Master of Arts (M.A.) in
Education - Special Education

Specifically designed for licensed teachers seeking an endorsement in special education, this program is based on a "characteristics" approach that focuses on students with both low- and high-incidence disabilities.

The program provides philosophical, theoretical and practical models of current special education policies and procedures, emphasizing hands-on internship experiences. Students implement what they learn in authentic settings, further solidifying the connection between research and practice.

Upon successful program completion, candidates will be endorsed to teach in special education placements in grades K-12.

Students specifically will develop skills to:

Understand the diverse characteristics of students with disabilities

Assess students' strengths and needs in order to develop and evaluate an individualized plan of study

Create lessons plans that employ the principles of the Universal Design for Learning and other research-based methods

Conduct a functional behavioral assessment to assist in meeting the behavioral needs of students

Collaborate and consult with other professionals to provide a wrap-around approach to care

Identify the impact of culture and diversity on the identification and education of students with disabilities.

Advocate for the rights of people with disabilities

One-Year Option

JSC offers the opportunity for students to complete the master's degree in special education in one year. This requires a strong commitment to rigorous study and should be considered only by students who can dedicate their time to this effort. Students also have the option to complete the program in two years or to develop a plan for completion approved by the program coordinator. We highly recommend that students with full-time jobs consider the part-time program.


Portfolio Development

All students are required to assemble a comprehensive portfolio throughout the program. Each portfolio entry is aligned with the Vermont Special Education Teacher Competencies and is assigned as part of the student's coursework. Submission of a final portfolio is a requirement for the master's degree.

Action Research Project 

All students must develop a presentation on a relevant action research project conducted throughout the program. The project will be planned and approved in the first semester research course. Students will be required to submit a professional paper and give a presentation of their findings as a final project.

More Information

Visit the Graduate Catalog for program requirements and course information.


Visit the Teacher Education Programs for additional information about obtaining a Vermont Level I Educator's License.

Student in Education


ADMISSION & Requirements

  • Application for Graduate Admission
    • $40 application fee
    • Cover letter expressing reasons for graduate study
    • Statement of philosophy on working with children or youth
    • 3.0 undergraduate GPA (or most recent graduate experience)
    • Copies of transcripts for all institutions
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Campus interview

    Applications are due by June 1. All programs begin in the fall. Only 15 students are admitted each year.

    Send completed applications to:

    Office of Graduate Admissions

    c/o Cathy Higley

    Johnson State College
    337 College Hill
    Johnson, VT 05656

    Phone: 802-635-1244

    Fax: 802-635-1230

    Email: Graduate Admissions