The 25 Best Master’s in Special Education Online for 2019

online-special-ed-masters
By BCR Staff
August 2018

A Masters in Special Education degree is intended for individuals with previous degrees who wish to work with students with special needs. The degree provides instruction on the description and nature of disabilities in children of various ages and the psychological factors that affect these students. Students learn about effective teaching strategies and ways to create meaningful learning experiences for these children. They also learn how to develop lesson plans that are modified toward a child’s specific disability.

Examples of special education courses include human growth and development, educational psychology, assessment in special education, learning disabilities, special education teaching strategies, emotional and behavioral disorders, disability law, and applied behavior management.

Featured Online Master’s In Special Education Programs:

In this ranking, our editors examine our picks of the top 25 Online Master’s for Special Education programs. For more generalized information regarding distance learning visit our ranking of the top online colleges.

 

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:

  • Under $35,000—1 points
  • Under $30,000—2 points
  • Under $25,000—3 points
  • Under $20,000—4 points
  • Under $15,000—5 points
  • Under $10,000—6 points
  • Under $5,000—7 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master’s in Engineering Programs

  • Top 5— 5 points
  • Top 10— 4 points
  • Top 25 —3 points
  • Top 50 —2 points
  • Top 75 —1 point

Customization Options

  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
  • Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

 

Our editor started with a list of 35 colleges and then used our customized ranking methodology to shortlist the TOP 25. We were able to narrow these initial findings by applying a few factors such as affordability (average net price is capped at $35,000), program customization, return-on-investment, and career prospects. Finally, we used information from U.S. News & World Report as well as from each school’s website to apply the rating and ranking methodology above. In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower tuition receives the higher ranking.

Check them out below!

 

#25 – Florida International University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 6

Website

Florida International University

FIU’s fully online Master of Science in Special Education provides special education teachers with advanced training to reach the children who need you the most. Our Special Education degree leads to a Florida Autism Endorsement, providing you with the skills to teach learners on the autism spectrum. Our graduate program also places special emphasis on classroom-based research and on preparing special education teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse learners and their families.

The online Master of Science in Special Education is completed in one year and consists of six accelerated eight-week terms. Students enroll in 4 courses (12 credits) each semester and complete two courses each 8-week term in the semester. A total of 36 credit hours (12 courses) is necessary to complete the program.  The area of specialization for this degree is Autism Endorsement.

Tuition Fee: $508 per credit hour

 

#24 – Emporia State University

Master’s in Special Education Online

POINTS – 6

Website

The graduate degree program in Gifted, Talented, and Creative Special Education at Emporia State is designed to support the needs of the students, teachers, schools, and special education administrators in Kansas.  The M.S. in Special Education offered through Emporia State University has adapted to the changing graduate student demographic and is now offered entirely online. This allows our students to complete the program on their schedule from their location.

The degree completion requires 36 credit hours and offers classes like Education of Gifted Learners, Analysis of Research, Creative Teaching and Learning, Assessment in Schools and Behavior Interventions.

Tuition Fee: $480 per credit hour

 

#23 – Bemidji State University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 6

Website

The Master of Special Education online emphasizes the application of theory to practice through field experiences in each course.  A majority of the required credit hours in the Master of Special Education degree are based on the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Minnesota Special Education Licensure Standards. The remaining credit hours are research-based and facilitate the planning for and development of an application project.

By completing three additional required licensure courses a Master in Special Education candidate, who already has a teaching degree, can obtain ASD, EBD and/or SLD special education teaching licensure(s) in addition to the master’s degree.

Tuition Fee: $419.80 per credit hour

 

#22 – Indiana University – Bloomington

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 7

Website

Indiana University South Bend

Indiana University at Bloomington offers a 36-credit online master’s degree in special education which focuses on students with mild to moderate disabilities. The school also offers electives in the management of severely emotionally disturbed individuals and early support for at-risk children. Students can choose a complementary specialization in autism, behavior disorders, early childhood education, or instructional strategies.

The online and hybrid Special Education Master’s degree programs are focused on supporting advanced competencies in teaching related to teaching students with mild-moderate disabilities. Based on Special Education professional standards, the activities in the program address the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed by special education teachers working in today’s classrooms.

Coursework covers assistive technologies, transition across the lifespan, and classroom management. In order to graduate, students must complete a capstone research project or a master’s thesis and attend a culminating intensive study workshop in special education.

