Special Education

Education Specialist Degree
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

The world needs educators and administrators of special education programs who can successfully implement the six pillars of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). This Special Education specialization will prepare you to face the challenging legal issues confronting current administrators of special education programs. You will explore essential topics related to special education, including student placement, service delivery requirements, discipline, appropriate educational decisions, family rights and privacy issues. You will also learn how to prepare for due process hearings and manifestation determination meetings. As a graduate, you will be prepared to utilize your knowledge and skills in pursuit of various careers, such as a school district administrator of special education programs. This specialization can also prepare you to pursue doctoral studies in Special Education at NCU.

General Degree Requirements

The EdS Program may be completed in 33 credits. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 5 years to complete the EdS degree.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdS program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Education Specialist (EdS) Degree Requirements

Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Education Specialist Program. The programs includes foundations, scholarly writing and specialization courses, as well as a final capstone. Students must pass all courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (B) or higher.

Course Length

All courses are 8 weeks in length.

The EdS in Education requires two Foundations courses, two Research courses, six Specialization courses, and one Capstone course for a total of 33 credit hours.

Course Code


Course Description

Specialization Course 1


Research Methods

This course provides an introductory exploration of statistics for the graduate student. It includes instruction on the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics, and introduces inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts to help the student understand statistical methodology as used in education, and also more generally, developing a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.

Specialization Course 2

Specialization Course 3

Specialization Course 4


Action Research

This course is designed to prepare students who desire to use action research methods and as an opportunity for students to prepare to conduct research on topics/projects of interest to education scholars. The primary goal of action research is to solve a problem that will lead to improvement in individual or organizational practice. In addition to developing an action research proposal, students will gain knowledge about the theoretical, philosophical, epistemological, and political considerations surrounding action research, specifically in educational environments. Students will gain an understanding of the cyclical nature of action research. Student researchers in this course will be prepared to understand the unique role of the researcher in action research, the importance of stakeholders, to define appropriate action research questions, and to evaluate action research studies critically.

Specialization Course 5

Specialization Course 6

Required Foundation Courses - 6 credit hours

Course Code


Course Description


Foundations for Graduate Study in Education (This course will be taken as the first course)

This course is an orientation to Northcentral University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree in Education. Doctoral level skills, such as academic integrity, time management, effective use of the Northcentral Library, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and APA form and style in professional communication are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of personal goals, strengths, and challenges, and a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.


Advanced Scholarly Writing

The purpose of this course is to build advanced skills identifying and obtaining high quality sources through online library searches. In addition, the course addresses advanced writing and APA formatting skills, and it prepares students to be critically reflective consumers of research reports.

Specialization Courses - 18 credit hours, Select 6 courses from the following:

Course Code


Course Description


Introduction to the Exceptional Student

In this course, students will gain an overview of research and current perspectives related to special education and associated administrative duties or higher education responsibilities. Topics include: the history of special education, identification of students with special needs, provisions of the IDEA/IDEIA, legal issues, inclusion, transitions, classroom modifications, instructional strategies, assessment procedures, service delivery models, and educational programming.


Assessment in Special Education

In this course, students will be introduced to practical, applied approaches to the procedures of the assessment process, testing procedures, assessment results, and the faculty involved in these processes. Students will learn to strengthen the connection between gathering assessment information and the analysis and synthesis of data to develop report summaries.


Learning Disabled Student

This course will focus on issues related to students with mild disabilities. Common characteristics, instructions for assisting teachers to work with students who have specific disabilities, best practices for identification of learning disabilities, and working with at-risk students will be covered. Major emphasis will be placed on assisting classroom and special education teachers with identifying and adapting instructional materials in the content areas for individuals with mild disabilities. Preparing to teach students with mild disabilities in collaborative or resource room settings will also be addressed as well as how to select from a variety of strategies appropriate to the varied learning modalities for students with mild disabilities. Ways to support teachers in inclusive settings will also be discussed.


Emotionally Disabled Student

In this course, students will address common characteristics, best practices for identification, and instructional practices pertaining to students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Major emphasis will be placed on prevention procedures and intervention strategies to address behavioral issues. Preparing to teach individuals with emotional and behavior disorders in collaborative settings will also be addressed as well as how to select a variety of appropriate instructional strategies. Ways to support teachers in inclusive settings will also be discussed.


Developing Curriculum for the Mentally Disabled

In this course, students will focus on various legal issues facing special educators and administrators. Components will include investigations of specific court cases, federal mandates, case studies, and application opportunities. Student identification, service delivery options, appropriate educational services, and family rights and privacy issues are explored. How to research court case rulings that pertain to specific states and how to locate current information on legal issues is included to assist administrators of special education programs. Preparing for due process hearings and following procedural due process are also covered.


Law in Special Education

The necessary information is gathered in this course to make today's practitioner an advocate and knowledgeable researcher in the field of special education law. Students are provided a framework for intensive study within the legal world of disabilities, IDEA, No Child Left Behind, placement and referral issues. History of the special education law is also studied with applications for multiple settings and disabilities.


Teaching Strategies in Special Education

In this course, students will examine teaching strategies that may be used to assist students with mild disabilities. The latest information on Response to Intervention (RTI) is covered, with information on practical applications to promote success in the classroom. Participants will develop an understanding of how to monitor individualized education programs and modify or design instructional strategies to improve student performance. Providing leadership in regard to analyzing, selecting, and adapting strategies for students with special needs will be addressed.


Managing the Exceptional Student

This course will cover behaviorism, applied behavior analysis, behavior goals and objectives, data collection and recording techniques, and appropriate methods of behavior modification related to effective instruction in special education programs. Topics include: legal and ethical issues, social adjustment, and research-based best practices, and intervention plans.


Language Disabilities

In this course, students will focus on communication disorders, as it relates to enhancing literacy skills. Topics include: a basic understanding of the nature of speech and language, developmental progression in language acquisition, techniques for evaluating language, remediation procedures for language and communication disorders, and communication impairments associated with autism and emotional disabilities.


Transitioning the Exceptional Student

In this course, students will learn the process of transition planning for individuals with disabilities. Topics include: interagency collaboration, vocational assessment, and life-skills competencies, development of appropriate pathways to success, development of interagency agreements for service delivery to students with disabilities, exiting the school setting, career planning, and preparation for job placement.

Capstone Course - 3 credit hours

Course Code


Course Description


Education Specialist Capstone Project

ED7053 is the culmination of the EdS program. In this course students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the synthesis of knowledge in the Education Specialist program through the design of a real-world problem solving project. The project should be based on research and/ or fieldwork and must demonstrate an approach to addressing the problem through application of theory. Additionally, within this course students will complete a reflective self-assessment of their learning throughout the program.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the EdS costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $849
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,547
  • Program cost: $28,367
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.