Master of Education (M.Ed./C.A.E.S.) in Severe Special Needs

The Boston College Program in Severe and Multiple Disabilities prepares teachers to work with students who have moderate to severe intellectual disability, autism, and additional disabilities (such as visual impairment, deafness, cerebral palsy, and medical conditions). The program leads to eligibility for the Massachusetts teaching license in Severe Disabilities. Additional specializations in deafblindness or autism are available. No prior teaching license is required for admission. The Program of Study include two routes, one for those who already have a teaching license (in any area) and one for those who do not. The Severe and Multiple Disabilities Program is founded on close linkages between current research and best practices in teaching. Students may be enrolled on a full or part-time basis.

The program leads to eligibility for the Massachusetts teaching license in Severe Disabilities.

Financial Assistance

Education should level the playing field – we feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $7.5 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable. Here’s why:

At a Glance

How many courses?

For students holding a license, the program consists of 10 courses and 30 credits.
For students seeking licensure, the program consists of 15 courses and 46 credits.

How long will it take?

Full time students will typically complete the program in 1 year, including summer courses.
Part time students will typically complete the program in 2 years.

When can I start?

Students can begin the program in the spring, summer, or fall semesters. 


Program Faculty & Expertise

What will I study?

Curriculum varies based on licensure status. See program of study for specific requirements.

Course Course Title Credit
EDUC 6389

Assessment Low Incidence & Multiple Disabilities

This course addresses formal and informal assessment of students with intensive needs. Students will become familiar with assessments driven by both the developmental and functional paradigms. All assessment activities will be founded on the principle that appropriate assessment goes beyond the student to include consideration of the student's multiple contexts.

EDUC 6384

Teaching Strategies of Multiple Disabilities

This course is designed to assist the special educator in acquiring and developing both the background knowledge and practical skills involved in teaching individuals who have severe or multiple disabilities. The areas of systematic instruction, communication, gross motor, fine motor, community and school functioning, collaboration, functional and age-appropriate programming are emphasized. The role of the educator as developer of curriculum, instructor, and in the transdisciplinary team are included. The students should be prepared to participate in a one-day-per-week field placement.

EDUC 6686

Augment Communication of Persons with Disabilities

This course focuses upon the communication problems of persons who are developmentally disabled, physically challenged, hearing impaired, and deaf-blind. Students learn strategies for enhancing communication and learn how to develop and implement a variety of augmentative communication systems.


Where do our department graduates work?

St. John's Preparatory School

Assistant Principal of Academics

Littleton Public Schools

Fourth Grade Teacher

Papillion La Vista School District

Sixth Grade Teacher

Concord-Carlisle Regional School District

High School History Teacher

Museum of Science

Director of Exhibits

Goodwin Procter LLP

Court Procedures Attorney

Boston Public Schools

First Grade Teacher

Needham Public Schools

Special Education Teacher

Steppingstone Foundation

Mathematics Instructor 

North Attleborough Public Schools

School Principal and ELL Coordinator

Career paths chosen by previous graduates of the TESpECI Department.


Application Information


Click the boxes below for additional details on each item


Regular Decision
Rolling Admission
After 1/6/20
Regular Decision

Application Form

Apply Now

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required, however, this fee is waived for select applicants.


To be uploaded to your online Application Form


In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Personal Statement

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.

Letters of Recommendation

Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form

Two letters of recommendation from academic sources are required, but applicants with significant relevant professional experience may submit additional letters of reference from supervisors.


Undergraduate transcripts are required as part of the application process and graduate transcripts are accepted, but not required. Please note the following:

  • Only official transcripts, bearing the official seal of the institution and the signature of the relevant administrator, are acceptable.
  • Copies and unofficial transcripts are not acceptable.
  • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate degree at the time your transcript is sent, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.


Transcripts must be mailed to the following address:

Boston College, Lynch School of Education
Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Services
Campion Hall 135
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Standardized Tests

For all Boston College students and alumni
If you received any type of degree from Boston College, or if you are a current Boston College student, the GRE is not required.

For all other applicants
If you did not receive a degree from Boston College or if you are not a current Boston College student, the GRE is required.

The Lynch School GRE code is 3218.

Writing Sample

Not required.

International Students

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education. Learn about requirements for international students.