Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8, initial licensure - MA locations only)

  • Grade Levels: PreK-8
  • Credits for Licensure: 48
  • Credits: 40
  • Degree:
    Masters of Education
  • Program Approved:
    Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education

Program Description

The Teacher of Students With Moderate Disabilities program prepares special education teachers and leaders to be caring and competent, with the essential and critical skills to understand the use of diverse curriculum design and development. Graduates are prepared to become highly motivated educators who are practitioners of educational innovation, and meet the regulations for licensure of Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities PreK-8.  

Please note: At Cambridge College locations outside of Massachusetts, this program is currently non-licensure only.


Learning Outcomes

Graduates demonstrate the knowledge, skills and values necessary to enable their students to excel academically and socially. They understand how moderate disabilities affect progress in learning academic content of the general curriculum that their non-disabled peers learn. They understand their responsibility to provide strategies for their students to access the regular education curriculum.


Students who complete this program will be eligible for licensure to teach in grades PreK-8 as a co-teacher, a consulting teacher or a teacher of record in resource room settings.


For more information, please contact Admissions at 1-800-829-4723.


Non-licensure option: All program components are required except the Practicum, Practicum Seminar and teacher tests. Non-licensure students must complete all pre-practicum hours embedded in the courses. 

Please note: At Cambridge College locations outside of Massachusetts, this program is currently non-licensure only.

