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Degree Title

Master of Science

Apply by:

June 1


To begin:

August 2024


A master's degree is an outstanding way to enrich and advance your special education teaching career. FIU's fully online Master of Science in Special Education provides special education teachers with advanced training to reach the children who need you the most. Our Special Education degree leads to a Florida Autism Endorsement, providing you with the skills to teach learners on the autism spectrum. Our graduate program also places special emphasis on classroom-based research and on preparing special education teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse learners and their families.

Take the next step.

Our faculty members are leaders in special education, with years of classroom experience teaching children on the autism spectrum, as well as those with emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. With our renowned College of Arts, Sciences & Education faculty providing feedback and guidance every step of the way, your FIU Online experience is one we share with you. Call one of our enrollment coordinators at 1-855-348-6654 to find out why you belong at FIU Online.

Master of Science in Special Education Ranked 22nd in the country in 2023
  • Why Apply?

    Our comprehensive master's program prepares teachers for the changing demands of the field, so you can address the unique needs of multicultural students with disabilities. The Master of Science in Special Education helps teachers develop leadership skills for effective supervision, use data to inform and guide classroom instruction and learn about cutting-edge assistive technologies. Special education teachers are the most sought-after professionals in the teaching profession and the prestige of a master's degree can further enhance marketability through advanced training and endorsements.  

    Industry Statistics

    As a special education teacher, you already know that demand for qualified teaching professionals with special education degrees is growing, with many job opportunities requiring a master's degree. The job outlook is especially bright for those special education teachers with specialized training to work with students who have multiple disabilities, severe disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders, ( Occupational Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

    There is a growing demand for special education teachers with the specialized skills to provide services for students on the autism spectrum. According to a 2012 report from the Center for Disease Control, an estimated one in 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a 78 percent increase since the CDC's first report in 2007. FIU Online's Master of Science in Special Education is one of a select few programs to offer a Florida Autism Endorsement, helping teachers gain expertise in autism — the fastest growing disability area in the U.S. This endorsement is a competitive advantage that opens doors to job opportunities and signals to employers that you have the unique skills to meet the needs of students with autism.

  • Careers

    Career Path

    Instructional Coordinator, Educational Administrator, Educational Administrator, Adult Basic, Literacy, and Secondary Education Teachers, Post-Secondary Teachers, Post-Secondary Administrators, Special Education Teacher, Early Intervention Specialist.

    Non-traditional Career Paths

    Policy analysis

    Corporate training

    Textbook writer

    Educational software development

    Charity/non-profit organization management

    Local, state, or federal education department work

    Income Range

    $42,000 - $101,000

    Industry Outlook

    FL: 7% ⬆️

    US: 8% ⬆️

    (Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and

  • Courses

    Program Curriculum

    The online Master of Science in Special Education is completed in one year and consists of six accelerated eight-week terms. Students enroll in 4 courses (12 credits) each semester and complete two courses each 8-week term in the semester. A total of 36 credit hours (12 courses) is necessary to complete the program.  The area of specialization for this degree is Autism Endorsement.

    Core Courses

    Advanced Theory and Research in Special Education  EEX 6912
    Investigation of advanced work in social and psychological research applied to persons with handicaps, mental retardation, learning disabilities and emotional disturbances.  
    Prerequisites: Certificate in Special Education and/or competence in Special Education.

    Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners  EEX 6796
    The course will focus on evidence-based practices for working with culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities with a particular focus on urban schools and related issues.

    Foundations of Educational Research  EDF 5481
    Competencies required for critical understanding, evaluation and use of published educational research: Understanding quantitative and qualitative methods; sampling; measurement; data collection and analysis and inference process.

    Instructional Technology for Special Education  EEX 6765
    Provides teachers of students with special needs current knowledge in instructional technology, appropriate to enhance student learning.

    Integration of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction  EEX 6228
    This course constitutes the culminating experience in the master’s program by establishing the link between curriculum, assessment and instruction.

    Seminar in Special Education: Issues and Trends  EEX 6848
    A forum to discuss, analyze and evaluate current issues and trends in special education. Individual issues and trends will be planned and executed by students.

