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M.Ed. in Special Education

Concentrations in Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technologies, Specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders, or optional dual enrollment for Special Education Certification.

West Chester University's Special Education Department offers a fully online program leading to the Master of Education in Special Education. The program is open to anyone with a Bachelor's degree from an accredited 4 year degree granting institution with a final GPA of 3.0 or higher.


The prime mission of the master of education program in Special Education is to prepare advanced-level teachers who can synthesize and apply self-awareness and general knowledge of:

  • foundations of the study of disability,
  • the learner with disabilities,
  • appropriate content for the learner with disabilities, and
  • effective classroom pedagogy.

We believe this synthesis encourages reflection on the art of teaching and results in a professional who is able to make sound, ethical educational decisions regarding curriculum and instructional strategies for students with disabilities. In addition, high standards of scholarship and the application of research, as well as professionalism, collaboration, and knowledge of current trends in the field, are essential for all teachers of special education.


  • West Chester University's long standing quality and expertise in the field of special education
  • Interdisciplinary program includes Special Education, Secondary and Professional Education, and Communicative Disorders
  • National Accreditation
  • Courses may be applied to PA teaching certification
  • Designed to increase student-to-student collaboration and provide social support for online learners
  • Action research enables students to apply what they have learned to a current research problem in the field

Online Curriculum (33 Credits)

Professional Education Courses (6 Credits)

  • EDT 500: Orientation to Instructional Media
  • ERM 500: Methods & Materials of Research in Education 

Special Education Core (15 Credits)

  • EDA 503: Family Systems in Special Education
  • EDA 506: Legal Issues in Special Education
  • EDA 544: Behavior Management
  • EDA 580: Contemporary Issues and Trends
  • EDA 591: Final Project

Area of Concentration (12 Credits)

  • Autism
  • Universal Design for Learning/Assistive Technology
  • Trauma-informed education
  • Special education certification (requires additional credits beyond 33)

Admission Procedures

  • Apply online at If you need assistance call the Graduate Office at 610-436-2943
  • Arrange to have one (1) complete undergraduate transcript and proof of a baccalaureate degree sent to the Graduate Office. The transcript should include the cumulative grade point average of all undergraduate work.
  • If GPA is below the required university GPA of 3.0, student must submit satisfactory GRE scores at the 50th percentile.
  • Admission interview (only if deemed necessary).

For further information, please contact our Graduate Coordinators, Dr. Mary Houser, and Dr. Tara Guerriero at


Does this degree include Special Education certification? 

The M.Ed. in Special Education, alone, does not lead to a PA Level I certification. Once accepted, students can add the Special Education Post-Baccalaureate program to their record. Adding this program increases the number of required credits to complete both programs. 

Are there any required field hours in the M.Ed. program? 

Yes. One course requires field hours that are done with a family of a child with a disability. Students will spend time with this family in the evenings and on the weekends. This course requires PA clearances. 

Will this degree help me achieve my PA Level II teaching certification? 

Yes. This degree will count toward the 24 hours required by PDE to achieve a Level II certification. 

I completed graduate credits at another university. Can I transfer those in for the M.Ed. in Special Education? 

Our M.Ed. in Special Education accepts 6 transfer credits (2 courses), as long as they are the same as or similar to classes in the program. We do not accept general transfer credits at the graduate level. 

I do not hold a Level I teaching certification; can I still apply for the M.Ed. program? 

Yes, you can still apply, but it is important to know that the M.Ed. in Special Education does not lead to a Level I teaching certification. 

Does this degree include Special Education certification? 

No, this degree program does not lead to Special Education certification. To obtain certification, you must enroll in the Special Education post-baccalaureate certification program. 

How long will it take me to finish the M.Ed.? 

Courses in this program are offered at a rate of two, sometimes three, per semester, including summers, and there are 11 required courses. Students can complete the program in about two years.