Special Education

Master of Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

NCU’s master’s degree in Special Education specialization provides you with a leading-edge understanding of the characteristics and needs of individuals qualifying for services under the major areas of exceptionality of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA/IDEIA). Under the guidance of your mentoring professors, you will focus on research results, new assessment models and current perspectives on today’s children, families, schools and communities. The history of the special education movement, the provisions of IDEA/IDEIA, inclusion, transition, classroom modifications and instructional strategies are also analyzed. You will also explore how various disabilities may affect individuals and their families, factors that place students at risk, cultural and linguistic diversity and giftedness.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The MEd program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country. Certification requirements vary by state. Students are advised to contact their state department of education or local school district for guidance in obtaining certification or licensure, or for approval in fulfilling district level incentive programs.

There are several reasons why an educator would want to pursue a graduate degree in education that does not lead to state licensing or certification.

Reasons may include:

  • "Move up" steps on the salary schedule.
  • Improve skills and professionalism in general or to pursue a ”leadership” position outside the classroom (school-based or district level).
  • Advance as a ”teacher leader” through a graduate degree (already has a bachelor's degree and certification).
  • Meet the needs of increasingly diverse students.
  • Work in a traditional K-12 classroom environment (trainer, educational consultant, etc).

Completion Period for Master's Degrees

Northcentral University allows 5 years to complete all 30 credit hour master's programs. Normal time to complete varies depending upon the rate courses are taken and credits transferred.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


Introduction to Special Education

In this course, students will expand their basic knowledge and experiences related to special education and teaching of students with disabilities. Course activities include identification of students with special needs, specific exceptionalities, legal issues, assessment procedures, service delivery models, programming, and history of special education services. Students pursuing a specialization in special education take this as their first specialization course. Students explore a range of topics and survey the characteristics of various disabilities to gain insights into service delivery needs.


Exceptional Student Assessment

In this course, students will be introduced to the current evaluation processes to identify pK-12 students for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. Topics include: social and ethical implications of test use, testing procedures, assessment results, the connection between gathering assessment information and the analysis and synthesis of data to develop report summaries.


Characteristics of Learning Disabled Students

In this course, students will identify characteristics and review instructional procedures and best practices for students with mild disabilities. Topics include: teaching individuals with mild disabilities in inclusive settings, how to select from a variety of strategies appropriate for students with mild disabilities, and ways to support general education teachers serving students with special needs in inclusive settings will also be addressed.


Characteristics of Emotionally Disabled Students

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


Teaching Methods for the Mentally Disabled

In this course, students are introduced to the various educational programs and teaching strategies that have been used successfully to assist students with disabilities. Students will develop an understanding of how to plan individualized education programs by assessing individual student needs; modifying or designing instruction to improve student performance; and analyzing, selecting, and adapting curriculum for students with special needs.


Special Education Law

In this course, students will focus on the basics of the law and legal issues facing special educators and administrators. Topics include: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, discipline, appropriate educational decisions, procedural due process, and privacy issues.


Teaching Strategies for Learning Disabled and Behavioral Disorders

In this course, students will work with teaching strategies that are useful in assisting 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 select instructional strategies to improve student performance. Analyzing, selecting, and adapting strategies for students with special needs will be addressed. The ability to differentiate instruction utilizing current methods of embedded and explicit strategy instruction will also be explored.


Exceptional Student Management

In this course, students will study the historical development of behaviorism, the responsible use of applied behavior analysis, the appropriate development of behavioral goals and objectives, the accurate collection and recording of information, and the appropriate methods of controlling and shaping behavior. Ideas on how to manage challenging behaviors in inclusive classrooms and best practices for conducting functional behavior assessments, the design and review of behavior intervention plans, and individualized student management programs will be reviewed.


Language Disabilities

Students in this course will focus on components of successful oral and written communication skills and the identification of language disorders. This course includes information on how to evaluate language delays, utilize assessment techniques, and enhance literacy skills for students with disabilities. Augmentative and alternative communication systems are explored. The course will address the role of language in learning as it relates to enhancing literacy skills and achieving success in inclusive classrooms, as well as language skills for students with autism and emotional disabilities.


Transition Programs for Exceptional Students

In this course, students will learn processes of transition planning for individuals with disabilities. Interagency collaboration, vocational assessment, and life-skills competencies within the general curriculum will be emphasized. Preparing students with disabilities for transition from school to work in the community and the development of appropriate pathways to success will be covered as well as the development of interagency agreements for service delivery to students with disabilities. Exiting the school setting, career planning, and preparation for job placement will also be addressed.

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 NCU’s MEd costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $628
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $1,884
  • Program cost: $19,190
  • 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.

Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)

 The Northcentral University Master of Education Program, which is designed to prepare professional educators to become effective leaders, reflective practitioners and successful communicators within the diverse field of education, centering on improving teaching, learning, research and leadership contributions throughout PK-12 Education, is granted Initial Accreditation by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of five years, from June 24, 2013 – June 24, 2018.This accreditation certifies that the forenamed professional education program has provided evidence that the program adheres to TEAC’s quality principles. To view the Summary of the Case that has been posted on the TEAC website (www.teac.org/membership/teac-members).