Online Master of Science in Education in Special Education

Purdue University West Lafayette (Main Campus)

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Ready to Learn More About The
Master of Science in Education
in Special Education?

Taking Giant Leaps to Improved Life-Long Outcomes

Exceptional children require highly skilled educators that can plan and administer special education curricula while facilitating a safe and effective classroom. Whether you are a licensed teacher, looking to become a teacher or licensed in Special Education we have a pathway for you.

Six learning pathways to meet your professional goals

1:1 Academic and Career Support

#13 best Online Master's in Special Education Program 
U.S. News & World Report 2024 

20 months to complete 

Meet Your Career Goals Through Licensure and Non-Licensure Pathways

Expand your expertise and position yourself as a leader in the field. This advanced special education degree is for passionate educators who value all students and want to help them achieve their academic and behavioral potential.

You’ll learn to use the latest instructional, behavioral, and communication strategies with the latest technology and research to meet the unique needs of students with learning disabilities, mild developmental disabilities, emotional behavioral disorders and high functioning autism. Find more information on the licensure-only programs here.

Learning Pathways and Interventions

Whether you're a special education paraprofessional or want to add special education to an existing license, we have several options to meet your needs. Purdue's online special education program includes both a licensure only and master's degree option with tracks in initial licensure or additional licensure with mild and intense focus. This nationally recognized program has many benefits:

  • Convenient online classes
  • Interact with peers across the state and beyond in engaging online courses that are aligned to CEC 2020 Standards
  • Add a Blended and Online Teaching License without additional courses
  • Alignment with edTPA measures
  • 1-on-1 support through a dedicated licensure office
  • Assistance with field placement for student teaching and/or practicum

Click to see Program Roadmap for each Learning Concentration:

The programs listed below are for candidates seeking a Master's degree in special education with licensure and non-licensure options. Candidates looking for licensure only can learn more about the Special Education Licensure Only Program.

Master's Only:

Initial Licensure (for teachers not currently licensed):

Additional Licensure (for teachers already licensed looking to add special education licensure):

Licensure Only:

See the courses page for details.

Unsure of which path to choose? Access our pathway resource to determine which program and/or licensure is best for you.

Are you an Administrator or Superintendent?

Learn more about our versatile licensure option for Indiana Teachers

View a Virtual Information Session

Hear directly from our directors of admissions, program directors and faculty to learn more about the program’s objectives, what it’s like to learn online, the resources we have to assist you throughout your education, and career paths after graduation.

Complete Your edTPA

Purdue’s online special education programs incorporate the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) measures. You’ll complete your program ready for this multi-measure assessment that requires new teachers to demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to teach according to state and national standards – including:

  • Common Core State Standards
  • Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC)

As a graduate of Purdue's online special education program, you will be empowered to teach students effectively.

Attention Indiana Teachers!

Purdue’s Special Education program has been selected to receive funding by the Indiana Department of Education Indiana Special Education Assisted Licensure (I-SEAL) program for 2024. With documentation from your school district and the program director, candidates can apply to receive the ISEAL funds to pay program tuition costs after they begin the program. Request information to learn more.

Earn Additional Credentials as You Work Towards Your Degree

Purdue's Online Special Education Program offers candidates the opportunity to earn additional credentials while completing their advanced degree or licensure. Learn more about our Blended and Online Teaching State Licensure, Google and Apple Certification, and the Orton Gilligham Credential below. 

When you complete a non-intense intervention special education program online with Purdue, you'll graduate with the requirements to earn an Indiana licensure in Blended and Online Teaching. While not a stand-alone content area or exclusive to a specific age group, the online Blended and Online Teaching licensure prepares teachers for online and blended classrooms.

Purdue's non-intensive intervention online programs utilize Blended and Online Teaching standards along with International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards to develop specific competencies that students will master upon completing their programs. With this approach, additional courses or field experiences are not required beyond those in their current plan of study. Instead, these experiences will be modified to emphasize diverse learning environments.

The Apple Teacher certification and the Google Workspace for Education Certification material is integrated into the coursework of the program. Candidates are required to obtain the necessary technology to complete the material. In EDPS 57701, candidates will develop a portfolio that will showcase their certificates and competencies they collect throughout the program.

Learn more about Apple Teacher

Learn more about the Google Workspace for Education – Basic

The Orton Gillingham Online Academy is partnering with Purdue University to bring the OG Approach to pre-service teachers as a Master's degree requirement. The course (EDPS 52400 - Effective Instruction For Students with Significant Reading Difficulties) will explore significant reading difficulties, such a dyslexia, and essential components of effective reading instruction. This course will investigate scientifically-based reading research (SBRR), evidence-based and developmentally appropriate reading instruction and interventions to support students with exceptionalities.

Candidates completing this course will obtain an Orton Gillingham Certificate of Completion. This certificate may result in a candidate’s ability to secure an additional reading credential within his/her state.  Please contact your state’s Dept of Education or speak with your school district officials to see how this additional certificate will be viewed within their district/state.

We Build A Resourceful Community of Teachers

The online MSED in Special Education Faculty and Staff are committed to providing essential support to each candidate as they complete the program and move into a full-time role as a special education instructor. With a variety of resources and events offered through this program, candidates will be able to step confidently into a special education teacher role and provide an impactful learning experience to students with exceptional needs.

Mentor & Induction Program

Purdue's Mentor and Induction Program provides a series of seminars to help you connect content from course to course, integrate technology tools and provide networking opportunities beyond the classroom with alumni, guest speakers from the field, faculty members and course instructors and university supervisors.