Professional Seminar and Project
Professional Seminar I: Special Education (Initial)
ESP 691N 2 credit(s)
The Professional Seminar is a signature element of the adult learning model at Cambridge College. It grounds learning in a cohort group of students with a faculty leader licensed in moderate needs special education. This seminar leader is the students’ academic advisor and guides them through their graduate program. The cohort studies professional standards for special needs teachers, and the requirements for state licensure as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities - Prek-8 and 5-12 The cohort studies professional standards for special needs teachers, and the requirements for state licensure in moderate special needs - Prek-8, 5-12. Students integrate their learning from classes, workshops, and field experience. Transformed by the resulting knowledge, competencies, attitudes and values, students become reflective practitioners and lifelong learners. The seminar also supports students’ work on their independent learning projects, from identifying topics, to guiding the research and writing, to completion. The seminar leader approves the finished projects.
Professional Seminar II: Special Education (Initial)
ESP 692N 2 credit(s)
Independent Learning Project: Special Education
ESP 800 3 credit(s)
The Independent Learning Project is a culminating learning experience that helps educators integrate their personal and formal learning and their professional experiences into a meaningful whole. It reflects the general guidelines for teachers of students with moderate dis- abilities and articulates the individual’s educational and administrative philosophy. The project is research and action-based, on a focused topic chosen by the educator, within the area of licensure. It engages educators in sustained research into educational practice and cur- riculum development; parts of the project may be implemented during the practicum.
Moderate Disabilities Courses (preK-8)
Teaching Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and Phonics
ELE 500
This course is a prerequisite for ELE521. This course will emphasize the development of children’s phonemic awareness, phonological awareness and phonics skills and the learning environment that supports the development of such skills. It will also cover concepts of print, explicit/implicit instruction, analytic/synthetic methods, word analysis skills, the alphabetic principle, and language development.
Adapting Materials for Students w/Disabilities in Gen Ed Classrooms
ESP 592 1 credit(s)
This course introduces models of inclusion, and teaching techniques for students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Educators discuss solutions to difficult problems, academic interventions, lessening anxiety and frustration and increasing participation, organizing thinking, strategies to create a positive learning environment, writing a paragraph, reasonable classroom accommodations, lesson presentation, realistic alternatives, , classroom management, and adapting assessments.
Collaboration and Consultation Techniques
ESP 594 2 credit(s)
The course explores the concept of school and community working together as partners to support each other in a strong coalition. A school district serves several smaller communities in one, and rarely does a community act as a single entity. To establish and sustain community and school linkage is critical to an effective partnership. The course explores the core mission of public schools and creates an environment that helps young people learn and achieve at high standards. The community school approach supports young people’s academic, social, and interpersonal goals by creating an effective learning atmosphere. Schools are a microcosm of societal values and community philosophy that daily affects students’ lives. The power structure of a community — its formal and informal networks and the people in them — that makes things happen is studied.
Teaching Numeric and Geometric Structures
MAT 623 3 credit(s)
This course covers the teaching pedagogy of the basic foundation of the mathematics curriculum in terms of its numerical and geometric structures. Major topics include: number sense, numeration, estimation, mental math, modeling operations using concrete objects, geometry, spatial sense and measurement. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Inclusion and Classroom Behavior Management
ESP 512 3 credit(s)
In this course students learn the basic components of an effective inclusionary program. In addition, they understand the etiology of learning problems and strategies to remediate these problems. They learn how to fully include these students in the regular classroom. Emphasis is on learning behavior management skills that are effective with both regular and special education students. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Principles of Language Development; Bridging Differences and Disorders
ESP 662 3 credit(s)
This course develops a thorough understanding of how children acquire language and how language develops over the life span. Language acquisition is one of the most important domains within the sciences of the mind. Developments in cognitive neuroscience have made it evident that language, once acquired, is not static, but rather has constant neural reorganization. Students develop an overview of the course of language development, biological foundations for language, the major linguistic systems individuals must acquire, and finally the methods of study for language development. Theories of first and second language acquisition and development are introduced. Because there is no single process of language acquisition, students are exposed to different theories of semantic development, phonological development, morphological development and syntax. Students come to understand the relationship between language acquisition, language impairment, and treatments of children with communicative handicaps are also discussed. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Theories of Typical and Atypical Human Development
ESP 689 3 credit(s)
This course examines current research and theoretical models that focus on typical and atypical development of children. Emphasis is on understanding children’s psychological, intellectual, and physical development. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is examined along with more recent investigations and adaptations. Theories of the role of context (physical, social and cultural impacts on development) are compared. The course also investigates the impact of developmental theories on the education of children with disabilities. Formulation of developmentally appropriate Individual Educational Programs is discussed. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Psycho-Educational Assessment for Teaching Exceptional Students
ESP 607 3 credit(s)
Pre-practicum: 10 hours required: directed field-based training. This course increases educators’ ability to assess various educational test instruments, understand outcome data, analyze various data sets and make hypotheses, and formulate academic goals and objectives. Educators develop a conceptual framework in which to understand their students’ academic needs and develop appropriate interventions based upon testing outcome data. A general understanding of statistics, ethics, and test construction is introduced for evaluating various assessment instruments and the appropriateness of their use. Students utilize formal and informal assessments, standardized instrumentation, and screening instrumentation to gather data and formulate appropriate interventions and accommodations for various educational plans. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Assistive Technology: Modifying the Curriculum for Diverse Learners
ESP 615 3 credit(s)
How do we as educators implement the mandated requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that calls for assistive technology to be considered in each Individualized Education Program (IEP)? Educators in this course examine assistive technologies and the federal laws affecting the education of students and children with disabilities. They look at assistive technologies addressing seating and positioning, access to the technology, augmentative and alternative communication (low-tech and high-tech). Educators will also look at curriculum modifications using technology, and software that addresses these modifications and individual learning styles. They will have a comprehensive understanding of the various augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) methodologies, including the appropriate use of aids and devises.
Pedagogy in Reading and English Language Arts
ESP 680 3 credit(s)
This course develops a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of English/ language arts, focusing on the inter relationships among reading, writing, speaking and listening. The course also focuses on the student a learner, and the processes involved in content reading and literacy. There is a direct correlation between the growing social and cultural diversity in today’s contemporary society, children and families need to expand literacy activities to provide a range of options available to them in work and life. Diagnostic tools and classroom techniques for assessing, decoding, encoding, comprehension, literacy and fluency skills are explored, along with related theories and research, and developmentally appropriate practices. The language arts are incomplete without making connections to all parts of the curriculum. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Special Education
ESP 695 3 credit(s)
This course will review all special education laws (IDEIA, 2004, and specific regulations such as 34 C.F.R. 300; 603 CMR 28:00) regarding the pre-referral and referral of a student, and the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Additionally, the course will discuss the relevance of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as the procedures for Special Education Appeals relating to public schools’ obligations to provide Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities. An additional emphasis in this course will be on students with a diagnosis of Autism and the process for developing IEP’s for these students in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), using theories and strategies for including students in general education classrooms. Special attention shall be paid to the particular state legislation governing special education. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Mathematics Essentials
MAT 618 3 credit(s)
This course focuses on the essential components of algebra, probability and statistics. Major topics include: algebraic, linear and non-linear models; functions and graphs; collecting, organizing and displaying data; using appropriate statistical methods based on data; and applying basic concepts of probability theory to everyday situations. Observations of lessons in which any of these topics are taught would meet pre-practicum observational requirements for this course.
Diagnosis & Remediation of Learning Problems in Mathematics (K-12)
MAT 708 3 credit(s)
This course examines the nature of mathematics learning, major types of mathematics learning problems, and their etiology. It discusses possible causes of these problems and suggests remediation strategies that teachers and parents can use to help children learn mathematics more effectively. Teachers focus on selected areas of mathematics at the K-8 levels that challenge children, and on how to remediate and facilitate mathematics learning in classroom and one-to-one settings.
Practicum (licensure students only)

