Special Education

Major: Special Education
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 13.0402
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 11-9039; 25-2053; 2054;2059

About the Program

The Master of Science in Special Education program is intended for those interested in gaining greater skills and expertise in the area of Special Education and/or a teaching certificate in the area of special education. Candidates seeking PA special education certification must have an active PA Instructional I or II teaching certificate in the appropriate area.

The Master of Science in Special Education seeks to produce professionals who are equipped with the fundamental skills, knowledge, and competencies they will need to meet the needs of students at risk for and with disabilities in multiple settings. The program is a flexible, part-time graduate program consisting of 45.0 credits: 27.0 credits in Core Special Education Certification courses, 12.0 credits in concentration courses, and 6.0 credits in research. The program culminates with each potential graduate completing an action research project.

Available Concentrations
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Within the past decade, the number of children diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome has increased drastically. Consequently, the need for professionals trained in this specialized area has significantly increased. This concentration is designed for those who seek additional expertise in this critical need area. It will provide knowledge and skills for working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as effective teaching methods, interventions, and supports. Students who have an active PA Instructional I or Instructional II teaching certificate are eligible to apply for the PA Autism Spectrum Disorders endorsement upon completion of EDEX 551 and the concentration courses.

Collaborative Special Education Law and Process
Meeting the needs of children with disabilities through school-family-community collaboration is an ambitious goal of educational policy in the United States. An implementing objective is to develop highly qualified special education teachers and administrators in schools and the community, as well as to offer special education collaborative knowledge and practical skills training to parents and advocates, whose cooperative partnership is imperative to support the provisions for the successful learning of all students as incorporated and mandated in legislation such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA).

Multisensory Reading Instruction Level I with WILSON® Level 1 Certification
It is estimated that up to 20% of school age children experience difficulty with some aspect of literacy. This course sequence gives teachers the necessary skills to provide direct instruction in a multisensory phonetic-based program to students with decoding deficits.With successful completion of the coursework, students are eligible for WILSON® Level 1 Certification.The Wilson Reading System® is recognized nationwide and is a highly desirable certification to have in Special Education.

Technologies for Special Education
Best practices in the education of students with disabilities requires educational professionals to be proficient with a wide range of technologies. This concentration is designed for those seeking additional expertise in the area of educational technologies and assistive technology that can be used to create accessible learning opportunities and increased outcomes for students with disabilities.

Customized Concentration
Students who already posses a special education certification or who are not interested in obtaining a special education certification but want to enhance their skills in specific special education topic areas may choose to take two of the concentrations (24.0 credits) and 15.0 credits of their choosing from the special education certification core in addition to completing the research courses.

Additional Information

For more information about this program, contact the program manager:

Dr. Janet Sloand
Associate Clinical Professor
Reading and ESL Specialist Programs

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the program will follow the university standards for admission to graduate study. Prospective students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher to be considered for admission (graduate degree GPAs will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA). In addition, prospective students are required to submit the following:

  • Completed Application Form including official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay
  • Application fee

The admissions committee will evaluate the applicant’s potential and commitment to succeed in graduate study in the online environment. The applicant’s potential to contribute to the overall quality of the program of study will also be considered.

Interviews, in person or by phone, will be conducted by the admissions committee with those applicants who meet Graduate Admission’s standard admissions criteria.

Decisions will be made using dates corresponding to the regular university schedule for rolling admissions in Graduate Admissions.

For more information about this program, contact the program manager:

Brenda Gormley
School of Education
Drexel University

Degree Requirements 

The Master of Science in Special Education requires 45.0 credits consisting of 27.0 credits in core special education certification courses, 12.0 credits in concentration courses, and 6.0 credits in research. For a certification in special education, students must have completed 9 prerequisite credits in special education accommodations to apply for certification in Pennsylvania.

A field component is required in most courses.

