- Expectations for Online Students
- Specialization Areas: List of Courses
- Special Education Minor
- Special Education Field Experiences
- BCBA/ABA Intensive Practicum
- Course Rotation Schedule
Prospective Student FAQs
What are the criteria for admission into the master’s program?
A bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited university, a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 for all undergraduate work or a GPA of at least 3.0 for the junior and senior years of undergraduate work (based on A = 4.00), and a total application score above the cut-off. The total score is determined by a review of the application by special education faculty and is based on the undergraduate GPA, the personal statement (see question #5), and the letters of recommendation. The GPA and personal statement carry the most weight in the scoring process.
What if the cumulative undergraduate GPA is not at least 2.75 or the junior/senior year GPA is not at least 3.0?
There is the option to admit someone in this situation provisionally, but the special education program seldom does so due to a large number of applicants.
What is required in the application for the master's program?
The application includes the online application form, a $35 fee, three recommendations (these can be completed and submitted online by your recommenders), all official transcripts (includes all institutions you attended even if you only took one course), and the "Personal Statement" (note that this is different from the Statement of Purpose). Everything can be submitted online except for the official transcripts which must be sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies at the University of North Dakota. Note that the "Personal Statement" is required in place of the GRE and is scored based on depth of discussion, authenticity, organization, and mechanics.
What are the requirements for the letters of recommendation?
Three letters of recommendation are required. One or more of the recommendations should come from a professor who knows your work as a student. Another recommendation should be from an employer or supervisor who is familiar with your work "on the job." The third recommendation can be from a colleague or someone who is familiar with your work in a volunteer or community setting or activity. If your undergraduate degree was completed several years ago, and contacting professors is difficult, you can substitute a recommendation from a second employer or supervisor or a second colleague. The online recommendation form is part of the online application. You submit the recommender's email address and then he/she completes the form online and submits it online. The recommendation goes directly into your application.
What is required in the personal statement?
The personal statement is four questions:
- What have you already done professionally or personally of which you are proud? Please include chronological history of all professional teaching or administration experience, as well as academic honors or achievements you have earned.
- What are the characteristics, attitudes, values, and/or skills you think will make you a good candidate for your professional role?
- Describe several personal and professional goals you would like to achieve in the next five years. Include in your description reasons why these goals are important to you.
- Describe your purpose in seeking your master’s degree in special education. State which disability area/s you are interested in and why, if you are seeking teacher certification in your state, and if so, if you have contacted your state teacher licensing office to determine the requirements for licensure/certification in your state.
The length of each response should be 1-2 pages double-spaced. The personal statement is scored for depth of discussion, authenticity, organization, and mechanics.
Please note: This is different than the Statement of Purpose on the School of Graduate Studies’ website. You must respond to the personal statement questions listed above on your application for Special Education Master’s Program.
Which degree should I choose, the M.S. or the M.Ed.?
There is no difference in how the two degrees are viewed in the field. Please note: Non-certified individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a field of study other than education may only pursue the Master of Science. Those who have earned a bachelor’s in an education field may choose the degree best suited for them.
What specialization areas are offered?
There are nine specialization areas including a general degree to choose from. The specialization areas include autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities (ID), early childhood special education (ECSE), emotional disturbance (ED), gifted/talented (G/T), learning disabilities (LD), special education strategist (SES); a combined program of ID, ED, and LD or visual impairment (VI). There is also the “general” special education area which allows you to choose courses from several of the specialization areas.
Do I have to choose a specialization area?
No. In place of choosing a specific specialization area, the student can take courses of interest from all of the special education courses (i.e., the “general” area). This allows the student to take courses from several of the specialization areas.
Can I choose more than one specialization area?
Yes. You can choose two or more specialization areas. All requirements for each area must be completed.
What is the cost of tuition and fees?
The most current tuition and fees can be found on the UND website under Student Account Services. http://und.edu/admissions/student-account-services/index.cfm
Please note: Currently, all online students are considered to have North Dakota residency and pay in-state tuition rates.
What are the deadlines for applying?
Please note: Apply early! Transcripts and letters of recommendation can take some time to arrive.
What if my recommendations and/or transcripts do not arrive by the deadline?
The online application including the personal statement and the $35 fee must be submitted by the March 15, June 15, or the October 15 deadline. Recommendations and transcripts can arrive up to two weeks after the application deadline. Thus, we will review applications that “complete” (all components) by April 1 for summer applications, July 1 for fall applications, and November 1 for spring applications.
What are the steps for applying to the program?
On UND’s homepage (www.und.edu) click on “Apply Now” on the upper right side of the page. Click on the “Graduate” button. Next, click on “How to Apply” under the section "New Students". Here you will find instructions on how to create a "My Grad Space" page. The application will be within as well as accompanying documents. In addition, at the bottom of the Application Instructions page under “Additional Requirements by Department” click on the “S” to see the personal statement guidelines under Special Education. This account is where you will submit all of your application forms and accompanying documents.
How do I apply to the master's program if I have been enrolled previously as a non-degree student?
If you have already applied and been admitted as a "non-degree" graduate student at the University of North Dakota, you will need a second email and new login to set up a second MyGradSpace account for the master's application (you cannot use the account you created for the non-degree application). If you do not have a second email account, one can be created easily on Gmail, Yahoo, or any other similar provider at no charge.
When will I hear something once I’ve submitted my application?
