Master of Arts in Educational Studies, Special Education
The Master of Arts program in special education at The Ohio State University will help lead you to a fulfilling career helping children with disabilities reach their full learning potentials. This accredited, research-based program is strongly focused in applied behavioral analysis to provide you with the knowledge required to analyze and develop learning and behavior programs for people with disabilities. Whether you want to continue your career in education or become an independent provider, there are several options to expand your knowledge in special education.
Applied Behavior Analysis
This program prepares students to use evidence-based practices based on the principles of applied behavior analysis to increase learning, independence, and the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. The master’s program fulfills the course requirements to pursue the BCBA credential. Learn more about the verified course sequence for BCBA certification.
Special Education Studies
The Special Education Studies Master of Arts program focuses on research and practice. You will become an expert in the design, implementation, and analysis of interventions to improve outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and those at risk for developing disabilities. This program allows you to either add on a teaching license or customize your advanced study program in a special education area of interest.
Optional Add-On Teacher Licensure
Early Childhood Intervention Specialist
Teach children age 3 to grade three who have disabilities or are at risk for developing disabilities. Teachers use intervention tactics that have lasting effects on the educational lives of young children. You must already have a teaching license to complete this specialization.
Mild to Moderate Intervention Specialist
Obtain the skills to teach students in grades K-12 who have learning or mild intellectual disabilities or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Teachers with this specialization use instructional strategies to develop individual learning plans for students. You must already have a teaching license to complete this specialization.
Moderate to Intensive Intervention Specialist
Learn the expertise needed that will help you play an important role in the lives of children with significant disabilities. This specialization allows you to work with children in grades K-12 reach educational and developmental milestones. You must already have a teaching license to complete this specialization.
Hearing Impairment Intervention Specialist
Develop skills to teach d/Deaf and hard of hearing children and adolescents in grades PreK to 12 in educational settings. Get experiences in a range of settings, including oral and simultaneous (speaking and signing) communication. This is an initial licensure specialization.
Key to teaching, research and learning in the college, associateships provide students with professional experience and financial support.
The college annually awards scholarships to its students to support their academic goals.
Minimum program hours
Deadline to apply
Ohio State academic programs are designed to prepare students for licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure and certification at go.osu.edu/onground.
The MA program in special education prepares practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary for the development and implementation of evidence-based interventions for improving socially significant behavior across a wide range of diverse learners in applied settings.
How is instruction delivered?
The master's program is hybrid. Most of the courses in the MA program are online (asynchronous) to accommodate the practicing teachers in the field. There is also a culminating experience, which is either master's thesis or a master's project, depending on the specialization you select.
How long will it take me to complete the program?
Full time students can complete the program in 2 years. Part time students can complete the program in 3 to 4 years.
Will I get a job?
Students who complete the MA program have a wide range of employment options as teachers in K-12 schools serving students with a wide range of abilities. Students who complete the requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) have opportunities to serve students with disabilities and supervise staff in other community settings (e.g., special schools, clinics, hospitals).
What experiences outside the OSU classroom can I expect to have?
Many of our part time MA students who are practicing teachers can do their field experience and thesis research in their own classrooms or other settings if they are interested. For our full time students, we offer many different options for field placement depending on the students' interests and academic focus.
How will my own interests be addressed?
At the start of the master's program, each student will select a specialization and then work with their advisors to customize a program to fit their interests. Throughout the program, students will work closely with their advisors to express their interests, leading up to their culminating project or thesis.
Who teaches the courses I will take?
Almost all special education courses in this program are taught by OSU special education faculty. These faculty have experience teaching children and youth with disabilities in a variety of settings, have doctoral degrees in special education, are leading researchers in the field, are dedicated to teacher education, care deeply about their OSU students and the children they will teach and are committed to supporting master's candidates.
What student-centered activities can I join?
Is there any financial support for me?
The College offers scholarships for newly-admitted and continuing graduate students, who have qualified credentials and a financial need. Several of these scholarships are geared toward individuals in special education programs. There may be graduate associateship positions (Graduate Teaching Associateship or Graduate Research Associateships) available at the Department or Program level. Individuals should apply for these funding opportunities, which are made public during the admission process.
The SPED faculty is a dedicated group, who desire to facilitate the development of competent scholars and practitioners, who are exposed to and acquire evidence-based practices and critical-thinking skills. Members of the SPED faculty have received several national and international awards and are actively engaged in on-going research and scholarship. The faculty is accessible and committed to contribute to the professional development of students, enabling them to achieve their future professional goals.