Director of Special Education Certificate of Graduate Study

The Department of Special and Early Education and the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations 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 semester hours of internship experience, for a total of 20 semester hours. Courses are offered in a hybrid format and are typically held from 6-9 p.m. on either Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday evenings

Please review the ISBE’s PEL Administrative Endorsement information for Director of Special Education - Pre K - Grade 12 to understand state requirements and options.

Course Sequence

Now recruiting for our fall 2019 cohort in Naperville.

  • SESE 747 or SESE 592 Seminar in Special Education (3 credits)
    LEEA 577 Administration and Supervision of Special Education (3 credits)
  • SESE 760 The Special Education Director (3 credits)
    SESE 765 Seminar: Professional Collaboration in Schools (3 credits)
  • LEEA 726 Special Education: Leadership and the Law (3 credits)
    SESE 575X (or LEEA 575) Special Education Finance (3 credits)
  • SESE 786 Internship (2 credits) offered in conjunction with the last semester of coursework

Admission Requirements

You must have the following:

  • Master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution*.
  • Professional education license.
  • Two years of experience teaching special education full-time or serving as a school social worker, school psychologist, school counselor, school nurse or speech language pathologist on a valid professional educator license.
  • At least a 3.2 cumulative GPA in most recent degree program.
  • Status as a student-at-large or a graduate student pursuing a degree at NIU.

*If you do not have a master’s degree you can tie this specialization to our Special Education M.S. degree and complete both at NIU.

Note: Candidates who hold an administrative endorsement may request a transcript evaluation through Special and Early Education advising.


To apply, please complete the Director of Special Education Information application packet (checklist, application, application essay, course checklist). Application packets are due August 1.