Study Format

  • Online
  • On Campus

Program Length

  • 30 Credit Hours
  • 24 Months

Application Deadlines

Aug, 19

Domestic Students

Fall 2020 Completed File Due. Classes start August 24, 2020.

Jul, 06

International Students

Fall 2020 Completed File Due. Classes start August 24, 2020.


Concordia University Chicago's Master of Arts in Special Education Leadership is designed for licensed professional educators working in the field of special education who desire to become a special education leader.

The Master of Arts Degree in Special Education Leadership is designed for educators with an interest in the administrative work involved in leading special education programs. This degree is designed to provide qualified candidates with the skills and knowledge necessary to engage in the practice of leadership in the field of special education.

This program will enable candidates to:

  • Apply an understanding of the financial and legal implications of special education programs in making critical decisions impacting students.
  • Develop and implement a professional development plan that promotes growth in personnel.
  • Understand the role of each stakeholder and their contribution to the special education program.
  • Be knowledgeable about and support the use of effective teaching strategies for students with specialized needs.
  • Conduct research to answer questions related to special education practices and successfully and systemically meet the needs of exceptional learners.

Program Requirements

  • Application to and acceptance into Special Education Leadership program
  • Experience providing special education service (as a special education teacher, a speech-language pathologist, a school social worker, or school psychologist)
  • Successful completion of 30 credit hours of course work

Endorsement Process

  • Students must successfully complete an Illinois-approved program for the preparation of directors of special education.
  • Each candidate shall be required to pass the Director of Special Education content-area test (180) as well as the test of basic skills.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education also provides a way for educators to add an endorsement for Director of Special Education on their existing administrative certificate/license through the evaluation process. If you bring in your deficiency letter from ISBE, we can recommend additional courses for you to take towards the fulfillment of your requirements for Director of Special Education.
  • Students apply for endorsement through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) via the Regional Offices of Education. ISBE Form 73-52, official transcripts, and any fees must be submitted to the state before the endorsement is given.

Program Information

Areas of Study - 30 hours

  • Special Education Law & Policy*
  • Special Education Finance*
  • Supervision of Programs for Children with Disabilities*
  • Instructional Strategies for Students with Academic and Physical Disabilities*
  • Instructional Strategies for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disabilities*
  • Assistive Technology: Principles and Practices
  • Schools, Families and Community Partnerships
  • Practicum and Seminar in Special Education Leadership 1
  • Practicum and Seminar in Special Education Leadership 2
  • Research for Educators
  • A master’s capstone is required for all graduate program completers. This culminating event highlights the candidate’s mastery of content throughout his or her studies. The capstone for the Master of Arts in Special Education Leadership is fulfilled by successful completion of SPED 6896 and SPED 6897.

*Courses that fulfill part of the requirements for the Director of Special Education Endorsement. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provides a way for educators to add an endorsement for Director of Special Education to their existing administrative certificate/license through an evaluation process. Please contact ISBE directly if you are interested in this option.

Seminar in Higher Education (EDU 6015)

In addition to the base program curriculum, international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus are required to take the Seminar in Higher Education, a 3-credit course.

Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the U.S.-based higher education learning environment. Students will work to understand Concordia University Chicago’s academic conventions, technological systems and communication culture while developing English grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

The Seminar in Higher Education is an excellent opportunity for students to further develop critical skills to help them to be successful in their academic program. This 3-credit course is mandatory for international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus. 

Course Objectives

  • Developing knowledge about local and academic culture
  • Building grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
  • Conducting graduate-level research with the use of electronic and library resources
  • Developing note-taking strategies for coursework
  • Reflecting on the U.S.-based education system

Academic support for work in students’ current coursework will also be provided during or after class. Guest speakers include representatives from the campus library, writing center and technology services.

Student feedback for the Seminar in Higher Education

  • After taking the Seminar, I have the ability to perform more professionally in my assignments.

  • The instructor was very dynamic and a good listener. He gave feedback and made sure all the students understood.

  • The hands-on activities after the lessons helped my learning experience.

  • The professor truly cares for the students. He helps students individually and encourages us to support our peers.


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