Enable Every Child's Full Potential with a Master's in Special Education

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Time to completion:

2 Years

No App Fee* if Application File Completed Within 20 Days

The online Master of Science in Education - Special Education is built on the foundation of the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) program, a research-based strategy for student achievement that is implemented with success on a daily basis in school districts across the country. In addition, most graduates of the online special education master’s degree program at Saint Joseph’s University are also eligible to receive Special Education certification in Pennsylvania, with reciprocity in many other states.

The curriculum’s combination of advanced training and professional certification makes the online master’s in special education from Saint Joseph’s University a career-building advantage, with a caring focus on developing students with expert practitioner skills. Classes are taught by faculty members with extensive academic credentials and experience teaching students with special needs meet their learning potential.


Roughly 6.5 million children receive some type of special education yearly in K-12.1

The number of youth aged 6 – 21 who were served under IDEA in 2013-2014 and enrolled in regular schools was 95 percent.1

In-Demand Certifications

The online Master of Science in Education – Special Education from Saint Joseph’s University features a choice of additional certifications tailored to the greatest needs of Special Education students in the modern classroom. You can add more than one of these certification tracks to your graduate studies.

Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration – Within a larger context of graduate study in Special Education, this concentration prepares individuals to address the demands of challenging behaviors seen in Special Education settings. The courses are intended to prepare students for the BCBA certification exam.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement – This track focuses on proper diagnosis and ongoing lesson delivery across the entire autism spectrum, with emphasis on skill development and behavioral modification. The need has never been greater, with about 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.2

Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students Endorsement – The online Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students endorsement is designed primarily for educators and those who work within a school setting to gain the formal social-emotional (SEL) training necessary to seamlessly help children develop these skills in tandem with academic learning.

Wilson Reading System® certification – Saint Joseph’s University offers one of the only online training programs incorporated into graduate education for the popular Wilson Reading System® for students with special needs. Upon completion of this track, graduates will be eligible to receive the Wilson Reading certification and be prepared to deliver multi-sensory reading education to students with language-based learning disabilities in a variety of settings.

Special Education certification – This track prepares you to help meet the needs of students with learning disabilities and other special needs. Coursework focuses on diagnostic assessment and monitoring. Current issues in special education, and how emotional, social, and behavioral disorders affect comprehension.

Each of these certifications is also available as a stand-alone option.

Who Should Apply?

Teachers who exhibit the following traits tend to enjoy the most success in creating a fulfilling classroom experience for students:

  • Organized: Organization is a key component of a successful inclusive classroom. Providing students with special needs with a schedule of the day’s activities and experiences provides support and helps them succeed in their learning. Being well planned and organized is an important characteristic of a successful special education teacher.
  • Creative: To meet each student’s unique learning needs, special education teachers must know many instructional techniques and approaches. Being creative is an important trait to have when brainstorming various strategies and interventions for helping students succeed.
  • Intuitive: Many students with special needs require support in understanding and sharing their feelings, behavior and emotions. A critical trait for being a successful special education teacher is recognizing when students need support and guidance to deal with their behavior and emotions.
  • Patient: The potential for dealing with behavioral, social and emotional issues can increase when working with students who have special needs. The special education teacher needs to have patience and a calm demeanor when working with students in order to maintain a safe and effective learning environment.

A Bachelor's degree and minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale is required.

Note that there are specific requirements for students who wish to receive the Special Education Certification with their master’s degree in special education. Applicants for this track should have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:

  • Elementary Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Secondary Education

They should also have Level 1 teacher certification in one of the following:

  • Early childhood/Elementary (PK-4, K-6, or similar other state certification)
  • Middle Level (Grades 4-8)
  • Secondary (Grade 7-12: Math, Science, English/Language Arts, Social Studies)
  • Reading Specialist K-12
  • Physical Education, Art, Music, Drivers Education, and Foreign Language teacher certification 

I was a little apprehensive about never being face-to-face with an actual professor, and it has been nothing like that. There is always email access to a teacher and…nine times out of ten, I get an immediate response.

Julianne Patrick

Take a moment to gain more insight on this growing field by visiting St. Joseph’s University’s content resource center where you will find articles, blogs, and student testimonials specific to Special Education.

To learn more about the online special education master’s program from Saint Joseph’s University and what it can do for your career, call (215) 473-2695 to speak with a Program Manager right away or request more information.


*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. To be eligible for the application fee waiver, you must complete your application file, including all supporting documentation outlined in the Admissions Checklists or requested by the University, within 20 days of your appointment with a Program Manager. Call 215.473.2695 for more information.

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