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  • Master’s in Special Education Online Degree

    Earn Your MS in Special Education

    The accredited Master of Science in Special Education program equips teaching professionals with the fundamental skills, knowledge and competencies needed to meet the needs of students with disabilities in multiple settings. The MS in Special Education online program is a flexible and convenient part-time, distance-learning graduate program that gives you a comprehensive understanding of developing the potential of students with disabilities. Included in the curriculum is the coursework necessary to pursue the Pennsylvania (PA) Special Education PreK-12 certification.

    Master's Degree in Special Education Concentrations

    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
      The number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder has increased drastically over the past decade. Consequently, there is an increasingly high-demand for professionals trained in educating children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Autism concentration is designed for those who seek additional expertise in this critical field. The curriculum provides knowledge and skills for working with these students. Effective teaching methods, interventions, and support will also be emphasized.
    • Collaborative Special Education Law and Process
      Special Education is a dynamic field, continually impacted by legislation, regulation and litigation. This concentration is designed for those interested in enhancing their proficiency in the procedural and substantive rules that guide the development and implementation of an appropriate education for students with disabilities. Leadership skills in areas such as collaboration, special education advocacy, IEP meeting facilitation, collaborative problem-solving and dispute resolution will be emphasized.
    • Initial Education Certification
      In this concentration you'll learn all competencies and standards required to earn your Special Education Certification. You'll also be prepared to be a lead teacher in your own classroom and to meet the needs of children with various disabilities.

    Why Earn a Master’s in Special Education?

    Careers in the special education space can be highly rewarding, and educators are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for special education teachers is expected to grow 8% over the next decade. These educators require specialized skills to meet the needs of their students. The curriculum of Drexel’s online master's degree in special education is tailored to prepare you to meet the challenges and opportunities of working with special needs populations through a variety of specialized concentrations. Upon graduation, you'll be able to pursue the Pennsylvania (PA) Special Education PreK-12 certification.

    This degree prepares you for careers outside of the classroom as well. You can use the lessons learned in this program to find success in roles like a department chair or advisor for special education programs, an educational advisor for a department of education, a special education advocate, or an advisor for product development that requires a special education perspective.

    Our MS in Special Education Graduates Make a Difference

    Graduate Ashley Swestyn worked to help parents learn their rights in regard to their children's special education. Read her story.

    MS in Special Education Salary Expectations

    Salaries can vary based on your location, years of experience, and exact job title. However, some common job titles and salaries for professionals with a background in special education include:

    • Elementary School Teacher - $60,660
    • School and Career Counselor - $58,120
    • Special Education Advocate - $56,680
    • Special Education Teacher - $61,420

    Source: BLS, 2020

    Online Master's Degree in Special Education Program FAQs

    How long does it take to earn a master’s degree in special education?
    Drexel’s online master’s in special education is a 48 to 49.5 quarter credit program. This program can be completed in about two years.

    Are there any on-campus requirements for this program?
    There are no on-campus requirements for this program. All of your courses can be completed online. However, the program does include a practicum component that allows you to apply your coursework in a real classroom setting. Specific concentrations may require additional practica. These field placements can be completed at a location that is convenient for you.

    Learn More About Our Master’s in Special Education Online Program

    Archived Webinars

    Related Programs

    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    A field component is required in most courses.

    Pre-Requisite Courses

    You must have the following courses in order to apply for a certification in special education. All students entering this master's program from an approved PA certification program after 2011 should have had these core courses in their initial certification program. If you do not have these courses, you must complete them with a minimum grade of "B" in addition to the core certification offerings:

    EDEX 542: Fundamentals of Special Education (3 credits)
    EDEX 544: Inclusive Practices (3 credits)
    EDEX 568: Literacy and Content Skill Development PK-12 (3 credits)

    Requirements for Students obtaining Initial Certification

    Required Courses
    Special Education Law and Process 3.0
    Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities 3.0
    Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities 3.0
    Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities 3.0
    Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement 3.0
    Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3.0
    Special Education Practicum PK-12 3.0
    Implementing Academic Interventions in Inclusive Educational Environments 3.0
    Initial Certification Concentration
    Students obtaining the initial certification will complete the following courses:
    Special Education Student Teaching Seminar 6.0
    Fundamentals of Special Education 3.0
    Inclusive Practices 3.0
    Literacy and Content Skill Development PK-12 3.0
    Adolescent Learners 3.0
    Typical and Atypical Development in Early Childhood Education 3.0
    Foundations in Instructing English Language Learners 3.0
    Total Credits 48.0

    Requirements for Students not obtaining Initial Certification

    Required Courses
    Special Education Law and Process 3.0
    Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities 3.0
    Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities 3.0
    Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities 3.0
    Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement 3.0
    Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3.0
    Teaching STEAM in an Inclusive Environment PK-12 3.0
    Special Education Practicum PK-12 3.0
    Implementing Academic Interventions in Inclusive Educational Environments 3.0
    Capstone Research 3.0
    Students have the option to select from one of the Capstone tracks: 6.0-7.5
    Practitioner Capstone Course I
    Practitioner Capstone Course II
    Thesis Capstone Course I
    Thesis Capstone Course II
    Students not obtaining an initial certification must also complete one of the following concentrations:
    Concentration Options 12.0
    Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Characteristics & Methods: Autism
    Characteristics & Methods: High Functioning Autism
    Communication & Language Interventions: Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Behavior & Sensory Support: Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Collaborative Special Education Law & Process
    Family, School and Community Engagement in Special Education
    Special Education Advocacy
    Special Education Dispute Resolution and Skills Training
    School Law & Policy in Special Education
    Total Credits 48.0-49.5

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (graduate GPA will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA)
      • If you do not meet this requirement, you’re still encouraged to apply and your file will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Program Director

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • Two professional letters of recommendation
    • Resume
    • Personal essay addressing the following:
      • Why you’re interested in this field
      • Why you’re interested in attending the program at Drexel University
      • Your career goals and how Drexel’s program will help you achieve them
      • How this program relates to your previous education and/or work experience
    • Additional requirements for International Students


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2023-2024 is $1079 per credit. (A 25% tuition savings off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1438 per credit)

    For the academic year 2023-2024, students enrolled in an online graduate academic program will be charged a graduate online program fee of $125 per year.

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Contact Faculty

    The following faculty members are available to speak to you about the program by phone or email. For a full listing of faculty, please visit Drexel's School of Education.

    Amanda Lannie, PhD, BCBA-D

    Amanda Lannie, PhD, BCBA-D
    Assistant Clinical Professor
    Program Director of Special Education

    Constance Lyttle - PhD Clinical Professor Drexel University School of EducationMS TLC – Adv Studies

    Constance Lyttle, PhD, JD
    Associate Clinical Professor

    Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo - Associate Clinical Professor BS in Education and MS in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum

    Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, EdD
    Assistant Clinical Professor

    Academic Calendar

    2023-2024 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2023

    September 26, 2023

    December 9, 2023

    December 11, 2023

    December 16, 2023

    Winter 2024

    January 8, 2024

    March 16, 2024

    March 18, 2024

    March 23, 2024

    Spring 2024

    April 1, 2024

    June 8, 2024

    June 10, 2024

    June 15, 2024

    Summer 2024

    June 24, 2024

    August 31, 2024

    September 3, 2024

    September 7, 2024


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