Best Master’s in Special Education Degrees

The United States is facing a critical teacher shortage. One of the areas where teachers are most desperately needed is special education.

According to CNN, 46 states are reporting teacher shortages in special education as of the 2017-2018 school year.

Highly qualified teachers are an irreplaceable asset to special education students and their families. These teachers provide support and guidance based on their students’ individual struggles and strengths.

If you’re ready to meet this challenge, take a look at our list of the programs that can best prepare you for a career in special education.

What kind of special education degree should you get?

Master’s programs in special education can prepare you to serve students in a range of grade levels, and with numerous types of intellectual, behavioral, and physical disability.

Choose a program that aligns with the area and grade level of special education you wish to teach. You may become certified in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, or all grades (prekindergarten through grade 12).

You can also choose to specialize in specific types of special education, such as autism spectrum disorder, visual impairment, deaf or hard of hearing, or severe/multiple disabilities.

In addition to deciding what type of program you’ll pursue, you also need to decide how you’ll earn the degree. This ranking covers traditional, on-campus programs leading to a master’s degree. Online programs are another great option: They offer a higher level of scheduling flexibility, which is an important factor for working professionals and degree candidates with families. Take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Special Education Degrees.

How much money do people make with a master’s degree in special education?

The median pay for special education teachers is $57,910 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

PayScale breaks this down further. Candidates with an M.Ed. in Special Education who work in preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school classrooms earn an average of $48,232 per year. Special education teachers in secondary schools typically make $53,284 per year.

A master’s degree can qualify you for leadership positions and supervisory roles. For example, as a Director of Special Education, you can expect an average yearly salary of $72,026.

What can you do with a master’s degree in special education?

Many graduate programs are intended for students seeking careers in K-12 public or private schools. However, depending on the program you choose, your master’s degree may also qualify you to serve in group homes, educational organizations, social service agencies, youth recreation programs, or other settings that include special education students.

What are the requirements for a master’s degree in special education?

Programs that lead to teaching licensure or a teaching endorsement will require a supervised clinical experience. This may range from an eight-week practicum to a full academic year of student teaching, depending on the type of certification that the program includes.

Non-licensure programs may have another type of culminating experience or capstone activity. This may include a written thesis, action research project, professional portfolio, or comprehensive exam.

What are the best master’s degrees in special education?

This ranking examines tuition costs, incoming student test scores, graduation rate, expected early career salary for graduates, institutional reputation, and other key factors that influence the strength of an academic program.

Our methodology includes raw data from PayScale, individual college websites, and the National Center for Education Statistics' IPEDS database, as well as metadata analysis from other ranking publications such as U.S. News & World Report.

Based on this methodology, we’ve compiled the following ranking of the very best master’s degree programs in special education.

1. Vanderbilt University

Overview

Vanderbilt University is a private university founded in 1873. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt has grown into one of the most well-respected research institutions in the nation. In recent years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Vanderbilt’s Peabody College first among all graduate schools of education five times. Through Peabody, students can enroll in a number of top-ranked programs leading to an M.Ed. in Special Education.

Program Features

Students in the Special Education program will develop a foundation across all categories of exceptionality, with an opportunity to specialize in Early Childhood, High Incidence, or Low Incidence. Within the Low Incidence program, tracks are available in Severe Disabilities and in Visual Disabilities. Depending on the track that a student selects, coursework may include:

  • Management Procedures for Academic and Social Behavior
  • Assessment for Students with Severe and Persistent Academic and Behavior Difficulties
  • Advanced Procedures in Classroom Management and Social Skills Instruction for Students with Mild and Moderate Disabilities
  • Characteristics of Students with Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities

Notables

An optional specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis is also available. Degree candidates with a teaching license can pursue a High Incidence (Intensive Intervention Specialist) program of study. Among recent graduates of Vanderbilt’s Special Education program, 100 percent were employed or pursuing further study within four months of graduation.

2. University of Georgia

Overview

Considered one of the “Public Ivies,” the University of Georgia is the state’s flagship institution and a national leader in research, experiential learning, and public outreach. The University, located roughly 60 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, enrolls more than 36,000 students in 17 colleges and schools. UGA’s College of Education is one of the largest and most diverse public schools of education in the country, offering nearly 90 graduate programs.

Program Features

The M.Ed. in Special Education requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. This program offers four available emphasis areas: General Curriculum (preschool through grade 12), Adapted Curriculum and Autism, Birth through Kindergarten/Preschool, and Early Childhood Special Education (preschool through grade 5). For the General Curriculum (P-12) track, required coursework includes the following:

  • Clinical Assessment in Special Education
  • Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities
  • Evidence-Based Reading Instruction in Special Education

Notables

The Special Education program at UGA is intended for candidates who earned their bachelor’s degree in education and who already hold a teaching certificate. Rather than a written thesis, all candidates for the M.Ed. will complete an applied project. This project will consist of extensive research, followed by writing a proposal and then implementing the proposal in the field.

3. The University of Texas at Austin

Overview

U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Texas at Austin at number 18 among the Top Public Schools (National Universities). UT Austin is home to over 11,000 graduate students pursuing 130 different master’s degrees. Graduate programs in Special Education at UT Austin include an M.Ed. in High Incidence Disabilities, an M.Ed. or M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education, and an M.Ed. or M.A. in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Program Features

The High Incidence Disabilities program is available both as a degree-only track and as a track leading to initial teaching certification. The High Incidence Disabilities with teacher certification track requires a minimum of 45 credit hours. Required coursework for this track includes:

  • Foundations of Positive Behavioral Interventions
  • Teaching Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
  • Instruction and Intervention in Early Childhood Special Education
  • Law and Disabilities

Notables

The M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education program offers two tracks: a behavior analyst track, which leads to Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification, and a classroom practitioner track. Teaching certification is also available through the Early Childhood Special Education program. Certified teachers in this program may choose to complete a research thesis and earn an M.A. degree in place of an M.Ed. degree.

