Colorado is soaring to new heights in topography, world-class innovations and education. The state sits at the highest U.S. elevation of over 1,000 meters, has the highest number of mountain peaks over 14,000 feet and its capital, Denver, has the highest number of annual sunshine hours among U.S. cities. Colorado’s transportation system for highway, railway and airport design has been used as a model of innovation world wide.
- Online MSEd in Special Education (Ranked #11 Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program by U.S. News & World Report 2021)
- Online Master of Science in Special Education
- M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Special Education (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Moderate to Severe (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross Categorical (Leads to initial teacher licensure)
In addition, a long-standing educational structure is being examined and refined for improved career readiness at every level. Colorado universities offer accredited Master of Arts programs in Teaching with concentrations in both Elementary and Special Education, Master of Arts in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, and Master of Arts Special Education: Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Early Childhood, Generalist, Gifted and Talented, Intervention Specialist and Visual Impairment. These innovative graduate programs and others allow training in many special education areas.
Note: Those interested in distance learning programs should consult our recommendations for Online Master’s in Special Education.
Purdue University’s online MSEd in Special Education offers separate tracks for initial teacher licensure, and for licensed teachers looking to add advanced endorsements.
The online MSEd in Special Education from Saint Joseph’s University online MSEd in Special Education from Saint Joseph’s University offers concentrations in ASD, Hearing Impairment and the Wilson Reading System®.
Metropolitan State University of Denver, CO The School of Professional Studies/The Department of Teacher Education
Metropolitan State University of Denver and The School of Professional Studies blends academics and practical experience in accredited graduate programs across 12 departments. Studies are tailored for a broad range of education levels – new students, those continuing their education and professionals. The Department of Teacher Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary Education for those who choose to teach grades K-6 and Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education for grades K-12 licensure.
MSU of Denver provides specialized graduate education with an emphasis on small class sizes, strong faculty members with professional expertise, applied K-12 classroom learning at an affordable tuition.
Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education (MAT)
The Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education program was designed for students seeking a generalist Special Education licensure. Completion of this graduate degree program will prepare students in teaching children and adolescents with mild to severe disabilities from kindergarten to grade 12.
Core learning outcomes for this accredited master’s degree include;
• Instructional techniques for mathematics and reading literacy for students with
• Support system assessment and methods for emotional and behavioral disorders.
• Special Education planning and curriculum for individualized education
• Understanding of child development.
• Effective decision-making skills in a diverse environment.
• Use of theory, research and classroom experience for effective planning and
educational implementation for children and adolescents with disabilities.
The MAT with Concentration in Special Education requires 46 coursework credits plus field experience with a licensed special education teacher.
Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE)
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
Higher Learning Commission
Campus Box 8
P. O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362
Phone: (303) 556-2978
University of Colorado at Boulder, CO
College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences offers an extensive array of graduate and master’s degree programs. In addition to liberal arts and sciences programs, Master of Arts degrees are available in Speech-Language Pathology, Audiologist and Research. As the oldest and largest college at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an “Ivy-League” reputation, students can expect a quality education provided by high-level faculty.
Master of Arts: Speech-Language Pathology (MA-SLP)
A Master of Arts: Speech-Pathology is provided in conjunction with The Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (SLHS.) The program is designed for students planning a career as a speech-language pathologist in both school and medical settings. Through coursework and clinical experiences, students can expect to build a strong knowledge base in the field and will be eligible for a Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech pathology.
The SLP graduate program consists of two years of coursework plus an additional 400 hours provided through internships and clinical practice. Experience is gained through schools and medical settings and often leads to employment opportunities upon graduation.
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
2501 Kittredge Loop Road
Boulder, CO 80309-0409
(303) 492-3274 Fax
University of Colorado at Boulder, CO
School of Education
The School of Education provides fully accredited graduate programs for licensure in K-20 grade education. Excellence in learning has been the key methodology for the college and has been rewarded for their efforts by with a selection as a Partner in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate – a national collaboration for the advancement of doctoral education.
Four master’s level courses of study are available through the School of Education: Curriculum and Instruction; Educational Psychology and Learning Sciences; Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice; and Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity. Master of Education degree programs with a concentration in Moderate Needs, Severe Needs Affective and Severe Needs Cognitive for grades K-12 are also available.
Master of Education: Moderate Needs (K-12) (M.Ed.)
The Master of Education: Moderate Needs degree provides teaching students with the skills to educate children and adolescents (K-12) with moderate level disabilities. The program uses a combination of group and individual teaching methods for low-level special needs such as hearing and visual impairments, physical disabilities, and health impairments.
The curriculum focuses on early intervention and assessment techniques. Practical experience in a teaching environment is required for completion of the program. This master’s program prepares students for State of Colorado Licensure through demanding classroom preparation and extensive field training. Emphasis is placed on special education student assessment for appropriate referral and intervention.
