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  • Master’s in Special Education Online Degree

    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 program is a flexible and convenient part-time graduate program that gives current teachers 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.


    • Applied Behavior Analysis
      Applied Behavior Analysis is a well-developed, scientifically-based discipline that investigates and describes how the environment and the individual interact, and how that interaction impacts behavior. It has been used effectively to teach new skills and behavioral repertoires to all populations, but is perhaps best known for assessing and treating those with an autism spectrum disorder.
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
      The number of children diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome has increased drastically over the past decade. Consequently, there is an increasingly high-demand for professionals trained in educating children diagnosed with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The Autism concentration is designed for those who seek additional expertise in this critical field. The concentration’s 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.
    • Dyslexia Specialist
      It is estimated that up to 20% of school age children experience difficulty with some aspect of literacy. This course sequence gives teachers the necessary skills to provide direct instruction in a multisensory phonetic-based program to students with decoding deficits. With successful completion of the coursework, you'll be eligible for WRS Level 1 Certification. The WRS is recognized nationwide and is a highly desirable certification to have in Special Education.
    • Initial Education Certification
      In this concentration you will learn all competencies and standards required to earn your Special Education Certification. You will also be prepared to be a lead teacher in your own classroom and to meet the needs of children with various disabilities.
    • Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness
      This concentration will prepare you to help address non-academic barriers to learning. You will learn the best techniques for building collaborative partnerships with families, students, and the larger educational community, and developing evidence-based, age-appropriate strategies to support PreK-12 students.
    • Special Education Leadership
      The concentration prepares you to be a supervisor of special education programs. Graduates are equipped with the advanced skills, knowledge, and competencies to head initiatives that meet the needs of students at risk for and with disabilities in a variety of environments. With successful completion of the coursework, you'll be eligible for the Supervisor of Special Education Certification.

    Archived Webinars

    Scholarship Opportunity

    Applicants applying for a Spring 2022 start to the MS in Special Education program with a concentration in Dyslexia Specialist are eligible to be selected for a $5,000 scholarship. One individual $5,000 scholarship is available.


    • New students in the MS in Special Education with the Dyslexia Specialist concentration
    • Must start classes in the Spring 2022 term
    • $5,000 scholarship will be applied toward tuition when selected students take EDLS 622 Basic Word Study I

    Our Graduates Make a Difference

    Recent graduate Ashley Swestyn worked to help parents learn their rights in regards to their children’s special needs education. Read her story.

    Related Program

    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: The Inclusive Learner (3 credits)
    EDEX 568: Literacy and Content Skill Development PK-12 (3 credits)

    Core Courses  
    EDEX 536 Special Education Processes PK-12 3.0
    EDEX 543 Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities 3.0
    EDEX 549 Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities 3.0
    EDEX 550 Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities 3.0
    EDEX 552 Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement 3.0
    EDEX 555 Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3.0
    EDEX 575 Teaching STEAM in an Inclusive PK-12 Enviornment 3.0
    EDEX 578 Special Education Practicum PK-12 3.0
    EDEX 588 Implementing Academic Interventions in Inclusive Educational Enviornments 3.0
    Capstone Courses  
    EDU 780 Capstone Research 3.0
    Select from the Practitioner, Thesis or Lesson Study Capstone tracks:  
    EDUP 780 Practitioner Capstone Course I 3.0
    or EDUT 780 Thesis Capstone Course I
    or EDUL 780 Lesson Study Capstone Course I
    EDUP 781 Practitioner Capstone Course II 3.0-4.5
    or EDUT 781 Thesis Capstone Course II
    or EDUL 781 Lesson Study Capstone Course II
    Concentration Courses 12.0-31.5
    Complete courses from one of the concentrations listed below.  
    Total Credits 48.0-66.0

