Earn your online Master's Degree in Special Education (MS) at GMercyU

Online Master's Degree in Special Education

Gain Advanced Skills for PreK-8 Special Education Environments


Continue your journey as an educator and prepare to offer specialized support to students who need it the most with Gwynedd Mercy University’s online Master of Science in Special Education degree. This unique accelerated program helps you prepare to become a certified Special Education teacher in Pennsylvania while also providing the advanced training of a master’s degree. 

The GMercyU Difference

In this Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved program, you’ll gain theoretical knowledge and practical instructional skills for special education classrooms. You’ll also explore and analyze the social, political, and economic issues that influence the course of public education in the United States. We offer a choice of three specific qualifications:

  • Master of Science in Pre-K–8 Special Education – 30 credits
  • Master of Science in Pre-K–8 Special Education with Autism Endorsement – 42 credits
  • Pre-K-8 Special Education Certification Only – 18 credits

Whichever program you choose, you’ll enter an interactive learning environment that features industry-leading interactive collaboration tools powered by Teachscape®. With personal guidance from our expert faculty members, you’ll record and analyze lessons you deliver using the Teachscape® Reflect Observation and Evaluation Management System. 


What You Will Learn - Online Master of Science in Special Education

The online Master's degree in Special Education builds on your professional experience with rigorous course content that prepares you for advanced educational practice in PreK-8 classrooms. We also provide the tools you need to pursue self-directed professional action research and evaluate new instructional techniques after graduation. 

As a GMercyU graduate, you will be able to:

  • Identify and use instructional methods and curricula that are appropriate and effective in meeting individual needs of persons with exceptionalities
  • Select and use appropriate instructional materials, equipment, and supplies in meeting the individual needs of persons with exceptionalities
  • Create safe and effective learning environments
  • Maintain confidentiality of information except when information is released under specific conditions of written consent and statutory confidentiality requirements
  • Apply disciplinary methods and behavioral procedures which will not undermine the dignity of the individual or the basic human rights of persons with exceptionalities
  • Utilize assessment instruments and procedures that do not discriminate against persons with exceptionalities on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, political practices, family or social background, sexual orientation or exceptionality
  • Specify goals and objectives for behavior management practices
  • Apply policies, statutes, and rules established by state and local agencies relating to judicious application of disciplinary methods and behavioral procedures
  • Develop communication with parents, avoiding technical terminology, using the primary language of the home, and other modes of communication when appropriate
  • Seek and use parents’ knowledge and expertise in planning, conducting, and evaluating special education and related services for persons with exceptionalities
  • Inform parents of the educational rights of their children and of any proposed or actual practices, which may violate those rights
  • Recognize and acknowledge the competencies and expertise of members representing other disciplines who serve persons with exceptionalities
  • Cooperate with other agencies involved in serving persons with exceptional abilities through such activities as the planning and coordination of information exchanges
  • Provide consultation and assistance to both general and special educators as well as other school personnel serving persons with exceptionalities

An Educational Community Dedicated to Your Success - and Your Students' Success

At GMercyU, our professors bring direct special education experience, advanced research backgrounds, and a passion for teaching to your classroom. Their insights and mentorship will help you effectively create a safe, productive learning environment for all of your students. 

Upon graduation, you and your classmates will join our extensive network of alumni. The colleagues, contacts, and friends you find in this leadership community will inspire you to continue to discover the Next.

Curriculum

The online Master's in Special Education is a two-year online program featuring an accelerated format in which you take courses one at a time in seven-week blocks. The total number of credits you take depends on your choice of certification and endorsement options. After successfully passing these courses, you may apply to take any required certification exams to obtain your certificate. 

All teachers take a core of 15 credits:

EDU 502 The Learning and Teaching Process
EDU 510 Research Skills for Reflective Practitioners
EDU 581 Foundations in Special Education in an Inclusionary Setting
EDU 582 Effective Communications for Educators
SPE 562 Special Education Law and Ethics

You will then choose a certification option below.

Master of Science in Education—Pre-K—8 Special Education (30 total credits) 

SPE 560 Diagnosis, Assessment, Prescriptive and Intervention Techniques for Special Learner
SPE 561 Research-Based Learning Methods and Materials for the Special Learner
SPE 563 Standards-Aligned Systems and Seminar on Current Issues in Special Education
SPE 564 Behavior Management Skills for the Special Learner
EDU/SPE 603 Research Seminar

Special Education with Autism Endorsement (42 total credits)

SPE 560 Diagnosis, Assessment, Prescriptive and Intervention Techniques for Special Learners
SPE 561 Research-Based Learning Methods and Materials for the Special Learner
SPE 563 Standards-Aligned Systems and Seminar on Current Issues in Special Education
SPE 564 Behavior Management Skills for the Special Learner
SPE 580 Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorders
EDU 581 Foundations in Special Education in an Inclusionary Setting
SPE 582 Communication, Behavioral Issues and Social Competence for   Students on the Autism Spectrum
SPE 583 Scientific Research-Based Instructional Practices
EDU/SPE 603 Research Seminar

To review course descriptions, please refer to the graduate catalog (PDF).

 

Admissions Requirements

To qualify for admission to our Master's degree in Special Education program, you must provide:

  • Proof you have obtained a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0.* You must submit official transcripts from every college or university attended
  • Proof of a Level I Certificate in one of the following areas: N-3, K-6, Pre K-4, K-12 and Reading Specialist
  • A completed application form with fee
  • A current professional resume
  • A writing sample stating your professional and academic goals (one page, double-spaced)
  • Two completed supervisory reference forms
  • A minimum score of 550 (written), 213 (computer), or 79 (internet) on the TOEFL examination if English is not your native language
  • For the Master of Science in Pre-K–8 Special Education with Autism Endorsement, you must have a Level I or Level II certification.

*If your GPA was lower than 3.0, we encourage you to apply for evaluation on a case-by-case basis. Personal interviews may be required for any candidates as determined by the admissions committee.

Help Exceptional Learners Achieve

Learn more about how you can become a special education teacher with our innovative online master’s degree program. Call 844-707-9064 or e-mail accelerate@gmercyu.edu to contact an admissions counselor. You also can begin your application online now! 

Our Outstanding Faculty