Special Education (M.Ed. or MSEd)


Program Details

Why Study Special Education at Xavier University?

Enhance your pedagogical expertise and skills by enrolling in Xavier University’s special education graduate program. Built to provide you with a firm theoretical foundation and practical training, our master’s in special education supports your professional development and spurs new career growth.

We offer two distinct degree programs to serve your varying academic and professional needs: the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education and the Master of Science (MSEd) in Special Education. Whether you’re a special education teacher or a general educator, you receive comprehensive instruction in the many facets of special education so you can work with all types of students and improve the quality of education they receive. 


Select Your Master’s Degree According to Your Professional Trajectory

Boost Your Career by Adding Intervention Specialist Licenses and Endorsements

During your time in the special education graduate program, you can pursue optional licenses and endorsements to expand your academic focus and build your résumé.

Depending on your personal and professional goals, you can select an intervention specialist licensure in:

To specialize your pedagogical focus and hone your expertise, you can also pursue an endorsement in:

Licensure or endorsement concentrations are optional but require additional coursework. You can also earn a master’s degree in special education without licensure.

Choose the Program Format That Fits Your Needs

No matter your scheduling needs, our School of Education has a special education graduate program that supports your career goals. Our traditional, on-campus special education degree programs immerse you in personalized, face-to-face instruction, empowering you to build lasting relationships with peers and professors while still working full-time.

If you need an added level of flexibility, Xavier offers both the M.Ed. and MSEd in Special Education degree programs in a 100% online format, which helps you balance your current work obligations while still receiving the same high-quality training as your in-person classmates.


Xavier accepts applications to the master’s in special education program on a rolling basis, allowing you to begin in the summer, fall, or spring terms. Successful applicants to our program should meet the following:

  • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university.
  • Admission test score.

When applying to the M.Ed./MSEd in Special Education program, please submit the following:

  • Online graduate application.
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework are sent directly from the college or university.
    Please send electronic transcripts to xugrad@xavier.edu or hard copies to:
    Xavier University Admission Processing Center
    3800 Victory Parkway
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-5131
  • Official test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
    If you previously took the GRE and want your scores sent to Xavier, please contact GRE at 1-888-GRE-SCORE.

Our Admissions Committee processes and reviews your application immediately upon receiving all of the necessary materials and considers all of the information in your application, including prior grades, test scores and evidence of potential for success in graduate study.

Xavier waives required test scores if you are:

  • A state-licensed teacher.
  • Pursuing an M.Ed. or MSEd without licensure (if undergrad GPA is 3.0 or higher).
  • Pursuing a principal or administration license.
  • Pursuing a second license or endorsement.
  • Pursuing a Montessori teaching credential only.

International students may have additional application requirements. Review Xavier’s International Graduate Admissions for more information.

For questions regarding the application process, please email the Office of Graduate Services at xugrad@xavier.edu.


With a commitment to creating inclusive learning environments, Xavier’s special education master’s programs equip you with the understanding and skills necessary to support students with diverse learning needs.

Both the M.Ed. and M.S. curricula address the unique challenges faced by special education professionals, emphasizing education history and philosophy, evidence-based practices, and innovative assessment and teaching strategies. With this high-level approach, you build a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge that informs how you engage with students one-on-one, in small groups and with the educational system.

Through your seven elective credits, you can explore essential disciplines that inform your work as a special education teacher, including child development, special education law, classroom management, communication strategies and techniques, and much more.

Your chosen degree path determines the core classes you take. If you pursue the M.Ed. in Special Education, your core education courses (totaling nine credit hours) include:

  • EDFD 500: History and Philosophy of American Education............ 3cr.
  • EDFD 505: Organization of Educational Systems in the United States............ 3cr.
  • EDFD 507: Educational Research............ 2cr.
  • EDFD 508: Educational Research Paper............ 1cr.

If you select the MSEd in Special Education, your core education courses (totaling nine credit hours) include:

  • EDSP 617: Administrative Partnerships in Special Education............ 3 cr.
  • EDSP 618/619: Research in Special Education............ 3 cr.
  • MATH 516: Statistics............ 3 cr.