    Concentration Options

    Applied Behavior Analysis * 31.5
    ABA 630
    Fundamental Elements of Behavior Change  
    ABA 631
    Measurement and Experimental Design  
    ABA 632
    Behavioral Assessment and Functional Analysis  
    ABA 633
    Behavioral Interventions  
    ABAX 634
    Consultation, Systems Change, and Supervision  
    ABA 635
    Ethical Considerations and Professional Conduct  
    ABA 636
    Applications of Fundamental Elements of Behavior Analysis  
    Autism Spectrum Disorders 12.0
    EDEX 556
    Characteristics & Methods: Autism  
    EDEX 558
    Characteristics & Methods: High Functioning Autism  
    EDEX 560
    Communication & Language Interventions: Autism Spectrum Disorders  
    EDEX 562
    Behavior & Sensory Support: Autism Spectrum Disorders  
    Collaborative Special Education Law & Process 12.0
    EDEX 600
    Family, School, and Community Engagement in Special Education  
    EDEX 601
    Special Education Advocacy  
    EDEX 602
    Special Education Dispute Resolution and Skills Training  
    EDEX 710
    School Law & Policy in Special Education  
    Dyslexia Specialist **
    EDLS 620
    Applied Methods in Multisensory Reading Instruction  
    EDLS 621
    Early Literacy Skills  
    EDLS 622
    Basic Word Study I  
    EDLS 623
    Basic Word Study II  
    EDLS 624
    Multisensory Practicum I  
    EDLS 625
    Multisensory Practicum II  
    EDLS 626
    Multisensory Practicum III  
    Initial Education Certification
    EDEX 514
    Special Education Student Teaching Seminar  
    EDEX 542
    Fundamentals of Special Education  
    EDEX 544
    The Inclusive Classroom  
    EDEX 568
    Literacy and Content Skill Development in Early Childhood Education  
    EDUC 515
    Adolescent Learners in Secondary Schools  
    EDUC 521
    Typical and Atypical Development in Early Childhood Education  
    EDUC 522
    Evaluation of Instruction  
    Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness 12.0
    EDEX 580
    Social Emotional Wellness and Preventative Practices  
    EDEX 581
    Understanding Social Emotional Disorders  
    EDEX 582
    Evidence-Based School Interventions and Trauma Informed Education/Care  
    EDEX 583
    Collaboration and Community Based Practices to Promote Social Emotional Wellness  
    Special Education Leadership 16.0
    EDEX 710
    School Law & Policy in Special Education  
    EDEX 712
    Instructional & Curriculum Leadership in Special Education  
    EDEX 714
    Development, Supervision, & Support: Special Education Leadership  
    EDEX 716
    Organization & Administration of Special Education  
    EDEX 721
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Special Education Leadership  
    EDEX 722
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Instructional Leadership  
    EDEX 723
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Collaboration & Personnel  
    EDEX 724
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Finance & Management  

    *The Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration fulfills the coursework requirements for BCBA certification. Additional requirements are needed.

    **The Dyslexia Specialist courses fulfill certain requirements (but not all) for the Wilson Language Level I certification.

    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
    • 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 2021-2022 is $1017 per credit. (A 25% tuition savings off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1355 per credit)

    • 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.
      • These rates apply only to fully online courses. Hybrid or on-campus courses may have different rates.
      • 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.

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

    Constance Lyttle, PhD, JD
    Associate Clinical Professor

    Lori Severino - Assistant Clinical Professor and Program Director of Special Education

    Lori Severino, EdD
    Assistant Clinical Professor
    Program Director of Special Education

    Janet Sloand - Program Director of Special Education

    Janet Sloand, Ed.D.
    Program Director of Special Education

    Bridget Sweeney-Blakely - Assistant Clinical Professor MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

    Bridget Sweeney-Blakely
    Assistant 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

    2021-2022 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2021

    September 20, 2021

    December 4, 2021

    December 6, 2021

    December 11, 2021

    Winter 2022

    January 3, 2022

    March 12, 2022

    March 14, 2022

    March 19, 2022

    Spring 2022

    March 28, 2022

    June 4, 2022

    June 6, 2022

    June 11, 2022

    Summer 2022

    June 20, 2022

    August 27, 2022

    August 29, 2022

    September 3, 2022

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