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Education, Special Education, M.Ed.

The Master of Education in special education program allows current educators to gain a graduate-level understanding that prepares them to effectively lead students who receive special education services. Educators gain a graduate-level understanding that prepares them to effectively lead students who receive special education services.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Nationally Recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children

GVSU's special education program received the highest level of national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children.

Faculty With Practitioner Experience

Each faculty member is an experienced education practitioner.

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission

GVSU's education program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Source: EMSI, 2021

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.

This program does not lead to initial teacher certification. Please see the Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) program if you are seeking initial teacher certification at the graduate level.

Why Study Special Education at Grand Valley?

  • Grand Valley's M.Ed. in special education received the highest level of national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children.
  • Leadership and professional engagement along with networking opportunities are available through the Graduate Student Association and The Graduate School.
  • Faculty members, with extensive experience, support and encourage success among students as educators in their academic endeavors at Grand Valley and later in their careers.
  • Classes are fully online.
  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.


Grand Valley State University's College of Education and Community Innovation is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA). The faculty are leaders in their fields, melding together the philosophy of education and your needs as a practitioner.

Location & Format

Classes for this program are fully online.



The Special Education master's degree is 36 credit hours of coursework. Candidates can choose from one of the following emphasis areas: autism spectrum disorder, cognitive 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

Career Options

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.

Application Deadline

Deadline for fall semester is July 15; winter, November 15; spring/summer, March 15. Early application is strongly encouraged to secure course enrollment. Those applications received after the deadline will be considered on an individual basis and program availability. Late applicants should contact program director Joseph Fisher, [email protected]. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if you have previously applied to GVSU.

Admission Requirements

For general requirements for graduate admission, visit Grand Valley State University’s admission section of the online catalog.

Admission into a master's of education program has additional requirements, which are available on this page.

If you have additional questions, please contact our graduate admissions office.

International students, please note: This program does not offer enough consecutive physical classroom presence for a student to qualify for an F-1 visa.

For More Information

College of Education and Community Innovation
401 Fulton Street West, Building C
[email protected]
(616) 331-6650

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director

Joe Fisher, Ph.D.
(616) 331-6189