MA in Special Education Degrees


Obtaining a Master of Arts in Special Education (MA) prepares students to effectively respond to their current or prospective students’ diverse abilities and styles as they provide equitable learning. Most MA in Special Education programs provide practicing educators, related professionals and other qualified individuals opportunities to study and research special education practices and services specific to diverse individuals and various classroom settings.

Degree Description

The MA in Special Education recognizes that the dimensions of special education are changing rather quickly, and the need to promote the idea of integrated and comprehensive learning experiences for all students is becoming more prevalent. The curriculum teaches students classroom management, as well as how to identify disabilities and special abilities. Courses explore current issues and emerging trends within special education. The program covers theory and research in the areas of cognitive and the social development within children/youth, and students are expected to use this knowledge to plan and promote evidence-based interventions and instructional practices to enhance learning. Students explore opportunities for collaboration and advocacy within their educational settings that are designed to improve the classroom environment for students with disabilities.

General Requirements

There are multiple requirements for current and prospective special education teachers. These requirements vary from state to state. Most individuals who become special education teachers earn an undergraduate degree, complete an approved training program in special education, and then become certified. All teachers, whether leading a special education classroom or a general education classroom, must be certified in every state in the United States.

Online MA in Special Education Programs

  • Ashford University: MA in Education – Special Education (non-licensure)
  • Liberty University: MA in Teaching – Special Education
  • Saint Joseph’s University: MA in Special Education (Cert)
  • University of Massachusetts: MA in Curriculum & Instruction – Autism Studies
  • University of Phoenix: MA in Education – Special Education

Top Online Masters in Special Education Degrees

Teaching students with special needs requires a master's degree in special education. Degree programs focusing on special ed. will equip teachers with the tools and knowledge necessary to take on the challenges of educating students with learning, emotional, behavioral, and/or physical disabilities. Below are the top online colleges that offer masters degrees in special education.

Xavier University
Special education programs at Xavier University are committed to the educational and professional preservice preparation of students to be ethically, morally, intellectually and socially competent teachers of students with disabilities. The Master of Education degree will provide training for teachers of children requiring specialized and individualized educational programs.
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Western Governors University
The M.S. in Special Education (K 12) is for licensed teachers with bachelor's degrees who are interested in moving into special education instruction. This competency-based program is NCATE accredited and equips graduates to teach students with mild to moderate cross-categorical disabilities.
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Walden University
An MS in Special Education (K-12) from Walden University will prepare you to increase the success rate of student in primary education. An MS in Special Education for Behavioral Disorders teaches candidates how to create prescribed individual behavioral and instructional plans based on the learning strengths of a child. An MA in Special Education for Learning Disabilities builds teaching skills required to make a significant impact on children with learning disabilities. The PhD in Special Education programs provides graduates with a thorough examination of the theories and principles behind human learning.
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Grand Canyon University
The M.Ed. in Special Education with Certification from Grand Canyon University is designed for people interested in becoming certified in special education. Through this program you will learn how to use behavioral techniques to ensure a strong education of children with special needs. The M.Ed. in Special Education will give you an in-depth education on the various topics affecting special education students including the laws that govern the students and their families. Separate programs are available for individuals with or without teaching certification.
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Northcentral University
Northcentral’s online Master of Education – Special Education program is designed for educators to gain a thorough understanding of the characteristics and needs of children who fall under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA/IDEIA). Candidates of this program will be exposed to a range of topics ranging from how disabilities affect individuals and families to classroom modifications to suit special need students. Upon graduation, educators will be prepared to lead and design the special education curriculums in K-12 educational settings.
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