Master of Education in Special Education

Campus Locations Boston, Online
Also available 100% Online Yes
Other Format(s)
Credits Required for Graduation 45
Entry Terms Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, Summer Quarter
Meets International Visa Requirements No


Adding special education to your professional portfolio opens doors to working with new groups of students in meaningful ways. The Master of Education in Special Education degree program will prepare you to anticipate and meet the needs of a broad range of students with specialized learning needs. This program is designed for teachers or aspiring teachers who have already earned an initial license as an elementary or secondary teacher and want to help children with a broad range of learning needs reach their full potential. The Master of Education in Special Education degree meets the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education standards and competencies for initial licensure as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K-8 and 5-12. 


  • Hone the skills and disposition to educate and inspire children with specialized learning needs
  • Develop a conceptual framework to effectively advocate for the educational rights of all children
  • Examine the impact of local, national, and global changes on policy and practice for special education
  • Learn to develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for the broad and varied range of student learning and behavioral styles

Get Started

  • Available fully online
  • No application fee
  • No GRE or GMAT required
  • Initial teaching licensure required




Please note: Students who started this program prior to Fall 2017 should follow the curriculum reflected on their DegreeWorks audits via the self-service tab of their myNEU portal.  Please consult your advisor with any questions.


Complete these courses in the following order during your first and second terms of study (9 q.h.):

EDU 6050 Education as an Advanced Field of Study 5 q.h.
EDU 6051 Culture, Power, Equity, and Influence 4 q.h.

Complete the following six courses (24 q.h.):

EDU 6425 Special Education: Foundations for Understanding the Inclusive School 4 q.h.
EDU 6426  Developmental Language, Literacy, and Writing: Assessment and Instruction 4 q.h.
EDU 6528 Adaptive Learning/Behavior Management Strategies: Consultation and Collaboration  4 q.h.
EDU 6569 Differentiated Instruction and Assessment in Mathematics  4 q.h. 
EDU 6438 Teachers as Curriculum Leaders 4 q.h. 
EDU 6874 Practicum, Portfolio, and Panel Review 4 q.h. 


Choose three courses from the following electives  ( 12 q.h.) :

Candidates pursuing initial licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12) must meet the requirements of RETELL and the SEI endorsement prior to endorsement . Candidates who do not already hold the SEI endorsement should complete the DESE-approved course EDU 6185 English Language Learners in the General Education Classroom

EDU 6185 English Language Learners in the General Education Classroom  4 q.h. 
EDU 6429 Child and Adolescent Variations 4 q.h.
EDU 6530 Beyond Behavior Management: Building Classroom Communities for Diverse and Challenging Learners 4 q.h. 
EDU 6437 Assessment in Education 4 q.h.
EDU 6465 Critical and Creative Thinking 4 q.h. 
EDU 6520 Learning and the Brain: Translating Research into Practice 4 q.h.
EDU 6558
Issues in Education 4 q.h.

Required minimum credit hours: 45 q.h.

Admissions Requirements

Below are the official Admissions Requirements for this program.

  • Online application
  • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words): identifying your educational goals and expectations from the program; please be aware that the University's academic policy on plagiarism applies to applicant's statement of purpose
  • Professional resume: Current resume that displays job responsibilities, relevant experience, and education history
  • Two letters of recommendation: from individual(s) with either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, such as a faculty member, current employer, mentor, or colleague
  • Official undergraduate degree documentation
  • Teacher's license; Initial or professional level: provide a copy of license
  • Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language: English language proficiency guidelines
  • Website Transcript Copy: To submit and complete your application you are able to upload your unofficial transcript directly to your online application. It can be uploaded in PDF format directly to the online application. Please ensure that the scanned documents are readable and include all courses, grades, (i.e. marks, scores, etc.) and credits completed to date. The scanned documents should also include information pertaining to the institution's grading scale. If accepted, you will additionally need to provide your official transcript. In order for a transcript to be "official," it must be in a sealed envelope from the transferring college or university.

For general admissions information and recommended admissions deadlines, Graduate Admissions.

All requirements must be received prior to review.


Estimated total tuition for this program is $24,840.00.

Tuition for individual courses is based on the number of quarter hours. Most courses are 3-6 quarter hours. See Graduate Tuition Rates for details.