Applications for summer are reviewed around April 1, applications for fall are reviewed around July 1, and applications for spring semester are reviewed around November 1. Following this review, the special education graduate director/s submits recommendations for admission or denial of admission to the School of Graduate Studies. The School of Graduate Studies makes the final decision on admission. Once this decision is made (takes 1-2 weeks following the review by faculty), you will receive an email letter from the School of Graduate Studies offering you admission (or denying you admission). If you are offered admission, you must “accept” your admission following the steps described in the email. Your acceptance will be processed in 1-3 days and you will be “activated” to register for classes.
What prerequisites are required?
The only prerequisite is a completed bachelor's degree. Any major/field is acceptable.
Am I eligible for the master's degree in special education if I do not have an undergraduate degree in education?
Any undergraduate degree is acceptable for admission to the master's program in special education, although your state may require a degree in general education or courses in general education in addition to the master's degree in special education. If you are seeking teacher certification, check with your state teacher licensing office to see what the requirements are.
Can courses from another institution be transferred into the master's degree program at UND?
Up to nine credits from other accredited universities can be transferred into the master's program at UND, as long as they are graduate credits and as long as they are not more than seven years old at the time you graduate with your master's degree. Transfer credits cannot be part of a completed degree and must be letter graded.
Is teacher certification available through your program?
We have an approved teacher certification program in special education for the state of North Dakota. If you are seeking teacher certification, we will make sure you meet the requirements for certification in North Dakota. Our licensing officer will verify you met the requirements for North Dakota. Most states will accept this verification as part of "interstate reciprocity." Be sure to check with your state licensing office to see if they will accept a master's degree from the University of North Dakota for certification in your state. If your state or place of employment requires you apply for and attain North Dakota certification, we will make sure you complete the requirements for the North Dakota license titled Special Education: Exceptional Children.
For what grade levels can I be certified?
All of the specialization areas except for Early Childhood Special Education (birth to nine) cover grades K-12. Thus, you can be certified for elementary, middle, and high school levels.
How long are each of the semesters?
Summer session is 8 weeks long and fall/spring semesters are 16 weeks long. See the specific start and end dates for the courses you’ve enrolled in on Campus Connection.
What courses are offered and when?
For a listing of courses offered and in which semester, refer to the special education website. On the special education homepage, click on Current Student Info and then on the Proposed Rotation of Courses pdf.
How many courses can I enroll in each semester?
If you will be receiving financial aid, you must enroll in a minimum of six credits each semester. Typically, graduate students who are working full-time will take six to eight credits each semester.
What is the format of the courses?
All online coursework is completed online; there are no expectations for an on-campus presence. Additionally, all online courses are asynchronous. The format of each course varies by instructor. Blackboard is the platform used for all online courses and is where announcements, course content, assignments, and tests/quizzes are made available. Expect to complete assignments weekly in each course.
Am I eligible for a tuition waiver?
Tuition waivers cannot be used for online courses, thus, if you will be an online/distance student, you will not be eligible for a tuition waiver.
Am I eligible for financial aid?
Master's degree students are typically eligible for financial aid. To receive financial aid, the online FAFSA form must be completed and you must enroll in a minimum of six credits each semester. See the UND Financial Aid Office website for additional information.
What is the best semester to begin the program?
The program can be started in any semester, including summer.
What classes will I take my first semester?
Once you are admitted, your advisor will draft an academic life plan for you based on your interests and needs. The academic life plan will map out your program so you will know which courses to take each semester. If you are accepted as a non-degree graduate student, the graduate director for special education will advise you regarding which courses to take.
Is student teaching required?
Internship or practicum is the equivalent of student teaching at the graduate level and is only required if you are completing the coursework for a specialization area (e.g., LD, ASD, ECSE, ID). An internship is typically completed in a school setting and can be “on the job” if you are working with students with disabilities or a “traditional” internship where you are required to find your school placement/setting. A practicum is designed for those who are in non-school settings such as residential or home settings. Both internships and practicum require a minimum of two credits with 60 hours of direct student contact equivalent to one credit (i.e., a total of 120 hours).
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Questions:
Does UND provide the courses required to become a BCBA?
Our BCBA course sequence is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB). The BACB requires 18 credits/270 semester hours of coursework to meet their requirement. This is a total of 6 graduate level courses in behavior analysis at UND. Course content represents the 4th Ed. Task List.
Does UND provide the intensive practicum to meet BACB’s experience requirement?
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), Inc. has approved our intensive practicum toward the experience requirements foreligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. BACB requires a minimum of 750 total hours of intensive practicum experience to be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. This should be manageable to complete within 3 semesters of intensive practicum. You will enroll in 5 credits of practicum for 3 semesters, and the practicums will progress across levels.
What are my options for enrolling to begin the BCBA coursework?
There are two options for taking the BCBA course sequence: a) as a Non-Degree student (two applications required), or b) as a master’s student in the Master of Science in Special Education program. In order to be admitted as a Non-Degree student, you need to first complete an application for the SPED program: http://education.und.edu/teaching-and-learning/_files/docs/bcba-nondegree-application-instructions.pdf and then complete the School of Graduate Studies non-degree application. See the Special Education Program website for information regarding the BCBA program and application processes: http://education.und.edu/teaching-and-learning/sped-board-certified-behavior-analyst.cfm
Who should I contact if I have other questions about the BCBA sequence of courses?
For additional information regarding the BCBA sequence of courses, contact Dr. Katherine L. Terras, Associate Professor and ABA Graduate Director, Special Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, Education Building, Rm 384, 231 Centennial Drive Stop 7189, Grand Forks, ND 58202, 701-777-2863 or firstname.lastname@example.org