4. Johns Hopkins University

Overview

Established in 1876, Johns Hopkins University is considered America’s first research university. In the 2018 World University Rankings from Times Higher Education, the Johns Hopkins School of Education came in at number 15. One of the nationally ranked teacher education programs at JHU culminates in a Master of Science in Special Education.

Program Features

Students in the Special Education program may choose one of three emphasis areas: Mild to Moderate Disabilities (with a focus on either elementary or secondary grades), Early Childhood Special Education (focusing on children birth through grade 3), or Severe Disabilities (focusing on autism and other significant intellectual disabilities). The Severe Disabilities track requires 36 credit hours, while the other two tracks require 39 credit hours each. For the Mild to Moderate Disabilities track, coursework will include:

  • Legal Aspects, Service Systems, and Current Issues in Special Education
  • Instructional Planning and Management in Special Education
  • Collaborative Programming in Special Education
  • Classroom Management: Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Notables

The master’s degree programs in special education can lead to initial teaching certification. Students who already have a special education teaching license, or who do not need the credential, can pursue degree-only, non-certification tracks. All candidates for this degree will complete an on-site, three-hour comprehensive exam at the end of their program.

5. University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Overview

The University of Minnesota is one of the nation’s most prestigious public research universities. Through a flagship campus in Twin Cities and four other campus locations, UMN presents over 200 graduate and professional degree programs, including numerous top-ranked programs in teacher education. The Special Education graduate program at UMN was named fifth in the nation in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Program Features

The Master of Arts in Special Education requires 32 credit hours. The Special Education program is available under Plan A, which requires 10 thesis credits and an oral final exam, or Plan B, which does not require a thesis but features a written and oral final exam. An emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is available through the Plan B track. For students in the ABA concentration, coursework will include:

  • Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Interventions for Behavioral Problems in School Settings
  • Assessment and Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Functional Behavior Assessment

Notables

The Special Education track is a component of the Educational Psychology program. Other available tracks in Educational Psychology include counseling and student personnel psychology, school psychology, psychological foundations of education, and quantitative methods in education. Students who apply to the Special Education program by the December 1 deadline will automatically be considered for Graduate School fellowships and departmental awards.

6. University of San Diego

Overview

Strongly rooted in a liberal arts philosophy and Catholic identity, the University of San Diego enrolls roughly 8,900 students. USD is one of just 41 universities worldwide to be named a Changemaker Campus, a distinction granted by The Ashoka U to recognize a commitment to developing ethical leaders for the common good. This commitment is reflected in USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, which offers graduate programs in Leadership Studies, Literacy and Digital Learning, Special Education, and more.

Program Features

The Master of Education in Special Education is a dual certification track, leading to an Education Specialist Credential as well as either a Preliminary Multiple Subject or a Single Subject Credential. The curriculum includes 45 credit hours, to be completed over two years. Candidates for this degree will take courses such as:

  • Assessment Identification to Transition Special Education
  • Healthy Environments and Inclusive Education in a Global Society
  • Positive Behavior and Instruction Management in Special Education
  • Collaboration with Families and Professionals

Notables

A discounted graduate tuition rate is currently available for all incoming students in the M.Ed. in Special Education program. This degree track is cohort-based, and students will move through the required courses in a designated sequence. A teaching background is encouraged, but not required, to qualify for admission to the program.

7. The Ohio State University

Overview

The Ohio State University is home to 11 graduate programs that are ranked in the top 10 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. Overall, OSU is the number one public institution of higher learning in the state. The versatile Special Education graduate program at Ohio State offers students a number of pathways to advance their skills and knowledge in teaching exceptional learners.

Program Features

The Master of Arts in Educational Studies for Special Education is available with four specializations: Applied Behavioral Analysis, Early Childhood Intervention Specialist, Mild-to-Moderate Intervention Specialist, and Moderate-to-Intensive Intervention Specialist. All of these tracks, except for the Applied Behavioral Analysis track, require students to hold a teaching license prior to beginning the program. The degree requires a minimum of 37 credit hours, which students may earn through coursework such as:

  • School and Community Relations
  • Educational Intervention for Young Children with Disabilities
  • Delivering Effective Services to Enhance the Inclusion of Students with Special Needs
  • Reading Instruction for Children with Disabilities and Severe Reading Deficits

Notables

Students in all four specialization tracks will design and implement a proposal through an applied research project or study. GRE scores are required for students applying to this program if their undergraduate GPA is below 3.0. Graduates of this program will be prepared to pursue a Ph.D. in special education.

8. Minot State University

Overview

Located in Minot, South Dakota, Minot State University enrolls roughly 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students. As a public university, Minot State’s mission focuses on high-quality scholarship, public service, and community engagement. The College of Education and Health Sciences at Minot State offers nationally accredited programs in Communications Disorders, Teacher Education, and Special Education.

Program Features

Minot State’s Master of Science in Special Education requires between 32 and 45 credit hours, depending on the specialization that a student chooses. The degree track will include a minimum of 22 credit hours in core special education coursework and between 10 and 19 credit hours in a specialization. Available specializations include Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Specific Learning Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, and Special Education Strategist. For all tracks, required coursework will include:

  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Consultation and Supervision in SPED
  • Law and Policy in Special Education
  • Psychoeducational Aspects of Exceptional Children

Notables

The specialization tracks within the Special Education master’s degree program are also available as stand-alone graduate certificates, requiring between 20 and 27 credit hours. All candidates for the M.S. in Special Education will complete a thesis as their capstone activity. The curriculum for this degree aligns with the professional standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

9. University of Oregon

Overview

Located within an easy drive of both the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the University of Oregon enjoys a unique setting for its world-class educational opportunities. As a Tier One research university and a member of the elite Association of American Universities, UO offers more than 300 academic options to its 23,000 students. The multi-faceted Special Education program at UO is available through tracks leading to a Master of Arts, a Master of Education, or a Master of Science degree.

