Endorsed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement program at Saint Joseph's features a curriculum that focuses on assessment and research-based strategies. The program places special emphasis on skill development and behavioral modification for students of all ages who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Special Education MS
For educators in an integrated or special education classroom, it’s important to keep up with the latest research and teaching methods regarding student development. Saint Joseph’s University's innovative Master of Science in Special Education curriculum is designed to develop and refine competencies in professional educators. The program meets the demands of teaching students with special needs in a variety of school environments: public, private, urban and suburban.
The special education MS features online coursework and field experiences that offer a rigorous and well-rounded curriculum addressing critical areas of special needs instruction. Additionally, this program is taught by faculty with a variety of special education expertise.
If you are an undergraduate student, Saint Joseph's 4+1 program offers the opportunity for students to begin earning credits towards a master's in special education and earn an advanced degree at an accelerated pace. If you're interested in this option, you'll need to apply to the graduate program in your junior year and be conditionally accepted before you complete your bachelor's degree.
What Sets Our Program Apart
In 2021, Saint Joseph's special education program received recognition from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and has also been identified as one of only nine programs internationally to meet the rigorous standards of the International Dyslexia Association. The special education master's program features an experienced faculty whose expertise in urban teaching, inclusive education and assistive technology provide a unique educational experience.
The Special Education MS is designed to meet the needs of working professionals in the field seeking to advance their careers. Courses in the master’s program are fully online, with small virtual class sizes that make it easy to connect with your professors and classmates and develop your graduate network. Work at your own pace by choosing one, two or three courses per term.
Saint Joseph's University offers five certification and endorsements options to add to your online special education master's degree. You can add more than one of these tracks to your graduate studies, and each one is also available as a stand-alone option.
Endorsements and certificates include:
Our most recent addition to the program offerings is the Reading Interventionist Certificate which provides teachers with the skills needed to help students become fluent, independent readers. Earn your certificate from a University with accreditation at both levels of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.
The Department of Special Education offers two options for Special Education Certification in Pennsylvania, with reciprocity in many other states:
- If you have an initial teaching certification, you can add the PK-12 Special Education Certification to the special education master's program. If you hold a Level I Certification at any education or study level and wish to obtain a certification to teach in special education classrooms and programs, you may choose between two grade-level certifications, PK-8 or 7-12, both of which prepare you for the Pennsylvania certification. This option will require completing 31 credits.
- If you have a bachelor's degree but do not have an initial teaching certification, you can add a stand-alone PK-12 Special Education Certification to the special education master's program, which includes a full semester of student teaching. This option will require completing 36 credits.
What Can You Do With A Master's in Special Education?
Besides teaching, graduates who obtain a master's in special education have gone on to pursue a wide array of fulfilling careers, including:
- Special Education Supervisors
- Executive Directors
Affordable tuition options start at $845 per credit.*
*This rate applies to all students accepted by Saint Joseph's University after June 1, 2023. Tuition and fee rates for students accepted prior to June 1, 2023, differ. Pricing does not include room and board, health insurance or any professional, clinical or transportation fees. Visit our Tuition & Fees page or contact us for more information.
Financial aid may be available to you to help offset the cost of your degree. Explore your options on our Financial Aid page.
Have you completed a year or more of service with a recognized service organization? You may be eligible for our mission discount.
Alumni of Saint Joseph's are eligible to receive 10% off the cost of this program through our alumni discount.
Check with your employer to see if they are an Edcor or a Bright Horizons EdAssist member, which may entitle you to a discount on graduate programs.
Note: discounts cannot be combined.
Saint Joseph’s University is approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, that assesses institutions for the highest available form of accreditation.
The Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University is also accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a recognition that represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide.
SJU is a yellow ribbon school that accepts GI education benefits. Our Office of Veterans Service can help you access and understand the benefits available to you and will support you during your educational career at SJU.
Graduate assistantships are offered on a limited basis. Please contact the program director for availability.
Why Study a Special Education MS in Philadelphia?
With 218 schools and 118,053 students, Philadelphia offers a wide range of schools seeking teachers in special education. The Office of Student Teaching and Field Experiences helps you coordinate the three required field experiences or labs as well as your full-time, 14-week student-teaching placement. Participating in a field experience in a local Philadelphia school or a lab exposes you to a variety of classroom experiences and teaching styles.
Additionally, Saint Joseph’s School of Education and Human Development has a long-standing relationship with Samuel Gompers Elementary School, a K-8 school in Wynnefield, Philadelphia located next to Saint Joseph’s Hawk Hill campus. Faculty and students collaborate with the school year-round on in-class and extracurricular programming, ranging from education to health and wellness initiatives. Existing grant projects include enhancing the school’s sports and science programs and creating a volunteer recruitment and management system.
To be considered for admission you must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and have earned an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Apply online.
- Submit official college transcripts from all colleges attended.
- Submit a personal statement.
- Submit resume.
- Submit two letters of recommendation.
Visit our Graduate Admission Information page to learn more about admission requirements, key deadlines, additional requirements for international students and how to submit your application.
Graduate applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. New students may enroll in courses during the fall, spring or summer semesters.
- Fall: August
- Spring: January
- Summer: May
If you’re applying as an international student, you must provide proof of English Language Proficiency and Certification of Finances along with your application. Check the graduate admission page for more information about the application process and additional requirements for international students.
Frequently Asked Questions
Special education refers to specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. This includes:
- Instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions and in other settings
- Instruction in physical education
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers in special education earn an average salary of $61,820 per year.
In addition to a student support coordinator, we have a variety of other tools and resources that make it easy for you to get technical assistance, chart your course and focus your career search. Check out our online learning resources.