Tuition Fee: $1301 per credit hour

 

#21 – University of St. Thomas

Online MA in Special Education

POINTS – 7

Website

The master of arts in special education online offers both licensure and non-licensure tracks. Delivered online using asynchronous and synchronous models, the program accommodates educators with Minnesota teaching license, those pursuing initial licensure, and professionals not seeking licensure.

The school offers six special education licensure programs, each with its own plan of study: academic behavioral strategist (K-21); autism spectrum disorders (birth to age 21); developmental disabilities (K-21); early childhood special education (birth to age 8); emotional behavioral disorders (K-21); and learning disabilities (K-21). Students in all six master’s in special education online programs take common courses examining exceptionality, behavior management, and collaboration skills for school professionals. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some specializations have additional requirements.

Although class time is all online, many courses have applied assignments to be completed in schools or community settings. Applicants need to either work in a school or have connections with several schools.

Tuition Fee: $790 per credit hour

 

#20 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 7

Website

Liberty University offers a 36-credit master of special education online program. With an emphasis on Christian principles and worldviews, this program prepares graduates to work in K–12 Christian, public, or private schools. In this program, a teaching practicum is not mandatory except for students pursuing the autism certification. Rather than a practicum, students can take an optional seminar in which they deeply examine case studies and discuss the current trends and issues in the field of education. Liberty University is the largest private, nonprofit online university in the United States and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation.

The M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction- Special Education online program is a great option for currently licensed teachers wishing to gain a master’s degree or students who do not need to become a licensed public school teacher. Students wishing to become licensed Special Education teachers should consider our Master of Arts in Teaching- Special Education.

Tuition Fee: $415 per credit hour

 

#19 – University of Oklahoma

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 8

Website

The Master Special Education Program prepares graduate students with the knowledge, skills, instructional expertise, and leadership abilities, to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in school and other natural environments.

Courses in the Master Special Education online program are delivered via a blended or 100% distance learning format. Students within traveling distance of the Norman Campus can elect to complete coursework attending face-to-face class meetings; or they can attend 100% of the classes virtually, via distance learning technologies (subject to additional course fees).

As part of a Master Degree program, students complete a set of required and elective courses designed to provide concentrations in one or more of the following areas:

• M.Ed. in Special education
• M.Ed. in Special education with a concentration in non-traditional certification to instruct students with mild-moderate disabilities
• M.Ed. in Special education with a concentration in applied behavior analysis that includes a graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis
• M.Ed. in Special education with a concentration in secondary transition that includes a graduate certificate in secondary transition education
• M.Ed. in Special education with a dual concentration in applied behavior analysis and secondary transition, that includes graduate certificates in applied behavior analysis and secondary transition education

Tuition Fee: $610.80 per credit hour

 

#18 – Auburn University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 8

Website

Auburn University’s Early Childhood/Elementary Special Education (P-6) online master’s degree prepares teachers to serve infants and toddlers (0-2 years), children in preschool (3-5 years), and students in K-6 settings. Graduates are prepared to implement evidence-based practices at an advanced level to support families and the development of young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities and elementary-aged students with disabilities.  Our program is offered online and on campus.

The program has courses like Advanced Assessment in Special Education, Curriculum and Teaching in Specialization (Learning Strategies), Research in Specialization, Clinical Residency,  Curriculum in Severe Disabilities and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology.

Tuition  Fee: $630 per credit hour

 

#17 – University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 8

Website

University of Cincinnati’s Master in Special Education is the perfect fit if you are enthusiastic about working with children and adults with disabilities. Through education, community awareness, and ecologically based service delivery, the focus of special education is to enhance and better the lives of all individuals with disabilities.  Some graduates of their special education program work as advocates and/or case managers for social agencies.  This program is completely online.

By graduation, you will be able to provide services in the field of special education include K-12 education, rehabilitation for occupational development and daily independence, community-based case management, disability advocacy, school and individualized consultation services, and various other services related to individuals with disabilities and their families.

Tuition Fee: $724 per credit hour

 

#16 – James Madison University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 9

Website

The school offers a 30-credit master of education in special education with a concentration in K-12 gifted education. The program does not meet initial teacher licensure requirements for Virginia. Instead, it prepares already licensed teachers for careers such as program specialist or behavior specialist in exceptional education programs. Students planning to pursue non-teaching careers working with individuals with exceptionalities may also find the program ideal.

