School of Education

Master of Education – Special Education

Education Master’s Degree Program

This online master’s in special education program is intended to advance the skills of practicing professionals. Students combine science, theory, and hands-on field and classroom experience while building a professional network of their own. Our teacher–mentors have the real-life experience necessary to provide the special education knowledge required in Iowa classrooms today.

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Why should I Earn a Master’s Degree in Special Education?

BVU’s two-year master’s in special education degree program can be accomplished alongside your current teaching career. The master’s program provides the knowledge and strategies to put learning into practice in the classroom right away. Students also have the ability to choose from five master’s degree tracks in special education:
   •  Mild to moderate disabilities, K-8 
   •  Mild to moderate disabilities, 5-12
   •  Severe and profound cognitive disabilities
   •  Severe and profound learning and behavioral disabilities
   •  Comprehensive track (includes all four endorsements)

Strategist I:
Mild to moderate disabilities, K-8 and 5-12: Teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in resource, inclusion, pull-out, and push-in models with students having exceptionalities in the area of mild to moderate disabilities.

Strategist II:
Option 1
: Cognitive: Teach students with severe and profound cognitive or physical disabilities in grades K-12.
Option 2: Behavior/learning: Teach students with severe and profound behavior or learning disabilities in grades K-12.

All endorsements are designed for Iowa Board of Educational Examiners approval. Please check with your state for acknowledgement or acceptance of endorsements.

What do I need beforehand?

No GRE required. Save time and money. 

  • A Bachelor of Arts or Science from an accredited institution, with a 2.75 GPA minimum 
  • A valid K-12 teaching certificate or license

Why Study Special Education at BVU?

Learn Completely Online

Earn your master’s degree in special education at your convenience with our easy-to-access, fully online curriculum. With one click, you can view assignments and grades, set up appointments with specialized tutors around the clock, access the student lounge, engage in group discussions, or contact professors. Get the BVU experience on your schedule, wherever you are.

Kathryn Tyykila

Join a Welcoming Community.
Share Remarkable Experiences.

KATHRYN “KIT” TYYKILA

During a meeting with a professor, I told her that my goal was to eventually go to graduate school and become an early childhood special education teacher. She explained to me that I actually had the opportunity to get it all done at BVU! I am now able to receive my master's degree in special education the year after graduating with my bachelor's degree. By enrolling in the +1 program, I can get everything that I need all from the same place!

Program Tracks, Courses, & Application Requirements

Elevate your skills as an education leader while preparing for endorsement in your area of specialty:


Mild to Moderate Disabilities K-8 | Mild to Moderate Disabilities 5-12

Significant Support Needs, Cognitive | Significant Support Needs, Behavioral | Comprehensive Track (includes all four endorsements)

  • Program Courses and Endorsement Areas

    Master of Education in Special Education Core

    • GEDU 510 Intro to Graduate Study & Research
    • GEDU 512 Learning, Development & Motivation
    • GEDU 517 Leadership in a Changing Society and Culture

    Mild to Moderate Disabilities (27 credit hours) Leading to K-8, 5-12, or both endorsements

    Mild to Moderate Disabilities (27 credit hours) Leading to K-8, 5-12, or both endorsements

    • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
    • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
    • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
    • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
    • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
    • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
    • ESSI 690 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching and Capstone Portfolio Mild/Moderate – (K-8) or ESSI 691 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching and Capstone Portfolio Mild/Moderate – (5-12) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Exceptional Student Services and

    If seeking K-12 licensure, graduate students will need to evidence distributed experiences across K-12 settings through course field experience as well as through taking either ESSI 690, ESSI 691, or GECI 584.

    Significant Support Needs - Cognitive Track (30 credit hours)

    • ESSI 502 Introduction to Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
    • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
    • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
    • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
    • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
    • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 606 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
    • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
    • ESSI 692 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Significant Support Needs - Cognitive (K-12) or GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

    Significant Support Needs - Behavior Track (30 credit hours)

    • ESSI 503 Introduction to Learners with Significant Behavioral Disabilities
    • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
    • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
    • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
    • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
    • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 607 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
    • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
    • ESSI 693 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching Significant Support Needs - Learning/Behavior (K-12) -or- GECI 584 Capstone Portfolio in Special Education

    Comprehensive Track (endorsement in all categories across all grade levels) (42 credit hours)

    • ESSI 501 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
    • ESSI 502 Introduction to Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
    • ESSI 503 Introduction to Learners with Significant Behavioral Disabilities
    • ESSI 510 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
    • ESSI 520 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
    • ESSI 530 Transitions and Self-Determination
    • ESSI 603 Curriculum Development and Instruction
    • ESSI 604 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 605 Math Methods with Field Experience
    • ESSI 606 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
    • ESSI 607 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
    • ESSI 610 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
    • ESSI 694 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Elementary ESSI
    • ESSI 695 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Secondary ESSI
  • Application Requirements
    • Official transcripts
    • Two (2) letters of recommendation
    • Autobiographical questions
      • Why are you applying to this program at this time?
      • How do you plan to contribute to this program?
      • What do you expect to take from it?
      • How will you support your own success in this program? That is, what steps will you take to ensure your success in this academically rigorous endeavor?
    • Valid teaching license

Financial Aid

We’ll help you figure out your options for receiving financial assistance.

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Graduate Education Faculty

Our instructors are committed to helping you build the future in Iowa and beyond.

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No GRE Required

BVU does not require students to take the GRE for admission — saving you time and money. 

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Earn a Master’s in 1 Year

With the Plus One program, you can earn your master’s in special education within one year of graduating with your bachelor’s on educational studies.

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