Online Master of Science in Education in Special Education
Purdue University West Lafayette (Main Campus)
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.
Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program — U.S. News & World Report 2021
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 six learning concentrations to meet your career needs, including a focus on intense intervention.
6 Concentrations - click to see Program Roadmap:
- MSEd in Special Education — Non-Licensure (Master's Only)
- MSEd in Special Education — Initial Mild Only Licensure
- MSEd in Special Education — Initial Mild & Intense Licensure
- MSEd in Special Education — Additional Mild Only Licensure
- MSEd in Special Education — Additional Mild & Intense Licensure
- MSEd in Special Education — Additional Intense Only 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.
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 and the 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.
The edTPA process involves three tasks: planning, instruction and assessment. As part of the edTPA requirements for this advanced special education degree, you will create four professional portfolios, three of which you will complete under faculty supervision and one of which you will complete on your own.
You will also submit unedited video recordings of yourself teaching in your classroom. These will demonstrate your ability to:
- Design plans and teach in ways that support your students’ strengths and needs
- Engage students in learning
- Analyze levels of learning and comprehension
- Adjust instructional plans and techniques to be more effective
Purdue University’s online MSEd in Special Education program combines a unique view of the entire education landscape with practical experience addressing the latest breakthroughs in assessment, instructional strategies, and evidence-based practices for teaching students with disabilities.
By the time you complete the MSEd in Special Education requirements, you can:
- Understand the various characteristics and categories of disability identified by law
- Be able to apply methods of assessment including the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data to make instructional decisions
- Empirically validate instructional methods to provide age-appropriate curriculum adapted to individual students' needs and educational plans
- Ensure students have access to the general education curriculum using evidence-based practices
- Use current and emerging technologies to promote increased mobility, communication, self-determination, and cognitive functioning
- Provide behavioral support for students with challenging behavior that promote and teach appropriate functional behavior and social skills
- Create safe and positive learning environments where diversity across culture, race, ethnicity, and gender are valued
- Understand and apply ethics and standards for professional practice in special education
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.
- Characteristics of severe disabilities
- The medical and physical management of individuals with multiple disabilities
- Methods for teaching students with severe challenges
Currently on an emergency or provisional Special Education permit? 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.
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)
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
- TOEFL test scores that are less than two years old and meet the following requirements:
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.
What’s It Like to Learn Online?
Will my diploma look different from the on-campus programs?
No. Both on-campus and online programs earn the same diploma. Online students are also invited to participate in the graduation ceremony on campus upon program completion.
How do online classes work?
Most coursework is asynchronous, meaning that there are not specific times that you need to be online. When you start the program, you will be given access to a virtual classroom interface. Your instructor will post coursework, syllabi, assignments, and messages every week. You will also use discussion boards, e-mail, and chat to communicate with your classmates and your instructor. You can log on and do your coursework at any time that is convenient for you, but you must turn in your assignments by the deadlines your instructor sets.
How much time should I allow for doing homework and completing assignments?
As in an on-campus program, you should plan on devoting about 15 to 20 hours a week to coursework, depending on your study habits.
What if I have a question about homework or need help with a technical issue?
The faculty and staff at Purdue are dedicated to your success at the University and in the future. Your instructor will set weekly times for one-on-one electronic consultations and will answer emails in a timely fashion. Technical support is available to help you handle hardware and software issues, and we have dedicated staff available to talk to you about financial aid, scheduling, or any other administrative issues.
|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|
|EDPS 52400 Course Fee||$495.00|
|Total Program Cost — In State||$14,445|
|Total Program Cost — Out of State||$22,195|
Tuition and Fees* (Additional 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)
|PO Infrastructure Fee
(per credit hour)
|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|
|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.
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.