Online M.A. in Special Education

Online education that’s affordable, flexible, and outstanding

Download a FREE Brochure

It’s packed with program details, courses and more.


3Degree Options

$580Per Credit

AvailableFinancial Aid

Help Each Student Reach Their Potential

Earning an online Master of Arts in Special Education degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a convenient and affordable way to advance your career and better serve your students. As more is learned about the needs of students with exceptionalities, new educational strategies continue to emerge. You’ll learn to use those strategies and develop your own as you acquire the tools and knowledge needed to create individualized education programs (IEPs) deliver evidence-based, individualized instruction to students with disabilities.

You have three options to choose from that will give you the skills and knowledge in special education strategies and research.

  • Special Education – M.A. Degree without Licensure
  • Special Education – M.A. Degree with Additional Licensure*
  • Special Education – M.A. Degree with Initial Licensure

Degree Options to Meet Your Specific Needs

Special education is a field encompassing a range of diagnoses at every grade level. To help you focus your degree to meet your career goals, Saint Mary’s online M.A. in Special Education program offers three degrees options.

Total: 30 credits

This option provides a full understanding of special education issues and approaches, but does not include the additional requirements to obtain a Minnesota license in special education.

Total: 42 credits

This option is for already licensed classroom teachers in Minnesota who want to add licensure in one or more of the following special education areas: emotional behavioral disorders (EBD), learning disabilities (LD), and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In addition to 100% online coursework, you’ll complete practicum experiences in Minnesota schools.

Total: 65 credits

This option is for those who want to be licensed to teach special education in Minnesota. Education foundation courses are delivered online. You will also complete practicum experiences in Minnesota schools.

Enriched by the Lasallian Catholic heritage, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. The Saint Mary’s community, together and by association, is dedicated to quality, diversity, accessibility, social justice, and sound stewardship in all its endeavors.

Request Info

Online Convenience, On Point Outcomes

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is committed to providing excellence in education beyond the borders of the campus. You want to excel in your profession and to maximize your career, all while maintaining family and work responsibilities. Saint Mary’s online programs are offered in an easy-to-use format that allows for flexible scheduling and provides you with leading-edge knowledge and valuable credentials.

A Curriculum Designed for Innovation

Innovation and up-to-date research drive our online M.A. in Special Education coursework. You’ll gain a deep understanding of special education, inclusive learning, and behavioral theories to help you succeed in the ever-changing education field.

Preview just a few of the courses in the online M.A. in Special Education program:

EDSE 607 Literacy Development & Interventions

Understand both typical and atypical development in reading, spelling, and writing. Learn diagnostic and intervention strategies for accelerating literacy growth, and scientifically based programs for literacy instruction.

EDSE 652 Strategies and Assessment: Learning Disabilities

Gain instructional strategies, with an emphasis in literacy and math, for learners with learning disabilities, with mild to moderate needs. Study the measurements used to determine special education eligibility, and to identify needs for implementation of educational plans for learners through assessment practices and application.

EDSE 661 Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Become familiar with the characteristics, etiology, prevalence, and educational needs of learners with autism. Special emphasis is given to identification and classification, recent and historical developments in the field, and critical issues and trends.

EDSE 667 Introduction to Behavioral Theories: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Examine concepts and strategies of behavior in special education settings for learners with autism, with mild to moderate needs. Content includes behavioral and affective approaches with a focus on basic behavioral principles, preventative techniques, behavior enhancement and reduction techniques, and use of rewards.

Make a Difference in a Growing Career Field

Choosing a career in special education requires dedication, compassion and the ability to tailor programs to meet each student’s specific needs. Special education teachers are currently in demand, with the nationwide need expected to see a 3% growth through 2028.2

2021 Median Annual Salaries

  1. Preschool Special Education Teacher $68,1103
  2. Kindergarten/Elementary School Special Education Teacher $64,6904
  3. Middle School Special Education Teacher $66,3005
  4. Secondary School Special Education Teacher $66,7906
  5. Special Education Director $72,4647

Download a FREE Brochure

Request Info

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,

Sources and Disclaimers

  1. Caitlin Ostroff (2017, August). “Schools throughout the country are grappling with teacher shortage, data show,” CNN Health, Cable News Network, a Warner Media Company. Retrieved from
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Special Education Teachers. Retrieved from
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, May 2020, 25-2051 Special Education Teachers, Preschool. Retrieved from
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, May 2020, 25-2052 Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School. Retrieved from
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, May 2020, 25-2057 Special Education Teachers, Middle School. Retrieved from
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, May 2020, 225-2058 Special Education Teachers, Secondary School. Retrieved from
  7. PayScale, Inc., Job, Average Director of Special Education Salary. Retrieved from

*Saint Mary’s M.A. in Special Education licensure pathways are designed to prepare students to seek a Minnesota special education license only and are approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) of the Minnesota Department of Education.  These programs are not designed to prepare for K-12 administrative licensure such as Director of Special Education or Special Education Coordinator. For more information about Saint Mary’s special education program options and professional licensure, visit our Professional Licensure page.