College of Education & Human Services

Master of Science in Education (M.S. Ed.) in Special Education - Online

The Special Education Master's Degree program provides opportunities for

  • Teachers with general education certification seeking special education endorsement
  • Teachers with special education certification seeking to advance their skills and knowledge

This program, aligned to Illinois and Iowa certification requirements, prepares graduates to impact their students' learning, their classrooms, and their schools. International students do not qualify to admission into this program. 

Graduates assume positions as classroom, consultant, or inclusion teachers of children and adolescents with varying disabilities in schools, clinics, and residential facilities.

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the School of Graduate Studies
  • A valid U.S. teaching certificate
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last two years
  • A letter of intent – a formal, typed letter of intent that presents your reasons for seeking a Master's Degree in Special Education and your expectations for how this degree will contribute to your professional career, mailed to the School of Graduate Studies, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390 or emailed to
  • Acceptance by the Department Graduate Committee

Quick Facts

  • Classes offered online to accommodate teacher schedules
  • Designed to meet individual educational needs and goals
  • Addresses Illinois and Iowa special education endorsement requirements
  • Requires 37 credits
  • Can be completed in 2 years (6-7 credits a semester, including summer)
  • Is focused on evidence-based education and data-driven instruction
  • Provides advising and instruction by professors who will get to know and support you
  • Fosters a community of learners among teachers

Faculty Expertise

Special Education faculty hold advanced degrees from notable universities across the United States. They are all experienced special education classroom teachers as well. They engage in a wide variety of scholarly activities that enhance their teaching: collaboration with local education agencies; research; professional presentations; publishing in special education and general education journals, along with authorship of books and book chapters; and grant writing/project management. Several have won teaching, technology, and/or research awards.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships that include a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend are available for qualified full-time students. Graduate assistants work approximately twenty hours per week. Applications are available from the School of Graduate Studies. You may call (309) 298-1806 or visit the Graduate Studies website to apply.

In addition, financial assistance opportunities are available for minority graduate students. Application materials and detailed program descriptions are available from the School of Graduate Studies.

Featured Alums

"I graduated from Western Illinois University in 2006 with my undergraduate degree in special education. When it came time to return to school for my graduate degree in special education, there was never a thought in my mind to go anywhere other than Western Illinois University again. It feels like home here. Not only is the coursework challenging and interesting but I believe the instructors are amazing. The instructors at Western bring their vast expertise levels into the classroom and provide programming to us that is relevant and current with teaching practices. I believe that I am receiving an exceptional education by exceptional instructors at Western Illinois University."
– Kimberly Evans, Graduate Student in Special Education

"Choosing the WIU-QC Special Education Graduate Program is a logical choice for any teacher wishing to expand their knowledge base and marketability in what is becoming an overwhelmingly competitive career field. My professors are knowledgeable, highly experienced, and approachable, and I feel as though all of my professors are personally invested in my professional success."
– Kelly Jacoby, 2013

"My immediate response to that question is, "Why would you choose something else?" Small class sizes, comfortable class environments that allow you to be yourself, knowledgeable professors who are current with academic trends and information, professors who care, are there to help and guide you toward your academic goals. I would choose WIU all over again (even a third time!)"
– Amber Wetzel, 2013

Graduate Program Information

Contact Information

Dr. Christine Anderson
Department of Special Education
Western Illinois University–Quad Cities

Phone: 319-651-1684

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