Special Education Teaching Diploma Programs in Minnesota

There are twelve universities within Minnesota that have Special Education Teaching programs. Read an overview of ten of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Individuals interested in earning a degree in special education may choose from a range of schools offering programs leading to bachelor's and master's degrees; at least one doctoral degree in the field is also available. Master's degrees programs require applicants to have an undergraduate degree; some programs are open only to those who have a baccalaureate degree in special education. Teaching programs often include student teaching opportunities. Some are designed to be partially completed online, although it depends on the school.

Career Requirements

In order to fulfill special education licensure requirements, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) requires individuals to complete initial teacher licensing requirements (Standard of Effective Practices (SPED) courses, student teaching, and licensure examinations) in addition to special education curriculum. Most master's degree programs only accept students who hold a current Minnesota teaching license into the special education program. However, certain universities allow students to complete initial teaching licensure requirements concurrently while taking special education courses.

Additionally, a few universities offer a Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree program that leads to special education licensure and fulfills MDE teacher licensure requirements. In addition to licensure in special education, students may pursue licensure in specialized areas of focus, including developmental disabilities, early childhood special education, emotional behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorder, or learning disabilities. All individuals applying for an initial special education teaching license will need to take a State of Minnesota content competency test in special education and fulfill academic requirements.

The following are more detailed profiles of the largest schools in Minnesota to offer special education teaching programs.


Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University is located in the northern Minnesota town of Bemidji and offers a 35-credit hour Master of Science in Special Education degree program. Applicants to the degree program must have an undergraduate degree in education as well as a current Minnesota teaching license. Bemidji State University also offers degree programs in behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and physical education for the disabled. Bemidji State University provides a non-teaching degree option in special education for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a subject other than education. Students in the non-teaching degree program will need to complete the Standards of Effective Practice core curriculum, including student teaching, as well as coursework for the special education degree program.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,361*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; town

Minnesota State University - Mankato

Based in Mankato, Minnesota State University provides a bachelor's degree program in special education, in addition to offering several master's degree program specializations and graduate-level teaching programs. Bachelor's degree program students declare a major in special education upon completing a minimum of 32 undergraduate credits, with a minimum GPA of 2.75, and passing the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Basic Skills exam (MTLE). Graduates of the bachelor's degree are able to apply for a Minnesota teaching license in K-12 developmental disabilities. Master's degree programs in autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, early childhood special education, emotional and behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities are offered and prepare students for special education teaching licensure in various disciplines. Lastly, students may earn a non-teaching certificate in autism spectrum disorders.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
    Master of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,855*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; town

Minnesota State University - Moorhead

Moorhead's Minnesota State University - Moorhead offers a bachelor's and master's degree program in special education, plus a certificate program in autism spectrum disorders. The bachelor's degree program has a developmental disabilities, behavioral disorders, or a learning disabilities option. Students in the bachelor's degree program must complete 36-credit hours of teaching licensure coursework. The master's degree program allows students to specialize in specific learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, early childhood development, development disabilities, and physical disabilities. To be considered for admission into the master's degree program, students must hold a bachelor's degree in special education, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework, or a minimum 3.25 GPA in the last 30 credits of undergraduate coursework.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
    Master's of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,560 (in-state); $12,448 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; suburban

Saint Cloud State University

Located in Saint Cloud, the university offers a bachelor's degree and master's degree program, as well as various graduate-level certificate programs. The bachelor's degree program provides students with the qualifications needed to apply for a teaching licensure in special education and students complete licensure examinations during the program. The master's degree program admits students on a rolling application basis, however, full-time students are given priority admission. Furthermore, part-time students must possess a current Minnesota teaching license. Students completing the master's degree program typically require 18 additional credits in order to earn a special education licensure with the MDE. Saint Cloud State University also offers a minor in special education that provides SPED courses that prepare students for the MTLE.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
    Master of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,461 (in-state); $11,149 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota administers a master's degree in special education at both the Winona campus and the Twin Cities campus south of Minneapolis. The university implements a hybrid academic curriculum consisting of traditional and online coursework. Students seeking a first-time teaching license are required to complete 17 additional courses outside of the special education degree program coursework and pass the MTLE. Individuals who hold a general education teaching licensure may take courses leading to licensure in special education for learning disabilities or emotional and behavioral disorders.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,200*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; town