The M.Ed. is, at the minimum, a 30 credit hour program with 13-16 core credit hours.  College of Education and Exceptional Education courses comprise the core courses.  The remaining credits are split between a selected concentration and electives that meet specific individual needs and career objectives.

The M.Ed. includes field experiences integrated into courses, which may occur as a formal placement by the university or as a result of supervised employment. All candidates complete a final portfolio OR an action research project, which serves as their comprehensive assessment.

Tuition Fee: $1,231 per credit hour

 

#15 – University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 9

Website

The University of Alabama

The school offers a 36-credit master of arts (MA) in special education and 45-48 credit alternative master of arts in special education through its Bama by Distance online learning platform. Both master’s in special education online programs provide the professional training for collaborative 6-12 certification.

Designed for teachers who hold baccalaureate-level teacher certification, the standard MA leads to Alabama Class A certification. The curriculum delves into topics such as advanced behavior management, academic methods-secondary, teacher consultant models, mild and severe disabilities, and how to diagnose exceptional children and youth. The alternative MA provides a route for Class A certification for those with a non-education bachelor’s or without initial certification/licensure. Students study a similar curriculum to those in the standard program but must also address undergraduate deficiencies in subjects such as English, math, and science. Students in the alternative program must also participate in an internship.

Tuition Fee: $1,113 per credit hour

 

#14 – George Mason University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 9

Website

The online Master of Education in Special Education prepares students to address the complex learning needs of individuals with disabilities. Mason’s unique, innovative approach to inclusive education is designed to benefit learners with disabilities throughout their entire lives.

Students enrolled in Mason’s online special education master’s degree program choose between two supporting graduate certificate tracks in Autism Spectrum Disorders or Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate

  • 15 credit hours
  • Field experience not required
  • Extensive community, school, and agency perspectives addressed
  • Emphasis on working with individuals with autism across their lifespans

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Certificate

  • 18 credit hours
  • Provides information on supervised experience requirements
  • Meets course requirements to qualify for the exam administered by the BCBA® *
  • Verbal and functional behavior analysis for children and adults with disabilities

Tuition Fee: $775 per credit hour

 

#13 – Texas Tech University

Master’s in Special Education Online

POINTS – 10

Website

Students in this online graduate Special Education program are prepared to work with individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings, including the public schools, higher education, and the private sector. A post-baccalaureate degree to obtain generic special education certification is also available. To be certified in the state of Texas, students must pass the TExES examination for their area.

Specific areas of interest within the special education program include autism, applied behavior analysis, generic special education, orientation and mobility, visual impairment, deafblindness, deaf education, and special education transition.

A minimum of 36 hours is required for the master’s degree. Additional hours are required for certain certificates, including educational diagnostician. Students may elect to write a thesis or complete the non-thesis route. A majority of the courses in the master’s program in special education are available online.

Tuition Fee: $483 per credit hour

 

#12 – Western Governors University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 10

Website

This online special ed program from Western Governors University includes coursework, carefully designed assessments, and completion of a capstone project. While you’ll study and submit your coursework online, you’ll also complete a practicum of 240 hours of in-class supervised teaching with exceptional learners.

This online Master of Science in Special Education degree program provides you with the essential skills, knowledge, and field experience needed to become a special education instructor for students with mild to moderate disabilities. This degree program is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). The WGU special education master’s degree program was designed (and is regularly updated) with input from the experts on our Education Program Council. These experts know exactly what it takes for a graduate to qualify for a successful career teaching elementary school students with diverse learning abilities and styles.

The competencies you gain through this program will span these crucial topical areas:

  • Special education
  • Instructional design
  • Research fundamentals
  • Teacher work sample

Tuition Fee: $3190 per 6-month term

 

#11 – Loy0la Marymount University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 10

Website

Loyola Marymount University emphasizes transformative academic and professional development. The school administers a state-authorized master of arts in special education with accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The 36-credit curriculum gives educators the knowledge and skills to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities. The hybrid program features small class sizes for one-on-one attention from instructors.

Students choose one of two pathways, an intern option and a traditional pathway. The intern option allows certified K-12 special ed teachers in California to complete the degree in one year. The two-year traditional pathway uses the same curriculum and leads to teacher credentialing in California. The curriculum focuses on research and theory, teaching methodologies, and student teaching. Admission requirements for the master’s in special education online include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a proficiency exam.