Pre-Requisite Courses
Students must have the following courses in order to apply for a certification in special education. All students entering this master's program from an approved PA certification program after 2011 should have had these core courses in their initial certification program. If a student does not have these courses, they must complete them with a minimum grade of "B" in addition to the core certification offerings.
EDEX 542Fundamentals of Special Education3.0
EDEX 544The Inclusive Classroom3.0
One of the following, depending on whether pursuing the PreK-8 or 7-12 certification concentration:
EDEX 546Literacy and Content Skill Development PreK-83.0
or EDEX 566 Literacy and Content Skill Development 7-12
Required Courses: MS in Special Education Program
EDEX 548Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities4.5
EDEX 549Teaching Individuals with High Incident Disabilities3.0
EDEX 550Teaching Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities3.0
EDEX 551Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder4.5
EDEX 552Integrating Technology for Learning & Achievement3.0
Students complete a sequence of two courses specific to either the PreK-8 or the 7-12 certification concentration from the following:9.0
Special Education Processes PreK-8
and Special Education Practicum PreK-8
Special Education Processes 7-12
and Special Education Practicum 7-12
Capstone Courses
EDEX 610Action Research for Special Education Teachers I4.5
EDEX 611Action Research for Special Education Teachers II1.5
Concentration Courses
Students complete courses from one of the concentrations listed below.12.0
Total Credits45.0
Concentration Options
Students must complete one of the following 12.0 credit concentrations options:12.0
Autism Spectrum Disorders Concentration
Characteristics & Methods: Autism
Characteristics & Methods: High Functioning Autism
Communication & Language Interventions: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Behavior & Sensory Support: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Technologies for Special Education
Integrating Assistive Technology for Individuals with High Incident Disabilities
Integrating Assistive Technology for Individuals with Low Incident Disabilities
Researching & Evaluating Instructional Technology
Learning Technologies & Disabilities
Collaborative Special Education Law & Process
School Law & Policy in Special Education
Family, School and Community Engagement in Special Education
Special Education Advocacy
Special Education Dispute Resolution and Skills Training
Multisensory Reading Instruction Level I *
Applied Methods in Multisensory Reading Instruction
Multisensory Reading Instruction K/1
Basic Word Study I
Basic Word Study II
Multisensory Practicum I
Multisensory Practicum II
Multisensory Practicum III
Total Credits12.0

 The multisensory reading instruction courses fulfill certain requirements (but not all) for the Wilson Language Level I certification.