    Seminar in Special Education: Supervision and Leadership  EEX 6535
    Problems in school administration and pattern of curriculum organization as they relate to people with disabilities. Focus on conceptual framework, change factors and future trends in special education.

    Working with Families of Students with Disabilities through Collaborative Approaches  EEX 6756
    This course familiarizes students with the skills needed to work in effective partnerships with families of children with disabilities and related school personnel.

    Autism Courses

    Assessment and Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder  EEX 5210
    Students will become familiar with current formal and informal assessments used in diagnosis and instructional planning. Students will also become familiar with specific educational strategies for students with autism spectrum disorders.

    Assistive and Instructional Technology and Alternate / Augmentative Systems for Students with Autism  EEX 5767
    Students will develop skills in strategies used in integrating instructional and assistive technology in the classroom for students with autism and the use of appropriate AAC systems.

    Behavioral Management and   Positive Behavioral Supports for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder  EEX 5619
    Students will develop and implement positive behavior plans and design behavior management techniques for students with autism spectrum disorders

    Nature & Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder  EEX 5095
    Students will develop knowledge and skills related to the nature and needs of students with autism including characteristics, learning goals, teaching approaches and environmental arrangements.

  • Requirements

    Admissions Requirements

    The online Master of Science in Special Education program is identical to the existing/approved face-to-face program in terms of curriculum and admissions requirements, however courses will be offered in an online format providing added flexibility for working students. The major competencies in the online Master of Science in Special Education are an extension and refinement of those developed in the undergraduate special education curriculum. Candidates are admitted by action of the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. Admissions requirements are as follows.

    • Four-year U.S. bachelor degree or equivalent from an accredited institution

    • Undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for the last 60 hours of upper division coursework. If you have questions regarding the GPA requirement, please contact an enrollment specialist as conditional admissions may be considered.

    • Access to either K-12 students or K-12 teachers in an academic setting to work on the Action Research Project throughout the program. Please, contact us for more details regarding this requirement.

    • Good standing with all previously-attended colleges and universities.

    • Applicants with a non-Education degree must demonstrate teaching experience.

    Admissions Documents

    The following must be submitted:

    • Online master’s programs application ($30). Be sure to select Master of Science in Special Education Online.

    • Official transcripts from all previously attended universities. 

    • Current and detailed resume.

    • Statement of purpose describing your professional goals and reasons for pursuing this degree at FIU (at least 500 words in length).

    • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from academic sources and one from work or volunteer experience)

    International Students

    • Proof of English Language Proficiency. If you earned a bachelor's degree in a country whose official language is not English, you must demonstrate English language proficiency by earning a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL required minimum score: 550 (paper-based exam) or 80 (internet-based). IELTS required minimum score: 6.5. When requesting official scores, please refer to FIU Institution code 5206. TOEFL / IELTS scores are valid for two years. View list of TOEFL/IELTS-exempt countries.

      • Graduate programs can use the Duolingo English Test.

      • Please visit Duolingo English Test for more information about how to register for the exam.

      • FIU Minimum Duolingo English Test Score: 110

    • Course by Course Evaluation. If your post-secondary educational history includes coursework outside the United States, you must submit a course-by-course credential translation and evaluation, with grade point average (GPA) calculation included, for all non-U.S. coursework. FIU accepts evaluations/translations from any NACES member evaluation service.

      FIU accepts evaluations/translations from any NACES member evaluation services, below are a few FIU recommends:

      Josef Silny & Associates, Inc., International Education Consultants
      7101 SW 102 Avenue
      Miami, FL 33173
      Phone: 305-273-1616 | Fax 305-273-1338 |
      Visit the Josef Silny & Associates FIU Form for details

      World Education Services
      PO Box 745
      New York, NY 10113-0745
      212-966-6311 | 

      Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
      PO Box 514070
      Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
      414-289-3400 |
    • Official Transcripts Translation. If official transcripts are not in English, a second copy of the transcript must be requested for translation. Both the official translation, as well as the original transcripts, must be submitted to FIU.

    • Certified Copy of Diploma. If you obtained your degree at a foreign institution.

    • As a fully online degree, this program is ineligible to grant/provide F-1 Student visas.

