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Accelerated Online Masters in Special Education

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Gwynedd Mercy University’s Master of Science in Special Education is a rigorous and comprehensive online special education master’s program that prepares graduate students to begin or further their careers in the field of special education. The program offers instruction that prepares graduates to educate special needs students in PreK through 8th grade, with a curriculum that explores the latest research-based practices in special education. The curriculum emphasizes instruction, assessment, behavior management, and special education law, and provides ample space for reflection and review of your teaching practices. This prepares educators to assess the effectiveness of their teaching practices in relation to their experiences and the latest data from scholarly research.

Courses are sequenced to integrate knowledge from research, theory, and field practice in a number of core competency areas. Field experiences foster professional growth by allowing students to apply what they have learned in class in a variety of real-world settings. At the end of the sequence, students who have successfully completed the online master’s in special education will be eligible for certification in special education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

Special Education Master’s Program Requirements

Five 3-credit courses are at the core of this program, which all students are required to take in addition to the sequence of courses for their specialization. These include Educational Research, Effective Communication for Teachers, Teaching and Learning Process, Foundations of Special Education in an Inclusionary Setting, and Special Education Law and Ethics. After completing the core classes, students may choose to take 18 credits culminating in preparation for and certification as a PreK-8 Special Education Teacher. GMercyU’s master’s in special education online program also includes the option of obtaining PDE endorsement upon completing 27 credits of Autism Certification courses. This specialization focuses on proper diagnosis and ongoing lesson delivery across the entire autism spectrum.

There is also a certification-only option for qualifying students who already hold a master’s degree and Instructional I certification. The university must review applicant transcripts before determining whether this option is available.

Online Master’s Option for Flexibility and Self-Direction

This Master of Science in PreK-8 Special Education is now offered fully online and in an accelerated format, offering students more flexibility and ease of obtaining an advanced degree. This is an appropriate program if you hold an Instructional I certificate and want to earn certification in special education, certification with a concentration in special education, or an online master’s in special education with special education certification.  


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