Help Diverse Learners Succeed and Achieve

If you want to take your teaching to the next level or move into a leadership role in your district, a Master of Education in Special Education degree at City University of Seattle can help position you for success. This online special education degree program is one of our most hands-on, personalized programs at CityU. We offer a multitude of resources as well as professional collaboration and detailed faculty feedback, so you can track your progress and make the most of each opportunity as you learn.

For those who do seek an endorsement, they complete one practicum that may or may not be in their own classroom. Beyond this in-person element, you can complete your assignments, write-ups, assessments, and projects almost exclusively online.

Our faculty is made up of educational leaders with a range of expertise, so you can benefit from the best of current research, diversity, and global educational practices.

The CityU special education master’s degree was designed to provide educators with current, research-based methodologies that will allow you to gain and enhance your skills in order to work successfully in a variety of special education settings.

Your current teaching certificate and accredited bachelor’s degree is all you need to apply to our MEd in Special Education program. Candidates typically graduate in nine quarters; however, you can set your own pace and graduate in as few as seven quarters or up to four years.

M.Ed. Special Education Plan: In the courses, you will explore the most current research and practices in the field. Students will explore behavioral analysis, autism, student assessment for Special Education, the IEP process, and teaming and collaboration to name a few.

M.Ed. Special Education Endorsement: Wish to add a WA state Special Education endorsement? Complete the courses for the master's degree then complete an in-classroom practicum for 100 hours to earn your endorsement. Note: Prerequisites in both reading and math are required. Talk with an advisor about these courses. 

WEST-E® preparation: The program will help you prepare for passing the Washington Educator Skills Test for those seeking their endorsement.

Learning Outcomes

Throughout the Master of Education in Special Education program, you’ll learn:

  • Critical application and value of current research processes
  • Global, theoretical, and practical issues affecting education
  • Improvement of the school community and profession
  • Unique attributes of individuals with classic autism and high-functioning autism
  • Inclusion and specialist paradigms in special education
  • Foundations, strategies, and understanding to perform assessments and evaluations
  • Writing and implementing an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
  • Basic types of student behavior, motivation, prevention strategies, intervention strategies, and behavior change plans
  • Disabilities identified with low-incidence disabilities
  • Pedagogical foundations, strategies, and understanding to modify curriculum

Foundational Core

ECU 504

Graduate Research and Methodology (4)

The Research and Methodology block contains outcomes relating to the understanding, critical application, and value of current research processes and how these increase student learning. Candidates gain an understanding of the various types of research and purpose for them in improving educational practices. Candidates submit various artifacts which demonstrate their understanding of and ability to implement best research practices that enhance student learning, meet individual needs and improve educational practices.

ECU 506

Practice of Diversity and Global Education (4)

The Diverse and Global Education Practices block contains outcomes relating to the ability to examine global, theoretical and practical issues affecting education and learning development. From this research, candidates gain an understanding of various techniques to adapt teaching and learning to meet the needs of culturally, academically, and socially diverse students. Candidates identify access and barrier issues related to student achievement and execute responsive teaching techniques which demonstrate the ability to engage all students in the learning process. Candidates submit various artifacts which demonstrate their understanding of and ability to provide culturally competent classrooms in an increasingly diverse society.

ECU 508

School and Community Engagement (4)

The Professional and Community Engagement block contains outcomes relating to the professional contribution to the improvement of the school community and profession. Candidates gain an understanding of various culturally sensitive assessment tools to measure academic achievement related to student, family, and community engagement. Candidates submit various artifacts which demonstrate their understanding of and the ability to gather data on current engagement practices and utilize this data to support and increase family and community participation.

Special Education Core

ESP 555

Classic Autism/High Functioning (3)

In this course candidates examine the unique attributes of individuals with Classic Autism and High Functioning Autism. The course emphasizes understanding the brain of an individual with Autism and the varied aspects of social cognitive deficits. Candidates develop a perspective of education, socialization and communication of students of Autism. Candidates will use the information to develop effective education programs for students with Autism and High Functioning Autism.

ESP 670

Exceptionality (3)

The purpose of this course is to inform candidates on both inclusion and specialist paradigms in special education including definitions of disabilities and program delivery. This course emphasizes identification, specific needs of students, service delivery, and legal issues. Practical application of these principles will form the foundation for future special education courses.

