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Special Education, MSEd

Master of Science in Education

US News and World Report - best grad education in special education 2023

Special education is a broad term used by the law to describe specially designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child who has a disability. Special educators often focus on teaching the student life skills, literacy, and other basic functions.

The IU Online MSEd in Special Education prepares you for the challenges of special education in the diverse and changing landscapes of today's classroom. The courses in this program are based on special education professional standards established by the Council for Exceptional Children and the State of Indiana, and focus on research and teaching methods that are proven to be effective in preparing individuals to address high-incidence disabilities (mild intervention). As a student in the program, you also pursue an individualized track of four courses based on your area of interest, such as autism, behavior specialists, early childhood, instructional strategies, or intense interventions. Finally, you complete a capstone project/thesis.

This program incorporates an ongoing field-based experience so you can practice skills in real-life settings. Finding a mentor and affiliating with this person throughout the program is a cornerstone of its design. Courses are designed to be completed in a practicum setting with the support of an experienced teacher. Students will spend the first semester of the program finding a mentor and practicum site. Many teachers working towards certification already teach children with disabilities on an emergency license. Teachers already in a teaching assignment may use their current classroom as a practicum site and identify a mentor in this setting.

Your IU Online MSEd in Special Education prepares you for such careers as:

  • Early childhood special educator  
  • Emotional disabilities teacher 
  • Hearing-impaired itinerant teacher  
  • Learning support teacher 
  • Resource program teacher 
  • Severe emotional disorders elementary teacher  
  • Severe/profound mental handicaps special education teacher 
  • Special education inclusion teacher 
  • Special education resource teacher 
  • Special education teacher 

Degree Requirements

To graduate with the MSEd in Special Education, you must complete 36 credit hours.

Requirements are broken down as follows:

  • Prerequisite course (3 credit hours) 
  • Special education core courses (20 credit hours) 
  • Emphasis area courses (12 credit hours) 
  • Capstone project OR thesis (4 credit hours) 


To be accepted to this program, you must have:
  1. A bachelor's degree 
  2. 2.7 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

Complete an online application that includes:

  • Transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores (international students only)
  • Resume (international students only)
  • TOEFL score (minimum 79) or IELTS score (minimum 6.5) - international students only 


EDUC-K 500Topical Workshop in Special Education (Culminating Seminar)1 Credit
EDUC-K 535Assessment that Supports Instruction in Special Education3 Credits
EDUC-K 536Individualized Instruction for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities3 Credits
EDUC-K 548Families, School and Society3 Credits
EDUC-K 553Classroom Management and Behavior Support3 Credits
EDUC-K 565Collaboration and Service Delivery3 Credits
EDUC-K 590Independent Study or Research in Special Education3 Credits
EDUC-K 599Master's Thesis in Special Education3 Credits
EDUC-S 500Field-Based Seminar in Teacher Education: Orientation to SPEDFIST2 Credits
EDUC-Y 510Action Research I3 Credits
EDUC-Y 520Strategies for Educational Inquiry3 Credits

Find course descriptions with our Search Schedule of Classes/Courses tool.

Tuition & Fees

Cost for Indiana Residents
  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $490.60
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $1471.80
Note:  Additional fees will apply.
Cost for Out of State Residents
  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $588.66
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $1765.98
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