- will not count for graduate credit and will count toward the accumulation of nine (9) failing credits which may require the student to withdraw from the program.

The Special Education program at the University of New Hampshire seeks to prepare highly qualified educators who possess the knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary to establish rich, inclusive, and effective teaching and learning environments for diverse populations of learners. We prepare special educators who are able to recognize and respond to systematic and pervasive acts of marginalization that may percolate through schools and school communities and are situated within the contexts of more complex intersections among students’ abilities, languages, races, ethnicities, religions, genders, and sexualities, all of which impact student identity, motivation, interest, and connection to education.

  • Graduates will be knowledgeable in the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to all students.
  • Graduates will be committed to students and their learning.
  • Graduates will be responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
  • Graduates will be effective organizers of the learning environment.
  • Our graduates will be thoughtful and reflective practitioners who learn from experience.
  • Our graduates will be committed to collaboration which facilitates student growth and learning.
  • Our graduates will be informed decision-makers and agents of change.
  • Our graduates will be active members of learning and professional communities.