Program Description

The UK Advanced Preparation Teacher Leader Program in Special Education is designed to prepare Advanced Practitioner/Leaders that can practice in special education for the benefit of students, colleagues, the community, and the nation.  The 30-hour Teacher Leader Master’s degree in Special Education delivers this program to candidates in the Central Kentucky region and the state.

Candidates will complete a core of 16-18 credit hours of coursework in Special Education that focuses on Teacher Leadership in Special Education. Recognizing that candidates will want to specialize in their Special Education expertise, the program is designed to provide three specialization options: (1) Moderate and Severe Disabilities, (2) Learning and Behavior Disorders, and (3) Assistive Technology. Candidates select nine hours of coursework from one of these three tracks and use this coursework to focus their research projects and clinical experiences.

In concert with the other UK Teacher Leader Advanced Preparation programs, the Special Education Advanced Practitioner/Leader allows candidates to select three to five credit hours of coursework from a menu of courses, which supports candidates’ professional growth. The full program is made up of specialized coursework, diverse clinical experiences and residencies, action research projects, and teacher leadership projects.

Admission Requirements

The graduate master’s degree at the University of Kentucky is a comprehensive training program for teachers who hold certification in Moderate and Severe Disabilities or Learning and Behavior Disorders. Thus, an applicant who wants to apply to the master’s program with an emphasis in Moderate and Severe Disabilities, must hold certification in Moderate and Severe Disabilities. The same applies to the Learning and Behavior Disorders track. Those interested in the Assistive Technology track must hold certification in Moderate and Severe Disabilities or Learning and Behavior Disorders.

*Completion of this program does not result in initial certification.
*Teachers who complete the special education teacher leader master’s degree will be recommended to the EPSB for a Rank 2.

Retention Requirements

  1. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all program coursework.
  2. Students must maintain a professional portfolio throughout the program. The portfolio will be evaluated at three different points in time (entry, midpoint, and exit).
  3. A minimum GPA of 2.75 on all coursework is required and a 3.0 GPA is required on core coursework to maintain status in the program.
  4. Students must demonstrate professional behaviors throughout the program in accordance with the College of Education’s Functional Skills and Dispositions.

How to Apply

  1. Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s Degree or Certification in Special Education (see above requirements).
  2. Applicants must have a minimum of a 2.75 undergraduate grade point average.
  3. Applicants must secure three (3) letters of recommendations with one related to academic performance (e.g., from professor, advisor) and two related to the applicants work with children and youth (e.g., from practicum supervisor, research supervisor).
  4. Applicants must submit a writing sample (e.g., paper from previous coursework; teaching philosophy, autobiographical sketch).
  5. Applicants must participate in an interview with program faculty.
  6. Upon acceptance, applicants must satisfactorily pass a criminal background check.

Please review the requirements below and complete an online application to the Graduate School.


Core Courses (16-18 Credit Hours)

EDS 601: Applied Behavior Analysis (3)
EDS 603: Behavioral Consultation in Schools (3)
EDS 630: Advanced Methods for Teaching Students with Disabilities (3)
EDS 633: Single Subject Research Design (3)
EDS 634: Leadership in Special Education (3)
EDS 768: Residence Credit for Master’s Degree (1-3)1

Courses from a Focus Area (9 Credit Hours)

MSD Focus
EDS 631: Programming for Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities (3)
EDS 632: Advanced Practicum in Moderate and Severe Disabilities (6)

LBD Focus
EDP/EPE 557: Inferential Statistics (3)
EDS 610: Advanced Education Assessment for Students (3)
EDS 611: Contemporary Trends and Issues: Education of Students with Mild Disabilities (3)

AT Focus
EDS 640: Assistive Technology (3)
EDS 641: Assistive Technology Assessment (3)
EDS 648: Coordinating Assistive Technology Programs (3)

Courses Selected from Menu may include the following: (2-5 Credit Hours)

EDC 554: Culture, Education, and Teaching Abroad (3)
EDC 724: Guiding and Analyzing Effective Teaching (3)
HDI 604: Interdisciplinary Leadership Seminar (2)
HDI 605: Interdisciplinary Leadership Practicum (2)
Select from EDL Teacher Leadership Courses (2)

Total: 30 Credit Hours

1 May be repeated

Tuition Information

You can find tuition refund policies, deadlines, amounts and other important information on the UK Student Account Services website and the Registrar’s Tuition and Fees website.

State Authorization Disclosure

Per state laws, distance education courses and programs must be legally authorized in a state prior to offering courses or programs to students residing there. Therefore, program availability varies by state. Students should check the UK Out-of-State Educational Activities website to determine if a distance education program at the University of Kentucky is available in their state of residence.

Student Relocation Disclosure

All distance education students should keep in mind that relocating during the course of a program to another state could impact whether that student an continue in the course and/or meet the eligibility requirements of that state. If you plan to move to another state during your program, please contact your program advisor as soon as possible.

Licensure Disclosure

States may have additional requirements for programs that lead to professional licensure or certification. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state. Visit the UK Out-of-State Educational Activities website to learn more about your program.