Search form

MS Special Education, Degree Details

Prepare for a Life-Changing Career in Education

Make a Difference in a Child's Life

A Special Education teaching degree from Western Governors University will help you advance your career. The M.S. in Special Education (K-12) degree program combines preparation for special education instruction with the coursework necessary to earn your master’s degree.

Back to degree overview

How Your Program Works

A Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule

WGU is designed to let you go to school on your time, not according to a class schedule. Our online teacher education programs are flexible and put YOU at the center of your education: You choose when and where to complete your coursework. Once you demonstrate your competency in a subject area, you can move on to your next course.

Online learning is not easy.

You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. Still, your program will be flexible enough to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

Back to degree overview

How Long It Will Take?

That Depends on You

The average time it takes to complete a Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education (K-12) degree program at WGU is 2 to 2½ years. Our competency-based approach, which allows you to advance through your courses using the skills and knowledge you already have, means that the time to complete a degree can vary from student to student. The amount of time it will take you depends upon three factors:

  1. The knowledge and skills you already possess in the field.
  2. The amount of time you spend working on your program each week.
  3. Your self-motivation and determination.

The M.S. Special Education (K-12) degree program requires the completion of 31 competency units (CUs), which are WGU’s credit equivalents.

While you cannot transfer credits directly toward completion of this program, your transcripts will be used to determine whether you have the necessary academic content background in special education for enrollment. A personal evaluation of your transcripts from prior colleges is required prior to admission.

Learn more about the transcript evaluation process

Ultimately, the pace at which you complete your M.S. in Special Education (K-12) online degree program depends on how rapidly you pass assessments.

It’s your program. It’s up to you. Move at your own speed.

Back to degree overview

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

WGU was the first university in the country to employ a cutting-edge, competency-based learning model that lets you use skills and knowledge you already have to accelerate your degree program.

In WGU’s online Master of Science in Special Education degree program, students advance by demonstrating their competence in each subject area. You’ll be able to move quickly through material you already know so you can spend your time focusing on what you still need to learn.

  • You'll work with a faculty member assigned to you, your Mentor, on a personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you move through the program.
  • You’ll collaborate with your Faculty Mentor to determine the learning resources that will help you develop and demonstrate your competency in each subject area.
  • With few exceptions, you’ll be able to choose when and where you study.
  • You’ll be required to complete at least eight CUs per term (typically four courses) to make On Time Progress, and you can add courses and move more quickly if you choose to and are able.
  • You’ll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.

Back to degree overview

Save Time AND Money

Graduate with Less Student Debt, or None at All

Example Student A:

Total Credits in Program: 31

Time to complete: 2 years (4 terms)

Tuition: $11,560

Example Student B:

Total Credits in Program: 31

Time to complete: 18 months (3 terms)

Tuition: $8,670

We're committed to keeping tuition low and ensuring that our online teacher education degree programs are the very best value for our students. WGU doesn’t spend money on classrooms, research facilities, or football stadiums. Instead, we focus on keeping costs low. In fact, we haven’t increased tuition since 2008.

WGU is Half the Cost
WGU’s Master of Science in Special Education Degree Program is about half the cost of a comparable program at another online university.

The Faster You Go, the More You Save
Because of WGU's flat-rate tuition, the faster you go, the more you save. Tuition is charged at a flat rate every six months and covers all coursework attempted in that time. Our competency-based approach means you'll have the opportunity to accelerate your progress; if you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

WGU's online Master's in Special Education (K-12) degree program is designed to be affordable for hardworking adults with bills to pay.

WGU University of Phoenix Capella University
$2,890 per six month term.
If it takes two years = $11,560
46 credits x $588 per credit = $26,910 58 credit hours x $436 per credit = $25,288

Here’s what it costs:

  • $2,890: Tuition per 6-Month Term
  • $145: Resource Fee per 6-Month Term
  • $65: One-Time Application Fee

For this program, you'll be expected to complete 8 competency units (credit hours) per term – each course generally represents three or four competency units. Because we allow you to complete extra courses at no extra cost, you may be able to increase the value of your program by dedicating extra time to your studies.

Teacher education programs may include additional fees, including ones for take-home labs, demonstration teaching, and/or the educational leadership practicum.

  • You pay for time—not credits.
  • Your tuition does not go up if you complete additional courses in any give six-month term.
  • The more courses you complete each term the shorter the time to your finished degree.

Compare WGU’s tuition to other schools

Back to degree overview

Financial Aid

It's Okay to Ask for Help

While WGU's low, flat-rate tuition is intended to help you graduate without putting your financial future at risk, there are times when responsible borrowing is a good option.

Federal financial aid is available to many students.
Learn more about tuition and fees.
Compare WGU tuition to tuition at other schools.

Back to degree overview

This Program Will Help Your Career

WGU Degrees are Recognized, Respected, and Accredited

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and was the first exclusively online university to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The NCATE accrediting team extensively reviewed the entire WGU Teachers College curriculum to ensure that “candidates have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn.” This involved intensive interviews with students, faculty, graduates, school district personnel, and education experts, as well as a review of WGU student performance on national performance exams.

WGU is an NEA Academy Partner.

Learn more about accreditation here.

A Special Education degree from WGU tells employers that you’re serious about success. Take the next step.

WGU is also supported by over 20 major corporations and foundations who believe in the university’s commitment to producing highly competent graduates. Several of these corporations continue to serve on our National Advisory Board.

Back to degree overview

WGU Graduate Success

Just Ask Employers

Our latest survey of employers of WGU graduates speaks volumes about our ability to prepare grads to work in many industries:

As a graduate of WGU, you’ll have a valued credential that is recognized by employers. You can learn more about how employers view WGU graduates by exploring our Student Success and Performance Data.

Back to degree overview

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

When you enroll in the M.S. Special Education (K-12) program at WGU, you’ll advance by mastering course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that prove that you’ve learned what you need to know for each subject area.

These rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments, and projects) let you demonstrate your competence in each subject area in order to pass the course and earn competency units (CUs), or credit equivalents.

WGU sets a high standard, and we want our students to succeed. You'll be given ample opportunity to master subject matter, and be allowed a limited number of re-takes.

Back to degree overview

Get Started

Apply and Enroll

To be admitted into this Teachers College program, you need to submit an official transcript verifying receipt of a baccalaureate degree (B.A. or B.S.) from a regionally accredited institution. You are also required to possess a current, valid teaching license. WGU also recommends six credit hours of college-level foreign language study. See more about Teachers College admissions requirements. and overall admissions information.

Speak to an enrollment counselor and apply today. You’ll be on your way to transforming your career.

It’s your life.

Back to degree overview

WGU awards

Request More Information

You’re using an unsupported version of your browser..

You’ll still have full access to the site, but some functionality may be lost. For the best experience, upgrade your browser by following the links below.