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The Exceptional Learner Master of Arts in Education provides graduate students with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of teaching students with special needs in the K-12 school environment. The program is designed to to support all teachers in inclusive and special education classrooms. This degree program is primarily designed for teachers who seek both certification and a graduate degree in special education. The program consists of core knowledge strategies, behavioral interventions, teaching methods, high and low incidence disabilities, gifted and talented, and a school-based practicum which allows application of acquired knowledge.

Both the Exceptional Learner MAEd and Graduate Certificate meet the endorsement requirements to prepare licensed teachers to take the Special Education Generalist exam and become licensed as a K12 Special Education Generalist.

CDE’s Educator Recruitment and Retention (ERR) Program for SPED:

The Master of Arts in Education, Exceptional Learner/Special Education is designed as a dynamic program to meet the needs of education professionals as they gain additional expertise working with diverse students. The degree is awarded after successful completion of 36 semester hours with a Capstone Project. The program is designed to provide the student with 12 hours of Master’s foundation courses in theory of curriculum design and assessment, educational technology, culture and pedagogy, research, and a capstone project. The subsequent courses focus on Exceptional Learner/Special Education skills and competencies.

Academic Requirements for Master of Arts in Education in Exceptional Learner/Special Education

This graduate certificate is designed for education professionals who wish to add a K12 Special Education Generalist endorsement to their existing teaching license. The program prepares educators with work with K-12 students with exceptionalities in accordance with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.

Academic Requirements for Graduate Certificate in Exceptional Learner/Special Education

Career Links:

⇒Council For Exceptional Children Job Profiles:

⇒CDE Office of Special Education:

⇒Colorado Department of Education Current Educators Page:

⇒Colorado Teaching Jobs:

⇒Nationwide Career, Salary, and Licensure Information at

⇒Mesa County School District Teacher Pay Schedules:


State Licensure Information:

⇒CO SPED Endorsement Requirements:

⇒Special Education Generalist Added Endorsement Application & Checklist: 

Exceptional Learner/SPED Cohort Schedules

The program uses a cohort model with a group of participants completing all requirements in a six-semester cycle.

Program Coordinator

Exceptional Learner & Early Childhood SPED Coordinator: Dr. Ann Gillies


Hear about changing the lives of students with exceptionalities from Dr. Gillies!