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  • Course Delivery
  • Minimum Credits
  • Estimated Tuition
  • Duration
    2 Years

Program Overview

Master of Arts in Special Education

Make a difference in children's lives and work with students who receive special education services. The online Master of Arts in Special Education prepares you to work with students who have specific learning disabilities, who are on the autism spectrum, or who have emotional or behavioral disorders.

You'll learn to create an inclusive learning environment in a mainstream classroom, explore ways to remove barriers for students with special needs, develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and help all students reach their full potential.

Program Highlights

Choose from three options depending on where you are in your career and career goals: degree without licensure, degree with adding to a tier 4 licensure1, or degree with initial licensure1.

No matter the path you choose, by graduation you'll be able to:

  • Effectively support the diverse needs of special education students and their families
  • Become an authority on special education strategies and research at your school
  • Create a positive school and classroom culture to effectively teach all students
  • Use the latest mobile technology and methods to give students receiving special education a new voice
  • Design an IEP that helps provide students with access to their learning environment through multiple means, including assistive technology
  • More readily relate to and teach students of all backgrounds

Career Impact

Special education is vital to the success of learners with disabilities, yet 46 states report a shortage of teachers in special education.2 Every classroom can benefit from your knowledge of special-education methods to ensure inclusive learning environments.

Whether you currently teach or hold another position, this program prepares you for titles such as:

  • Preschool special education teacher, median annual salary $55,8403
  • Elementary school special education teacher, mean annual salary $63,1104
  • Middle school special education teacher, mean annual salary $64,3905
  • Secondary school special education teacher, mean annual salary $65,3206
  • Educational consultant, median annual salary $60,6837

1Education foundation courses are delivered in Minneapolis and other select locations in Minnesota, and precede online mobile learning. To obtain licensure, you will complete practicum experiences in elementary, middle school, and high school settings in Minnesota, and complete Minnesota state licensure exams.
2Ostroff, Caitlin. (2017, August 21). Schools throughout the country are grappling with teacher shortage, data show. Retrieved from
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool. Retrieved from
4Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School. Retrieved from
5Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School. Retrieved from
6Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School. Retrieved from
7Payscale, Average Educational Consultant Salary. Retrieved from

Course Information

The Master of Arts in Special Education degree program provides the skills, theories, and tools to develop an inclusive learning environment for learners at all ability levels. Individuals who would like to become licensed to teach in the special education areas of learning disabilities (LD), emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD), and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) take coursework pertaining to special education. Those seeking their first teaching license will also take education foundations coursework pertaining to classroom management, curriculum design and assessment.

For more information and course descriptions, check out our course catalog.

Applicants must submit:

  1. An undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale
  3. The language proficiency to succeed in graduate-level classes
  4. If your overall GPA is below 2.75, you may be admitted by provisional status upon program director approval.
  5. $25 non-refundable application fee: Note that Saint Mary's alumni, students seeking readmission, veterans, and active military personnel are exempt from this application fee.
  6. Official transcripts: An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits must be sent separately and directly from your undergraduate institution in a sealed envelope. We don't accept transcripts that are scanned, emailed, or faxed.
  7. A written statement: Describe your personal background, training, career goals, and experience as related to your interest in special education. Highlight your unique strengths and potential areas of growth that could be improved through a special education degree program with Saint Mary's.
  8. Letters of reference: Two letters of reference or recommendation that verify your academic ability and professional or volunteer experience.
  9. An up-to-date résumé: Include both your educational and professional experience.
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Key Dates

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Start Date
Fall Semester
Spring Semester
Summer Semester
Fall Semester

Tuition & Fees

Tuition: $540 Per Credit


ICS fee:$50
Student Teaching fee:$500
Graduation fee:$190

The Saint Mary's Difference

The heart of Saint Mary's is its people — faculty, staff, and your fellow students — who become your companions and allies on your educational journey. Here, in an intense give-and-take setting, each of us discovers just how much we can learn. You'll find, in every one of our classrooms, a person-centered education focused on your growth, your potential — because we believe that everyone deserves the chance to make an impact, to change the world around them.

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