Program Features

Candidates for the M.A. in Special Education must demonstrate proficiency in a second language. The M.Ed. degree track requires that candidates already hold a valid teaching license and have at least one year of experience as a classroom teacher. Candidates who do not fall into these categories will earn an M.S. degree. A minimum of 45 credits is required for any Special Education degree, which students may earn through courses such as:

  • Behavior and Classroom Management
  • Assessment in Special Education
  • Early Literacy for Diverse Learners
  • Survey of Educational Research Methods

Notables

Students in any of the Special Education programs will be expected to complete a master's project, a master's thesis, or a master's specialization course sequence. The University of Oregon also offers both a Master of Education and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership.

10. University of Washington

Overview

Each year, the University of Washington confers over 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees. With campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, the UW is a multi-campus institution with a global vision and impact. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Special Education program at the University of Washington seventh in the nation.

Program Features

Students who successfully complete the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education program will be eligible for a Washington teacher certification in Special Education and an endorsement in Early Childhood Education (preschool through grade 3). The degree requires at least 45 credits and is designed to be completed in two years. Available coursework for this degree may include:

  • Curriculum and Assessment for Young Children with Disabilities
  • Collaborating with Families and Educational Teams
  • Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and Other Special Needs
  • Current Research in Early Childhood Special Education

Notables

The University of Washington also offers a High-Incidence Disabilities Teacher Education program and a Low-Incidence Disabilities Teacher Education program. Both of these programs are available as an initial teaching certification track, a Special Education endorsement track for certified teachers, and as a degree-only track for students who wish to earn a Master of Education degree without certification. An M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis is also available.

11. Washburn University

Overview

Washburn University is home to over 7,500 students and 1,000 faculty members and staff. The University’s 160-acre campus is located in the heart of Topeka, Kansas. Washburn’s 200-plus academic programs have earned the University a slot in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best colleges in the Midwest. The acclaimed education programs at Washburn include degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading Specialist, and Adaptive Special Education.

Program Features

Students will have the opportunity to earn an M.Ed. in Special Education and licensure in Adaptive Special Education for elementary education (kindergarten through grade 6) or secondary education (grades 6 through 12). Both the elementary and secondary education tracks require a total of 36 credit hours. All candidates for the M.Ed. in Special Education will take courses such as:

  • Learning and Behavior Problems
  • Conferencing and Collaboration in Special Education
  • Individual and Group Management
  • Resources for Families

Notables

Washburn's Department of Education offers graduate students five different options for their capstone experience. These options include a master’s thesis, comprehensive examination, written comprehensive paper, action research project, and a portfolio plus oral exam. A licensure-only program is available for candidates with an elementary or secondary teaching license who want to earn Special Education certification without completing the requirements for a master’s degree.

12. Utah State University

Overview

A land-grant, public research institution, Utah State University has a 400-acre main campus in Logan. The graduate programs at the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services are ranked first in the state of Utah and 26th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. USU’s Special Education program is available either as a Master of Education or as a Master of Science degree.

Program Features

The M.S. in Special Education requires students to complete a six-credit hour thesis and offers an optional Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) concentration. The M.Ed. degree track requires students to complete a six-credit hour creative project, and is available with an optional Administrative Supervisory License. For the M.Ed. in Special Education, required coursework includes:

  • Legal Issues in Special Education
  • Effective Practices with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations
  • Introduction to Educational and Behavioral Research
  • Educational Applications of Behavior Analysis

Notables

The graduate programs in Special Education are available through campuses and distance education sites in Blanding, Brigham City, Kaysville, Moab, Orem, Price, Salt Lake City, Tooele, and Uintah Basin. The Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education at USU offers a Bilingual-Bicultural program and a Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) Deaf Education program. Both of these programs prepare students to earn a Master of Education degree.

13. University of Missouri

Overview

Offering more than 300 degree programs through 19 colleges and schools, the University of Missouri is a nationally prominent research institution. MU is a member of the Association of American Universities, a distinction granted to only 60 universities in the country. Mizzou’s Department of Special Education offers a suite of graduate programs, including degrees in Behavior Disorders, Gifted Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Learning Disabilities, Curriculum Development for Exceptional Students, Cross-Categorical, and more.

Program Features

The Cross-Categorical Certification program leads to both a Master of Education degree and initial teaching certification. Graduates of the program will be qualified to teach students with mild disabilities (including learning disabilities, emotional/behavior disorders, and intellectual disabilities) in kindergarten through grade 12. While earning the degree, students may take courses such as:

  • Literacy Instruction for Exceptional Students
  • Diagnosis and Remediation of Mathematics Problems
  • High Functioning Students with Autism
  • Assessment in Early Childhood Special Education

Notables

To qualify for admission, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Students must also submit GRE scores from within the last five years. Preference will be given to applicants with a combined verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning score of at least 291 and an Analytical Writing score of 3.5 or better.

14. Boston University

Overview

As a leading global research institution, Boston University spent over $400 million in research funding in 2017 alone. The student body of BU includes 16,000 undergraduates and 14,000 graduate students, collectively representing all 50 states and 130 countries around the world. The Special Education program at BU prepares graduates for careers as a co-teacher in an inclusive classroom, inclusion facilitator, resource room teacher, or teacher in a self-contained classroom.

Program Features

The M.Ed. in Special Education offers initial licensure tracks for Students with Moderate Disabilities (prekindergarten through grade 8), Moderate Disabilities (PK-8) combined with Elementary Education (grades 1 through 6), Moderate Disabilities (grades 5 through 12), Severe Disabilities (ages three through 21), and Special Education Administration. For non-licensure tracks, the degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. Core coursework for all M.Ed. in Special Education candidates will include:

  • Special Education: Cognition, Learning, and Behavior
  • Introduction to Language and Language Acquisition
  • Assessment in Special Education: Procedures
  • Introduction to Research

Notables

The M.Ed. degree requires a minimum of two semesters of full-time study. The program will be longer, and require additional courses and fieldwork, for degree candidates who are also seeking teaching or administrative licensure. BU offers a dual degree program leading to a Master of Social Work and a Master of Education in Special Education.

15. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Overview

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 14th place among public universities and in 52nd place among all national universities, public and private. Established in 1867, the University is now a global leader in research and public engagement. In the 2017 rankings of "America's Best Graduate Schools," U.S. News & World Report placed the U of I Special Education program at number 10.

Program Features

The graduate program in Infancy and Early Childhood Special Education is available as both a Master of Education and a Master of Science. The M.S. degree track requires a thesis, while the M.Ed. track does not. Students in either degree track can choose a concentration in Infancy (Birth to Three Years Old), Early Childhood Special Education (Three to Six Years Old), or both Infancy and Early Childhood Special Education (Birth to Six Years Old). Available coursework for the program includes:

  • Developments in Educational Psychology
  • Technology and Educational Reform
  • Disability Issues in Special Education
  • Collaborative Leaders in Special Education

Notables

Students at the University of Illinois can also pursue a degree in Learning and Behavior Specialist I (LBSI), which leads to initial special education teacher licensure, and in Learning and Behavior Specialist II in Multiple Disabilities, which is designed for teachers with an LBSI teaching license. Both programs are available as an M.S. or as an M.Ed. degree.

16. University of Vermont

Overview

The 460-acre campus of the University of Vermont is in Burlington, the state’s largest city and one of the most celebrated college towns in the Northeast. Over 10,500 undergraduates and 1,500 graduate students attend UVM. With courses held in the evenings during the school year, UVM’s Special Education program is accessible and flexible enough to suit professionals at any stage of their career.

Program Features

The Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Vermont is available as both a certification pathway and as a non-certification pathway. The certification track can lead to initial or additional cross-categorical licensure in kindergarten through grade 8, grades 7 through 12, or kindergarten through grade 12. Available graduate-level coursework in Special Education includes:

  • Behavior Analysis in Special Education
  • Meeting Instructional Needs of All Students
  • Collaborative Consultation
  • Autism Spect Disorder: Assessment and Intervention

Notables

The Special Education program also offers options for advanced endorsements such as Intensive Special Education Teacher and Special Education Consulting Teacher. The non-certification degree path is more flexible than the certification options, and allows students to individually design a program suited to their career goals. This choice is ideal for licensed teachers and for professionals working in special education outside of school settings, such as in recreation programs or community living facilities. 

17. Northwest Missouri State University

Overview

Offering 127 undergraduate programs and 40 graduate programs, Northwest Missouri State University is a regional leader in business, education, geography, and agriculture. Northwest is a dedicated advocate of profession-based experience. For example, the on-campus Horace Mann Laboratory School allows students of education to participate directly in a functioning kindergarten through sixth grade setting. The acclaimed School of Education at Northwest boasts a placement rate of nearly 100 percent for its graduates.

Program Features

Teacher certification in special education is a graduation requirement for the M.S.Ed. in Special Education. Candidates who already hold certification can earn the degree by completing 32 credit hours. Pre-service teachers can earn the M.S.Ed. degree and initial teaching certification by completing between 40 and 46 credit hours. Core requirements for all candidates of this program include the following courses:

  • Technology for Teaching and Learning
  • Techniques of Conferencing and Collaboration
  • Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities
  • Administration of Special Education

Notables

The M.S.Ed. in Special Education is available through a fully online program. To qualify for admission, students must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75. Other available graduate options at Northwest include an M.S.Ed. in Education Leadership, Elementary Mathematics Specialist, Reading, and Curriculum and Instruction.

18. Syracuse University

Overview

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is committed to a mission of global study, experiential learning, and interdisciplinary scholarship. In a ranking of the Best National Universities, U.S. News & World Report ranked Syracuse at number 61. Syracuse was named to second place among the Best Special Education Colleges in the U.S. in a 2018 ranking by College Factual.

Program Features

Syracuse offers a range of programs leading to certification in special education, including M.S. degree tracks in Early Childhood Special Education, Inclusive Special Education (Grades 1 through 6), Inclusive Special Education (Grades 7 through 12), and Inclusive Special Education: Severe/Multiple Disabilities. All of the available M.S. programs in special education are available both for students seeking initial teaching certification and those seeking an additional certificate. For the Early Childhood Special Education program, required coursework will include:

  • Child and Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Positive Approaches to Challenging Behavior
  • Developmental Therapy for Children with Disabilities
  • Augmentation of Communication in Inclusive Classroom

Notables

Students in all of the graduate programs in special education may qualify for the High Needs Scholarship, a scholarship offered through the School of Education that covers 25 percent of the student’s tuition. To qualify for the award, students must be enrolled full-time (nine credits in fall or spring semesters, or six credits in the summer semester).

19. Pennsylvania State University

Overview

The World University Rankings from Times Higher Education have placed Pennsylvania State University among the top 70 universities worldwide. The community of Penn State is comprised of 24 campuses, 17,000 faculty and staff, and nearly 100,000 students. Alumni of Penn State’s College of Education are routinely recruited by many of the country’s best school districts, top educational agencies, and most influential organizations.

Program Features

The M.S. in Special Education from Penn State requires a total of 30 credit hours, including six credit hours in thesis research and 24 credit hours of coursework. This program is strongly oriented toward research and is best suited to candidates who plan to pursue doctoral study or a career in research. Available coursework for this flexible degree track includes:

  • Problems in the Education of the Emotionally Disturbed
  • Grant-Proposal Development in Special Education
  • Assessment in Early Educational Intervention
  • Advanced Instructional Design and Delivery for Students with High-Incidence Disabilities

Notables

Penn State also offers an M.Ed. in Special Education through a 4+1 program. To qualify, students should have completed (or be enrolled in) an undergraduate teacher certification program with a minor in Special Education. Through the 4+1 program, students will earn a bachelor’s degree with initial teacher certification, an M.Ed. in Special Education, and recommendation for Pennsylvania special education teacher certification, all within five years.

