College of Education & Human Services

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

Location: online

The Special Education Master's Degree is a fully online program that 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.

Follow this link if you are interested only in the LBS1 endorsement as a non-degree seeking student.

Degree Requirements

Both tracks within the program require 37 credit hours, 28 of which are the following core courses:

  • SPED 515 Diagnostic Assessment for Individuals with Exceptionalities
    SPED 518 Self-Determination and Independence
    SPED 571 Differentiated Behavior Intervention
    SPED 580 Graduate Field Work in Special Education
    SPED 581 Special Education Law and Supervision
    SPED 613 Leadership in Collaboration
    SPED 622 Action Research in Education
    SPED 624 Action Research Project
    EDS 500 Methods of Research
Track 1

In addition to the core courses listed above, elementary or secondary teachers seeking education or endorsement in special education (Track 1) must take:

  • SPED 551 Characteristics of Learners with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

And any two of the following options:

  • SPED 523 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Moderate/Severe Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • SPED 526 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • SPED 536 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
  • SPED 546 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Learning Disabilities
  • SPED 552 Instructional Methods for K–6 Learners with Disabilities
  • SPED 553 Instructional Methods for Secondary Learners with Disabilities
  • SPED 556 Methods in Autism and Language Disorders
Track 2

In addition to the core courses listed above, special education teachers seeking advanced education or additional endorsements in special education (Track 2)  must take:

  • one graduate level elective

And any two of the following options:

  • SPED 523 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Moderate/Severe Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 
  • SPED 526 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • SPED 536 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
  • SPED 546 Instructional Methods: Individuals with Learning Disabilities
  • SPED 552 Instructional Methods for K–6 Learners with Disabilities
  • SPED 553 Instructional Methods for Secondary Learners with Disabilities
  • SPED 556 Methods in Autism and Language Disorders

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the  School of Graduate Studies
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last two years
  • Transcripts from your highest degree granting institution 
  • A valid U.S. teaching certificate
  • A 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

To seek admission, you must formally apply to the School of Graduate Studies declaring Special Education as your area of study. You must meet the general admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies and have a minimum cumulative GPA for all undergraduate work of 2.75. You will need to submit your official transcripts and letter of intent, which can be uploaded during the online application process, emailed to Grad-Office@wiu.edu, or mailed to the School of Graduate Studies, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390.

Students will need to complete the following course requirements if they were not included in their undergraduate program that led to the teaching license:

  • A survey course in exceptional individuals
    A course in the teaching of reading
    A course in the teaching of mathematics
    A course in the use of computer technology in the classroom

Quick Facts

  • All classes are online
  • 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.

Voices of Alumni

"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

"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

"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

Graduate Program Information

 

Contact Information

Kristin Wiseley

Dr. Kristin Wiseley
Phone: 309-762-3999 ext. 62316
Email: KS-Wiseley@wiu.edu

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