Master of Education: Severe Needs Affective (K-12) (M.Ed.)
The Master of Education: Severe Needs Affective program prepares students with the skills necessary for assessing and formalizing an effective intervention plan for severe needs children and adolescents (K-12.) Learning outcomes include methods for academic instruction of the most severe or profound behavior for both emotional functioning and executive functioning disabilities such as autism. Techniques for stabilizing behavior are the main focus to ultimately prepare for an environment of inclusion for all special needs students.
Students are eligible for licensure after completion of the curriculum and student teaching in a special needs environment. This degree program is fully accredited by both national and state level associations.
Master of Education: Severe Needs Cognitive (K-12) (M.Ed.)
The Master of Education: Severe Needs Cognitive program provides students with instructional techniques for intensive individual education for children and adolescents (K-12) with severe cognitive impairment or mental retardation. Learning outcomes include designing an instructional plan based on the individual needs (physical, behavioral and intellectual) of the special needs student plus effective collaborative practices with parents, physicians and other instructors. Additionally, proficiency in management skills for a variety of medical problems such as physical impairments, limited speech or communication, behavioral problems and difficulty repeating basic skills are implemented.
This master’s level program prepares students for an advanced endorsement and licensure and meets all Colorado state requirements. In addition, it is fully accredited by both national and state level associations.
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
The Colorado Department of Education
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education
3100 Marine St Bldg RL3
Boulder, CO 80303-1058
University of Northern Colorado, CO
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
The University of Northern Colorado – College of Education and Behavioral Sciences provides high-quality, innovative education. With a variety of programs available for undergraduate, graduate, online and continuing education, they have become a leader in educational excellence. The college was the recipient of the prestigious Christa McAuliffe Award for Exemplary Programs in Teacher Education.
The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is committed to the development of educators who advocate for children and youth with special needs. Three schools comprise the college: Psychological Sciences, Teacher Education and Special Education. Master’s degree programs are available in Special Education in several specialties: Visually Impaired, Gifted and Talented, Deaf Hard of Hearing and Generalist Teacher.
Master of Arts Special Education – Visually Impaired (M.A.)
The Master of Arts in Special Education – Visual Impaired Emphasis prepares students to teach children, adolescents and young adults from birth to 21 with visual impairments. This degree program is fully online for flexible study for working professionals. Completion of a field-based experience is also required.
Particular emphasis is given to the needs of early childhood and elementary level children for the improvement of academic, social and emotional areas. Students will be trained for instruction of visually impaired children in a school setting. A licensure endorsement for Orientation and Mobility is also available and includes a four-week on-campus requirement. A total of 42 credit hours are needed to complete the master’s degree.
Master of Arts Special Education – Gifted and Talented (M.A.)
The Master of Arts Special Education – Gifted and Talented degree program is designed for teachers to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented children of all grade levels. Learning competencies include:
• Assessment and identification of gifted education
• Curriculum and instructional development
• Emotional and social development of gifted and talented
• Understanding of the characteristics, traits and needs of gifted learners
• History, theories and research including current brain studies
• Characteristics, traits and needs of gifted and talented students
Graduate Research is a mandatory requirement for endorsement in special education. The master’s program includes 36 online credit hours of coarse work and licensure is available.
Master of Arts Special Education – Deaf/Hard of Hearing (M.A.)
The Master of Arts Special Education – Deaf/Hard of Hearing program is designed for teacher preparation at a graduate level. It provides comprehensive training with an endorsement in Deaf/Hard of Hearing from birth to age 21. Licensure will allow the teacher to work as a home-intervention specialist plus teach preschool, elementary or secondary schools with deaf or hard of hearing children. Learning outcomes include communication instruction for speech, American Sign Language (ASL) and other sign systems.
This graduate program typically requires two years to complete and is available online for convenience distance learning. Institutional recommendation for licensure is available upon completion. Graduate Research is a mandatory requirement for endorsement in special education.
Master of Arts Special Education – Generalist Teacher (M.A.)
The Master of Arts Special Education – Generalist Teacher program prepares students to become teachers for children with disabilities – grades K-12. These disabilities are wide ranging and include learning and behavior disabilities, autism, cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities. The M.A. Generalist Teacher will not be trained for assisting students with visual or hearing impairments.
This degree program meets national and state standards and is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The degree can be completed in a traditional campus setting or online. Core competencies include assessment, students with behavioral challenges, literacy, math and practicum. Institutional recommendation for licensure is available upon completion of the program.
Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP)
American Psychological Association
Colorado Commission on Higher Education
Colorado Department of Education
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education
Council for Exceptional Children
National Association for School Psychology
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Campus Box 141
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, CO 80639