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Master of Special Education

Dordt’s Master of Special Education (MSpEd) prepares teachers or administrators to be competent and Christ-like leaders in special education roles. Plus, the program is 100% online, and courses can be completed in as little as two years.

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A teacher helps a special education student

Program Overview

The Master of Special Education program provides practical, hands-on learning experiences to assess and address learning and behavioral difficulties. The program consists of 11 courses in a 30-semester hour specialization that prepares the teacher or administrator to be a competent leader in special education roles.

A typical plan of study includes one course every fall semester and spring semester and three courses every summer for two full years. A slower pace can reduce summer work to two courses in each of three summers. Optional courses in Applied Behavior Analysis may be added to qualify for the BCBA certification exam.

Students will develop instructional strategies, inclusion opportunities, and behavior interventions. They will also learn to work with professionals and parents to maximize learning opportunities for children.

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.

As an educator, this degree will prepare you to serve children facing a variety of learning and behavioral difficulties. It will give you practical knowledge that you will be able to apply to your classroom and use as you work with children and their families.

Licensure

Dordt's MSpEd offers three strategist tracks. Two of the tracks provide the option to add an endorsement to an existing elementary or secondary teaching license. The third track is designed for those who need to add an initial teaching license.

Additionally, an ABA course sequence can be added to any of the tracks. It consists of 21 additional credits (9 courses). National behavior analyst standards require certified BCBAs to hold a relevant master's degree, complete these additional behavior analyst courses, and pass the national BCBA certification exam.

Accreditation

The Dordt University Master of Special Education program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Iowa Department of Education.

Third Most Innovative Among Regional Universities (Midwest)

Dordt tied for third for “Most Innovative among Regional Universities (Midwest)” ranking, which, according to the methodology, “examines the colleges and universities that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, and facilities.”

Prepare for certification as a BCBA

Program Options

Admission Requirements

To apply for admission, prospective students will need to:

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Send in all official transcripts (including undergraduate and graduate)
  3. Submit information for at least one reference (a principal or adviser) on the application

Applicants for whom English is a second language must have an adequate command of English as demonstrated by their performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The institutional code is 6171 and the department code is 3101.

Materials can be mailed to:

Dordt University
Graduate Studies Office
700 7th Street NE
Sioux Center, IA 51250

To learn more, visit our admission requirements page.

Already hold a teaching license and looking to add a Master of Special Education degree? Choose from the following options:

  • Instructional Strategist I
    Intended for the elementary, middle school, or high school classroom teacher, school special educator coordinator, or district special education professional, this program option can add a special education endorsement in mild/moderate to an existing elementary or secondary teaching license.
    This track satisfies the requirements for the K-8 Instructional Strategist I: Mild/Moderate (260) and 5-12 Instructional Strategist I: Mild/Moderate (261) endorsements in the State of Iowa. Other states, provinces, or countries may vary.
  • Instructional Strategist II
    Intended for any level classroom teacher, school special educator coordinator, or district special education professional, this program option can add a special education endorsement in behavior disorders and learning disabilities to an existing elementary or secondary teaching license. Other states, provinces, or countries may vary.
    This track satisfies the requirements for the K-12 Instructional Strategist II: Behavior Disorders/Learning Disabilities (263) endorsement in the State of Iowa. Other states, provinces, or countries may vary.

Looking to earn a Master of Special Education degree along with initial licensure as a teacher? Enroll in the following option:

  • Instructional Strategist II + Initial Teaching License
    Intended for persons without a current teaching license, this track can prepare one for special education teaching in behavior disorders and learning disabilities at any grade level and for roles as a school special educator coordinator, or district special education professional. This track includes a student teaching requirement and two additional courses required for all Iowa teachers. Total requirement: 52 semester hours (15 courses).
    This track satisfies the requirements for the K-12 Instructional Strategist II: Behavior Disorders/Learning Disabilities (263) endorsement in the State of Iowa. Other states, provinces, or countries may vary.

Additionally, the following option can be added to any of the above programs to prepare you for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA):

  • ABA course sequence
    Intended for teachers and special education professionals who wish to be nationally certified to work with behavior analysis in schools, districts, or clinics, this course sequence can be added to any of the tracks above. The course sequence consists of 21 additional credits (9 courses). National behavior analyst standards require certified BCBAs to hold a relevant master’s degree, complete these additional behavior analyst courses, and pass the national BCBA certification exam.

Ready to take the next step?

Cost

Tuition and fees for 2022-2023 are as follows:

  • Graduate Courses: $390/credit
  • One-time Technology Fee: $100
  • Program Completion Fee: $100

Graduate courses taken for graduate credit are worth three credits.

To learn more, visit our tuition and fees page.

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