Special Education: Severe Disabilities

License-Only, Initial Licensure Program

Make access to learning possible.

Your goal is to teach students with complex learning needs—this program will give you the expertise. If you have a Massachusetts Initial Teacher License in early childhood, elementary, moderate disabilities, middle school, or high school, you can take this program to get thorough training in issues and topics surrounding special education. You'll gain practical skills in behavioral interventions and supports. Explore transition from school to adult life. Get practical communication skills through courses in literacy and technology. Prepare to work in both general education and substantially separate settings.

At Lesley, we prepare teachers who are lifelong advocates for their students. We believe in the competence of every individual, and equal access to quality education. We know you do, too.

Here, you’ll learn to translate those beliefs to your own teaching. You’ll study the characteristics and effects of disabling conditions. Explore issues in speech, language, and communication. Discover how to develop a variety of strategies for adapting curriculum. And because evaluating students is a responsibility of all special educators, you’ll also focus on assessment issues.

Study with faculty who believe in the competence of every individual and that equal education is a right.

Program Structure

Full-time or part-time on-campus program

21–31 Credits
teacher with a student at a table

Student Teaching

Student teaching, a requirement of all initial licensure programs, is an opportunity to apply new skills to an active classroom environment and receive feedback from your supervising teachers and faculty. All placements are in an appropriate Massachusetts school, and are set up through our field placement office.

Gain Skills and Expertise
Our severe disabilities program prepares you to:
Average salary for teachers in Massachusetts according to the National Education Association.
Superintendents and other hiring managers across Massachusetts prefer to hire Lesley graduates, reporting that they are best prepared to enter the classroom on day one.
Top Schools
Massachusetts ranks as the best state to be a teacher, with some of the highest performing schools and best salaries in the country.
Close-up of alphabet blocks
Special Education
Elizabeth Stringer Keefe
Elizabeth’s work focuses on preparing teachers to work with students with autism. She's interested in education policy and assistive and digital technology. She has 20 years of experience in public and private education settings. A member of several nonprofit boards of directors, she's currently president of the Massachusetts Council for Exceptional Children.
Where You'll Work
Lesley students go on to rewarding careers in a range of settings throughout Massachusetts and New England, including:


Total approximate cost for this license-only degree program.
Special Education: Severe Disabilities
  • Tuition
    $975/credit x 31
  • Fees
    Field Experience Fee
    Registration Fees
    MAP ePortfolio Fee
    Activity Fees
    Assessment Fee
    Materials Fees
    Practicum Fee
  • Total
Estimated Cost

Review all graduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Apply Now

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.

Total approximate cost for this license-only program. Tuition and fees are for the 2018–2019 academic year.
Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.