Seattle University’s College of Education graduate degrees in Special Education are designed for you, the professional educator striving to lead in your field and driven by a passion to meet the needs of students with learning, behavioral and physical disabilities. With our small class sizes and unique offerings of various learning environments—online and off—our Special Education master’s and educational specialist degree programs are designed to fit your learning style and busy personal schedule.
Our graduate program offers you the option of taking classes on campus or pursuing the endorsement only online and then transferring those credits into the degree program. As a student in our premier Special Education graduate studies program, you will be able to apply your gained knowledge to your current classroom in real time. Upon graduation, you will find your new skills in very high demand throughout K-12 schools or in an administrative or consulting role.
The Master of Education program in Special Education is designed for experienced, certificated teachers or administrators who will take one or two courses per quarter during the academic year and one or two courses during the summer. Graduate students have the option of doing the first year as an online endorsement for graduate credit and the second year in class, or attending class sessions for the duration of the program. Learn more.
The Educational Specialist in Special Education is designed for teachers or administrators who already hold a master's degree. The EdS degree is between a master's and a doctorate and includes the endorsement in special education. Learn more.
Federal laws mandate that all students with disabilities have a right to a free and appropriate public education. Nationwide, over 6,000,000 children are served in special education in the public schools. Throughout the United States, there is a shortage of well-trained special education teachers. Graduates of the Special Education program will find that their skills are in high demand, the job opportunities numerous, and their work students with disabilities demanding, yet exceptionally gratifying.
Dr. Cinda Johnson, EdD, is a nationally recognized leader in the study of transitions from high school to post-high for young people with disabilities. As the Principal Investigator of our College of Education’s Center for Change in Transition Services—a Washington State Needs Project funded with resources from OSPI—Dr. Johnson continues to lead and inform national practice and policies in research focused on secondary special education and the post-school outcomes of young people with disabilities.
With the overall goal of preparing you as a knowledgeable, ethical and reflective special educator for quality service in diverse communities, our following program competencies guide the preparation of all students:
Special education professionals have knowledge of the foundations of special education law, characteristics of learners and disability, and individual learning differences. Special education professionals must be well-grounded in current research and established theories of disability. Such foundational knowledge should be based on a comprehensive model of legal aspects of disability and special education, research-based learning processes and impact of disability on learning differences taking into account cultural, linguistic and socio-economic diversity.
Special education professionals use a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, methods and curricula materials to support learning by students with disabilities. These strategies and curriculum are research- based, involve a thorough knowledge of the learner’s individual differences, and various teaching approaches, materials and organizational models. Special education professionals must understand and actively address the moral, ethical and values dimensions of disability that affect instruction and students’ equitable access to effective materials and instruction.
Special education professionals create and support an environment that fosters learning through careful planning, content and practice and managing the teaching and learning environment. Communication and collaborative partnership with other professionals, families and the students are critical to the work of the special education professional.
Special education professionals commit to knowing, understanding, and applying the highest professional standards which include developing and demonstrating positive relationships with students, colleagues, program faculty and educational professionals.
We provide you with multiple pathways, fit to your learning style, to obtain your endorsement in Special Education.