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Master of Science (MS) Degree in Special Education

Drexel University School of Education


Drexel's​ Master​ ​of​ ​Science​ ​degree​ ​(MS)​ ​in​ ​Special​ ​Education​ ​is​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​produce highly​ ​qualified​ ​professionals​ ​to​ ​expand​ ​educational​ ​horizons​ ​for​ ​all​ ​students​ ​in need. Delivered through a flexible online curriculum, Drexel provides students with the skills and knowledge to teach children with a variety of needs and lead special education programs in their schools and districts.


​​Schools​ ​are​ ​facing​ ​a​ ​severe​ ​and​ ​chronic​ ​shortage​ ​of​ ​certified​ ​special education​ ​teachers​ ​and​ ​administrators,​ and​ ​there​ ​has​ ​never​ ​been​ ​a​ ​better​ ​time​ ​to explore​ ​a​ ​career​ ​working​ ​with​ ​children​ ​with​ ​special​ ​needs​.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​desperate​ ​need for​ ​talented,​ ​qualified​ ​individuals​ ​who​ will​ ​work​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​fair​ ​and​ ​welcoming environment​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​education​ ​to​ ​all​ ​students​.

With a master’s degree in special education from Drexel University, you will be prepared to teach in a variety of settings from grades K-12 throughout Pennsylvania. You may also be able to transfer your certification from PA to other states.

Drexel​ ​University’s​ ​School​ ​of​ ​Education​ ​graduate​ ​degree​ ​in​ ​special​ ​education​ ​is 100%​ ​online,​ ​giving​ ​you​ ​the​ ​flexibility​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​advance​ ​or​ ​accelerate​ ​your​ ​career in​ ​special​ ​education​ ​teaching.

Learning Outcomes for a MS in Special Education

The master’s program in special education equips professionals with the fundamental skills, knowledge, and competencies they need to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The courses address all required state and federal regulations as well as the Pennsylvania General Standards for Special Education and the competencies and standards outline by the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC).

What​ ​Can​ ​You​ ​Do​ ​with​ ​a​ ​Master’s​ ​Degree​ ​in​ ​Special Education?

The​ ​need​ ​for​ those​ ​with​ ​a​ ​special​ ​education​ ​degree​ ​is​ ​projected​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​rapidly over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​decade​ ​due​ ​to​ ​rising​ ​populations,​ ​legislation​ ​that​ ​demands​ ​higher standards,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​need​ ​to​ ​implement​ instructional​ ​technology​ ​in​ ​special​ ​education classrooms.

There are numerous career opportunities for those with a degree in special education, ​such​ ​as:

  • Department​ ​chair​ ​or​ ​an​ ​administrator​ ​overseeing​ ​special​ ​education​ ​programs
  • Educational​ ​advisor​ ​in​ ​a​ ​state​ ​or​ ​the​ ​national​ ​department​ ​of​ ​education
  • Special​ ​education​ ​advocate
  • Advisor​ ​in​ ​a​ ​professional​ ​organization
  • Expert​ ​advisor​ ​for​ ​product​ ​development

A​ ​master’s​ ​in​ ​special​ ​education​ ​prepares​ ​students​ ​to​ ​apply​ ​for​ ​Pennsylvania’s special​ ​education​ certification.​ ​Upon​ ​completion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​necessary​ special​ ​education degree​ requirements,​ ​Drexel​ ​University​ ​will​ ​recommend​ ​the​ ​student​ ​for​ ​the appropriate​ ​certification.

​Master’s ​Degree ​in Special​ ​Education​ ​- ​Program Options

The​ ​special​ ​education​ ​graduate​ ​program​,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​delivered​ ​entirely​ ​online,​ ​was recently​ ​named​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​online​ ​master's​ ​programs​ ​in​ ​education.

Drexel​ ​University​ ​has​ ​been​ ​offering​ ​online​ ​courses​ ​since​ ​1996,​ ​bringing​ ​its recognized​ ​faculty​ ​and​ ​curricula​ ​to​ ​a​ ​worldwide​ ​student​ ​body.​ ​Drexel​ ​is​ ​a​ ​winner​ ​of the​ ​Sloan-C​ ​Award​ ​for​ ​Excellence​ ​in​ ​Institution-Wide​ ​Online​ ​Education​ ​and​ ​is committed​ ​to​ ​providing​ ​quality,​ ​accredited​ ​programs​ ​online.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​flexible program​ ​with​ ​no​ ​fixed​ ​class​ ​hours​ -​ ​allowing​ ​you​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​your​ ​master’s​ ​degree​ ​in special​ ​education​ ​on​ ​a​ ​schedule​ ​that​ ​works​ ​for​ ​you​.

