Online Master of Science in Education in Special Education

Purdue University West Lafayette (Main Campus)

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Master of Science in Education in Special Education?
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Meet the Needs of Exceptional Children

Exceptional children require highly skilled educators that can plan and administer special education curricula while facilitating a safe and effective classroom. Gain these essential skills when you choose a master’s degree, a master’s degree that includes licensure or enroll in a licensure-only program.

The degree offers several concentrations to meet your career needs.


#14 Best Online Master's in Special Education Programs (tie) — U.S. News & World Report 2022

Proven Program

Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Advance Your Training in the Field of Special Education

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.

Multiple Learning Concentrations Available

The online Master of Education in Special Education has a core curriculum that focuses on mild intervention, with an emphasis on helping students achieve their academic and behavioral potential. It offers learning concentrations to meet your unique career needs.

Click to see Program Roadmap for each Learning Concentration:

Master's Only:

Licensure Only

Initial Licensure (for teachers not currently licensed):

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

See the courses page for details.

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.

Towards the end of your degree, our Induction Seminars will continue to provide much-needed support as you complete the program and move into your full-time role as a special educator. Purdue is committed to our alumni and will continue providing meaningful content, a supportive community and guest experts from the field to keep you motivated and encouraged as you begin your professional career.

Blended and Online Teaching

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.

Intense Intervention Focus

You have the option to add a focus on intense intervention to complement your studies in mild intervention. This add-on to the online special education degree consists of three courses plus a practicum in addition to the mild intervention curriculum.

In this focus area, you learn to help students who require more significant interventions to help them learn and function. These are children and adolescents with severe intellectual and/or physical disabilities that require intense intervention techniques, usually in a dedicated classroom. You will learn strategies for developing self-determination, self-advocacy and independence to help your students succeed in school and beyond.

Courses examine:

  • Characteristics of severe disabilities
  • The medical and physical management of individuals with multiple disabilities
  • Methods for teaching students with severe challenges

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
  • A 500-word (minimum) personal statement
  • 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)

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.

Tuition and Fees* for MS in Education in Special Education

Program Costs Master's Only
Tuition Rate — In State (per credit hour) $381.20
Tuition Rate — Out of State (per credit hour)
PO Infrastructure Fee (per credit hour) $18.80
Digital Education Fee (per credit hour) $50.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — In State $450.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — Out of State $700.00
Total Credit Hours 31
Practicum Fee I 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 $14,445
Total Program Cost — Out of State $22,195

Tuition and Fees* (Licensure)

Additional Licensure — Mild Additional Licensure — Mild and Intense Additional Licensure — Intense Initial Licensure — Mild Initial Licensure — Mild and Intense
Tuition Rate — In State (per credit hour) $381.20 $381.20 $381.20 $381.20 $381.20
Tuition Rate — Out of State (per credit hour)
$631.20 $631.20 $631.20 $631.20 $631.20
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 $450.00 $450.00 $450.00 $450.00 $450.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour — Out of State $700.00 $700.00 $700.00 $700.00 $700.00
Total Credit Hours 32 44 32 36 48
Practicum Fee I $1,050.00 $1,050.00 $1,050.00 $1,050.00 $1,050.00
Practicum Fee II N/A $1,050.00 N/A N/A $1,050.00
Student Teaching Fee N/A N/A N/A $1,250.00 $1,250.00
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 $15,945.00 $22,395.00 $15,945.00 $19,295.00 $25,745.00
Total Program Cost — Out of State $23,945.00 $33,395.00 $23,945.00 $28,295.00 $37,745.00

*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.