Practicum Prerequisites

  • Pass all teacher tests required by the state for this license. Massachusetts MTELs: PreK-8: Communications and Literacy, General Curriculum (multi-subject + math subtest (Elementary Math (53), Middle School Math (47) or Mathematics (09) will also meet the math subtest requirement.) + Foundations of Reading (Reading (08) will also meet this requirement.). In addition, a Competency Review is required for a Preliminary license.
  • SEI605 Sheltered English Immersion (3 additional credits) or Mass. ESE-endorsed course or SEI MTEL.
  • Pre-Practicum — 75 hours embedded in courses, in diverse settings (0 credit)
  • Pass all required courses.

The practicum is guided and evaluated by a licensed/certified special educator in the classroom and a Cambridge College supervisor. Practicum locations are subject to MA DESE regulations and must be approved by the program chair. Students are responsible for discussing options for practicum with the program chair.

Practicum: Special Education (PreK-8) 300 hours
ESP 790A 3 credit(s)
300 hours in an inclusive general education setting or 75 hours in an inclusive general education setting and 225 in a separate or substantially separate setting for students with moderate disabilities. The Practicum experience is in the role and at the level of the license sought, under a supervising practitioner with the appropriate license, with Cambridge College supervision. The Practicum experience provides student teachers opportunities to gain insights into the profession and to master the current Professional Standards for Teachers by working with young people with moderate special needs in public schools and classrooms. Students work with the guidance and support of an experienced educator and by observing his/her instructional and classroom management strategies in action. Stu- dents develop instructional strategies for a variety of learning formats, appropriate curriculum materials, classroom management skills, strategies for creating a learning environment that fosters an appreciation of diversity and interactive learning. Students reflect on their own professional growth and examine theory through actual classroom practice. An Exit Performance Portfolio documents their experiences.
Practicum Seminar: Special Education
ESP 791 2 credit(s)
SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Content License Endorsement Course
SEI 605 3 credit(s)
This Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Content License Endorsement Course is designed for educator licensure candidates in all core academic areas, to prepare them to address the needs, and build on the multilingual and multicultural assets, of a diverse and ever-changing student population in Massachusetts. The course is a key element of the Massachusetts RETELL initiative (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners). RETELL also includes statewide implementation of the WIDA ELD (English Language Development) standards, and the WIDA-ACCESS assessment tools. Participants will be introduced to ELD standard and WIDA tools, and will practice applying research-based SEI instructional strategies as they teach their content to English language learners (ELLs). They will also be introduced to a variety of professional growth opportunities to prepare them to extend their learning by making SEI the focus of professional practice within the new educator evaluation process.


  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

Licensure Programs

  • MTEL Communications and Literacy Test
  • GPA of 3.0
  • Program Chair consultation and approval

Students may enter the College without having met the MTEL and GPA requirements. Enroll in the non-licensure program aligned with the licensure desired. When the MTEL test is pased and a GPA of 3.0 earned, seek approval to transfer into the licensure program.

Learn more about School of Education and licensure program admission requirements.

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education


State Health Requirements

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form 

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits for Licensure:
  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $1,995 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of September 2015, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

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