Tuition Fee: $1188 per credit hour

 

#10 – Brandman University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 11

Website

Brandman University accommodates distance learners with a hands-on curriculum and flexible ways to learn. The California-based school offers several special education master’s programs online, including the 30-36 credit master of arts in special education behavior analysis. The program prepares special ed teachers to design behavior interventions, implement behavior change procedures, and evaluate students’ progress.

The curriculum facilitates understanding of the factors that influence behavior and explores strategies for experimental design. Teacher candidates learn how to use evidence-based practices and educational technology to assess behavior and address students’ needs. The program is aligned with standards established by the Council for Exceptional Children. Distance learners may choose a fully online or hybrid format. The program concludes with a capstone experience. To apply, educators must demonstrate at least part-time employment in a field that uses applied behavior analysis. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, GRE scores, and a valid special education teaching license.

Tuition Fee: $650 per credit hour

 

#9 – George Washington University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 11

Website

George Washington University’s Master’s in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners provides advanced training for current teachers who want to dive even deeper into improving the education of individuals with special needs. Graduates are eligible to receive a K–12 teaching certification as well as an 18-credit graduate certificate.

In this certificate program, you will focus on the inter-relationships of school, home and community to improve the quality of education for children with diverse needs. A holistic approach to the curriculum utilizes the latest research, theory and data-driven best practices to prepare you to empower and improve the quality of learning for children with diverse needs.

The 33-credit online master’s program in special education incorporates a theory-to-practice approach and a teaching internship while focusing on the diverse cultural, linguistic, social, and learning needs of elementary and secondary students. With the goal of staying current with the latest instructional techniques and cutting-edge research methods, this program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and can be finished in just 18 months.

Tuition Fee: $780 per credit hour

 

#8 – Mississippi College

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 11

Website

The Master of Education in Special Education program at Mississippi College is designed for educators with a passion for helping students with exceptional needs. In this 100% online M.Ed. program, students will study the cognitive and psycho-social needs of students who are mildly handicapped (learning disabled) or moderately handicapped (educable mentally retarded) at the preschool, elementary and secondary levels.

They will also learn the strategies and materials to use in planning and implementing individualized programs for these students. With a faith-based curriculum and distinguished faculty who are practitioners first, our online M.Ed. in Special Ed program encourages educators to be an academic and spiritual advocate for their students with disabilities.

With multiple start dates, convenient 100% online coursework and affordable tuition, you can prepare for a career inside or beyond the classroom as a Special Education Teacher, Resource Teacher or Intervention Specialist, in as few as 10 months.

Tuition Fee: $365 per credit hour

 

#7 – Ball State University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 11

Website

ball-state-university

Ball State University, at Muncie, Indiana offers online Masters in Special Education to those who want to add special education to their existing license. Students can choose from nine focus areas and make any one as their focus unit of study. Students can in a variety of ways design their own program of study and choose one of five specializations including graduate-level certificates in applied behavior analysis, autism, response to intervention, emotional and behavioral disorders, or disabilities for post-secondary settings with an emphasis in autism.

Distance learners also avail the benefits of subject tutoring, writing center assistance, library services, and around-the-clock technology support. Ball State offers admission in the fall, spring, and summer semesters and application for admission requires cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 but no GRE.

Tuition Fee: Residents – $410 per credit hour   |  Non-residents – $616 per credit hour

 

#6 – University of Washington

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 12

Website

Applied Behavior Analysis is the systematic application of principles of behavior to improve socially significant behavior. Our program strives to prepare competent, ethical, and professional behavior analysts who work with persons with developmental disabilities.

Through the use of interactive, state-of-the-art learning technology that maximizes opportunities for high quality participation with both the instructor and peers, this program allows working educators and practitioners to complete the coursework and practicum requirements necessary to apply to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Exam while continuing in their current professional roles.

The ABA Online Program offers both the BACB Verified Course Sequence (VCS) required by the BACB to sit for the BCBA exam and a Master’s degree in Special Education. Students will complete the VCS over one year and may add on one additional year of coursework to earn the additional credits necessary for a Master’s Degree in Special Education.

Tuition Fee: $927 per credit hour

 

#5 – Drexel University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 12

Website

The accredited online 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.

Drexel University offers its students high-quality one-of-a-kind Dual MS in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis program. This course is devoted to training students in the science of human behavior and special education to better serve the diverse needs of students who require special attention both in academic and life skills.