Education Faculty

Jennifer Adams, EdD (Harvard University). Associate Professor. Comparative and international education; Poverty and education; Child welfare; Educational policy.
Ayana Allen, PhD (Texas A&M University ). Assistant Professor. Urban education; Identity construction in school contexts; Urban school transformation.
Kristen Betts, EdD (George Washington University). Clinical Professor. Higher education administration and governance, online blended education, instructional design and educational technology, program assessment and evaluation.
Jamie Callahan, EdD (George Washington University). Clinical Professor. Leadership; Sociological explorations of emotions occurring in organizational contexts; Organizational development; Contextual issues confronting organizations, such as organizational leadership, organizational culture, and communities of practice.
Holly Carpenter, PhD (Arizona State University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Higher education policy development and implementation, community college/university articulation, and online education.
José Luis Chávez, EdD (University of Southern California). Clinical Professor. Higher education leadership and administration.
Rebecca Clothey, PhD (University of Pittsburgh). Assistant Professor. Comparative and international education, education of ethnic and linguistic minorities, sociology of education.
James Connell, PhD (Louisiana State University) Clinical Director and Research Fellow, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. Associate Professor. Identifying the variables that influence adult behavior change in community settings; autism intervention; widespread dissemination of evidence-based interventions in school and community settings.
D. Brent Edwards, PhD (University of Maryland). Assistant Clinical Professor. Global and international education
Salvatore V. Falletta, EdD (North Carolina State University). Associate Clinical Professor. Human Resource intelligence (i.e., HR research and analytics practices); HRD assessment, measurement, and evaluation models and taxonomies; organizational diagnostic models; web-based employee and organizational survey methods, and computational modeling.
Aroutis N. Foster, PhD (Michigan State University). Associate Professor. Educational psychology and educational technology, especially the following: Motivation; Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK); Immersive Interactive Digital Environments (simulation, games, virtual realities.
Kathy Geller, PhD (Fielding Graduate University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Educational leadership and management.
Rajashi Ghosh, PhD (University of Louisville, Kentucky). Associate Professor. Mentoring and leader development, workplace Incivility, workplace learning and development.
Roger Geertz Gonzalez, PhD (Pennsylvania State University). Associate Clinical Professor. Civic engagement, college student identity development, indigenous higher education, comparative higher education access policies.
John M. Gould, PhD (University of Pittsburgh) Harrisburg EdD Educational Leadership & Change Program. Associate Clinical Professor. Change leadership, curriculum re-design, the impact of technology on learning.
Mary Jo Grdina, PhD (Case Western Reserve University). Associate Clinical Professor. Undergraduate studies, science education, curriculum design.
Dominic F. Gullo, PhD (Indiana University) Associate Dean of Research. Professor. Studying the relative and long-range effects of early schooling experiences in prekindergarten and kindergarten on children's achievement and social adaptation to school routine.
Penny Hammrich, PhD (University of Minnesota) Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Professor. Urban education; science education; genetics; gender equity; science knowledge for conceptual teaching; sport science.
Paul Harrington, PhD (University of Massachusetts, Boston) Director, Center for Labor Markets and Policy. Professor. Teen and young adult job access; economic outlook, college labor market; workforce development, planning, and development; vocational rehabilitation and job market transition.
Elizabeth Haslam, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Clinical Professor. Educational field coordinator, instructional design, qualitative evaluation, writing across the curriculum.
Michael J. Haslip, PhD (Old Dominion University). Assistant Professor. Early childhood education, social and emotional learning, child guidance strategies, effects of public pre-school attendance.
Marlene Hilkowitz, M.Ed (Temple University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Science education; Curriculum development; Student engagement
Deanna Hill, JD, PhD (University of Pittsburgh). Assistant Clinical Professor. Higher education, international education, education law, education policy
Erin Horvat, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles) Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Professor. Urban education, access and equity, high school dropout, parent involvement/family involvement, community engagement in research.
Jennifer Katz-Buonincontro, PhD (University of Oregon). Associate Professor. Educational administration, leadership development, survey & instrument design.
Kristine Kelly, PhD (University of Wisconsin, Madison). Assistant Clinical Professor. Sociology of gender and development; anthropology of policy; comparative and international education; qualitative research methods; Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Valerie Klein, PhD (Amherst College). Assistant Clinical Professor. Mathematics learning and teaching; teacher's use of formative assessment in mathematics; creating opportunities for rich problem solving in the classroom; examining teachers growth and change; qualitative research methods.
Vera Lee, EdD (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Clinical Professor. Practitioner Research in online courses to explore inservice/preservice teachers’ emerging understandings about issues of diversity; the development of information/digital literacies of urban youth; English language learners.
Bruce Levine, JD (New York University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Educational policy, school law, public-private partnerships, intersection of business and education.
Kristine Lewis-Grant, PhD (Temple University). Associate Clinical Professor. Experiences of students of African descent at predominantly white colleges and universities, college access and college student development, youth civic engagement in urban school reform, qualitative research and evaluation.
William Lynch, PhD (University of Maryland). Professor. Curriculum and educational leadership, educational technology, distance learning policy development, higher and adult education.
Constance Lyttle, PhD, JD (University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University). Associate Clinical Professor. Legal rights of gifted and talented children and children with disabilities; inclusive education of exceptional children; special education mediation; special education IEP/IFSP facilitation; resolution session facilitation
Kenneth Mawritz, PhD (University of Pittsburgh). Assistant Clinical Professor. Educational administration
Joyce Pittman, PhD (Iowa State University of Science and Technology). Associate Clinical Professor. Curriculum and instruction K-16; teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL); instructional design business education and administration; industrial and career technology; oral and written communication; research methodology; instructional and assistive technology assessment; online learning pedagogy
Kathleen Provinzano, PhD (Marywood University). Associate Clinical Professor. Educational administration.
Fredricka K. Reisman, PhD (Syracuse University) Director of the Torrance Center for Creativity and Innovation. Professor. Mathematics education, learning mathematics, mathematics pedagogy, teacher education, heuristic diagnostic learning and teaching, theory and research in creativity and applied creativity.
Lori Severino, EdD (Neumann University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Special education, differentiated instruction, reading, Wilson language, multi-sensory instruction, reading comprehension, assessment, adolescent literacy.
Jason Silverman, PhD (Vanderbilt University). Associate Professor. Teaching and learning of advanced mathematical ideas (algebra and calculus); improving teachers' ability to orchestrate and sustain inquiry-based and discussion-based instruction; technology in mathematics education.
Brian Smith, PhD (Northwestern University). Professor. Design of computer-based learning environments; Human-computer interaction; Design sciences.
Toni A. Sondergeld, PhD (University of Toledo). Associate Professor. Cognitive and affective assessment development; program/grant evaluation; high stakes testing measurement; STEM education; urban education
Nancy Butler Songer, PhD (University of California, Davis) Dean, School of Education. Distinguished Professor. STEM education, urban education, educational assistance
Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, EdD (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Clinical Professor. Early literacy development, learning differences, knowledge construction, urban education.
Sarah P. Ulrich, EdD (Saint Joseph’s University). Associate Clinical Professor. Emphasis in cross-cultural, language and academic development.
Sheila Vaidya, PhD (Temple University). Professor. Educational psychology, school psychology, research design.
Christina Vorndran, PhD (Louisiana State University). Associate Clinical Professor. Behavior analysis, single subject research methods, functional analysis
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