Earning a graduate degree doesn't have to cost you time away from your other responsibilities. Northwestern College's online Masters in Special Education means you can take classes and complete your coursework whenever it's most convenient for you.
Take one online 8-week class at a time, completing two classes each semester, and you'll finish your M.Ed. in 2 years or less and be eligible for financial aid. The Masters in Special Education program also enables students to count credits toward their M.Ed from our endorsement in Instructional Strategist I or II or work on both at the same time.
Our online Masters in Special Education curriculum was developed in concert with the Iowa Board of Education (BOE).
This master's program is approved for the TEACH Grant which can help you pay for your masters if you teach or plan to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area. For more information visit the TEACH Grant website.
Required Core (15 credits):
EDU 555 -
Trends and Issues in 21st Century Education (3 credits)
(3 credits) Teachers and schools must continually examine currentpractices in PreK-12 education in search of better solutions to increasestudentachievement and to thoroughly prepare children for the world in whichthey will live and work. In this course students will study currentsocial, political and academic trends and issues affecting children,teachers and schools. Students will define their personal positionsbased on facts and experience, and will collaborate with others toadvocate for solutions that improve education for PreK-12 grade students. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 560 -
Curriculum and Assessment for Student Learning (3 credits)
Through a process of discussion, reflection, reading, discoveryand practice, this course will lead students to a more comprehensiveunderstanding of how curriculum and assessment are interrelated. Studentswill delve into timely issues associated with curriculum and assessmentaffecting schools. Upon completion, students will be prepared to developaligned curriculum and assessment that takes into consideration local,state and national standards, best practices and students' diverse needs. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education. (3 credits)
EDU 570 -
Teaching and Learning with Technology (3 credits)
(3 credits) Technology integration in the K-12 setting can enhancelearning, improve motivation and engagement, increase accessibility,individualize instruction, differentiate assessment and improvecommunication with parents and stakeholders. In this course studentswill broaden their understanding of the technology available to them inthe PreK-12 classroom and improve their ability to leverage specifictechnology to improve teaching and learning. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 610 -
Educational Research Methods and Design (3 credits)
(3 credits) This course will provide an overview of research methodologyemployed for studies in the field of education. Topics include basicresearch methodology, interpretation of findings, and application ofresearch in educational settings. Students will develop their ability tocritically evaluate educational research and to judiciously applyfindings in their professional settings. By the conclusion of the coursestudents will be able to identify a potential topic for future researchand outline the basic methodology needed to conduct the study. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 635 -
Master’s in Education Capstone (3 credits)
(3 credits) In this course students will apply the cumulative knowledge andskills learned in their master's program through an action research project.Research focus may be related to student learning, teacher effectiveness,school quality, school policy or other area by approval. The project will beproposed, approved, designed, and implemented prior to thestudent's graduation with a master's degree in education from NorthwesternCollege. Students who do not have a finished capstone approved by theM.Ed. Director at the conclusion of EDU635 will repeat thecourse for credit. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.Note: Graded on a pass/no pass basis.
Special Education Emphasis (15 credits):
SPED 520 -
Assessment Planning and Practice
This course will provide an in-depth presentation of the complex issue ofassessment, including an examination of evaluation procedures, frompre-referral intervention, eligibility/placement/program decision-making toprogress monitoring of research-based instructional interventions based onResponse to Intervention (RTI). Students will examine a variety of formaland informal instruments and techniques used in assessing the strengths,needs, interests, and preferences of children and youth with exceptionallearning needs. The focus is placed on providing students with knowledgeand skills necessary for selecting, using, interpreting, and evaluatingresults from measurement and/or screening instruments and techniquescommonly employed by professionals to facilitate special educationplacement, Individual Education Program (IEP) development and evaluation ofthe effectiveness of that instruction using progress-monitoring techniques.Issues in assessment and instruction concerning multicultural and bilingualspecial education will also be addressed. (3 credits)
SPED 605 -
Instructional Decision Making and Leadership in Special Education
This course provides an introduction to theoretical and practicalapplications of data-driven decision making, assessments, and curriculumplanning for educators. Students will explore the uses of qualitative andquantitative data by educational leaders for the purpose of improvingstudent and organizational outcomes. This course will also focus on using acollaborative problem-solving approach and response to interventionprocesses to improve the learning rate of student. (3 credits)
SPED 612 -
Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Special Education
This course is an intensive study of the legislation and litigation involvedwith individuals with disabilities specifically concentrating on thosestudents between the ages of birth - 21 years. A historical as well ascurrent study of legislation used as the basis for providing specialeducation services on the federal and state level will be covered. The legalsystem on the federal and state level is covered as well as criticallitigations that have influenced the field of special education. The studentwill become knowledgeable about the legal precedence for all that they do asa special educator. (3 credits)
SPED 550 -
Communication and Collaborative Partnerships
This course will prepare special education personnel, classroom teachers,related services personnel, and other support staff for collaborativeconsultation, teamwork and transition in serving the educational needs ofstudents and their families. Consideration of the role of home and parentsin the educational programming for exceptional children, and practical topositive strategies that can be used in working with parents. The context,content, processes, practices, and support of collaborative schoolconsultation will be addressed. (3 credits)
SPED 545 -
Behavior and Social Interventions of Learners
In this course students will learn about the basic principles of learningthat govern human behavior as well as how these principles can be applied inthe classroom to help individuals with exceptional learning needs reachtheir maximum potential. Students will also learn how to measure andanalyze student behavior in order to evaluate student learning and makenecessary adjustment to teaching strategies for individuals with exceptionallearning needs. (3 credits)
Total Credits: 30 credit hours