The location of the Fall 2017 Director of Special Education is TBA.

Director of Special Education Certificate of Graduate Study

The Department of Special and Early Education and the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations at NIU offer a standards-based preparatory program leading to an endorsement on the Professional Educator License and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Director of Special Education.


The program is comprised of six three-semester-hour courses, with two hours of internship experience associated with the program. This will be a total of 20 semester hours of course work.

Candidates will generally enroll in these courses in cohort groups in which the courses will be offered are follows:

  • SESE 747 or SESE 592 Seminar in Special Education (3) and LEEA 577 Administration and Supervision of Special Education (3)
  • SESE 760 The Special Education Director (3) and SESE 765 Seminar: Professional Collaboration in Schools (3)
  • LEEA 726 Special Education: Leadership and the Law (3)LEEA 521 Special Education Finance (3), and SESE 786 (2) will be offered in conjunction with the last semester of course work.

At this time the plan for the cohort will be as follows:

Fall 2016 SESE 747 (or SESE 592) and LEEA 577
Spring 2017 SESE 760 and SESE 765
Summer 2017 LEEA 726, LEEA 521 and SESE 786 (2 hours)


Application Packets are due August 1, 2017

There are several options to obtain the endorsement, they are outlined a PowerPoint presentation from the State (Administrative Endorsement training webinar). Please visit the option page for more information of any additional course work that might be required for the endorsement.
At this time courses are planned for the same days each semester unless there are unforeseen circumstances that require a change of location or day. Location for the 2016-2017 group is NIU is NIU Hoffman Estates, days the courses wil be offered is TBD. Typically it has been Tues and Thurs. 6:00-9:00pm.

Students must be accepted to the Graduate School as a student-at-large or a graduate student pursuing degree at NIU.

  • Hold a Master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution. If you do not hold a Masters degree a course of study may be developed to obtain the Masters degree.
  • Professional Education license document 2 years will-time special education teaching or serving as a school social worker, school psychologist, or speech language pathology on a valid professional educator license.
  • 3.2 cumulative GPA in most recent degree program.
  • A separate application to the Department of Special and Early Education for the Director of Special Education program.
  • Three letters of recommendation citing successful professional experience, positive dispositions, and potential for success as a director of special education. Someone holding a PEL with an administrative endorsement must write one letter.
  • Application essay addressing the program core values of ethical and visionary leadership.
  • Successful completion of the Illinois State Licensure Testing System Test of Basic Skills, starting Sept 11, 2010  #300 or the Test of Academic Proficiency #400 (starting Feb 1, 2012). You can find information and a study guide for this test located at Effective Dec 19, 2012:ACT/SAT scores can be used in lieu of the TAP exam (formerly known as the Illinois Basic Skills Test). If you choose this option you must contact the program advisor to make sure all of the correct paper work is filed. If your current PEL is not K-12 and your TAP or ACT+writing score is greater than 10 years old you must complete the TAP or ACT+writing prior to the endorsement being granted.

Checklist for Students Seeking the CGS for the Director of Special Education

Program of Courses for the Director of Special Education

For information on the current tuition please visiont the Graduation Tuition and Fees page.


The department of Special and Early Education (SEED) uses this program to track student data for CAEP purposes. Blackboard is a course management system used campus-wide at NIU. This proram is make avaiable to all registered NIU students, free of charge. You will be able to access your courses after the semseter ends to retrieve materials from your content collections if needed in the future.


Candidates will be assessed throughout their program for competency on the appropriate standards and will submit a comprehensive standards-based portfolio at the completion of SESE 765. Candidates for the endorsement of special education director receive information about the development of their professional portfolio in two ways: (1) The information is available on the program website, and (2) Hard copies of the information are presented to students at their orientation meeting held during their first class in the program.

The following table summarizes assessments for major points in the program:

At completion of 8 hours of coursework and related internship experiences Completion of program
Meets standards in completion of standards-based assessments in SESE 747 and LEEA 726 and related internship experiences.

Program steering committee review of
• Disposition assessments
• Internship performance appraisals followed by candidate-advisor conference to review progress.
• Evidence of meeting Director of Special