Teacher working one-on-one with student

We firmly believe that every student deserves a top-quality education. The MA in Special Education program

  • offers face-to-face and online options, both designed with full- and part-time tracks to fit working schedules
  • prepares teachers to meet the specific needs of preschool, elementary, junior high, high school, and adult students at risk for or living with learning disabilities
  • teaches practical individualized training in diagnostic-prescriptive teaching within a solid theoretical framework of the Sally L. Smith Methodology, resulting in 100% placement rate
  • partners with DC's renowned Lab School of Washington for year-long student internships
  • gives exposure to a wide variety of methods, materials, and program-specific academic skills through the arts: graphics arts, woodworking, music, dance, drama, puppetry, film making, and a unique feature called Academic Clubs as used at the Lab School
  • does not require previous teaching experience and prepares new teachers for DC, Maryland, and Virginia licensure with reciprocity in over 40 states

Frequently Asked Questions

Our graduates go on to work in many different settings related to the special education field including: public schools, private schools, independent schools, clinics, treatment centers, government, and research institutions and go on to doctoral programs as well as school, organizational, and government leadership.

Full-time students can complete the program in as little as 1 year (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Full-time students typically take 3-4 courses per semester, plus the internship requirement. This means 12-15 credits per semester are completed on a full-time schedule.

Part-time students typically take 6 credits (2 courses) per semester to complete the program in 2 years (or 5 semesters).

Typically, graduate students are eligible for financial aid if enrolled at least part-time. Part-time status is defined as 5 credits for Fall, 5 credits for Spring, and 2 credits in the Summer semester.

Full-time work can be accommodated depending on the circumstances of the student. All courses are offered from 5:30-8:00 PM. Students completing an internship at the Lab School will not be able to work full-time.

Students who require internship credits complete a year-long internship at the Lab School of Washington. Students completing the program in one year typically start their internship during their first semester.

During the year that the internship take place, students at The Lab School are in classrooms from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students often work part-time jobs in the afternoon between internship and class.

Still have questions? Send us an email: specialed@american.edu
202-885-3731

Look inside the Special Education MA

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See what Special Education program alums, faculty, and students think sets this program apart.