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GVSU COVID-19 Update:

For the health and safety of the Grand Valley community, remote academic instruction will continue through April 25. The Admissions office is available to answer calls Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 616-331-2025 or 1-800-748-0246 or email admissions@gvsu.eduAdditional instructions and updates at

Education, Special Education, M.Ed.

The special education program is approved by the Michigan Department of Education to prepare teachers to work effectively with students who receive special education services. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and receives national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

This program prepares candidates to effectively teach students with disabilities in a variety of settings and to effectively manage the classroom by developing the ability to adjust teaching practices according to individual student needs. The program features highly trained faculty who value interaction with candidates, robust clinical components and field placement opportunities, and content that is directly applicable to the K-12 classroom setting.

The outlook for special education teachers in Michigan and beyond is very positive. Special education teaching positions are considered a critical shortage area by the U.S. Department of Education.

Why Study Special Education at Grand Valley?

  • Intentional. All courses, practica, and internships are specific to the emphasis area of your choosing.
  • Service. The College of Education Student Information and Services Center provides centralized services for advising, program planning, field placement, and certification.
  • Career-oriented. Leadership and professional engagement are available through the Graduate Student Association and The Graduate School.
  • Supportive. Faculty with extensive experience encourage success among students as educators in their academic endeavors at Grand Valley and later in their careers.
  • Flexible. Evening, weekend, online/hybrid, and summer classes make it easy for teachers to schedule.

Helpful Links

For More Information

College of Education
401 W. Fulton St., Building C
(616) 331-6650

Joseph Fisher, Ph.D., Program Director
(616) 331-6189

Graduate Admissions Office

Application Deadline

Deadline for fall semester is May 15; winter deadline is September 15; spring/summer deadline is February 15. Early application is strongly encouraged, those received after the deadline will also be considered if space is available. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Location & Format

Classes for the program are a combination of online and in-seat on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Format: Hybrid


The special education master's degree is 36 credit hours of coursework. Candidates can choose from one of the following four emphasis areas: autism spectrum disorder, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, or learning disabilities. Classes are offered in the evening, on weekends, during the spring/summer semester, and online, making scheduling easier for teachers. All students will study a variety of subjects including:

  • Evidence-based instructional practices
  • Assessment practices
  • Multi-tiered system of supports
  • Instructional and assistive technology
  • Positive behavior intervention and supports
  • Transition practices