ESP 671

Student Assessment for Special Education (3)

This course focuses on the necessary foundations, strategies, and understanding to successfully perform assessments and evaluations in the classroom for placement and implementation of programs for students in receiving special education services. Emphasis is placed on the selection of appropriate assessment and evaluation tools, timelines and the interrelationship between assessment components. Candidates demonstrate selection of appropriate assessment tool and accurately interpret data used in the assessment process for qualification and implementation of individual programs for students receiving special education services. Prerequisite: Completion of Foundation Core Courses

ESP 672

IEP Process (3)

The purpose of this course is to provide candidates with the compliance elements necessary for writing and implementing a quality Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). This course emphasizes State and Federal mandates, procedural safeguards, content requirements, and parent participation. Upon successful completion of this course, candidates are able to write an appropriate IEP that meets the needs of special education students. Course Entry Recommended: Completion of Foundation Core Courses

ESP 673

Behavior Analysis (3)

The purpose of this course provides candidates opportunities to explore models for analyzing and managing student behaviors. The course emphasizes basic types of student behavior, motivation, prevention strategies, intervention strategies, and behavior change plans. Practical application of these principles is demonstrated through the completion of data collection samples, a functional behavioral assessment, positive behavior support plan, and aversive therapy plan.

ESP 674

Low Incidence (3)

This course is a study of disabilities identified with low-incidence disabilities. Candidates investigate the disabilities identified as Low Incidence: Developmentally Delayed, Autism Spectrum, Moderate/Severe Mental Retardation, Traumatic Brain Injury, Orthopedically Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and Visually Impaired. Components of the course will include definitions, family involvement, assessments, instructional methods, and procedural and landmark legal issues in Special Education. Candidates provide appropriate program accommodations for students identified with a low-incidence disability.

ESP 675

Curriculum Modifications and Collaboration (3)

The purpose of this course is to provide candidates with the pedagogical foundations, strategies, and understanding to modify curriculum and make accommodations to the learning environment. This course emphasizes the identification of students' needs, appropriate response strategies, and collaboration between appropriate staff members. Upon successful completion of this course, candidates modify curriculum, and make accommodations for students with special needs.

ETC 608

Practicum (1)

This course covers effective integration, instructional strategies, and assessments of the specific endorsement content area. This course provides the field experience required to meet state clinical requirements. Prerequisite: Pass state required endorsement test(s) and departmental approval.

Master Thesis Project

ECU 601

Master of Education Capstone Project (3)

For the Capstone project, candidates complete a full Action Research Cycle in which candidates integrate research-based process, methodology, and evidence-based decision making into their own professional practice. The focus is on validity and alignment of theoretical foundations with intervention and assessment methodologies. Emphasis is placed on the inclusion of: a research proposal; problem statement; rationale; objectives and/or hypothesis; review of literature; implementation strategies; data collection; findings; measurement of change and conclusion. Candidates demonstrate their ability to meet standards set for knowledge, skills, and performance in a professional workforce setting.

A master’s in special education from CityU will give you the skills and abilities to best support students with special needs. Individuals with the right credentials, as well as the passion and heart to give all students the best chance at a quality education, are in demand.

Upon completion of this program, you will be well positioned for a career as a:

  • Special education teacher
  • Special education specialist
  • Educational diagnostician
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Special education diagnostic tester

Networking Opportunities

At CityU, you’ll have the opportunity to expand your professional network by connecting with faculty working in your field, students from around the globe, and alumni employed at Seattle’s top companies. Plus, you’ll be part of a supportive community that’s dedicated to helping you reach your career goals.

Tuition Cost

Learn more about tuition and fees for our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.

Financial Aid Opportunities

At CityU, we’re committed to helping students achieve their academic goals no matter their economic situations. Our financial aid counselors are here to find the resources you need to pay for your education, including grants, loans, work study, and scholarships.

Learn more about financial aid opportunities at CityU, or contact our Financial Aid Team at 800.426.5596, 206.239.4540, or finaid@cityu.edu.

Military Tuition Benefits

As a Yellow Ribbon school, CityU is proud to serve those who have served in the military. We offer military tuition discounts for active-duty servicemembers and their spouses and accept military benefits such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill® and Tuition Assistance.

Learn more about military tuition benefits, VA benefits, and military partnership programs designed to help you reach your military and career goals.

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