20. University of South Alabama

Overview

Located on 1,200 acres in Mobile, the University of South Alabama enrolls over 15,500 students. Home to extensive research initiatives and public outreach programs, South is a leader in engaged citizenship in the Gulf Coast region. The Leadership and Teacher Education Department at South offers a comprehensive suite of teacher education programs, with graduate degrees available in Art Education, Early Childhood Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Collaborative Education, and numerous other areas.

Program Features

South’s Master of Education in Special Education provides a pathway to Alabama Class A Professional Certification in Collaborative Teaching for kindergarten through grade 6 or grades 6 through 12. For candidates who already hold a valid Class B certificate in any area of education, this degree will require a minimum of 30 credit hours. Coursework for these students will include:

  • Methods for Teaching Special Needs Learners
  • Educational Research and Evaluation
  • Ecological Curriculum and Methods
  • Collaborative Practice Seminar

Notables

Students have the option of earning dual certification for both the elementary level (kindergarten through grade 6) and secondary level (grades 6 through 12) by completing a practicum experience at each level. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25 to graduate with this degree. Qualified educators can earn an Alabama Professional Certificate at the AA level through the M.Ed. in Special Education program.

21. Indiana University–Bloomington

Overview

The Indiana University system serves more than 114,000 students, including over 19,000 students in graduate and professional programs. In a recent ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Universities, Reuters placed IU at 27th worldwide. This reputation for innovation and high-impact scholarship is a prominent feature of IU's School of Education, which offers more than 90 master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs.

Program Features

The 36-credit hour program at IU leads to a Master of Science in Education for Special Education. Through this collaborative, cohort-based program, teachers who are licensed at either the elementary or secondary level can add a certification for mild intervention or intense intervention. The degree requires 12 courses, which are to be taken over six semesters (including summer semesters). Required coursework includes:

  • Assessment and Remediation of the Mildly Handicapped
  • Families, School, and Society
  • Classroom Management and Behavior Support
  • Collaboration and Service Delivery

Notables

The M.S.Ed. in Special Education is available through a residential program, as well as through a hybrid format and an online format. Students will have a number of options for specialization tracks, including Autism, Behavior Disorders, Early Childhood Education, and Instructional Strategies. All degree candidates will complete either a research project or a master’s thesis as their culminating experience.

22. University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Overview

A member of the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is a land-grant university founded in 1869. The Carnegie Foundation categorizes UNL as an “R1: Doctoral University–Highest Research Activity” institution. UNL offers opportunities for licensed teachers to earn add-on endorsements in a number of specializations, including Deaf and Hard of Hearing (P-12), Visual Impairments (P-12), and Early Childhood Special Education or Early Intervention Specialist (birth to kindergarten).

Program Features

The Master of Education in Special Education requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. This program does not offer a thesis track. All candidates for this degree will add either one or two specializations to their degree. Available graduate-level coursework in Special Education includes the following:

  • Effective Instruction for Learners with Special Needs
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): Effective Assessment and Intervention
  • Behavioral Systems and Interventions
  • Braille Codes and Material Adaptations for Students with Visual Impairments

Notables

Students who are completing one specialization will take at least 18 credit hours within the Special Education major and a minimum of nine credit hours for the specialization. Students completing two specializations will complete a total of 15 credit hours in the Special Education major and nine credit hours in each specialization. Applicants will submit GRE scores as part of the admissions process.

23. University of Alaska Fairbanks

Overview

Enrolling approximately 9,000 students, the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers more than 170 academic programs, from associate’s degrees and certificates to doctoral degrees. UAF is the only national university in Alaska ranked as a Tier One institution by U.S. News & World Report. The University is well-known for excellent graduate programs in business administration, geophysics, biological sciences, and teacher education.

Program Features

The Special Education program is available in three tracks: one for licensed teachers seeking additional certification in special education, one for students seeking initial teaching licensure, and one for students who only wish to pursue a master’s degree without teaching licensure. For non-licensure degree candidates, the program will not include any clinical experience. Required coursework for initial certification candidates includes:

  • Curriculum, Management, and Strategies: Low Incidence
  • Assessment of Students with Exceptionalities
  • Special Education Law: Principles and Practices
  • English Language Arts Assessment, Curriculum, and Strategies for Special Learners

Notables

The program requirements include 36 credit hours for licensed teachers pursuing an additional certificate and for degree-only, non-certification candidates. For students pursuing initial licensure, the program requires a minimum of 39 credit hours. The University of Alaska Fairbanks also offers Master of Education degrees in Language and Literacy; People, Place, and Pedagogy; and Online Innovation and Design.

24. University of Arizona

Overview

The Princeton Review places the University of Arizona among the nation’s top 200 institutions in a ranking of “Colleges That Pay You Back.” The UA College of Education is nationally renowned for offering a number of unique degrees, including the state’s only academic programs for rehabilitation counselors and educators of the deaf and blind. In the past five years, the College has granted more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees to teachers, researchers, counselors, school psychologists, principals, superintendents, and special education teachers.

Program Features

The program at UA leads to a Master of Arts in Special Education. On-campus students can earn certification in Mild-Moderate Disabilities, Severe and Multiple Disabilities, or Visual Impairment. Online students can choose from specializations in Behavioral Support, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Disabilities (although these online programs do not lead to certification). For the Mild-Moderate Disabilities track, coursework will include:

  • Behavior Principles and Disability
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Special Education
  • Language Development for the Exceptional Child
  • Consultation and Collaboration in Special Education

Notables

The Mild-Moderate Disabilities program is primarily designed for licensed teachers. Students without teaching certification will be expected to show evidence of experience working with children or youth with disabilities. While this degree track does not require a thesis, students will be required to successfully complete a written comprehensive exam during their final semester.

25. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Overview

Established as a branch campus of the University of Nevada, Reno in 1957, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas became a separately accredited institution in 1968. Today, UNLV enrolls over 25,000 undergraduate students and 4,000 graduate students. The College of Education at UNLV is the largest in the state. Nearly 50 percent of all education, mental health, and behavioral professionals in Nevada are alumni of UNLV.

Program Features

UNLV’s Special Education program is highly flexible. Students can pursue this M.Ed. degree as a licensure, endorsement, or non-certification track, with a wide variety of available specialization options. All M.Ed. tracks require a minimum of 36 credit hours. Depending on the track that a student chooses, coursework may include:

  • Ethical Evaluation of Programs for Persons with Exceptionalities/Special Needs
  • Vocational and Career Education for Persons with Disabilities in Transition
  • Psychological and Sociological Problems of Students with Emotional Disabilities
  • Adaptive Curricular Programming for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

Notables

Specialization tracks leading to certification include Autism, Early Childhood, Early Childhood Special Education, Generalist—Mild Disabilities, Gifted and Talented, Intellectual Disabilities, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Applied Behavioral Analysis. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above to graduate with this degree. For their culminating experience, students must successfully pass a written comprehensive examination.

26. George Mason University

Overview

George Mason University operates four campuses in Virginia and one in Songdo, Korea. From 17 students in 1957, George Mason has grown to a student body of 34,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and 130 countries worldwide. It is now the largest public research university in Virginia. The flexible graduate program in Special Education at George Mason offers on-campus classes, online courses, and hybrid courses.

Program Features

The M.Ed. in Special Education is designed for both classroom teachers and for professionals who work with special education individuals outside of a classroom context. This degree requires 30 credit hours, 15 of which will be earned through required coursework. The remaining 15 credit hours will be earned through elective courses, which students can choose based on their intended career focus. Coursework within the required core includes:

  • Foundations of Language and Literacy for Diverse Learners
  • Computer Applications for Special Populations
  • Autism Across the Lifespan: Collaboration with Critical Partners
  • Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysis

Notables

Students will have the option to use the 15 credit hours of electives to earn a graduate certificate in conjunction with their master’s degree. Available options for a graduate certificate include American Sign Language, Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Specialized Reading Instruction for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities, Visual Impairments, and more.

27. Tennessee State University

Overview

For more than ten years, Tennessee State University has appeared in U.S. News & World Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges.” TSU operates two campuses: a 500-acre site in a residential Nashville neighborhood along the Cumberland River, and the downtown Avon Williams campus, located in the heart of the city’s business and government district. The College of Education at TSU offers a variety of graduate and doctoral programs in teacher education, psychology, and educational leadership, all rooted in the university-wide motto: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”

Program Features

Graduates of the Special Education program will be prepared to serve as classroom teachers and as professionals in hospitals, group homes, mental health centers, and public and private community service agencies. Teacher certification is a graduation requirement for this degree. The track leading to initial licensure features a minimum of 42 credit hours, including courses such as:

  • Research and Statistics in Education
  • Consultation and Collaboration
  • Learning and Behavioral Disabilities
  • Managing Inappropriate Classroom Behavior

Notables

To qualify for unconditional admission, students must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 and a GRE score of at least 290 (or a Miller Analogies Test score of 370). Students with a lower GPA may be admitted on a conditional basis if their GRE or MAT scores are correspondingly higher.

28. University of Northern Iowa

Overview

Located in Cedar Falls, the University of Northern Iowa enrolls over 11,000 students in more than 90 undergraduate programs and 50 graduate programs. UNI ranks second in U.S. News & World Report’s list of the "Best Regional Universities (Midwest)" in the public universities category. In addition to academic excellence, the University is also known for providing outstanding value: The Washington Monthly College Guide places UNI 38th in its ranking of master’s-level universities offering the “Best Bang for the Buck.” The Special Education program at UNI focuses on enhancing student access to the general education curriculum.

Program Features

The Master of Arts in Education for Special Education requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. Degree candidates in this program will be required to complete either a research paper or a thesis with an oral defense. Students may choose to earn a teaching endorsement through this program. This degree offers coursework such as:

  • Qualitative Research in Special Education
  • Designing Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, K-12
  • Creating and Sustaining Positive Inclusive Learning Environments, K-12
  • Vocational and Transition Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities

Notables

UNI also offers master’s and education specialist degrees in Early Childhood Education, Art Education, Educational Psychology, Instructional Technology, School Psychology, and numerous other areas of education. Ninety-six percent of recent College of Education graduates are employed or pursuing further study.

29. McNeese State University

Overview

With a student body of over 7,500, McNeese State University is located on a 121-acre main campus in Lake Charles, Louisiana. For the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked McNeese as one of the best regional universities in the South. McNeese offers a range of highly regarded master’s programs in engineering, arts and sciences, nursing, business, and education.

Program Features

The Master of Education in Special Education is designed for candidates who already hold a valid teaching certificate in any area of education. The degree track features 15 credit hours in core coursework and 21 credit hours in a concentration. Available options include an Advanced Professional Concentration, an Autism Concentration, and an Educational Diagnostician Concentration. The 15-credit hour core includes classes such as:

  • Foundations of Educational Research
  • Principles of Learning and Behavior
  • Advanced Consultation and Collaboration Strategies for Program Planning
  • Special Education: Legal Aspects and Compliance

Notables

The Burton College of Education operates a number of clinics and community initiatives, including the McNeese Reading Clinic and the McNeese Summer Enrichment Program, both of which serve local schoolchildren. Additionally, the Burton College of Education hosts the Teaching and Learning Conference each summer. This conference is a professional development opportunity for educators, focusing on trends and issues in literacy, numeracy, and technology.

