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Earn your Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) — Special Education Degree Online From the University of Saint Francis

In two years or less, you can earn a degree that helps you make a meaningful impact in one of the highest-need areas within education, regardless of your prior teaching experience. In addition to foundational knowledge you can apply in any setting, you’ll take specialized courses in your preferred concentration: Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention.

  • If you seek a teaching license, this program prepares you for initial Indiana licensure in Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention for Early Childhood (P–3), Elementary (K–6), Secondary (5–12), or P–12.
  • If you’re already licensed, this program can enhance your existing skill set and prepare you for career advancement.
  • If you don’t seek a teaching license, this program can help you excel as a special-needs teacher and trainer in non-school settings.

Plus, an M.S.Ed. from the University of Saint Francis puts a premium on quality and affordability. For less than $20,000, you can complete a special education program with full National Recognition by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Founded in 1890, the University of Saint Francis has always been guided by Franciscan Values. We believe our Special Education graduates can profoundly impact their classroom by reverencing each student’s unique dignity, encouraging a trustful learning community, serving society, and fostering peace and justice.

We’ve structured the M.S.Ed. program to help you balance life and school obligations. USF’s online Virtual Campus has up to six start dates during the year, and courses are offered in short eight-week sessions, with a 16-week practicum and 16-week clinical internship cementing your learnings.

Graduates of the M.S.Ed. in Special Education program will master the 10 Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards:

  • Learner Development
  • Learning Differences
  • Learning Environments
  • Content Knowledge
  • Application of Content
  • Instructional Practice
  • Planning for Instruction
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Professional Learning and Ethical Practice
  • Leadership and Collaboration

Next start date:

Apply Today or call 888-880-6893

Why Choose USF for Your M.S.Ed. in Special Education Online?

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Institutionally and Programmatically Accredited and Recognized

HLC-NCA: University of Saint Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Indiana Department of Education

CAEP (formerly NCATE): Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

CEC: National Recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children

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Complete In Two Years Or Less

24 months (can be reduced to 18 months based on transfer credit)

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Values-Based Curriculum

Coursework is collaboration-driven, promotes inclusive classrooms, and encourages diverse approaches

$525 per credit

(2018–2019 academic year)

Save time—and money—through transfer credits and financial aid.

Find out what you're eligible for.
Call 888-880-6893

Potential Career Settings

  • Public schools (early childhood, elementary, secondary)
  • Private schools
  • Childcare services
  • Social services

National Median Salary

Special Education Teachers


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Projected New Jobs

Special Education Teachers


Projected growth from 2016–2026
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Photo of Mary Riepenhoff

Meet Your Program Director

Dr. Mary Riepenhoff
Chair of the Department of Education

“USF education majors are provided a variety of opportunities to be successful in the special education setting, including a strong connection to theory and practice, and diverse clinical experiences and service projects. These opportunities allow students to develop and sharpen their knowledge of and skills in communication, instructional strategies and collaboration.”

M.S.Ed. Program at a Glance

Core Courses

As part of the 36-credit core curriculum, you’ll take courses such as:

  • Assessment Topics
  • Clinical Internship*
  • Clinical Practicum*
  • Collaborative Models of Behavior Management
  • Foundations in Exceptionalities
  • Language and Social Skills Topics
  • Literacy Topics
  • Research Methods and Statistics
  • Research Topics
  • Technology Applications

*Students on a non-licensure track may take electives in place of these courses.

What’s the Difference Between Mild and Intense Intervention?

Our M.S.Ed. includes two possible concentration tracks. Choose the one that best aligns with your career goals:

  • Mild Intervention means working with students with mild to moderate learning or emotional disabilities and communication problems
  • Intense Intervention entails working with students who have moderate to severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, significant cognitive disabilities, hearing or vision problems

Professional Licensure Disclosures

  • All education and special education licensure programs at USF meet requirements for Indiana state licensure
  • If you desire a license from a state other than Indiana, please contact the State Department of Education for that state for clarification on obtaining licensure
  • Relocating to another state during the course of a program could impact whether or not you meet that state’s requirements. Please contact the appropriate licensing agency for professional licensure eligibility requirements.
  • USF students enrolled in teacher education programs are being prepared to test for the Indiana teaching licensure exam. However, students are not required to sit for the Indiana licensure exam to earn the degree.

For more information on professional licensure disclosures, please click here.

Support Services at the University of Saint Francis Help Online Students Like You

Dedicated Success Coach

Each online student at the University of Saint Francis is assigned an experienced success coach. Your coach can assist you with resources to complete class projects, help you get in touch with instructors and staff, and connect you with career services.

SmarThinking Tutoring Service

Need a little extra help? SmarThinking is accessible online and offers video tutorials 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Live tutoring or writing sessions are available for any degree program every Sunday through Thursday.

USF Mentoring Program

Find and connect with a USF alumni and receive one-on-one mentoring in your career or program. Create your profile, get matched, schedule meeting times, and attend training workshops. The program is free and completely online.

Photo of Amy Frangella in a classroom with her students

“My USF professors knew I was working and there would be days they needed to be flexible with my assignments. The compassion and individual attention USF gives each student became a model for the individual compassion I need to show my students.”

—Amy Frangella, USF M.S.Ed. in Special Education Graduate

Request Information Today

Step 1 of 2

We respect your privacy. By clicking the "Request Info" button above, you give University of Saint Francis your consent to use automated technology to call and/or text you regarding education-related services at the phone number above. Please note that you are not required to provide this consent to receive services from their institutions.