Regardless of your degree path, you must take seven electives (21 semester hours) from the list below:

  • EDSP 500: Identification and Issues in Special Education............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 501: Introduction to Emotionally Disturbed Children............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 503: Special Education Communication and Collaboration............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 505: Foundations in Early Childhood Special Education............ 3cr.
  • EDFD 510: Advanced Human Development and Learning............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 556: Resources in Transition Education and Services............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 560: Mild/Moderate Characteristics and Strategies............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 563: Special Education Assessment and Evaluation............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 564: Special Education DAP Instructional Materials............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 567: Social Skills and Behavior Management............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 570: Moderate Intensive Characteristics............ 3 cr.
  • EDSP 572: Communication Strategies and Techniques............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 573: Special Education Assessment and Evaluation MI............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 581: Play and its Role in Development and Learning............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 580: Classroom Management............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 583: Resource Materials and Techniques: Gifted/Talented............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 615: Special Education Law............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 616: Philosophy and Cultural Diversity............ 3cr.
  • EDSP 617: Administrative Partnerships in Special Education............ 3cr.

Sample Courses

  • EDSP 556: Resources in Transition Education and Services - In this course, you spend 15 hours participating in supervised field experience in a transitional educational setting and 15 hours in a transitional service setting, designed to address the practicing skills of a transition to work specialist. During these field experiences, you attend seminars examining the needs and coordination of the students, families and community agencies, future directions, leadership to the program’s promotion and systematic processes.
  • EDSP 560: Mild/Moderate - This course provides an overview of characteristics and strategies designed to equip you with a basic knowledge of mild to moderate disabilities. To put your skills into practice, you participate in required field experience in diverse settings.
  • EDSP 617: Administrative Partnerships in Special Education - Aligned with standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), this course details strategies to develop a collaborative partnership between special education staff and the school administration to facilitate the implementation of special education services.

Tuition and Fees

Xavier University empowers you to invest in yourself and your future through competitive tuition rates and providing access to various financial aid resources.

When we seek something more, we become something greater.

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Engaging Small-Size Classes

Med Special Education student meeting with a professor

Our special education graduate program is one of the most popular of Xavier's graduate degrees. While our M.Ed./M.S. in Special Education garner a range of students each year, we maintain small class sizes and deliver a more personalized learning experience. We provide the educational theory and coursework needed to fully prepare licensed special education teachers so that children of every grade level get the education they need and deserve.

Top-Quality Accreditation

Med Special Education professor teaching in a classroom

To ensure you receive quality education and up-to-date instruction, we design our programs to exceed high standards. Our M.Ed. and MSEd in Special Education are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Additionally, our master’s programs have received approval from the Ohio Board of Regents, and our licensure programs are approved by the Ohio Department of Education.

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Gain Valuable Teaching Experience

Med Special Education student in a playground with children

At Xavier, we emphasize experiential learning as a critical aspect of your graduate program. As you seek licensure in special education, you participate in 15 weeks of student teaching in a supervised classroom to put your skills and knowledge into action. We have cultivated long-term partnerships with over 50 regional school districts where you are placed for field experiences and student teaching and have the exciting opportunity to begin investing in your local educational efforts.

Career Outlook for Special Education Teachers

With growing student populations and closer attention paid to children’s unique academic, mental and emotional needs, skillful special education teachers play an essential role in our educational system. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates more than 33,000 special education teacher positions to open each year through 2032, providing many opportunities for you to work with children who need more focused attention so they can excel academically and personally.

Additionally, special education teachers’ annual mean salary is around $74,000 but drastically ranges from $38,680 to $121,850. State of employment, school district, and level of education and experience, along with other factors, can all impact your earning potential as a special education teacher.

Special Education (M.Ed. or MSEd) Program at Xavier University

Whether you pursue your M.Ed. in Special Education or M.S. in Special Education at Xavier University, you build a wealth of educational expertise and acquire valuable hands-on experience to further your professional endeavors. Be a part of improving the educational system by providing exceptional instruction to students of all abilities. Take the next step toward obtaining your master’s degree at Xavier.

Xavier University's College of Professional Sciences prepares undergraduate and graduate students intellectually, morally and spiritually for careers and professions of service. CPS challenges students to strive for academic excellence and life-long learning through promoting collaboration and community partnerships, and incorporating research, scholarship and innovation.

Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. It has been ranked among the top 10 master's-level universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for the past two decades. The Princeton Review names it one of the "Best 385 Colleges in America."