Program Details

Master of Education in Special Education (Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure)Initial Program – Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure

Offered By: College of Education

Special Education Masters

What is a Masters in Special Education Degree?

The Master of Education (MEd) in Special Education degree from Grand Canyon University prepares grads to become special education teachers. Designed for any type of student including those who are changing careers or already in education. This masters in special education degree is for people who are passionate about working with K-12 children with mild to moderate disabilities.

Students in this special education degree program will learn teaching and classroom strategies and skills that suit the needs of special education students. Graduates of the Master of Education in Special Education degree program at GCU are prepared to teach any subject, from math to language arts, to students with mild to moderate disabilities. These teaching methods will take into account the language, emotional development and physical and cognitive disabilities of each student.

Masters of special education graduates will be prepared to impact special education populations in culturally and linguistically diverse environments. In addition, they are prepared to develop and implement individual education plans for students with special learning needs.

What are the Benefits of Getting an Online Special Education Master’s Degree?

Highly qualified special education teachers are in demand. In some locations, the job is considered a high-need and qualifies for additional bonuses and stipends. Beyond the professional benefit of obtaining a Master of Education in Special Education degree from Grand Canyon University, is that your level of knowledge and practice will be of great service to your students. Your practice experience during the program will help you bring modern, cutting edge teaching to students who need it the most.

Because qualified special education teachers are in such high demand, Grand Canyon University has made it easy for interested students to pursue their passions. The online master’s degree in special education program means that anyone who wants to be a special educator can find a way to do so. The online program is staffed by tenured professors and expert adjunct staff. Students will gain the ability to navigate the changing landscape of special education laws and procedures from the people who have worked in the environment for years.

The Master of Education in Special Education degree qualifies graduates to apply for initial teacher licensure. During the program, students complete 96-hours of observation and fieldwork. Additionally, the program is wrapped up with a full-time, 15-week student teaching practice completed under the observation of a certified special education teacher. These experiences ensure that master’s in special education graduates are fully prepared for their own classrooms. If you have already obtained a teaching license, consider our Master of Education in Special Education (Does Not Lead To Initial Teacher Licensure) program.

What Will You Study While Earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education?

Special education teachers need to know how to teach all subject areas while also supporting students with special needs. This highly specialized learning is the cornerstone of the GCU master’s of special education program. Graduates will be immersed in theory and research surrounding how to implement the specialized instruction including modifications and accommodations. Throughout the program, GCU students will learn how to become advocates for their own students.

Areas of study in the special education master’s degree include:

  • Developmentally appropriate teaching skills
  • Classroom management strategies
  • Adaptation of learning materials for the least restrictive environment
  • Legal and ethical practices
  • Assessment strategies
  • Math, language arts, and ELL content

With this coursework and your master’s degree in special education, you may be able to find work as a:

  • Classroom teacher
  • Resource room or special day class teacher
  • Child development specialist
  • School program director
  • Education advocate
  • Curriculum coach

Teachers hoping to work with students with special needs have big hearts and the drive to make a difference. Join your fellow special educators in the GCU Master of Education in Special Education degree program today. Your future classroom is waiting.

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TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Program Credits: 44
Online: 6 weeks [More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
PROGRAM TUITION RATE:

Online: $545 per credit [More Info]

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
Major:
44 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
44 credits

Program Core Courses

Course Description

Teacher candidates will survey the philosophical, historical, and sociological influences upon which special educational theories and practices are constructed, and explore a variety of the common issues, trends, and opportunities that professional special educators face in the field. Special Education Teacher candidates will prepare for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University by developing and strengthening the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Education. Practicum/field experience hours: 6. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: 6. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates survey professional ethical principles, professional practice standards, law and regulations that guide special educators. Teacher candidates build upon the foundational knowledge to understand the multiple roles and complex situations of professional practice that require attention to a variety of legal, professional, and ethical issues. Practicum/field experience hours: 6. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: SPD-500.

Course Description

Teacher candidates survey theories and models for effective collaboration and communication with students with exceptionalities, colleagues, other school professionals, families and community members. In addition, teacher candidates apply collaboration and communication theories and models, incorporating technology, across a wide range of contexts to ensure active involvement in the education process for students with exceptionalities. Practicum/field experience hours: 6. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-510.

Course Description

Teacher candidates will investigate diagnostic and assessment tools. Teacher candidates will build foundational knowledge regarding the use of multiple methods of assessment and data-sources for diagnostic and educational decisions for individuals with mild to moderate disabilities. Practicum/field experience hours: 6. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-500.

Course Description

Candidates examine the United States Constitution, and the constitution of the State of Arizona. From this foundational review, candidates will explore application of the United States Constitution and the constitution of the State of Arizona in educational contexts. Practicum/field experience hours: 3. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates examine how to create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments through collaboration with colleagues so that individuals with disabilities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination. Teacher candidates focus on behavior management, functional behavior assessments, adaptive behaviors, positive behavior interventions and supports, and behavior improvement plans. Practicum/field experience hours: 9. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-500.

Course Description

Teacher candidates will examine how instructional planning advances the learning of students with mild to moderate disabilities by drawing upon knowledge of central concepts, structures of the discipline, and tools of inquiry of the academic subject-matter content areas and a variety of specialized curricula. Teacher candidates build foundational knowledge about individualized education plans and transition plans for a wide range of settings and different learning experiences. Teacher candidates engage in organizing knowledge, integrating cross-disciplinary skills, and developing meaningful individualized learning progressions through drafting an IEP. Practicum/field experience hours: 9. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-510.

Course Description

Teacher candidates examine typical and atypical language development, and associated disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates investigate the use of augmentative and alternative assistive technology, modifications and accommodations to enhance the communication skills of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Practicum/field experience hours: 9. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-510.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs for English language learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement. Through Universal Design for Learning they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards-based instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates build foundational knowledge on a variety of research-based instructional strategies to encourage individuals with mild to moderate disabilities to develop understandings and connections within content areas, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways. From this foundational knowledge, teacher candidates select, adapt and use research-based instructional strategies and interventions in academic and specialized curricula to advance the learning of students with mild to moderate disabilities with focused attention upon mathematics. Practicum/field experience hours: 12. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-550.

Course Description

Teacher candidates select, adapt and use research-based instructional strategies and interventions in academic and specialized curricula to individualize meaningful and challenging learning for students with mild to moderate disabilities, with an emphasis on literacy. Practicum/field experience hours: 12. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-550.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are engaged in the student teaching experience that includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis, and teaching to support the creation of a Student Teaching Evaluation of Performance (STEP). Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in POS and content area; a 3.0 GPA; successful completion of NES or your state’s mandated content area exams; and approval and placement by College of Education Office of Clinical Practice. All paperwork for student teaching must be submitted by the due date the semester prior to student teaching.

Program Locations


GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

Program Domains

Online and Evening program disclosures (2.583 years) Online and Evening program disclosures (2.417 years)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.

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