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Master of Science in Special Education (Online)

With a nationwide shortage of passionate, qualified special education professionals, some of the most vulnerable students are left without the support they require and deserve. An M.S. in Special Education can set you on the path to helping those who need you most.

Why Study Special Education?

By 2022, the number of students receiving services under IDEA totals 7.3 million (15% of total public school students)*. Nationally, every state is struggling with a teacher shortage, a gap that ultimately leaves diverse learners without the support they need and deserve.

Eastern’s master’s in special education features a holistic curriculum designed for professionals with an interest in working with students with disabilities or those who already do and who want to hone their skills and knowledge.

  • Instructional Methods: From designing and implementing assessments to best practices for better instruction of K-12 students with special needs, you’ll learn the theory and practical application for instructing exceptional students.
  • Collaboration: Learn how to effectively work with families, other special education personnel, and navigate effective interagency collaborations for the benefit of students.
  • Advocacy: Gain an in-depth understanding of trends, issues, and policies so you can become an advocate for inclusive education.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, Students With Disabilities, on the internet at (visited July 12, 2023).

  • These are some of the basic requirements for admission into the M.S. in Special Education program: 

    • Completed application for admission with a $50 non-refundable application fee. Apply Online. 
      • Application Deadline: Monday, May 6, 2024
    • Bachelor’s degree from an approved/accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Work experience will be part of the assessment if your GPA is below 3.0. 
    • A résumé/CV addressing your professional history, educational, and career interests.   
    • Official college transcript(s) for all non-Eastern colleges/universities attended. 
    • A copy of a valid state teacher’s certificate or evidence of significant teaching experience.   
    • Two recommendation surveys completed by individuals knowledgeable about your ability to complete graduate work.   
    • Statement of professional goals. 

    PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite course(s) in special education should be taken prior to beginning the program.   

  • The following links contain course and credit requirements for the M.S. in Special Education program at Eastern. Please use them to help plan your course of study but be aware that course offerings may change in the future. 

    Graduate Plan of Study (PDF Download) 

  • Eastern’s online special education graduate degree program is designed for professionals wanting to hone their skills and expand their career potential while balancing work and personal life.  

    • 100% Online Coursework 
      Coursework can be completed online and is hosted in a rich virtual classroom environment.  
    • Quality Education 
      Course curriculum is designed to teach the latest theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to meet the needs of exceptional students across various organizations.  
    • Expert Faculty 
      Students receive personalized instruction from special education experts. Eastern’s renowned faculty includes active researchers who want to inspire students to pursue innovation and advocacy in their professions. 
  • The cost of the program is $714 per credit hour. The program is 30 credits total. Additional non-refundable fees may apply

Meet the Program Coordinators

Photo of Dr. Kwangwon Lee

Dr. Kwangwon Lee

Assistant Professor, Education Program Coordinator

Dr. Lee’s research foci include parent-mediated, social communication interventions for children with autism and embedded assistive technology instruction in early childhood teacher education. His research has been published and presented globally. He earned both his Ph.D. and M.S.Ed. in Special Education from Indiana University-Bloomington. 

Photo of Dr. Tanya Moorehead

Dr. Tanya Moorehead

Associate Professor, Education Program Coordinator

Dr. Moorehead’s research focuses on creating successful inclusive learning environments for all students through co-teaching and collaboration and inclusive education. She is the coordinator for the Holmes Program, which involves mentoring students from underrepresented populations. She was a special education teacher for seven years and was the 2006 Bloomfield, CT Teacher of The Year. 

Who Should Apply?

The M.S. in Special Education is an advanced degree for experienced certified teachers, teacher candidates who have completed a teaching certification program, or other professionals with an interest in working with exceptional students.


Cultivate a deep understanding of trends and issues related to educating students with disabilities before applying what you learn in an elective local practicum experience and capstone research project. 

Core Courses

  • EDU 610 Special Education Assessment
  • EDU 611 Special Education Methods of Instruction
  • EDU 612 Assistive/Adaptive Technology
  • EDU 613 Evidence-Based Practices for Behavior Management in Special Education
  • EDU 630 Applying Foundational Knowledge and Applications in Special Education
  • EDU 632 Special Education in the Arts
  • EDU 634 Interagency Collaboration for Students with Disabilities and their Families

Elective Practicum Experiences

  • EDU 690 Practicum in Local Agencies
  • EDU 692 Practicum in Elementary Special Education
  • EDU 694 Practicum in Secondary Special Education

Elective Courses

  • EDU 619 Strategies for Instructions to ELS
  • ECE 620 Intervention for Young Children with Autism
  • EDU 680 Issues and Trends in Special Education

Culminating Experience

  • EDU 697 Culminating Research Project

Download our program guide for full course descriptions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Eastern is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

  • The cost per credit hour is $714 with a per semester fee of $60. Supplemental material including textbooks must be purchased separately.

  • As an online student with Eastern, you should expect to devote 12-16 hours per week towards earning your degree. This includes watching your pre-recorded lectures and completing relevant coursework. Additional time may be spent participating in online discussions, meeting with faculty members during their office hours or completing elective practicum work in your local community.

  • Yes, students who qualify may be able to receive support for their Eastern graduate degree program. Potential options include student loans, military savings, veteran’s benefits and employer tuition assistance.

  • Eastern’s online programs have no application deadline. Three (3) start dates are offered each year and it is recommended that applications be submitted at least six (6) weeks in advance of a student’s preferred start date.

  • Upon completion of the MS in Special Education and the certification tests (Connecticut Foundations of Reading Test 090 and Praxis II, Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications 5543), candidates residing in Connecticut may apply to the state to cross-endorse to Comprehensive Special Education, K-12 (165).

    Candidates pursuing endorsement in other states must fulfill their state’s requirements.

  • Potential careers include:

    • Instructional coordinator
    • Educational administrator
    • Special education supervisor
    • Social and community service manager
    • Program manager or director
    • Interventionist or intervention coordinator 
    • Disability advocate 

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