Master of Education in Special Education

Master of Education in Special Education
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Apply by the 8th of August to be eligible for the award. Contact an Enrollment Services Advisor to learn more.


Apply now and save the $65 application fee. Start your journey today.

Meet the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of children and adults with disabilities by earning your fully-online master’s degree in special education at the University of Cincinnati Online. In our thorough yet flexible program, we’ll prepare you to be a committed, caring, and competent educator equipped to provide direct and indirect services in the field of special education. Plus, with three concentration areas to choose from and multiple optional certificates, licenses, and endorsements to add on, you’ll benefit from the structure of our core curriculum while pursuing your individual interests and goals — all on a schedule to accommodate your busy lifestyle.

Who is this program for?

This degree is beneficial for caring, compassionate students looking to gain the knowledge and skills they need to help better the lives of individuals with disabilities. Upon entry into our program, you’ll be admitted directly into one of three areas of concentration to gain specialized education in a distinct field:

  • Licensure with option of Reading Endorsement: Through this path, you’ll gain a mild/moderate intervention specialist license and optional reading endorsement while earning your master’s in special education. It is designed for teachers who hold an existing education license.
  • Supporting Students with Complex Needs: Through this path, you’ll earn your degree in special education while learning to understand the characteristics of significant disability; to locate and link evidence-based instructional practices; and to implement interventions for individuals with significant disability. It is designed for professionals and family members of individuals with disabilities who hold a bachelor’s degree in education-related fields.
  • Transition to Work Endorsement and Special Education Leadership: Through this path, you’ll earn your special education degree while advancing to work endorsement and obtaining your special education leadership graduate certificate. It is designed for professionals looking to support individuals in their transition out of K-12 schooling into the community.

What will I learn?

By graduation, you’ll be prepared to offer your services to K-12 education; community-based case management; disability advocacy; rehabilitation for occupational development and daily independence; individualized consultation services; and other facilities supporting individuals with disabilities and their families. Your academic experience will involve 30 credit-hours of core and concentration coursework that includes:

  • Advanced Strategies in Special Education
  • Transition to Work Endorsement: Legal and Ethical Foundations
  • Foundations, Trends, and Issues in Special Education Leadership
  • Master’s Project Guidance: Special Education I
  • Curriculum Planning & Instructional Strategies: Mild to Moderate
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: Theory to Practice
  • Applied Behavior Analysis I
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication

* This program does not lead to an initial teaching license.

What is my Career Outlook?

As stated by the U.S. Department of Education, 45 states — including Ohio — reported statewide shortages of special education teachers during the 2020-21 school year. Our master’s degree aims to fill this growing demand.

Graduates of our program have gone on to work as transition coordinators, individual advocates, social agency case managers, and intervention specialists in various special education settings. What’s more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for special education teachers is presently $61,030, and those with a master’s degree earn on average 24% more than those who solely hold a bachelor’s degree.

Rankings and Accreditations

U.S. News & World Report ranked our program as the #2 Best Online Program in Ohio in 2021. We are also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which not only validates the quality of UC’s academic programs — whether delivered on-site, online or otherwise — but also evaluates the soundness of our governance and administration, adherence to our mission, the sustainability of our finances, and the sufficiency of our resources.