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  • 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.


    • 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.
    • Multisensory Reading Instruction Level I
      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 WILSON® Level 1 Certification. The Wilson Reading System® is recognized nationwide and is a highly desirable certification to have in Special Education.
    • Technologies for Special Education
      Best practices in the education of students with disabilities require educational professionals to be proficient with a wide range of technologies. This concentration is designed for those seeking additional expertise in the area of educational technologies and assistive technology that can be used to create accessible learning opportunities and increased outcomes for students with disabilities.
    • Customization
      If you already posses a special education certification or are not interested in obtaining a special education certification, but want to enhance your skills in specific special education topic areas, you may choose to take two of the concentrations (24 credits) and 18 credits of your choosing from the special education certification core in addition to completing the research courses.

    Certification Options

    Included in the curriculum for the M.S. in Special Education is the coursework necessary to pursue the PA Instructional I Special Education PreK-8 or 7-12 certification. Candidates seeking PA Special Education certification, PreK-8 or 7-12, must have an active PA Instructional I or Instructional II teaching certificate in a corresponding area.

    Those who do not have teaching certification have the following options:

    • Earn a Instructional I certificate through our Post-Bachelor’s Teaching Certification Program before applying to the MS in Special Education program.
    • Apply instead to the MS Teaching, Learning and Curriculum: Teacher Certification Track program, which includes Special Education electives.
    • Take the MS in Special Education program as a non-certification student. Students who choose this option will not be able to teach in public schools in Pennsylvania. However, many teachers in states outside of Pennsylvania choose this option after contacting their state’s Department of Education to determine special education certification requirements in their state.

    State restrictions may apply to some programs. Learn more.


    The Master of Science in Special Education requires 49.5 credits consisting of 31.5 credits in core special education certification courses, 12 credits in concentration courses, and 6 credits in research. For a certification in special education, you must have completed 9 prerequisite credits in special education accommodations to apply for certification in Pennsylvania.

    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 542Fundamentals of Special Education3.0
    EDEX 544The Inclusive Classroom3.0
    One of the following, depending on whether pursuing the PreK-8 or 7-12 certification concentration: 
    EDEX 546Literacy and Content Skill Development PreK-83.0
    or EDEX 566 Literacy and Content Skill Development 7-12

    Required Courses: MS in Special Education Program 
    EDEX 548Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities4.5
    EDEX 549Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities4.5
    EDEX 550Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities4.5
    EDEX 551Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder4.5
    EDEX 552Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement4.5
    Complete a sequence of two courses specific to either the PreK-8 or the 7-12 certification concentration from the following:9.0
    EDEX 547
      & EDEX 553
    Special Education Processes PreK-8
       and Special Education: Methods & Practicum PreK-8
    EDEX 567
      & EDEX 563
    Special Education Processes 7-12
       and Special Education: Methods & Practicum 7-12
    Capstone Courses 
    EDEX 610Action Research for Special Education Teachers I4.5
    EDEX 611Action Research for Special Education Teachers II1.5
    Concentration Courses 
    Complete courses from one of the concentrations listed below.12.0
    Total Credits49.5

    Concentration Options 
    Students must complete one of the following 12.0 credit concentrations options:12.0
    Autism Spectrum Disorders 
    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 
    Technologies for Special Education 
    EDEX 570
    Integrating Assistive Technology for Individuals with High Incident Disabilities 
    EDEX 572
    Integrating Assistive Technology for Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities 
    EDLT 535
    Researching & Evaluating Instructional Technology 
    ELL 504
    Learning Technologies & Disabilities 
    Collaborative Special Education Law & Process 
    EDEX 710
    School Law & Policy in Special Education 
    EDEX 600
    Family, School and Community Engagement in Special Education 
    EDEX 601
    Special Education Advocacy 
    EDEX 602
    Special Education Dispute Resolution and Skills Training 
    Multisensory Reading Instruction Level I* 
    EDLS 620
    Applied Methods in Multisensory Reading Instruction 
    EDLS 621
    Multisensory Reading Instruction K/1 
    EDLS 622
    Basic Word Study I 
    EDLS 623
    Basic Word Study II 
    EDLS 624
    Multisensory Practicum I 
    EDLS 625
    Multisensory Practicum II 
        EDLS 626Multisensory Practicum III 
    Total Credits12.0


    The multisensory reading instruction 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)

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our supporting document submission guide.


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2015-2016 is $868 per credit. (A 25% discount off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1157 per credit)

    This rate applies only to new online matriculated students. Students receiving special tuition plans with Drexel Online may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    This program is eligible for Financial Aid. We also offer tuition reduction through our network of partner companies and organizations, and for Drexel University alumni and those in the military.


    Academic Calendar

    Classes Begin 
    Classes End 
    Exams Begin 
    Exams End 

    Fall 2015     

    September 21, 2015

    December 5, 2015

    December 7, 2015

    December 12, 2015

    Winter 2016 

    January 4, 2016

    March 14, 2016

    March 15, 2016

    March 19, 2016

    Spring 2016 

    March 28, 2016

    June 6, 2016

    June 7, 2016

    June 10, 2016

    Summer 2016 

    June 20, 2016

    August 29, 2016

    August 30, 2016

    September 3, 2016

    Apply today for a MS in Special Education

    Apply now to begin your application for obtaining a Drexel degree online!


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