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Master of Education: Special Education award badge

Classes begin Fall, Spring and Summer

Our master's degree in special education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and nationally recognized by our professional organization, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

This program is designed for students who are certified in elementary or secondary education.

Special Education Programs for Certified Teachers

Elementary Education certified teachers can choose from the following:

Secondary Education certified teachers can choose from the following:

Other Programs

Special Education Programs for those without Certification

M.Ed. in Elementary and Special Education(for those without certification) (63 graduate credits):

This track is for those with no teaching certificate who would like to earn dual certification in elementary and special education. Track D leads to Pennsylvania certification in elementary education and special education and a master's degree. Graduate students who will student teach will be required to meet all requirements as are currently in place.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Programs

M.Ed. with Autism Spectrum Disorders for those (currently certified in special education):This program is intended for applicants who already hold Pennsylvania teaching certification in special education.  Upon completion, the student will hold a master's degree in special education and will be eligible to add autism spectrum disorders to his/her current teaching certificate.

Certificate: Autism Spectrum Disorders
We also offer an autism spectrum disorders (ASD) graduate certificate (12 credits). This program directly addresses the needs of today's educators and professionals who are working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders throughout the lifespan.  The proposed certificate provides specialized preparation of teachers in ASD through an innovative 12-credit hour graduate program endorsement in ASD that has at its core the provision of socialization opportunities for individuals with ASD and educational outreach materials and resources for parents and community members.

Note: Admissions criteria are similar to mentally/physically handicapped education degree program though other credentials and/or qualifications for educators, professionals and family members affected by ASD applying to this program without a teaching certificate will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


Educators who are qualified to teach students with autism and other special needs are expected to be in high demand in the coming years, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17% increase in the number of special educators between 2008 and 2018. Special-education positions are often more demanding, one administrator said, but those teachers may earn a higher salary than their general-education counterparts.  The Boston Globe (7/11)

Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.

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Success Story

Throughout his career, Marc E. Thornton (M.Ed. Mentally and/or Physically Handicapped Education '98 and Administrative Program for Principals '09) has worked with a variety of different student populations. In his current role as Principal of Seville Elementary School in the North Hills School District, Thornton plans and implements comprehensive programs and support services that meet the needs of all children in kindergarten through sixth grade. A semi-finalist for the 2010 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year program, Thornton valued the experience he received during his internships. "Each assignment proved to be a valuable learning tool for future interviews. They're great opportunities to show evidence of your accomplishments and what you can bring to a school district."