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Master of Arts in Special Education

Become a Socially Just Educator

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Program Quick Facts

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Individualized Program

A choice of five unique special education pathways ensure you get the degree you need.

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100% Online

Flexible, online classes make it easier to reach your goals while balancing work and family life.

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Affordable Tuition

NMSU Global Campus offers competitively priced tuition and scholarship opportunities.

A Fulfilling New Direction for Your Teaching Career

The Master of Arts in Special Education (SPED) at NMSU Global Campus adds a fulfilling specialization to your education career, giving you the skills you need for successful teaching in special education classrooms.

With five different special education pathways available, our program gives you the opportunity to individualize the program to your career needs — and all from the comfort of your own home! Our 100% online coursework program gives you innovative practices to help your students overcome learning barriers, all while making you the compassionate, socially just educator we need in today’s world.

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Career Pathways

  • Educational Diagnostician
  • Program Director
  • Program Manager
  • Special Education Classroom Teacher
  • Special Education Instructional Coordinator
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“NMSU Global is very affordable compared to other schools… Not only that, but they seem more invested in you.”

Theresa C., Class of 2023

Our MA in Special Education program offers five different pathways, each one designed to help you reach your education goals:

  • The Initial License MA prepares you for the New Mexico Pre-K-12 Special Education license.
  • If you already have an initial teaching license in another area such as Early Childhood, Elementary, or Secondary Education, you’ll be able to obtain a second Special Education teaching license with our Prior General Ed. Licensure MA.
  • As a current special education teacher, you can advance your career with an Alternative Licensure Degree.
  • If you’re a current special education teacher and not seeking licensure, the Scholarly Route provides you with vital knowledge to elevate your teaching skills.
  • Finally, the MA in Special Education with an Emphasis in Visual Impairment prepares you to teach young children who struggle with orientation and mobility.

Delivery Format: 100% online
Program Credits: 30-42 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Cost Per Credit Hour: $444.40*
Active Military Cost Per Credit Hour: $250*
College: Health, Education, and Social Transformation
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The MA in SPED requires at least 30 credits of special education coursework, depending on your pathway: Initial License, Prior General Ed. Licensure, Alternative Licensure, Scholarly Route, or Visual Impairment emphasis.

Sample Courses Credits
SPED 5210: Introduction to Assessment of Diverse Exceptional Learners 3
SPED 5120: High Incidence Disabilities in a Diverse Society 3
SPED 5110: Low Incidence Disabilities in a Diverse Society 3
SPED 5850: Current Research in Special Education 3
SPED 5160: Technology and Exceptionality in a Diverse Society 3
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Special Education Pathways:

  • The Initial License route is 42 credits, including student teaching. You must be admitted to the Teacher Education Program before completing practicum and student teaching experiences.
  • The Prior General Ed. Licensure route, for educators who are already licensed in another area, requires 30 credits of special education coursework.
  • The Alternative Licensure MA, which requires concurrent employment as a special education teacher, includes 39 credits. It begins with 21 credits of state-approved coursework and two semesters of university-supervised SPED teaching. After completion of the alternative components, you must complete the remaining coursework (18 credits) and degree requirements.
  • The Scholarly Route, which does not lead to licensure, requires 30 credits of special education coursework.
  • The Emphasis in Visual Impairment route requires 30-36 credits in visual impairment and special education coursework, and it prepares you for licensure in teaching school-aged children with visual impairments. If you meet the qualifications and you’re interested in visual impairment, you may elect to pursue licensure only, rather than a master’s degree, with 15-27 credits, leading to a Blind and Visually Impaired Teaching License or National Certification in Orientation and Mobility.

Two course prerequisites may be required as well, SPED 5105 (Introduction to Special Education in a Diverse Society) and SPED 5230 (Advanced Curriculum for Diverse Exceptional Learners). If these courses are required, you must take them in the first semester they are offered.

Admission requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • A resume or academic vita
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A one-page letter of interest stating relevant background experiences and personal motives for applying to the program

At NMSU Global Campus, we strive to offer competitively priced tuition to keep your tuition costs affordable. If you need financial aid, we’re ready to work with you to determine the best ways to finance your education.

Financial assistance includes loans, grants, and scholarship opportunities. To apply, use NMSU’s convenient Scholar Dollar$ one-stop scholarship application, which serves all students in the NMSU system.

NMSU and NMSU Global Campus students are also eligible for loans and grants. The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more about financial aid opportunities at NMSU.

Contact Financial Aid
Phone: 1-888-729-6678


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*For NMSU Global Campus programs and courses, the per credit hour cost is listed above. Special tuition agreements (Western Undergraduate Exchange, Descubre, etc.) are not applicable to NMSU Global Campus programs. Course fees still apply and are charged separately. Textbooks, uniforms, equipment, etc., are additional program costs. Additional per credit costs might be charged by the program, department or college.