The dual course enables learners to develop tools and practices, which are applicable in various special needs settings. This program is divided into four 10-week quarters per year that enables students to take more courses in a shorter time period. Each semester credit is equivalent to 1.5quarter credits. Application for admission includes a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Tuition Fee: $949 per credit hour

 

#4 – Texas A&M University

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 12

Website

Texas A & M University at College Station offers a flexible online master’s in special education that can be completed in two years. Designed for current general and special educators, counselors, clinicians, and therapists, this 36-credit online program includes a final research project. However, the university also offers a Master of Science in Special Education for those interested in a thesis option.

The online master’s degree in Special Education is intended for individuals with a solid background in education, behavior, disability, or related fields. A teaching certificate is not required, but teaching or clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities is highly desirable. Interested individuals should have a commitment to work in the field or pursue additional graduate training after receiving a degree. Additionally, the program works best for professionals who are self-motivated and can manage the rigor of a 36-credit hour, two-year fully online master’s program. Successful graduates of the program have been general educators, special educators, behavior coaches, administrators, counselors, and therapists.

Texas A & M University partnered with the Quality Matters Program, a peer-review based leader in online quality assurance to create a program with high-tech virtual classroom learning environments. Professors have expertise in autism, behavior disorders, and severe disabilities. Students interested in autism and other challenging behaviors can pursue an 18-credit graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis as well.

Tuition Fee: $945.00 per credit hour

 

#3 – University of Arkansas

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 13

Website

University of Arkansas

U of A Online Fayetteville offers M.Ed. in Special Education programs to prepare teachers with a current license to work with students with disabilities. This 100% online course is delivered via the Internet, allowing students an opportunity to pursue their educational goals, which fits with their schedules of time and place. For their practicum students will need to attend the designated school.

The online M.Ed. in Special Education can have one of several focus areas, like the program in special education for those seeking advanced learning in special education without pursuing an additional license. The second is designed to meet the coursework requirements of an additional license program in Special Education Instructional Specialist (Grades K-12). The third focus is designed to meet the coursework requirements of a Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The fourth focus is designed for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which, can lead to pursuing the Board Certification in Behavior Analysis. The fifth focus is on an endorsement for dyslexia therapy. The program prepares the teacher as Instructional Specialist in Special Education for grades K-12.

Application for admission requires cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a standardized core knowledge test, which could include the GRE, the ACT, or core PRAXIS. Most students complete the 36 credit hour requirements in two years by being full-time students.

Tuition Fee: $470 per credit hour

 

#2 – North Carolina State University – Raleigh

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 13

Website

North Carolina State University at Raleigh with its special education program prepares students for instructional and pedagogical skills. Core course topics such as teaching, curriculum development, conducting classroom action research, behavior management and interpreting assessment helps students advocate for children and families with diverse learning backgrounds and needs.

The North Carolina State M.Ed. degree in special education has great flexibility as the courses are delivered in person, online, hybrid and through Distance Education. Mostly students complete the 30 credit hours requirement by being full time students in about 1.5 years while it takes a little longer for part-time students. For admission, the school requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate study excellent recommendations from others (e.g., educators and employment supervisors) who have worked with the candidate.

This course is not only intended for people who currently possess a valid teaching license but also suited for students who want to pursue deep knowledge in special education but do not want to obtain a teaching license.

Tuition Fee: $452.88 per credit hour

 

#1 – University of Florida

Online Master’s in Special Education

POINTS – 14

Website

The University of Florida, at Gainesville, offers Teach Well, a fully online graduate program for practicing teachers under its special education master’s degrees. Teach Well is especially designed to prepare teachers to serve students with special needs in an inclusive setting. It is a 36 credit hour program and all students are required to complete the Teach Well Core, which comprises of 12 credit hours. For the remaining 24 credit hours they can choose from tracks like Early Childhood Studies, General, Autism Focus, Disabilities in Society and Education and Health Care Transition.

These additional 24 credits can be taken through a specific track or in any combination. All Teach Well Online Academy courses are hosted under the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). The Teach Well program is designed to suit part-time students who can earn their master’s in 2 years by taking two courses every fall, spring, and summer semesters.  Application for admission includes GRE scores and for International Applicants, it also requires acceptable scores in TOEFL, MELAB, or IETS

Tuition Fee: $635.46 per credit hour

This concludes our ranking of the Top Online Master’s in Special Education. Thanks for checking it out!

Related Rankings