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 there are typically four face-to-face sessions.

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

  • 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.