Sep 23, 2023  
2020 - 2021 Catalog 
2020 - 2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Education, Special Education Leadership, M.Ed.

Program Director: Jaylia Prussing

Challenged to maximize learning for all students, successful special education leaders maximize their resources, personnel, and programs through innovative problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaborations. The University of Mary Special Education Program recognizes the unique and challenging role of special education leaders and administrators. Graduates of the program will be equipped to serve as ethical and innovative leaders committed to providing programs grounded in best practices yet confident in their ability to problem-solve challenges. With a focus on authentic learning and real-world application, students will learn from and alongside knowledgeable faculty and successful leaders from the field. 

The Special Education Leadership degree provides an opportunity for students to complete the requirements for North Dakota’s Special Education Director and K-12 Administrator credentials.

The Master of Education Degree Requirements (M.Ed.)

The Master’s degree must be completed within seven years of the completion of the earliest graduate course used in the course of study. Up to one-third of the total credits required for the course of study may be transferred from another accredited institution. To achieve the Master’s Degree, the student must complete courses within an emphasis area (listed following) and must successfully complete either a thesis or a comprehensive professional portfolio.

Thesis Option

The thesis option emphasizes original research. It represents a student’s capacity for detailed, in-depth research or advanced scholarship. A thesis must demonstrate a student’s ability to clearly define a worthwhile problem, to conduct a thorough investigation, to organize the findings, to draw defensible conclusions, and to give an oral presentation of the findings. After the student has been admitted to candidacy for the degree, a research proposal is written and the thesis committee is selected. These activities are completed within EDU 701 - Research Seminar II  and EDU 704 - Research Presentation . The research proposal must be approved by the Graduate Committee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Writing and presentation of the thesis totals at least five semester credits (EDU 708 , 3 credits; EDU 701 , 1 credit; and EDU 704 , 1 credit). EDU 704  must be completed by the date established with the student’s advisor, or the student must register for continuing credit each semester until the thesis has been completed and the research presented.

Portfolio Option

The portfolio option requires the student to complete courses within an emphasis area and to create an electronic portfolio demonstrating competence in the University of Mary’s graduate requirements, competence in the student’s emphasis area, and further demonstrating the graduate’s ability to  assume a leadership role in the field of education. Creation and presentation of the graduate portfolio totals four hours of credit (EDU 705 - Research Analysis Capstone Prep , 2 credits; and  EDU 706 - Research Analysis Capstone Pres , 2 credits).


The University of Mary is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with its most recent notification of accreditation occurring in 2013. The Education program is approved by the state of North Dakota. Other memberships include the North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NDACTE), the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders (NDCEL), and the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED).


For information concerning the Education Graduate Program, contact the Division of Education Administrative Assistant at 701-355-8058.

The graduate webpage may be accessed through the University of Mary website

Please note: The emphasis area courses in the following degree plans meet the North Dakota Endorsement or Credential requirements in all programs applicable.

Major Requirements

Required Courses:

Capstone Options:

(choose one)


Portfolio Project:

Emphasis Area Requirements:


(4-6 semesters credits)

  • Electives must be graduate-level EDU courses, or else an approved substitution.

Total: 30-32 Semester Credits

Program length: 2 academic years / 6 semesters / 96 weeks