Online Special Education, Specialization in Early Childhood Education, MA or M Ed | University of Nebraska

Special Education, Specialization in Early Childhood Education, MA or M Ed

MA or M Ed

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Course Delivery
    Fully Online
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Get the same diploma as on campus students

The online Special Education MA or M Ed with a specialization in Early Childhood Education program (ESCE) prepares students to support excellent outcomes for young children birth to age 5 with special needs and their families. 

Students choose the Special Education, MA or M Ed programs with a specialization in Early Childhood Education because:

  • The program offers a master's degree in ECSE that can be completed with or without the pursuit of the ECSE teaching endorsement.
  • The program offers coursework leading to the completion of the requirements for initial teaching certification in Nebraska.
  • The flexible online format allows busy professionals the opportunity to learn from dedicated faculty members.
  • The collaborative learning experience allows students to gain insight from colleagues across the country.

Whether the student is an entry-level or experienced educator in the field of early intervention, this program will increase their ability to provide services for young children with delays/disabilities and their families that are:

  • Family-centered
  • Comprehensive
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Community-based
  • Equitable
  • Developmentally appropriate

Career Outlook: Special education teachers engage with children and youth that have a wide variety of disabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for special education teachers will grow by about 8% from 2016-2026. Although most special education teachers work in public schools, some find jobs in the private sector taking care of special needs children in childcare services and other institutions.

More about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders:

The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders (SECD) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs, their families, schools, and communities.

The vision is that every individual with special needs will:

  • Achieve maximum potential for learning.
  • Communicate autonomously.
  • Enjoy optimum health and well-being throughout the lifespan.

Students have the ability to choose to:

  • Take one or a few classes of interest.
  • Pursue the teaching endorsement or graduate certificate.
  • Complete a graduate degree.

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (a merger of TEAC and NCATE).
Johanna Taylor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice

Johanna Taylor has extensive experience in behavior analysis and early intervention. She served as the Behavioral Services Manager for BAYADA Behavioral Health in Kahului, Hawaii. In that role, she conducted functional behavior assessments of children with autism, created function-based treatment plans and trained and supervised registered behavior technicians to implement intervention techniques. Taylor also previously served as the Hilo Early Intervention Program Manager for Easter Seals Hawaii, managing team members that included speech-language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, special educators and care coordinators.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

  2. 2.50 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. A license/certificate required

    A copy of current teaching certificate

  4. Taken the GRE

  5. Taken the TOEFL or IELTS

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  6. A written personal statement

  7. 3 letters of recommendation

  8. Official transcripts from all previous schools

NOTE: If you reside in state(s) KY and NC, please contact a program adviser before applying.

To apply to this program:

  • Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  • Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
  • Apply and be admitted to the department
Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions. Application review will begin upon receipt of all required application materials.

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
EDPS 800Foundations of Educational Research3

Course Number: EDPS 800

Prereq: EDPS 459/859 or equivalent or parallel EDPS 859. Purposes and characteristics of research process, selection of research problems in education and social sciences, critical review of published research, research ethics and institutional review, sampling methods, threats to validity in research.

SPED 800Characteristics of Exceptional Persons3

Course Number: SPED 800

Etiology, growth and development, and characteristics of persons who differ from the norm.

SPED 812Assessment Techniques for Diverse Learners3

Course Number: SPED 812

Prereq: SPED 201 and 303 The role of general education teachers in the primary purposes of assessment of learners with diverse needs. Knowledge and experience with interpreting norm-referenced test information as related to planning educational programs. Use of assessment information for instructional planning and evaluation. Testing accommodations and classroom grading.

SPED 815Reading and Writing Disabilities: Elementary Students1-3

Course Number: SPED 815

Prereq: Parallel SPED 815A For elementary education majors: SPED 201, TEAC 311 and 313. For SPED majors: SPED 201, 302, 303, and 304; or equivalent. Theory and techniques for assessing and teaching early literacy skills in small groups and one-on-one for children who struggle with literacy. A. Reading Center Practicum: Elementary Students (1-3 cr, max 3)

SPED 818Behavior Management3

Course Number: SPED 818

For post baccalaureate students obtaining an initial teaching endorsement in mild/moderate disabilities. Course taught via Internet. Introduction to behavior management. Analyze students’ behaviors, define and target behaviors, record and graph behaviors, and develop interventions based on positive reinforcement for improving students’ academic and social behaviors. Introduction to functional assessment, how to use reinforcement to decrease inappropriate behaviors, and guidelines for using punishment ethically and its relative effectiveness.

SPED 897QStudent Teaching: Exceptional Learners - Early Learners - Early Childhood Special Education3

Course Number: SPED 897Q

Prereq: Permission Laboratory and teaching experience in the area(s) of specialization: Early Childhood Special Education

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SPED 860Issues in Early Childhood Special Education3

Course Number: SPED 860

Introduction to the history, philosophy, and research related to early intervention practices with children 0-5 years of age. Discussion of issues related to legal mandates, model programs, family involvement, integration, transitions, service delivery systems, teamwork and assessment for young children.

SPED 861Infants with Disabilities and Home Visiting3

Course Number: SPED 861

Prereq: SPED 960 and permission. SPED 861 requires a practicum in home visiting. Assessment and intervention strategies for developing appropriate early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Rationale and principles for conducting home-based, family-centered, and transdisciplinary services.

SPED 862Preschool Children with Disabilities in a Classroom3

Course Number: SPED 862

Prereq: An assessment and behavior management course; and permission. SPED 862 requires an applied experience. Selection, design and implementation of developmentally appropriate, activity-based interventions for preschool-age children with disabilities. Ecological assessments. Instructional factors, such as classroom environments, activity planning, selection, use and modification of strategies, home-school communications, and consulting to staff in inclusive settings.

SPED 863Medically Fragile Infants3

Course Number: SPED 863

Unique needs, family-coping strategies, specialized medical staff, and various health-care settings of chronically ill infants and toddlers. Overview of etiology, characteristics, and developmental implications of selected medical conditions related to developmental disabilities.

SPED 882Specialized Instruction for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities3

Course Number: SPED 882

Prereq: SPED *881 for the Severely/Multihandicapped endorsement program or SPED *862 for Preschool Handicapped endorsement program; and permission. Majors in severe disabilities must parallel with SPED 896P (1 cr). SPED *882 requires observations in schools and applied assignments. Selection, design, and implementation of best practice instruction for students with severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, or deaf-blindness.

SPED 960Family and School Collaboration3

Course Number: SPED 960

Prereq: Professional experience or completion of one practicum and/or field experience with young children (birth to age 5) or other individuals ages 5 to 21 years who have disabilities. Functions and interactions of both family and education systems. Impact of having a child with a disability on the normal and stressed family system. Promote family-professional partnerships in assessment and intervention for the child and/or student with an IFSP/IEP. Communication skills are reviewed and practiced for effective teaming among educators and for interviewing, consulting, collaborating and coaching with family members and other community team members.

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $356.50
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $408.75
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1069.50
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $1226.25

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $652.00
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $704.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1956.00
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $2112.75

Questions about tuition? We can help.

What's it like to take a program online?

  • Quality learning experience

    The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.

  • Flexibility

    Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.

  • Service you expect from a leading University

    Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.

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