30. University of Northern Colorado

Overview

The University of Northern Colorado is home to more than 100 undergraduate programs and over 100 graduate programs. Founded in 1890 as a teacher’s college, UNC was originally the Colorado State Normal School. Among UNC’s outstanding graduate programs, three of the most popular—Education, Special Education, and Educational Leadership—are housed in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

Program Features

The Master of Arts in Special Education requires a minimum of 33 credit hours. Additional coursework will be required for students who are seeking initial teaching licensure through the program. This degree track offers emphasis areas in Visual Impairment, Intervention Specialist: Applied Behavior Analysis, Intervention Specialist: Academic Coaching and Leadership, Gifted and Talented Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Generalist. Required coursework for the Generalist track includes:

  • Learning Environments and Cultural Considerations
  • Assessment, IEP Development, and Instructional Planning
  • Mathematics and Content Area Learning for Students with Disabilities
  • Educating Students with Significant Support Needs

Notables

The program at UNC is available in-person through the Greeley campus, through a hybrid format at the Denver campus, and fully online. To qualify for admission, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award.

31. Saint Cloud State University

Overview

Enrolling more than 15,000 students, Saint Cloud State University is one of the largest public universities in Minnesota. Saint Cloud is a five-time winner of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine in recognition of the University’s outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Special Education program at Saint Cloud is accredited by both the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Program Features

The M.S. in Special Education is available as a thesis track or as a non-thesis track. The thesis track requires 30 credit hours, while the non-thesis track requires 33 credit hours. Both tracks are available to full-time and part-time students. Available core coursework for this degree includes:

  • Behavior Theories and Practices in Special Education
  • Advanced Methods and Interventions: Learning Disabilities
  • Characteristics of Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Learning Environments for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Notables

Students applying to this program must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and a GRE score in the 25th percentile or higher. The Special Education program offers graduate certificates leading to licensure in Academic and Behavioral Strategist, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Disorders, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, and Learning Disabilities.  

32. Frostburg State University

Overview

Frostburg State University is one of 12 institutions in the University System of Maryland. The University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and ranked one of the nation’s Best Value Colleges by Money magazine. Students have the option of earning an M.Ed. in Special Education fully online, or on campus in Frostburg or Hagerstown.

Program Features

The program at Frostburg offers certification pathways for special education in either grades 1 through 8 or grades 6 through 12. As part of this degree track, students will spend over 300 hours working with special education students. The curriculum requires between 39 and 42 credit hours, including nine credit hours in the Professional Education Core and 24 credit hours in the Special Education Core. Classes within the Special Education Core include:

  • Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation of Exceptional Children
  • Instructional Content and Practices for Exceptional Children
  • Planning and Managing the Teaching and Learning Environment
  • Communication and Collaborative Partnerships in Special Education Programs

Notables

Candidates for this degree will complete a capstone action research project, where students will be expected to explore a need in special education classrooms, research potential solutions, propose and implement a plan, and analyze the results. Frostburg also offers Master of Education degrees with concentrations in Educational Leadership, Reading, Curriculum and Instruction, and Interdisciplinary.

33. Eastern Michigan University

 

 

Overview

The main campus of Eastern Michigan University is located in Ypsilanti, while extension sites are located in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Livonia, and beyond. Founded as a teacher’s college in 1849 (the first one west of the Alleghenies), EMU has transformed into a major research institution offering over 200 undergraduate programs and 150 graduate programs to its 21,000 students. Today, EMU remains one of the nation’s largest producers of educational personnel.

Program Features

The Master of Arts in Special Education program requires a minimum of 33 to 37 credit hours. Eight to 11 of these credit hours can be used toward a concentration based on an individual student’s career goals. The program features an 11-credit hour core in Special Education coursework. This core includes the following required classes:

  • Classroom Management and the Development of Social Competence in Students with Special Needs
  • Law and Public Policy for Individuals with Disabilities
  • Models and Skills for Special and General Education Collaboration
  • Assessment and Advanced Diagnostic Prescriptive Programming for Students with Disabilities

Notables

Degree candidates can choose between a written thesis and an independent study project for their culminating activity. Other tracks leading to Master of Arts degrees in Autism Spectrum Disorders, in Learning Disabilities, and in Speech-Language Pathology are available, each with individual admissions and program requirements.

34. California State University, San Bernardino

Overview

Located in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity. CSUSB ranks in the top 4 percent nationwide for value-added for graduates, according to the Collegiate Learning Assessment. The CSUSB College of Education offers regionally and nationally renowned programs in instructional technology, teaching English to speakers of other languages, special education, and numerous other facets of teaching and learning.

Program Features

The Master of Science in Special Education offers optional specializations in Early Childhood Special Education, Mild to Moderate Disabilities, and Moderate to Severe Disabilities. All students in the program will be required to attend a New Student Orientation, where they will work with advisors to determine a course sequence that takes into account their academic background and professional goals. Available graduate-level coursework in Special Education includes:

  • Effective Communication with Professionals and Families
  • Assessment, Curriculum, Instruction: Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Students with Disabilities
  • Applied Curricular Strategies for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities.
  • Special Education Leadership Evaluation and Outcomes

Notables

Typically, candidates for the M.S. in Special Education are concurrently enrolled in an Education Specialist credential program. Students who only want to pursue a degree without a teaching credential will need to obtain permission from the Special Education Program Coordinator.

35. The University of Montana

Overview

Located at the base of Mount Sentinel along the Clark Fork River, the University of Montana offers degrees and certificates in the trades, liberal arts, graduate and postdoctoral study, and professional training. With a flagship campus in Missoula and additional campuses in Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Dillon, UM enrolls more than 13,000 students. The teacher education programs at the University are based on extensive clinical experiences and innovative curriculum models.

Program Features

The University of Montana offers a program that leads to an endorsement in special education for prekindergarten through grade 12. The endorsement program is part of the M.Ed. track, but only as a minor: Students will be expected to declare a major in another area of education. This minor features the following coursework:

  • Curriculum Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Advanced Educational Psychology
  • Computer and Other Technological Applications in Education
  • Inclusion and Collaboration

Notables

Students in this program must either be licensed teachers or concurrently pursuing initial teaching licensure. Options for pre-service teachers include the M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies with Initial Teacher Licensure for Kindergarten through Grade 8 Elementary Education or the M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies with Initial Teacher Licensure for Grades 5 through 12 or Kindergarten through Grade 12 Secondary Education.

