Online MS in Special Education

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This biblically integrated program equips educators with expert knowledge and best practices to competently engage students with special needs in enriched and meaningful skill development and growth in all areas of life. Obtain certification as a special education teacher or equip yourself for expertise and career enhancement as a teacher or administrator. This program is designed for individuals holding any valid teaching certification.

Effective Fall 2021, changes will be made to the Online MS in Special Education program. View the changes here.

At a glance

Program Credits


Standard Completion Time

2.5 yrs

Program Highlights

  • Start any semester; complete in as few as seven semesters
  • Mostly seven-week courses, one at a time
  • Mild to severe disabilities addressed
  • Two Applied Behavior Analysis courses included
  • 50% tuition discount for educators working in Christian schools
  • Field experience integrated into multiple courses
  • Advance standing may be granted for Bible/theology credits
Applied Behavioral Analysis Certificate

Program Curriculum

Semester 40 TOTAL CREDITS:
34 Required + 6 Bible/Theology1
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I (S1)2
SPE 661
Foundations of Special Education (S2)
Spring #1 SPE 764 Teaching Children with Lower Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 714
Diagnosis & Evaluation of Exceptional Learner (S2)
Summer #1 SPE 763 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 723 Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities (S2)
 Fall #2 SPE 761 Inclusionary Practices
SPE 762 Developmental and Diagnostic Reading Interventions
Spring #2 THE 601 Overview of Christian Theology (S1)
BIB 621 Biblical Integration for Educators (S2)
SPE 791 Special Education Practicum I (1 cr.)
Summer #2 SPE 792 Special Education Practicum II (1 cr.)
EDU 781 Student Teaching (4 cr.)
Fall #3 SPE 724 Single Subject Research or EDU 713 Educational Research
SPE 794 Special Education Comprehensive Exam
1If prerequisite of 3 credits on instructional needs of English Language Learners not met prior to entering program, must take TSL 611.
2S1 = first 7-week session; S2 = second 7-week session


  • To enter the program, the candidate will:
    • Apply and complete Cairn University’s Graduate Program enrollment process
    • Hold a bachelor’s degree (with a cumulative GPA of 3.0) from an accredited undergraduate institution and submit proof in the form of official transcripts
    • Hold valid teaching certification and submit acceptable proof including state or government-issued teaching certification or ASCI teaching certificate. Other teaching certificates are subject to University evaluation
    • Meet the prerequisite of 3 credits on instructional needs of English Language Learners or take TSL 611 prior to entering the program.
  • To complete the program, the candidate will:
    • Successfully complete all required coursework with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
    • Successfully complete all practicums and student teaching and pass a comprehensive exam.


Upon successful completion of this program:

  • Students are eligible for PA Special Education PK-12 certification if they also pass the PA Special Education PK-12 Certification Test and are U.S. citizens or intend to be U.S. citizens.
  • Students will have met all or most requirements to apply to ACSI for a K-12 Special Education certificate. Visit ACSI’s Certification Documents and Requirements for more information.

Out-of-State Certification

Out-of-state students are advised to contact the Department of Education in their state to inquire about the requirements for teacher certification in their state. Please visit this Education Programs Licensure and Certification page for the link to each state’s Teacher Certification page.

For more information about the online MS in Special Education degree program, email

Learn about the time and technical requirements for Cairn University online programs.

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