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Master's in Special Education Online

Attain Licensure to Become a Leader in Special Education


2 Years

54–60 Credit Hours

$503 per Credit

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Create a Supportive Environment in Your Special Education Classroom

Special education students have diverse needs. Step up as an education leader versed in using innovative teaching techniques to tailor support for each student.

Southwest Minnesota State University’s online Master of Science in Special Education degree program delivers the credentials you need to pursue Minnesota licensure and advance your education career. Choose from six specializations in rewarding fields and prepare to make a lasting impact in inclusive and special education classrooms.

Program Details

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Customize Your Special Education Master’s Degree with a Licensure-Driven Specialization

SMSU’s online master’s in special education degree offers six specializations, empowering you to pursue the licensure you need for the special education career you want. Explore our options and choose the specialization that best supports your career path.

Academic Behavioral Strategist

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Developmental Disabilities

Early Childhood Special Education

Emotional Behavior Disorders

Learning Disabilities

Master’s in Special Education Online Courses: A Curriculum Tailored to Your Success

54–60 Total Credits

18–20 Courses

The online master’s in special education degree program includes 18–20 courses for 54–60 credit hours. The total number of credits you’ll complete depends on the specialization you choose. Each specialization option delivers valuable teaching skills and helps you acquire the credentials needed to pursue licensure in Minnesota.

Course Highlights

  • SPED 550: Curriculum Design and Implementation in Special Education
  • SPED 560: Positive Behavior Support in Special Education
  • SPED 621: Access and Support for Individuals with Moderate to Severe Developmental Disabilities
  • SPED 686: Autism Spectrum Disorders: Assessment and Programming
Curriculum Details

SMSU Admission Requirements

Start Date May 21, 2024 Summer Term 2024

Take the next step toward unlocking your full potential by completing your application for the online master’s in special education degree program today. Support is available from the SMSU enrollment team.

Online Application FormApply Now.
Application Fee$30 waivable fee*
Official TranscriptsSend official undergraduate transcripts.
Minimum GPAMinimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Additional Admission ItemsProvide a letter of intent and two letters of recommendation if your GPA is under 3.0.

It’s always the right time to invest in your education with SMSU. Contact an enrollment counselor by calling 1-800-201-2944 to get started today.

Admissions Details

Tuition and Aid: Invest in Your Future with a Custom Special Education Master’s Degree

Calculate your cost for attending SMSU Use our tuition calculator to help you estimate your total tuition costs.  

Are you ready to invest in your future with an online master’s degree? Southwest Minnesota State University’s tuition and aid packages can assist you. With scholarships available and competitive tuition, earning your master’s in special education degree online is within reach.

Cost per Credit Hour$503
Total Credit Hours54–60
Total Estimated Cost**$29,766.96 – $33,338.40
Additional Fees$52.64 per credit hour (Fall and Spring)
$48.24 per credit hour (Summer)
Other CostsThe estimated tuition cost does not include factors like textbooks or other expenses

Military Benefits

SMSU proudly welcomes active military and veteran students. We accept the GI Bill™ and VA education benefits. Learn more by contacting an enrollment counselor or by visiting our military benefits page.

Financial Aid Options & Support

Southwest Minnesota State University offers a variety of solutions to help you invest in your education. SMSU offers in-state tuition rates to all students, along with a variety of financial services, including military benefits, financial aid opportunities, and scholarships for qualifying applicants.

Take your next step in financing your education by completing your FAFSA today. Use SMSU’s school code: 002375

Tuition Details

What Can You Achieve with an Online Master’s Degree in Special Education?

As the shortage of special education teachers grows nationwide, effects are especially felt in Minnesota’s rural areas.1 Help address this challenge and access advanced teaching opportunities by earning your Master’s in Special Education online with SMSU. You’ll prepare to seek state licensure and roles with competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paying jobs in special education offered annual salaries of more than $102,450 in 2022.2

Rewarding Jobs for Special Education Master’s Degree Graduates

Special Education Teacher $62,950 per year2

Instructional Coordinator $66,490 per year3

Program Outcomes

Earning your Master’s Degree in Special Education online with SMSU allows you to join a supportive community of diverse students and expert industry leaders. By graduation, you’ll be prepared to pursue licensure and thrive as a leader in inclusive and special education.

What You’ll Learn

Meet Our Faculty

SMSU employs a faculty of experts who are top-skilled in their fields. Our educators are fully committed to providing each student with personalized and thoughtful instruction to help you succeed academically and professionally.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. LeAnne Syring

Dr. LeAnne Syring began her education as a non-traditional student after raising four children. She enjoys teaching and has recently completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Inclusion of Students with Special Education Needs. With a love of teaching early childhood and special education, her goal is to continue to teach at the University level until retirement.

Learn Online with Southwest Minnesota State University

Whether you’re enrolling in a degree program for the first time or completing a degree you previously started, learning online with SMSU provides the flexibility you need to be successful. Our online programs offer the same rigorous curriculum delivered on campus, plus the convenience of studying on your schedule from the location of your choice.

Discover SMSU Online

Sources and Disclaimers

  1. KARE11, “Survey finds hundreds of Minnesota teaching vacancies remain unfilled,” at (visited October 12, 2023).
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Special Education Teachers, at (visited November 1, 2023).
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Educational Instruction and Library Occupations, at (visited October 16, 2023).

*Contact our enrollment team for more details!

**Tuition costs and fees will vary based on semesters of enrollment and number of transfer credits accepted. Contact our enrollment team to learn more.