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M.A. Generalist

Thanks to the efforts of many educators and parents, special education services have been a civil rights requirement for all students in all public schools since 1975. The University of Northern Colorado has proudly provided quality education and training in special education since 1954, and is continuing this tradition today through the many delivery options we offer to students across Colorado and the nation. This program is offered fully online, on-campus in Greeley and on the weekends at the Lowry Center in Denver.

The Masters of Arts program in Special Education Generalist is designed to prepare special educators to work with K-12 students across a range of abilities, from significant support needs to mild/moderate disabilities. This degree represents the largest Masters degree offered by the UNC School of Special Education. We train educators to work with 85% of the students requiring special education services. We prepare educators to successfully provide their expertise in general education and pull-out settings, facilities, hospitals, and even homebound instruction.

We are especially proud of the employment rate of our graduates, which exceeds over 95%.

At the end of the program, candidates may earn either a Master’s degree or non-degree licensure in Special Education Generalist. This program is offered fully online, on-campus in Greeley and on the weekends at the Lowry Center in Denver.

Learn More About Special Education Generalist M.A.

Program Focus

The M.A. Generalist program is proud to prepare leaders in teaching students across a broad range of disabilities, including students with:

  • Learning and behavior disabilities
  • Autism
  • Cognitive and intellectual disabilities
  • Behavior Challenges

In the M.A. Generalist Program we believe firmly in working from a strengths-based, culturally sensitive approach that collaborates with students, their families, other education experts, and community-based personnel. We provide cutting edge theory and evidence-based practices in our courses. You will also be working with excellent educators in schools through our field-based experiences in grades K-12.

The Generalist Program does not prepare vision or hearing specialists. However, the UNC School of Special Education does offer graduate programs in these areas.

Learn more about the M.A. in Visual Impairment

Learn more about the M.A. Deaf/Harding of Hearing Concentration

State Standards and Accreditation

The M.A. Generalist program adheres to four different sets of national and state standards.

Course Content

Sample course content includes:

  • Foundations of special education
  • Assessment
  • IEP Development
  • Students with behavioral challenges
  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Secondary methods
  • Methods for working with students with significant support needs
  • Practicum

Additionally, due to small class sizes (maximum 20-25 students per course) faculty maintain a high level of personal interaction with the students.

View UNC Catalog


How you obtain a license to teach students with disabilities varies from state to state. Contact the Department of Education in your state to find out the specific steps needed to become endorsed in Generalist education. In Colorado, individuals must:

  1. Complete approved program in Special Education Generalist
  2. Obtain an institutional recommendation through our licensing office
  3. Pass the program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators - Praxis 5001 and Praxis 5354


Frequently Asked Questions about the M.A. Generalist Program

  • What is the cost of study?

    There are a variety of tuition rates and program fees, dependent on Colorado residency status, graduate/undergraduate program focus, and part/full-time status. The tuition rates are subject to change each year by the UNC Board of Trustees, and up-to-date information on costs can be found at the UNC Bursar’s Office web page. Courses taken in conjunction with the Denver cohort cost approximately $100 more per credit hour.

  • What scholarships and loan programs are available?

    There are a number of guaranteed loan programs and targeted student scholarships available to students at the graduate levels in the area of special education. The process of application can be found at the Office of Financial Aid web page. We encourage you to complete applications for both scholarship and financial aid opportunities so that they will be on file if needed.

Interested in Applying?

View the Admission Requirements