Education, Special Education

Master of Science in Education

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Program Intro

This graduate degree program prepares you for the challenges of special education in today’s diverse, dynamic classrooms. Courses are centered on research-based teaching methods proven to be effective in preparing you to effectively instruct students with disabilities. You can choose to focus on disabilities characterized as “mild” or “intense.”

School of Education and Counseling

You’ll be part of a collaborative cohort of students exploring innovations in special education and inclusive classroom practices. You’ll also receive individualized instruction from veteran supervisors during field-based learning experiences that offer you opportunities to test your skills and knowledge in classrooms.

Curriculum Overview

The master’s degree in special education requires completion of 30 credits of graduate coursework. Your curriculum can include classes taken for an initial license or an add-on teaching license in either mild or intense intervention.

You can currently complete this degree online.

The mild intervention licensure option will prepare you to teach P-12 learners with milder forms of disabilities (like learning disabilities). You’ll study theory, research and best practices as you work toward either an initial teaching license or additional teaching license.

See the Full Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDPS 57700 – Characteristics of Children with Mild Needs (3)
  • EDPS 59100 – Special Topics In Education (Methods of Teaching Children with Mild Needs) (3)
  • EDPS 56600 – Supervised Teaching Special Education – Mild Needs (6)

The Intense Intervention licensure option will prepare you to teach P-12 students with severe and multiple disabilities. You’ll study theory, research and best practices as you work toward either an initial teaching license or additional teaching license.

See the Full Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDPS 50303 – Characteristics of Students with Intense Intervention Needs (3)
  • EDPS 50404 – Intervention Strategies for Students with Intense Intervention Needs (3)
  • EDPS 56600 – Supervised Teaching Special Education – Severe Needs (6)

In addition to the Mild and Intense licensure options, the School of Education and Counseling offers a 30 credit hour experiential and research-informed M.S.Ed. in Special Education. This program prepares you to work with learners with exceptionalities. Within the program, you will select from two options for study: Mild Intervention and Intense Intervention.

See the Full Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDPS 50101 – Collaboration in Special Education (3)
  • EDPS 56800 – Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Special Education (3)
  • EDPS 56300 – Introduction to Education Research (3)

Program Requirements

To apply for the program, please submit:

  • College transcripts at the bachelor’s level and beyond with a minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Basic skills exam scores (if applicable)
  • Copy of your teaching license (if applicable)
  • Resume
  • Statement of interest
  • Three letters of reference

If an applicant meets the above program requirements, an applicant will be invited to interview with faculty.


Our program has a singular focus on preparing expert practitioners who make a difference in students’ lives. As an MSEd student, you’ll enjoy:

  • Interactive, online course delivery
  • Options for licensed teachers, emergency teachers and career changers
  • Specific coursework on Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Opportunities to work with faculty on projects for presentation or publication
  • Hands-on experience in the field
  • Committed professors who help you build both knowledge and connections
A lion sculpture on PNW's campus PNW graduates at commencement


Because of the high demand for teachers who are qualified to meet the individual needs of exceptional students, our graduates are offered a broad variety of career opportunities.

This degree enables you to choose where you want to teach –whether it’s in a general education classroom, a self-contained classroom or a resource room – in school districts across the country.

Career Paths

You’ll find many opportunities to make a difference for students in careers such as:

  • Teacher (K-6)
  • Consultant teacher
  • Co-teacher in an inclusive setting


Our alumni are thriving in:

  • Michigan City Area Schools
  • School City of Hammond
  • Lake Station Community Schools


The Educator Preparation Program (EPP) at Purdue University Northwest is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This accreditation covers all EPP programs at PNW.

Meet the Faculty

Geoff Schultz

Geoff Schultz, Ed.D.

Professor of Psychology and Special Education

Geoff Schultz is a professor in undergraduate teacher preparation, SOEC program chair, special education, SOEC faculty senate and budget chair CAEP board examiner.

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Danielle Starks, M.Ed.

Visiting Instructor of Special Education

My current role at Purdue Northwest includes teaching special education courses and working with students in the field.

Patrick Keegan

Patrick Keegan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Education

Patrick Keegan is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Counseling. He teaches courses in elementary social studies methods and multicultural education.

A PNW Student in the Classroom

Take the Next Step

Our graduate studies staff is ready to help you take the next step! Contact us at (219) 989-2257 or to see how PNW’s flexible programs can meet your needs.