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Help create a supportive and effective learning environment for students with special needs, and advance your career in an area of high demand.

As a student in Dominican’s graduate program in special education, you’ll expand your knowledge and skills for teaching unique learners while gaining credentials for an in-demand career path. Whether you’re a licensed teacher seeking a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 endorsement in special education, are pursuing master’s-level credentials, or are just starting your education career, this program can work for you.

  • Open to current teachers and career-changers seeking to enter the profession
  • Study with respected mentors and experts in special education
  • Courses are offered in a flexible format designed for working professionals, with classes held one evening per week
  • Gain the latest skills in an area of education where teachers are in highest demand

Advance your career in a rewarding field. Request information.

What You’ll Learn

With an MS in Special Education from Dominican, you’ll have the skill and confidence to make a difference in the lives of students and their families. You will explore the complex needs of children with learning, intellectual, emotional and behavioral disabilities, traumatic brain injury, autism, and physical and other health impairments. You’ll study leading-edge research on best practices in the field.

The course of study emphasizes the acquisition of professional expertise, the expansion of personal insight, and a deep appreciation of human diversity. Course offerings range from fostering development of pro-social behavior to curriculum methods for students with disabilities and integrating technology into the classroom.

For more details, explore the full curriculum.

Quick Degree Details
  • Thirty-nine (39) credit hours to be completed in four semesters plus two summers
  • Classes held one evening per week
  • Offered on multiple tracks, for licensed teachers and career-changers seeking to enter the teaching profession
  • Approved by the Illinois State Board of Education

Note: Admission to graduate and certificate programs in education is open only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Choose from multiple paths to your master’s in special education

Dominican’s program is ideal for:

  • Teachers who are already licensed in special education and who want to advance their career and knowledge with a master’s degree
  • Licensed teachers who wish to gain a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 endorsement in special education
  • Career-changers who do not yet have a Professional Educator License (PEL) and wish to enter the field of education as a licensed special education teacher
Eligibility Requirements

To qualify, you’ll need:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Have questions about the curriculum or course listings in the links above? Request information.

What to Expect as you Earn Your Master’s in Special Education

This program is designed to immerse you in the latest research-based approaches for supporting students with a wide range of special needs. You’ll learn how to help them achieve their goals and fully develop their abilities. Beyond the course material, you’ll forge new connections with your professors and with a diverse cohort of fellow students who will become lifelong colleagues.

We understand that graduate students are balancing many obligations, including full-time jobs and family needs on top of their studies. So, at Dominican, we design flexible programs and provide plenty of support. You’ll be guided by master teachers and faculty advisors who understand how to support your success in graduate school.

About Dominican’s School of Education

Dominican University’s School of Education is committed to preparing teachers and leaders to navigate the changing world of education. We continue to innovate and develop new approaches to teaching and learning to better serve our country’s children and youth. See what sets us apart.

Financing Your MS in Special Education

The process for financing a degree can seem daunting, but you do have options. In addition to loans, the School of Education offers a limited number of scholarships and grants, including the Katherine Inglis Sutter Scholarship for special education students with demonstrated financial need. Federal Stafford loans are also available through the Office of Financial Aid. We can help you navigate the process and find options that work for you.

Contact our Office of Financial Aid to learn more. We can be reached at (708) 524-6809 or via email at

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why earn a master’s in special education?

Working with special needs students is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers in education. A nationwide shortage of highly qualified special education teachers means it’s also an area of critical need with opportunities for career advancement and leadership. Teachers need highly specialized training to be effective in helping students with disabilities achieve their full academic potential and become college- and career-ready. With a master’s degree from Dominican, you will receive that specialized preparation along with a sense of mission to advocate on behalf of special needs students throughout their schooling.

Can I earn an MS in Special Education if I’m not already a teacher?

Yes. Dominican’s Master of Science in Special Education is designed for both teachers and aspiring teachers. Whether you’re a career-changer or a recent graduate in another discipline, you can pursue your master’s degree, Professional Educator License (PEL) and Learning Behavior Specialist I endorsement—all at the same time at Dominican.

How is Dominican different?

Dominican University has prepared generations of educators to be leaders, innovators and true agents of change. We are committed to fostering the values of scholarship, leadership and service among the rising generation of teachers. Our courses of study emphasize the acquisition of professional expertise, the expansion of personal insight, and an appreciation of human diversity.

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online.

Build Your Career in Education

At Dominican, we are committed to helping you achieve your goals and fulfill a mission of service as a teacher. We’re here to answer your questions and walk you through the process of gaining your Master of Science in Special Education. Request information today.