Practicum & Licensure Support

Collaborate one on one with the Clinical Practice Coordinator to help you and your administration design a clinical practice experience(s) that works for your licensure area.

Application Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Admissions decisions are based on individual experience and the applicant’s fit with the program.

To be considered for admission, students must complete a phone interview with an admissions advisor and submit a completed application as well as the following items:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA
  • An updated resume
  • (3) letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your abilities
  • Two Statements
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended, including transfer credits*
  • Transcript Evaluation & Credential Review (TECR) – For All Licensure Track Applicants
  • An application fee of $60 ($75 for international students)

*Coursework used to satisfy the requirements of a conferred master’s degree from an institution other than Purdue may not be used as transfer credit.

Licensing Info

Currently on an Alternative Special Education Licensure? As of July 1, 2022, many states, including the State of Indiana, are requiring permit holders to enter a professional license preparation program. Come see what Purdue can offer you!

Purdue’s special education online degree program is designed to give you the skills and training needed for licensure in the state of Indiana. The State of Indiana has a compact agreement with most states, meaning a student with a valid Indiana teaching license can obtain a license in another state. Specific coursework, testing, or grade point averages may be required.

For current information regarding out-of-state licensing, please visit the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) website.

To learn more about each state’s requirements for licensing, please contact the Department of Education in your desired state or visit the United States Department of Education website for license requirements and application procedures.

View additional information regarding licensing.

View additional information regarding accreditation, standards, and program recognition.

International Students

In addition to the admission requirements noted on the first tab, international students must also provide the following information.

  • Official transcripts from all universities attended in the original language as well as English translation for transcripts and diplomas not in English.
  • Non-native English speakers must also submit the following.
    • TOEFL test scores that are less than two years old and meet the following requirements:
      • Minimum Overall: 80
      • Writing: 18
      • Speaking: 18
      • Listening: 14
      • Reading: 19
    • IELTS test scores that are less than two years old and meet the following requirements:
      • Minimum Overall: 6.5
      • Writing: 6.5
      • Speaking: 6.0
      • Listening: 6.0
      • Reading: 5.5
    • Duolingo test scores that are less than two years old and meet the following requirements:
      • Total score of 115 and 115 on each subscore 

How to Apply

Prior to starting your online application, you must first complete a phone interview with an admissions advisor. To schedule your phone interview, call 877-497-5851.

Once you have completed your phone interview, you are ready to complete the online application.

If you have any questions about filling out the application, contact us online or call us at 877-497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor.

Send All Other Application Materials To:
Purdue University Online Programs Admissions Processing Center
851 Trafalgar Court, Suite 420 
West Maitland, FL 32751

Tuition and Fees* for MS in Education in Special Education

Program Costs — Master's Only
Tuition Rate — In State (per credit hour) $421.20
Tuition Rate — Out of State (per credit hour) $671.20
PO Infrastructure Fee (per credit hour) $18.80
Digital Education Fee (per credit hour) $50.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — In State $490.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — Out of State $740.00
Total Credit Hours 31
Practicum Fee IN N/A
Practicum Fee II N/A
Student Teaching Fee N/A
edTPA Fee N/A
EDPS 52400 Course Fee $495.00
Total Program Cost — In State $15,190
Total Program Cost — Out of State $22,940

Tuition and Fees* (Licensure)

Additional Licensure —
Licensure — Mild and Intense
Licensure — Intense
Licensure — Mild
Licensure — Mild and Intense
Tuition Rate — In State (per credit hour) $421.20 $421.20 $421.20 $421.20 $421.20
Tuition Rate — Out of State (per credit hour) $671.20 $671.20 $671.20 $671.20 $671.20
PO Infrastructure Fee (per credit hour) $18.80 $18.80 $18.80 $18.80 $18.80
Digital Education Fee (per credit hour) $50.00 $50.00 $50.00 $50.00 $50.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — In State $490.00 $490.00 $490.00 $490.00 $490.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — Out of State $740.00 $740.00 $740.00 $740.00 $740.00
Total Credit Hours 32 44 38 36 48
Subtotal Cost without course fees - In State $15,680.00 $21,560.00 $18,620.00 $17,640.00 $23,520.00
Subtotal Cost without course fees - Out of State $23,680.00 $32,560.00 $28,120.00 $26,640.00 $35,520.00
Practicum Fee I $1,140.00 $1,140.00 $1,140.00 $1,140.00 $1,140.00
Practicum Fee II N/A $1,140.00 N/A N/A $1,140.00
Student Teaching Fee N/A N/A N/A $1,300.00 $1,300.00
edTPA Fee N/A N/A N/A $300.00 $300.00
EDPS 52400 Course Fee $495.00 $495.00 $495.00 $495.00 $495.00
Total Program Cost — In State $17,315.00 $24,335.00 $20,255.00 $20,875.00 $27,895.00
Total Program Cost — Out of State $25,315.00 $35,335.00 $29,755.00 $29,875.00 $39,895.00

*Additional program costs related to licensure, testing, course materials and books may apply depending on program track. Estimated additional costs over the course of the whole program ranges from $500–$2200 depending on the track and preference of book format, paper (higher end) or electronic (lower end). Tuition and fees are charged on a per credit hour basis and are subject to annual increases. Annual increases may change the total program cost. Purdue faculty and staff fee remissions may not be available to the online MSEd in Special Education program.

Advance Today

If you would like to advance your teaching career and gain the skills necessary to become an effective special educator, discover the possibilities of distance learning through Purdue University online.

To learn more about the program, request more information or call 877-497-5851 to speak to an admissions advisor.