36. University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Overview

The University of Hawai’i at Manoa is situated on 320 acres outside of downtown Honolulu. UHM offers almost 100 bachelor’s degrees, 85 master’s degrees, and 59 professional and doctoral degrees across 17 academic schools and colleges. The cohort-based Special Education program at UHM admits candidates in groups of approximately 25, allowing students to form long-lasting, impactful peer connections while they earn their degree.

Program Features

The Master of Education in Teaching is a two-year, field-based program for students with a baccalaureate degree in a field outside of education. This is a dual licensure program, leading to initial teacher certification in Secondary Education and Special Education. The degree track is designed to be completed in 24 months. Required coursework includes:

  • Methods and Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  • Technology Skills for Educators
  • Advanced Assessment and Curriculum Development
  • Strategies Across Content Area

Notables

The M.Ed. in Teaching is a hybrid program, composed of both online and face-to-face classes. Each semester of the program will have no more than four face-to-face weekend meetings. This is a statewide program, meaning that it is intended to be accessible to students living on any of the islands of Hawai’i. Students will be provided with a travel stipend to help cover transportation expenses to and from neighboring islands. UHM also offers a fully online, non-licensure M.Ed. in Special Education.

37. Norfolk State University

Overview

Recognized by G.I. Jobs as a Military Friendly School, Norfolk State University is a highly respected liberal arts institution. Through the main campus in Norfolk, Virginia and through extensive online programs, NSU offers 49 degree options. Norfolk State offers a range of graduate degrees in Special Education to match any student’s educational background and professional aspirations.

Program Features

Students at Norfolk seeking initial teaching licensure may earn a Master of Arts in Special Education General Curriculum K-12. The degree track features 39 credit hours, and most students complete the program in five semesters. Candidates will take classes such as:

  • Language and Developmental Reading in Elementary Education
  • Foundations of Special Education: Characteristics, Legal, and Ethical Aspects of Educating Exceptional Learners
  • Individualized Education Program Implementation: Alternative Strategies for Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities
  • Collaboration, Inclusion, Transition, and Other Curricular Adjustments for Exceptional Learners

Notables

Norfolk also offers a Master of Arts in Special Education Adapted Curriculum K-12, which leads to credentials for teaching students with severe disabilities. The general Master of Arts in Special Education is a non-teaching degree, designed for professionals who plan to work with special education individuals outside of classroom settings. Other options include a Master of Arts in Special Education Rehabilitation Counseling and a teaching endorsement in Vision Impairment for prekindergarten through grade 12.

38. University of Delaware

Overview

The University of Delaware is located halfway between Washington, D.C. and New York City, providing its 23,000 students with exceptional opportunities in world-class cities. UD was established in 1743 and today ranks number 33 among the top national public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. The graduate programs at UD’s School of Education are ranked 35th nationwide out of 376 other institutions.

Program Features

The M.Ed. in Exceptional Children and Youth is available in three formats: on-campus, online, and as a 4+1 program (for undergraduate students who apply during the senior year of their bachelor’s degree program). For certified teachers, the M.Ed. degree can be earned by completing 33 credit hours. Core coursework for the program includes:

  • Applied Human Development in the Schools
  • Educational Evaluation: Exceptional Children and Youth
  • Techniques for Behavior Change and Positive Behavior Support
  • Collaborative Teaming in Special Education

Notables

The traditional master’s degree program is intended for students who are already certified teachers or who will work with special education individuals in a setting that does not require teaching licensure. For teachers licensed in general education, the traditional program can lead to special education certification. The Master’s Plus Certification Program (MPCP) is for students who seek initial teaching licensure. Certification tracks are available in Elementary Special Education, Secondary Special Education, and Autism/Severe Disabilities.

39. Portland State University

Overview

For three consecutive years, Portland State University has been featured in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the 10 Most Innovative Schools in the nation. Serving a dynamic community of 27,000 students, Portland State is Oregon’s most diverse public university. The Graduate School of Education at PSU offers a suite of programs in Counseling, Leadership for Sustainability Education, Special Education, and more.

Program Features

The Special Education program is available as both a Master of Science track and as a Master of Arts track. The M.A. degree track requires a foreign language proficiency examination. Both tracks can be completed as part of a teacher licensure program or as a degree-only, non-certification program. Available graduate-level coursework from the Department of Special Education includes:

  • Planning and Instruction for Students with Special Needs
  • Functional Assessment for the Inclusive Elementary Educator
  • Collaborative Teaming and the Special Education Process
  • Specialized Techniques for the Inclusive Elementary Educator

Notables

Degree candidates will be required to complete a master’s project as part of their program. Students may choose from a number of available projects. As of the 2018 school year, options for the master’s project include Program Development and Evaluation Research at Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp; a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) research project; and a project in Literacy, Language, Instruction, and Assistive Technology.

40. Plymouth State University

Overview

Founded in 1871, Plymouth State University enrolls roughly 4,100 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students. The campus, located on 170 acres in central New Hampshire, is known for the natural beauty of the surrounding White Mountains and Lakes Region. The graduate program in Special Education from Plymouth State focuses on key aspects such as characteristics of diverse learners, instructional strategies, and special education law.

Program Features

The Master of Education in Special Education is available leading to General Special Education Certification for kindergarten through grade 12. The degree is also available as a non-certification track. The certification pathway is offered through a traditional format and through a one-year intensive program, which incorporates a special education internship into a prescribed sequence of coursework. Both tracks leading to certification require 42 credit hours, while the non-certification track requires 36 credit hours. For certification candidates, required coursework will include:

  • Working with Families and Children: Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Classroom Intervention and Special Education Strategies
  • Curriculum Development in Special Education
  • Collaboration, Consultation, and Leadership in Special Education

Notables

To qualify for admission, students should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above. The Special Education programs at Plymouth State are fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The curriculum aligns with the standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).