Southwest Minnesota State University

Marshall- based Southwest Minnesota State University enrolls nearly 7,000 students annually. The university offers a special education master's degree program with areas of focus, including developmental disabilities, early childhood special education, emotional behavioral disorders, or learning disabilities. Students do not need to earn a master's degree in special education in order to complete requirements leading to licensure in specialty areas of focus. Specialty areas of focus require students to complete special education core curriculum and area of focus curriculum. Southwest Minnesota State University offers an autism spectrum disorder certificate program.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,326*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; rural

University of Minnesota - Duluth

Situated three miles north of downtown Duluth, the university provides a master's degree program as well as an undergraduate minor program in special education. The master's degree program is administered over three semesters, with courses held every summer. Classes meet for one week, face-to-face, and the rest of the coursework is completed through online applications and message boards. Also, various classes contain coursework that is completed throughout the fall and spring and compliments material learned in the summer session. Applicants to the master's degree program must possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8 and a valid teaching license. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation and writing samples, in addition to meeting minimum GPA and licensure requirements.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $15,635 (in-state); $23,385 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is located two miles east of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The university provides two master's degree programs and one doctorate degree program in special education. The Master of Arts in Special Education degree program is designed for students pursuing a career in research and plan on continuing studies towards a doctorate degree. Conversely, the Master of Education in Special Education degree program is geared towards students interested in teaching in K-12 classrooms. Furthermore, the Master of Education in Special Education degree program has seven areas of focus. Lastly, students may earn certificates in autism spectrum disorder and applied behavior analysis.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts in Special Education,
    Master of Education in Special Education,
    Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $15,854 (in-state); $23,604 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of St. Thomas

The central Twin Cities metro area is home to the University of St. Thomas. The Master of Arts in Special Education degree program is offered at the Twin Cities main campus and regional education centers located in Osseo and Roseville. Specialized areas of focus, include developmental disabilities, early childhood special education, emotional behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and learning disabilities. Also, coursework in autism spectrum disorders is offered at the Chaska education center in addition to the Osseo and Roseville center. Most courses are offered in the evening or during weekends.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts in Special Education**
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $14,174*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Winona State University

Winona is located in south eastern Minnesota. The university provides a master's degree program and a bachelor's degree program in special education. Both programs have areas of focus in learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, or early childhood special education. It is worth noting that the early childhood special education area of focus is only offered at the Rochester campus, and is currently not accepting new students into either the bachelor's or master's degree program. Undergraduate programs offered at Winona State University fulfill requirements leading to licensure with the state of Minnesota.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
    Master of Science in Special Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,840 (in-state); $10,020 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; town

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Special Education Teaching Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Bemidji State University 4-year, public; town* Master of Science in Special Education** $7,361*
Minnesota State University - Mankato 4-year, public; town* Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
Master of Science in Special Education**
$6,855*
Minnesota State University - Moorhead 4-year, public; suburban* Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
Master's of Science in Special Education**
$6,560 (in-state);
$12,448 (out-of-state)*
Saint Cloud State University 4-year, public; small city* Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
Master of Science in Special Education**
$7,461 (in-state);
$11,149 (out-of-state)*
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota 4-year, private not-for-profit; town* Master of Arts in Special Education** $7,200*
Southwest Minnesota State University 4-year, public; rural* Master of Science in Special Education** $7,326*
University of Minnesota - Duluth 4-year, public; small city* Master of Science in Special Education** $15,635 (in-state);
$23,385 (out-of-state)*
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 4-year, public; large city* Master of Arts in Special Education,
Master of Education in Special Education,
Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education**
$15,854 (in-state);
$23,604 (out-of-state)*
University of St. Thomas 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city* Master of Arts in Special Education** $14,174*
Winona State University 4-year, public; town* Bachelor of Science in Special Education,
Master of Science in Special Education**
$6,840 (in-state);
$10,020 (out-of-state)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.


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