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Schools that Offer Masters Degree Programs in Special Education

Students in special education master's programs gain a solid education in the techniques and methods used in working with special learners and students with disabilities. A variety of master's degree programs are available across the U.S.

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Special education master's degree programs cover the tools and techniques required to teach individuals with special needs, including those with cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioral disabilities. Individuals can find many of these programs at the education colleges of 4-year universities.

Top 10 Special Education Schools

These schools offer master's degree programs in special education, some of which include online programs, and which may also prepare students to become certified teachers.

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Vanderbilt University (Peabody) Nashville, TN 4-year, Private $44,050
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 4-year, Public $9,958 in-state, $22,049 out-of-state
University of Oregon Eugene, OR 4-year, Public $16,040 in-state, $25,949 out-of-state
University of Texas-Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public $10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public $12,737 in-state, $29,302 out-of-state
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public $11,870 in-state, $25,196 out-of-state
University of Virginia (Curry) Charlottesville, VA 4-year, Public $17,094 in-state, $26,892 out-of-state
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public $18,041 in-state, $31,231 out-of-state
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public $16,278 in-state, $28,236 out-of-state
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public $17,289 in-state, $25,953 out-of-state

Sources: *National Center for Educational Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teaching Gifted and Talented Students
  • Teaching Special Education - Autism
  • Teaching Special Education - Developmentally Delayed
  • Teaching Special Education - Emotional Disturbances
  • Teaching Special Education - Hearing Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Learning Disabilities
  • Teaching Special Education - Mental Retardation
  • Teaching Special Education - Multiple Disabilities
  • Teaching Special Education - Orthopedic Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Speech Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Teaching Special Education - Vision Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education, Children and Young Children

School Selection Criteria

The following are important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a special education school:

  • Students might want to consider whether a graduate program in special education is a Master of Science, Master of Arts or Master of Education program, since each type of program could prepare graduates for a particular career role, such as leadership.
  • When choosing a master's degree program in special education, students may want to select programs that are designed to lead to state teacher certification if they aren't currently certified.
  • For current teachers who are seeking a graduate degree, online programs in special education may provide the convenience to continue working while earning a degree.

Master of Arts in Special Education

Courses included in the curriculum of many Master of Arts in Special Education degree programs emphasize research in exploration of new teaching methods for learners with special needs. Many have a variety of specializations available for concentration in working with individuals who have a specific type of learning disability, which could be behavioral, mental or physical.

Master of Science in Special Education

Educational psychology, research and leadership skill courses are common in Master of Science in Special Education programs.

Master of Education in Special Education

An M.Ed. in Special Education prepares students for leadership positions in the special education field. The curriculum typically emphasizes interpersonal, evaluation and research skills, which allow program graduates to diagnose the needs of special learners and develop individual teaching plans.

Master's degree programs in special education can be found as Master of Science, Master of Arts or Master of Education programs. Students who are not qualified teachers should seek programs that lead to state certification, and students who are currently teachers may wish to find an online program to meet their scheduling needs.

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