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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.


    • Applied Behavior Analysis
      Applied Behavior Analysis is a well-developed, scientifically-based discipline that investigates and describes how the environment and the individual interact, and how that interaction impacts behavior. It has been used effectively to teach new skills and behavioral repertoires to all populations, but is perhaps best known for assessing and treating those with an autism spectrum disorder.
    • 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.
    • Special Education Leadership
      The concentration prepares you to be a supervisor of special education programs. Graduates are equipped with the advanced skills, knowledge, and competencies to head initiatives that meet the needs of students at risk for and with disabilities in a variety of environments. With successful completion of the coursework, you'll be eligible for the Supervisor of Special Education Certification.
    • 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 and want to enhance your skills in specific special education topic areas, you may choose to take two of the concentrations (24 credits) and 15 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.

    Our Graduates Make a Difference

    Recent graduate Ashley Swestyn worked to help parents learn their rights in regards to their children’s special needs education. Read her story.

    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    The Master of Science in Special Education requires 45.0 credits consisting of 27.0 credits in core special education certification courses, 12.0 credits in concentration courses, and 6.0 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 542 Fundamentals of Special Education 3.0
    EDEX 544 The Inclusive Classroom 3.0
    EDEX 546 Literacy and Content Skill Development PreK-8 3.0
    or EDEX 566 Literacy and Content Skill Development 7-12

    Required Courses  
    EDEX 543 Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities 3.0
    EDEX 549 Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities 3.0
    EDEX 550 Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities 3.0
    EDEX 552 Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement 3.0
    EDEX 555 Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3.0
    One of the following course sequences: 9.0
    EDEX 537 Special Education Law and Processes PreK-8  
    EDEX 545 Teaching STEAM in an Inclusive Pre-K to 8 Environment  
    EDEX 576 Special Education Practicum PreK-8  
    EDEX 538 Special Education Law and Processes 7-12  
    EDEX 565 Teaching Secondary Mathematics in an Inclusive Environment  
    EDEX 577 Special Education Practicum 7-12  
    Capstone Courses  
    EDEX 610 Action Research for Special Education Teachers I 4.5
    EDEX 611 Action Research for Special Education Teachers II 1.5
    Concentration Courses  
    Complete courses from one of the concentrations listed below. 12.0-27.0
    Professional Elective* 3.0
    Total Credits 45.0-60.0

    *Those pursuing Special Education Leadership or the Applied Behavioral Analysis concentrations do not need a Professional Elective.

    Concentration Options

    Applied Behavior Analysis 27.0
    EDEX 630
    Fundamental Elements of Behavior Change  
    EDEX 631
    Measurement and Experimental Design  
    EDEX 632
    Behavioral Assessment and Functional Analysis  
    EDEX 633
    Behavioral Interventions  
    EDEX 634
    Consultation, Systems Change and Supervision  
    EDEX 635
    Ethical Considerations and Professional Conduct  
    Autism Spectrum Disorders 12.0
    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  
    Collaborative Special Education Law & Process 12.0
    EDEX 600
    Family, School and Community Engagement in Special Education  
    EDEX 601
    Special Education Advocacy  
    EDEX 602
    Special Education Dispute Resolution and Skills Training  
    EDEX 710
    School Law & Policy in Special Education  
    Multisensory Reading Instruction Level I ** 12.0
    EDLS 620
    Applied Methods in Multisensory Reading Instruction  
    EDLS 621
    Early Literacy Skills  
    EDLS 622
    Basic Word Study I  
    EDLS 623
    Basic Word Study II  
    EDLS 624
    Multisensory Practicum I  
    EDLS 625
    Multisensory Practicum II  
    EDLS 626
    Multisensory Practicum III  
    Special Education Leadership 16.0
    EDEX 710
    School Law & Policy in Special Education  
    EDEX 712
    Instructional & Curriculum Leadership in Special Education  
    EDEX 714
    Development, Supervision, & Support: Special Education Leadership  
    EDEX 716
    Organization & Administration of Special Education  
    EDEX 721
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Special Education Leadership  
    EDEX 722
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Instructional Leadership  
    EDEX 723
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Collaboration & Personnel  
    EDEX 724
    Supervisor of Special Education Internship: Finance & Management  
    Technologies for Special Education 12.0
    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  

    **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)
      • 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 our Completing Your Application Guide.


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2017-2018 is $921 per credit. (A 25% discount off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1228 per credit)

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations.
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Contact Faculty

    The following faculty members are available to speak to you about the program by phone or email. For a full listing of faculty, please visit Drexel's School of Education.

    James E. Connell, Jr., PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D
    Associate Professor

    Constance Lyttle, PhD, JD
    Associate Clinical Professor

    Lori Severino, EdD
    Assistant Clinical Professor
    Program Director of Special Education

    Janet Sloand, Ed.D.
    Program Director of Special Education

    Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, EdD
    Assistant Clinical Professor

    Academic Calendar

    2017-2018 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2017

    September 25, 2017

    December 9, 2017

    December 11, 2017

    December 16, 2017

    Winter 2018

    January 8, 2018

    March 17, 2018

    March 19, 2018

    March 24, 2018

    Spring 2018

    April 2, 2018

    June 9, 2018

    June 11, 2018

    June 15, 2018

    Summer 2018

    June 25, 2018

    September 1, 2018

    September 4, 2018

    September 8, 2018

    Apply today for the MS in Special Education

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


    Previously enrolled at Drexel? Learn more about readmission.

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