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Admissions: Special education MEd and licensure

Note: We are admitting students to our academic behavior strategist (ABS), Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), and early childhood special education (ECSE) programs. However, we will not be admitting a new emotional and behavioral disorder (EBD) cohort for the 2021-2022 school year. If you are interested in being a part of the next cohort please contact your district administrator to reach out to us about forming a collaborative partnership.

This application process guides you through how to apply to graduate licensure programs in special education. You're in the right place if you're applying for the academic behavioral strategist (ABS), Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), or early childhood special education (ECSE) licensure programs with or without the MEd degree. You are also in the right place if you are applying for the MEd in special education degree program without teacher licensure. Follow the steps outlined below. Visit the MEd/licensure page for more information on these programs.

ASD certificate program

If you are interested in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) certificate program, please visit the ASD certificate program registration for more information on how to apply. A separate application is required for each program.


Application Deadline for Summer or Fall 2023*

Applications submitted between March 1st and May 15th will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Application reviews will occur on the 15 th of each month. Apply early, as decisions will be sent out within two weeks of review meetings!

*We do not admit students for spring semester start.

Review process

The admissions committee considers a variety of factors including your prior academic achievement, relevant employment and life experiences, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

Admissions decisions

For updates on the status of your application, visit the graduate application or send an email to the program.

The Office of Graduate Admission completes a final review of your materials. You will receive your official admission decision via the email address provided on the graduate application.

How to apply

Start your graduate application

Upload and submit all application materials, including transcripts, directly to the graduate application. For additional information on how to apply, visit the Graduate School website.

Graduate school application

Required fields: Program Selection, Term Selection, Biographical Information, Personal Background, Special Education MEd and Licensure Programs including Video of ASL skills (if applicable), Academic History (including transcripts), Test Scores (if applicable), Employment, Materials (including: Personal Statement, Resume/CV, and Two Letters of Recommendation

Optional fields: Diversity Statements are optional but highly encouraged. All other fields or application materials are optional, but will be taken into consideration if submitted. A Writing Sample and Description of Research are not needed.

Choose the appropriate major/degree objective from the drop-down menu based on the statement below that best describes your situation:

  • “I do not have a teaching license”: Ed-Psych-Special Education-Initial Licensure MEd
  • “I have a teaching license but not a master’s”: Ed-Psych-Special Education-MEd Licensure
  • “I have a teaching license and master’s”: Ed Psych-Special Ed-Additional Licensure
  • “I just want a master’s”: Ed Psych-Special Ed-MEd Only

Application Fee

Visit the Graduate School website for more information

An application fee waiver is available for students from racially minoritized backgrounds. Contact to request the waiver prior to submitting your application.

Transcripts (Academic History)

Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the graduate application under the "Academic History" section. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

More information about transcripts and credentials

Test scores

English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

Report your TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB scores (non-native English Speakers only) in the "Test Scores" section.

More information on English Language test scores

Other tests

Graduation Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for admission.

Basic Skills Tests scores are not a requirement for admission to this program.

For rules regarding the policies on required licensure tests, see the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) site.

Letters of recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required. Recommendations should be from professors or others who are able to comment on your educational and professional goals and potential.

You must input the names and contact information for each recommendation provider in the graduate application.


Required Materials

Personal Statement

Upload a statement (not to exceed two double-spaced pages) to your application. The statement should describe your professional goals and any experiences you have had that have influenced your professional goals. This statement is an integral part of your application and will be weighted heavily in its evaluation.

Upload the essay under "Personal Statement" in the Materials section of the graduate application.


Upload your resume/CV under “Resume/CV” in the Materials section of the graduate application.

Graduate Program Additional Material
Copy of teaching license (if applicable)

If you already have your teaching license, upload a copy under "Graduate Program Additional Material."

Video of your ASL skills (DHH applicants only)

Please record your response to the following questions in ASL. (Do your best to try even if you have only taken basic ASL.) Limit your response to 15 minutes (or less) for all three questions. Once you’ve recorded your video and loaded it into YouTube (instructions here) or another online video player, be sure to add a link to your video when you’re prompted to do so in the graduate application tool.

  1. Why are you interested in DHH education? (You can include the DHH educational setting and/or age level you see yourself working with.)
  2. How do you think deaf/hard of hearing children learn to read?
  3. Based on your current knowledge and experiences, what would you say is your philosophy of DHH education?

Optional application materials

Diversity Statement

Submitting the diversity statement is optional, but highly encouraged, especially for applicants who have experienced hardships or obstacles to complete their previous undergraduate or graduate education (e.g., coming from diverse ethnic, racial, or educational backgrounds; coming from a low-income background; being a first-generation college student). This statement may be used to nominate exceptional applicants for graduate fellowships.

Tip: Tell your story. If you learned from obstacles you personally overcame, write about them. If you grew up with privilege, write about how you discovered your privilege. It might be tempting to write about someone else’s experience, an entire group’s experience, or diversity and inclusion in an abstract way. However, most often, admissions teams want to understand how you personally came to be empathetic, reflective, resilient, and aware of systematic inequalities. Describe how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the program and the University’s goals of promoting excellence through diversity.

Upload the essay under “Diversity Statement” in the Materials section in the graduation application.

Extenuating Circumstances

You may upload a brief statement explaining any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your grades or your test scores under "Extenuating Circumstances Statement" in the Materials section.

Writing Sample and Description of Research

Writing Sample and Description of Research are not needed.


MSA Housing and Professional Development Award

The Minnesota State Academies (MSA) (incorporating two academies—one for the deaf and one for the blind) is offering free housing to a limited number of students accepted into the University of Minnesota's DHH teacher preparation program to begin the 2021-2022 academic year. Housing is located on the MSA campus in Faribault, MN.

Requirements: These awards will prioritize students who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Deaf and Hard of Hearing. As part of this award, students must participate in enrichment activities that support MSA students (i.e. tutoring, providing workshops or other enrichment experiences, supporting after school programming, etc.)

Project I-LEAD

Project I-LEAD helps fund future special educators or school psychologists interested in supporting students with severe learning disabilities in schools. Get more information on Project I-LEAD.

Scholarships, fellowships and awards

Special education scholarships, fellowships, and awards

College of Education and Human Development awards