    Official transcripts/translations must be submitted directly by the respective institution(s) in a sealed university envelope to: 

    FIU Graduate Admissions 
    Modesto A. Maidique Campus, BT 201 
    11200 S.W. 8th Street 
    Miami, FL 33199

    Effective January 15, 2023 for Graduate applicants: If your post-secondary educational history includes coursework outside the United States, you must submit a course-by-course credential translation and evaluation, with grade point average (GPA) calculation included, for all non-U.S. coursework. FIU accepts evaluations/translations from any NACES member evaluation service. Please visit the NACES website here: NACES | Credentials Evaluations Provided by NACES Members

  • Tuition

    Pursuing your degree is one of the best investments you can make — one that will open doors to personal and professional opportunities. Our tuition costs represent some of the best value in higher education, and we also offer financial aid support you need to reach your goals.

    The total cost of the program is $18,300 for Florida residents, non-Florida residents, and international students. Students pay for courses at the beginning of each semester.  Please note, tuition and fee amounts vary by term and all amounts stated are subject to change.

    Scholarship opportunities available 

    External Resources for Teachers

    • TEACH Grant
    • Autism Endorsement Tuition Program
    • Tuition Reimbursement Programs

    Academic Works

    FIU offers   Academic Works, a website that matches students with relevant scholarship opportunities.  Find the one that’s right for you!  Academic Works is an online scholarship application tool where FIU students can browse and apply for more than 100 scholarships, made possible by the generosity of FIU alumni and friends.  Students can apply after they are matriculated into one of our programs.  For more information visit

    Other Resources

    There are other third party resources that prospective students can access while researching on how to pay for school.  Below are various links that provide more information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities:

    Federal Financial Aid

    For information on Federal Financial Aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), please visit our   financial a id page.


    Under the revised Florida Board of Governors' (BOG) Regulation 8.002, all institutions of the State University System (SUS) of Florida are required to provide students with a side-by-side Tuition and Fees comparison for continuing education programs. The tuition comparisons are made between a traditional program vs. its counterpart Market Rate/Self-Supporting program. This approach provides students an opportunity to become aware of options that are available upon selecting a degree program of study.

    Please click on the following link which will take you to a searchable database that provides the side-by-side tuition and fees comparisons for the Master of Science in Special Education: Autism Endorsement:

  • Top Faculty

    Dr. Elizabeth Cramer, Professor and Graduate program Director, Special Education
    Dr. Cramer joined FIU in 2002 and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including as Program Leader for Special Education and President of the Council for Exceptional Children Division of Diverse Exceptional Learners. Her research focuses primarily on preparing teachers to work with students with disabilities who are culturally and linguistically diverse in inclusive settings.

    Dr. Kyle Bennett, Associate Professor
    Dr. Bennett has worked with students with autism and other developmental disabilities for over 16 years. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and he has worked as a teacher, behavior analyst and program administrator. His primary professional interests are transition and secondary programming and teaching safety skills to students with disabilities.

    Dr. Patricia M. Barbetta, Associate Professor
    Dr. Barbetta spent 11 years as a teacher, program supervisor and education director at a Pennsylvania school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. She joined FIU in 1992, and has served as Department Chairperson and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Her research interests include academic strategies for students with disabilities and urban special education.

    Dr. Liana Gonzalez, Associate Teaching Professor
    Prior to joining FIU in 2010, Dr. Gonzalez was a teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities for 15 years. During her teaching career, she developed several inclusion programs, some of which are still being implemented in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Her primary research interests include inclusion, urban education and disability advocacy.

  • View our Information Session

    Learn more about the details of our program by listening in to our information session.

36 Credits Required

$18,300.00 Tuition Cost

* Total tuition and fees are subject to change.


  • For more information, please contact us at

  • No GRE required 

  • Limited scholarships available for new incoming students

  • 12-month fully online program

  • Leads to a Florida Autism Endorsement

  • Autism is the fastest growing disability area in U.S.; 1 in 88 children diagnosed with ASD

  • #8 Best 1 Year Online Masters in Education Programs,, 2020

  • #2 in Florida for Special Education by CollegeFactual, 2020

  • Top 25 Online Master’s in Special Education,, 2020

  • #4 Best Online Master's in Special Education Programs of 2020,, 2020

  • Top 50 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs, U.S. News & World Report, 2020


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