Master's Degree in Special Education
The master's degree in Special Education provides students with advanced understanding of contemporary research and practice issues in special education. Applicants to the master’s program are typically interested in pursuing enhanced professional competence, career advancement, leadership roles, advocacy and systems change, or preparation for doctoral-level study. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in education or special education). Applicants should be motivated to develop a deeper understanding of the field of special education.
The aim of the master’s degree in Special Education is for graduate students who:
- Have advanced skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating research-based practices that meet the special educational needs of learners with disabilities;
- Understand the historical and conceptual underpinnings of special education, as well as policies that guide its implementation in school and community settings;
- Are able to analyze contemporary issues surrounding special education and the impact of exceptionality on individuals and their families;
- Understand the roles that research plays in special education theory, practice, and policy.
What Master's Degree Options are Available?
Students interested in pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education have several different concentrations to choose from. The General Special Education master's degree is offered fully online.
- American Sign Language/English Interpreting Concentration (Temporarily suspended) – Prepares students to work with children and adults who have hearing loss or are deaf in both educational and community settings.
- Deaf Education Concentration – Focuses on the educational needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing: preschool to grade 12 (ages 3-21).
- Early Childhood Intervention Specialist Concentration – Focuses on educational supports for young children with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities: birth to grade 5 (birth-10 years) and their families.
- General Special Education Concentration – Offered fully online. Provides a broad focus on the provision of special education across ages and student needs.
- Mild/Moderate Educational Needs Concentration – Focuses on educational supports for students with mild to moderate educational needs (most often participate in the general education academic curriculum with SPED supports): kindergarten to grade 12 (ages 5-21).
- Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs Concentration – Focuses on educational supports of students with moderate to intensive educational needs (most often require modifications to general education academic curriculum and/or other extensive SPED supports): kindergarten to grade 12 (ages 5-21).
- Transition-to-Work Concentration – Focuses on the educational needs of students with disabilities transitioning to adulthood: high school (ages 14/16 to 21).
Graduate Certificates and Endorsements
Students seeking a master's degree in Special Education may choose to integrate:
- Graduate Level Certificate (Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavioral Intervention Specialist, Early Intervention)
- Graduate Level Endorsement (Pre-K Special Needs, Transition-to-Work)
- Non-Degree Graduate Licensure Preparation Program (Deaf Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Mild/Moderate Educational Needs, or Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs)
Please contact Dr. Sloane Burgess for more information on graduate programs in Special Education.
Professional Licensure Disclosure
This program is designed to prepare students to sit for applicable licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure or certification and contact information for state licensing boards at Kent State's website for professional licensure disclosure.