Use our Tuition Calculator below to see if transfer credit or tuition reimbursement from your employer could reduce your total tuition.

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Please note: The estimated total tuition is based on tuition rates for Academic Year 2017-18 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time.

*A maximum of 9 quarter hours of graduate- or doctoral-level credit obtained at another institution may be awarded as Advanced Graduate Credit to the Doctor of Education program.

In Depth | Learning Outcomes

What can I gain from the Master's in Special Education?

It is rooted in the real-world practices of colleges and universities. True to Northeastern’s experiential learning model, this degree goes beyond teaching theory to help you apply what you study and analyze the results. Each course focuses on real-world application of the theories you learn in class.

It is specialized. Our focus on Special Education allows you to fully explore this field and concentrate on your career trajectory.

You get a national perspective. Because the program is online, you have the opportunity to connect with fellow professionals who have lived in worked around the world, who exchange ways to solve common challenges.

You create an ePortfolio. Through your ePortfolio, or collection of work in an electronic format, you can document your progress towards program and professional goals. These samples illustrate your distinct abilities to employers. Learn more about ePortfolios.

What to expect

What is the student experience like?
  • Multi-cultural and collaborative
  • Regular interaction with fellow educators from around the country
  • Curriculum incorporates experiential learning
  • International network to leverage personally and professionally
Who is a good fit for this program?
  • You are working as a teacher or have your teaching license
  • You want to delve deeply into recent developments in the field of special education
  • You want to earn additional credentials to more effectively teach and lead in schools
  • You want to become a leader who can improve special education systems and practices

The Special Education concentration prepares graduates to:

  • Earn additional credentials to more effectively teach and lead in schools
  • Anticipate and meet the needs of diverse students with broad learning needs
  • Be prepared to advocate for the educational rights of all children and youth
  • Understand the impact of local, national, and global changes on policy and practice for special education


Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Specialized Knowledge
    Elucidate the major theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry and schools of practice in the field of study, articulate their sources, and illustrate both their applications and their relationships to allied fields of study.
  2. Broad and Integrative Knowledge
    Design and execute an applied, investigative, or creative work that draws on the perspectives and methods of other fields of study and assess the resulting advantages and challenges of including these perspectives and methods.
  3. Applied and Collaborative Learning
    Design and implement a project or performance in an out-of-class setting that requires the application of advanced knowledge gained in the field of study to a practical challenge, articulate in writing or another medium the insights gained from this experience, and assess approaches, scholarly debates, or standards for professional performance applicable to the challenge.
  4. Civic and Global Learning
    Assess and develop a position on a public policy question with significance in the field of study, taking into account both scholarship and published or electronically posted positions and narratives of relevant interest groups.
  5. Experiential Learning
    Integrate education-specific best practices and tools into experiential learning opportunities offered in the program.

Careers & Faculty

Industry Information

Projected Demand for Special Education Teachers in Massachusetts through 2020

special ed infographic  

Source: Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, 2013


Post-Baccalaureate Payoff

Overall, those with graduate degrees earn 35% more than those with bachelor's degrees. Advanced degrees are particularly valuable in health/social behavioral sciences.



Professors focus on teaching you the knowledge and skills you need to progress professionally throughout your career. Many alumni tell us that they draw from the tools and methods they learned from Northeastern’s rigorous curriculum on a daily basis, including the hands-on experience they gain in the classroom.

Meet all of our Graduate Education Program faculty.


Who Will Your Classmates Be?

Your fellow students are professional and aspiring teachers who share a passion to deepen their knowledge of educational theory and practice, while learning the latest ways to improve special education.

  • Practicing K-12 teachers who seek a master’s degree, as well as additional licensure in moderate disabilities
  • Licensed special educators who are seeking professional licensure or a master's program with professional licensure endorsement

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Next Term Starts
  • Summer Graduate
    Jul 10, 2017 (4-, 6-, and 8-week classes)
    Aug 7, 2017 (4-week classes)
  • Fall Undergraduate
    Sep 4, 2017 (7.5- and 15-week classes)
    Oct 25, 2017 (7.5-week classes)
  • Fall Graduate
    Sep 18, 2017 (6- and 12-week classes)
    Oct 30, 2017 (6-week classes)

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