Special Education

The application process has two parts. Students must apply to the Office of Graduate Studies (Part 1) and to the Department of Special Education & Communication Disorders via GAMES (Part 2).


How to Apply: Degree Programs


Part 1:
Link to the Office of Graduate Studies Steps to Admission and submit the following:

  • Online application
  • Transcripts
  • TOEFL scores (International students only) (Institution code = 6877; Department code = 77)
  • Financial Resource Certification (International students only)
  • Application Fee

Part 2:
After submitting the online application in Part 1, you will receive an email notification with your new NU ID and a temporary password with instructions on how to setup your permanent password for MyRED. Now link to GAMES using your NU ID as login and MyRED password to complete the Department application. You must enter or upload the following:

  • Resume/vita
  • Statement of Purpose / Professional Goals
  • GRE scores (Institution code = 6877; Department code = 0620)
  • Names and contact information for three references of your choosing. (GAMES will automatically email the specified people and request that each upload the recommendation to GAMES.)
  • Assistantship/Fellowship application (optional)
  • Writing sample (Ed.S. / Ph. D. / Ed. D. required, M.A. / M.Ed. optional)
  • Advisor Support Agreement (Ed.S. / Ph.D. / Ed. D. required)

Deadlines for M.A., M.Ed., Ed.S., and Graduate Certificate applicants

  • March 1 for Fall semester
  • October 1 for Spring semester

Deadline for Ph.D.

  • March 1 for consideration of Barkley Doctoral Fellow funding; otherwise rolling admission.

Contact Jill England at jill.england@unl.edu or 402-472-2141 for information regarding the application process. It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials are submitted and received by the deadline.

Tips for Developing a Competitive Application

Before completing an application, you should thoroughly explore and understand your options by viewing our Graduate Program description for Special Education. You should become familiar with our Faculty and their research areas and contact individuals who share your career interests prior to submitting your application materials. This will help you focus when preparing your statement of purpose and resume.

Your resume should include any work experience or employment history that relates to the area of study you wish to pursue. It should also include any honors and awards received in recognition of your academic and professional achievements. Keep in mind that your resume can include as much (or as little) information as you wish as long as it helps the Graduate Committee judge your potential as a graduate student.

The statement of purpose is one of the most critical parts of your application. This is your opportunity to tell us about your personal and professional goals, why you desire a graduate degree, and anything else that provides the Graduate Committee with a glimpse of “who you are.” Demonstrate to the Graduate Committee that your goals have been well thought out and that you understand the commitments associated with graduate studies. If you have job and/or volunteer experience that is relevant to your academic pursuits, be sure to provide details. It is helpful to highlight your strengths, although you should also address any weaknesses (such as poor grades or low GRE scores) and describe how these may affect your success as a graduate student. If you believe extenuating circumstances have hindered your academic progress, you should describe them in sufficient detail to allow the Graduate Committee to judge your application.

Letters of Recommendation receive close scrutiny during the review process. When selecting your recommenders, try to identify professionals who know you well and can assess your potential for success in graduate school and your chosen career. Some of the qualities they should address include (but are not limited to): your level of understanding of your chosen career; the strengths you will bring to that career; your ability to work independently and think critically and creatively; your problem-solving and analytical skills; your quantitative skills; and your verbal and written communication skills. Be sure to give your recommenders ample time to write their letters. You might consider giving them your resume and a summary of your career goals as well as information about the points you wish them to address.

Make sure your application is complete. Even if the application asks for information that is in your resume or statement of purpose, you should fill in all the information requested in GAMES.

Other Information

The general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. The department will accept an unofficial copy of your scores on a temporary basis, but an official copy is required before a final decision about admission can be made. GRE scores should not be more than ten years old.

International Applicants: A TOEFL score of 550 or more on the paper version, or 213 or more on the computerized version, or 80 or more on the iBT is required. A score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS is also acceptable. For additional requirements for international students, refer to the application instructions for Graduate Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Supplementary Information: Applicants are encouraged to include supplementary information with their departmental applications including papers, publications, etc., to assist the Graduate Committee in its judgment about scholarly potential.

The Advisor Support Agreement is required for Ph.D. / Ed.D. and Ed.S. applicants only. You need to contact the faculty member(s) that shares your same research interest area, asking if he/she is willing to serve as your mentor and advisor. Most faculty will want to have several interactions with you via email, phone conversations, and/or a face-to-face interview. If both parties are agreeable to the proposed plan, the faculty member signs the Advisor Support Agreement for the student to include with the application materials.