MA, Special Education Leadership

Study Format Online, On Campus
Program Length 30 credits*, 24 months


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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.

This degree enables candidates to also complete the endorsement program. It is designed to provide qualified candidates with the skills and knowledge necessary to hold a leadership role in the field of special education. Graduates will be prepared to demonstrate competency and proficiency as a director or assistant director of special education in a school setting.

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.
  • 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 special 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


  • 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*
  • Differentiation and Learning Theory
  • Schools, Families and Community Partnerships
  • Practicum and Seminar in Special Education Leadership 1
  • Practicum and Seminar in Special Education Leadership 2
  • Research for Educators

*Courses that lead to a Director of Special Education Endorsement

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.


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