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Our LBS I Graduate Program ensures candidates are prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners.
Our LBS I Graduate Program ensures candidates are prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners.

The field of special education is a diverse collection of academic, social, and physical support services to assist the exceptional child, such as those individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. The special education teacher works diligently to transform the lives of students with disabilities when they are well prepared after leaving school. 

The Department currently offers the Master of Arts LBS I Program. This graduate program develops professionals who are new to teaching and those who are already licensed but seeking a master’s degree. Candidates graduate with the ability to work effectively with students across a wide range of disabilities (K-12) in public and private school settings. Our program provides initial teaching licensure with endorsement in special education (LBS I) from an accredited institution.

Admission requirements

  • Admission to the Northeastern Illinois University College of Graduate Studies and Research 
  •  Bachelor’s degree (within or outside the field of education)
  •  Grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale 
  •  Two professional letters of recommendation
  •  Statement of Goals
  •  Passing score earned on any of the following exams (current within the past 10 years):
    •  Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)
    •  Composite ACT plus Writing score of 22,
    •  Composite SAT score of 1030
  • Spontaneous writing sample and/or interview

Note: A candidate who miss the deadline for admission to the College of Graduate Studies and Research may apply as graduate student-at-large (SAL) status. As an SAL, candidates are allowed to take nine (9) credit hours that may be transferred to their program upon full acceptance and advisor approval.

Master of Arts (LBS I) Program Sequence

Candidates complete a 47-hour program sequence

Block One

  • SPED 500: Research I: Critical Writing and Research in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 501: Development and Characteristics of Children and Youth with Disabilities (3)
  • SPED 502: Development of Cognition, Learning, and Language (3) 
  • SPED 503: Historical, Philosophical, & Legal Foundations of Special Education (3)

Block Two

  • SPED 504: Principles of Education Assessment in Special Education (4)
  • SPED 509: Methods I: Specialized Curriculum & Methods in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 507: Internship I: Assessing & Teaching Individuals with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (3)
  • SPED 506: Technology in Special Education (3)
  • READ 402: Issues in Reading Instruction (3)

Block Three

  • SPED 505: Consultation and Collaboration between Special & General Education (3)
  • SPED 508: Methods II: General Curriculum and Methods in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 511: Alternative Programming and Curriculum in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 512: Internship II: Assessing and Teaching Individuals with Moderate to Severe Disabilities (2)

Block Four

  • SPED 510: Methods III: Strategies of Behavior Management (3)
  • SPED 520: Assessment Lab: Applied Diagnostic Testing (2)
  • SPED 516: Professional Development of the Special Educator (1)
  • SPED 514: Internship III: Applied Teaching in Special Education (3)

Program Maintenance Requirements

Candidates must meet acceptable evaluations of Dispositions and Professional Behaviors as well as all academic requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with this degree?

Graduates of the MA - LBS I program are prepared to teach children and youth with special needs from grades K to12 across a wide range of disabilities in public and private school settings. Our graduates secure jobs all over the state and elsewhere in the country. School administrators actively seek to hire our special education teacher graduates.

Is the program online?

Many of our courses are offered in full online format or a hybrid (half online and half in the classroom) format. All courses are well designed to offer maximum candidate support.

Can I transfer courses?

Yes, candidates  who wish to transfer up to three courses from another university must complete an application process through the College of Graduate Studies and Research. Courses for transfer must meet the same standards as courses in the MA-LBS I program sequence.

Is it a cohort program?

No, although each year unofficial cohorts emerge since candidates often take courses in the same sequence. 

How long does it take to complete the program?

Most candidates complete the 47-hour MA-LBS I degree in two and a half to three years. Program length was developed to educate teachers who act in the best interests of children and are well prepared to teach them.

How many courses will I take each semester?

Typically, candidates take two courses per semester, including the summer session. Candidates may take fewer courses if desired.

Are all of the courses offered each semester?

Most courses are offered every semester. 

What do the internships involve?

Candidates complete all internships at school placement sites secured by the Clinical Experience and Student Teaching (CEST) Office.  Internships must meet the application requirements, meetings and deadlines set by that office. Internship I (SPED 507) is a 75-hour experience. Internship II (SPED 512), which may be taken during the summer, is a 65-hour experience. A supervisor from Northeastern Illinois University will conduct observations to document demonstration of LBS I standards. In addition, several projects and ongoing seminars are required as part of these courses. Candidates already employed in a school may complete one of these internships (SPED 507 or SPED 512) at their site. Across all three internships, SPED 507, SPED 512 and SPED 514 (student teaching), candidates must work in diverse settings with younger and older students with special needs and those with mild to moderate and moderate to severe/profound disabilities.
Candidates who are already licensed teachers complete SPED 514B lieu of student teaching in NEIU’s William Itkin Children’s Service Center.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact the MA-LBS I Program Advisors, Phyllis LeDosquet [] at (773) 442-5591 or Jolanta Jonak [] at (773) 442-5992 to plan your course sequence and obtain support for successful program completion.

Special Education

Main Office Contact

T 773 442-5580

Main Office Contact

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