Graduate Special​ ​Education​ ​Program ​Eligibility

Admissions Criteria for an MS in Special Education

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution is required to apply for a masters degree in special education.
  • 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 Drexel Online's 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 that addresses the following:
    • Why you are interested in this field
    • Why you are interested in attending the program at Drexel University
    • What are your career goals and how will Drexel’s program help you achieve those goals?
    • How does this program relate to your previous education and/or work experience?
  • Additional requirements for International Students

Special​ ​Education​ ​Courses ​& ​Curriculum

Drexel’s​ ​Master​ ​of​ ​Science​ ​(MS)​ ​degree​ ​in​ ​Special​ ​Education​ ​relies​ ​a​ ​great​ ​deal​ ​on collaboration​ ​and​ ​experience.​ ​Our​ ​curriculum​ ​incorporates​ ​traditional​ ​coursework and​ cutting​-edge​ ​instruction​ ​using​ ​current​ ​learning​ ​technologies,​ ​instructional​ ​design and​ ​comprehensive​ ​research. The​ ​program​ ​can​ ​be​ ​completed​ ​within​ ​21​ ​months​ ​and​ ​consists​ ​of​ ​45​ ​credits.

Capstone Courses

Students in the MS in Special Education program complete a research capstone course where they are introduced to various types of research designs and learn to be both consumers and producers of research. Following completion of the research course, students will complete a capstone experience by selecting one of the two-course multidisciplinary sequence options below:

  • Thesis (Part I and II) - Students who select this option will be required to complete a master’s thesis which consists of a well-written research paper, comprised of five chapters that posits a research question and uses logical arguments & data to address/answer a gap in research
  • Lesson Study (Part I and II) - Students who select this option will be required to complete a research-based lesson design and analysis project
  • Practitioner Course (Part I and II) - Students who select this option will be required to complete a master’s project. Examples include: A reform initiative narrative, program or grant proposal, white paper or policy analysis, or program evaluation

For​ ​the​ ​MS​ ​in​ ​Special​ ​Education​ ​curriculum,​ ​please​ ​see​ ​the​ Drexel​ ​University Course​ ​Catalog.

Students​ ​have​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​pursue​ one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​following​ ​concentrations when completing a MS in degree in Special Education:

For​ ​more​ ​details​ ​on​ ​required​ ​coursework​ ​for​ ​the​ ​MS​ ​in​ ​Special​ ​Education,​ ​please visit​ ​the​ Drexel​ ​University​ ​Online​ ​Course​ ​Catalog.

Special​ ​Education​ Practicum

Drexel’s​ Master​ ​of​ ​Science​ ​degree​ ​(MS)​ ​in​ ​Special​ ​Education​ ​is​ ​a​ ​certification-driven program​ ​with​ ​the​ ​goal​ ​of​ ​preparing​ ​teachers​ ​with​ ​the​ ​skills​ ​and​ ​knowledge​ ​to advance​ ​learning​ ​for​ ​all​ ​students​ ​with​ ​disabilities.​ The​ ​special​ ​education​ ​graduate program​ ​is​ ​part​ ​of​ ​an​ ​experiential​ ​degree​ ​that​ ​provides​ ​in-depth​ ​theory​ ​regarding disabilities​ ​connected​ ​to​ ​actual​ ​educational​ ​practice.

A​ ​variety​ ​of​ practicum​ ​application​ ​requirements​ ​are​ ​built​ ​into​ ​the​ special​ ​education degree​ ​core​ ​certification​ ​curriculum.​ ​The​se​ ​field​ ​experiences​ ​are​ ​a​ ​critical​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the coursework​ ​where​ ​students​ ​apply​ ​their​ ​academics​ ​in​ ​a​ ​real​ ​classroom​ ​setting​ ​and develop​ ​a​ ​model​ ​of​ ​teaching​ ​that​ ​will​ ​guide​ ​them​ ​throughout​ ​their​ ​professional career.

How ​to ​Apply ​to ​the ​Master ​of ​Science ​in Special Education​ ​Program

The Master's of Science in Special Education is offered 100% online. You can get started by filling out the Drexel Online application.