Special Education: Severe Disabilities

Master of Education (M.Ed.): Initial Licensure Program, On-Campus or Teacher Residency

Inspire self-determination in students with disabilities.

If your goal is to teach PreK-12 students with complex learning needs, this program will give you the expertise. You’ll get training in issues surrounding special education. You’ll gain insights into behavioral interventions and positive support. Explore life planning, transition from school to adult life, and working with families. Get practical communication skills through courses in language, literacy, and technology. You’ll also master tools for assessment of needs.

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. Here, you’ll learn to express those beliefs in your 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 apply those strategies during your student teaching experience. 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.

Graduate ready to commit to the career you're passionate about. As the preferred provider of teacher education in Massachusetts, we prepare teachers to enter the classroom on day one. 

Program Structure

Full-time or part-time on-campus or residency program

40 Credits
Small group of students in a classroom setting
On-Campus Option

Take face-to-face classes on our Cambridge campus with faculty who are experienced practitioners, in small classes with personalized attention.


2 students in a graduate classroom
Yearlong Teacher Residency Option

Finish your degree in just over a year—with double the teaching experience and at a reduced cost—as a resident intern in a participating public or independent school. In this program format, you participate full-time in the life of the school, and take classes at both the school site and Lesley.

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. (Source: Radius Global Market Research)
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, according to US News.
Assistant Professor Elizabeth Stringer Keefe
Special Education
Elizabeth Stringer Keefe
Elizabeth’s work focuses on preparing teachers to work with students with autism. She is interested in education policy, most recently evident in her efforts on behalf of the Massachusetts autism teacher endorsement. She has 20 years of experience in public and private education settings, and is currently president of the Massachusetts Council for Exceptional Children.
The degree employers are looking for.
Lesley graduates go on to rewarding careers in public and private schools, charter schools, and beyond. That's because our programs are ranked #1 for preparing teachers with the skills Massachusetts employers are seeking, including:


Total approximate cost for this master's degree program. Tuition and fees are for the 2019–2020 academic year.
Special Education: Severe Disabilities
  • Tuition
    $840/credit x 40
  • Fees
    Field Experience Fee
    Assessment Fees
    Registration Fees
    MAP ePortfolio Fee
    Activity Fees
    Materials Fees
    Degree Completion Fee
    Practicum Fee
  • Total
Estimated Cost

The per credit tuition rate listed above is for students who have matriculated on or after May 14, 2018.

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

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

Teacher Residency

Teacher Residency pricing varies from school to school. Contact Graduate Admissions for pricing information at 888.LESLEY.U / 617.349.8300 or

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.

Your degree is an investment, and we're committed to ensuring its value. That's why we offer the best teacher education in Massachusetts, at competitive tuition rates.
We'll help ensure your degree is as affordable as possible. 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.