If you are a teacher desiring to advance into a more specialized area in the field of education, pursuing an online Master’s degree may be in your future. But what if you’ve been out of school for a while? Do you really have to invest time into the effort of studying for and taking an entrance exam like the GRE as part of your application process for that Master’s? The good news is that many schools with online Master of Education (MEd) or other education degrees are making the transition to waiving their GRE requirement. Schools that do not require the GRE or waive the requirement under certain conditions recognize that there are other factors that can indicate a successful student for their program. Factors such as undergraduate GPA and already having an advanced degree are the most common reasons that can lead to a waiver, and some programs even encourage prospective students to contact their enrollment advisors or admissions counselors to learn if there are other ways to be approved for the waiver. So if you want to be a teacher or move into a particular area in the education field but don’t want to go through the process of taking that GRE, look through our list of some of the best online education Master’s programs. (And if you’ve already taken the GRE, no need to throw out those scores–check out our list of the 50 Best Online Master of Education Degree Programs).
Methodology: Determining to provide a guide to the best online No-GRE Master of Education degree programs, we looked for programs that do not require the GRE or provide clear guidelines on how to obtain a waiver. We examined publicly available sources to find our pool of schools, such as U.S. News and World Report rankings, school websites, and the websites of education accrediting bodies such as CAEP, NCATE, and TEAC. In equal parts, the following points determined the ranking:
- Accreditation and program recognition
- Program flexibility and specializations offered
- Affordability and ease of GRE waiver
North Carolina State University began as the land-grant North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1887. One lone building in Raleigh, North Carolina served as the location for classes, which began in 1889 with 72 enrolled students and six professors. In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act provided an avenue for the school to expand by allowing land-grant institutions to send school representatives to cooperative extension programs throughout the state, particularly in more rural areas to provide educational outreach to agriculturists. This cause the school to grow to become the largest university in the state, and it was renamed the North Carolina State University at Raleigh (called NC State or simply NCSU). Over 300 academic degree programs are offered as this public research university with twelve colleges and over 34,000 current students. A land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, NCSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Through NC State’s College of Education, students have a variety of online Master’s degree programs through which they can pursue their passion for education. Five programs are offered entirely online: Adult and Community College Education, Learning Design and Technology, Science Education, Training and Development, and Technology Education. In addition, nine Master of Arts in Teaching programs are offered in the hybrid Distance Education format in which some of the courses are online and some are face-to-face either at the main campus in Raleigh or at an extension location. Students can also pursue an Elementary Education degree is this Distance Education format, either as an MEd or an MS, and have the option to specialize in Science or Math to customize the degree. The program requirements range from 30 to 36 credit hours, and the coursework is also dependent upon the program chosen. The GRE is no longer a requirement for many of these online programs. Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
Two years after the Kansas Territory became the State of Kansas in 1861, Governor Thomas Carney signed a bill to establish a state university. The school would be in Lawrence, Kansas on the conditions that the town could provide an endowment of $15,000 and a campus site of at least 40 acres. Lawrence was successful in raising the funds and securing the location, and the University of Kansas (KU) was officially chartered in 1864. At first the school offered preparatory education to just under 60 coeducational young students. By 1869 college-level coursework was offered, and now there are thirteen schools providing academic programs to more than 30,000 students. There is an array of famous alumni from KU known for entertainment, sports, and politics. There are five campuses of this public research university, and regional accreditation is granted by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Three distinct online Master of Science in Education (MSE) degrees are offered through different departments in the KU School of Education. Students can pursue Special Education with several emphases and endorsement options through the Department of Special Education, Educational Leadership through the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, or Curriculum & Instruction through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. All programs range between 30 and 36 credit hours and can be completed in about two years. Coursework is provided online through KU Connect, and students are “engaged through an intuitive navigation, integrated multimedia and robust tools for collaboration.” Admission Advisors and Student Success Coordinators began online support from the beginning, and many other support services are available for online students at KU. GRE scores are not required for admission. Accredited under National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards by CAEP
Ball State University began in 1917 as the Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division when five brothers purchased the former Eastern Indiana Normal School and turned the property over to the state. Lucius, William, Edmund, Frank and George Ball were local manufacturers and wanted an institution that would train teachers for the area. Located in Muncie, Indiana, the school welcomed 235 students on the first day of classes in 1918. The school was renamed after the brothers in 1922, and by 1965 university status was gained and the school officially became Ball State University (BSU or “Ball State”). A public coeducational research university, Ball State now welcomes 22,000 enrolled students into the eight schools and colleges and online. Nearly 350 academic degree programs are offered on the main campus in Muncie or at the two satellite campuses, and regional accreditation is provided by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Through the Teachers College at Ball State Online, students have their choice of several exceptional, fully-online Master of Arts in Education degrees. The 30-credit hour Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in Elementary Education degree program provides three focus areas (Early Childhood, Applied Teaching Practices, and Reading and Literacy Instruction) and six certificate specializations for a highly-customizable experience. Also offered online, the MA in Special Education degree program has eight focus areas from which to choose: five certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism, Response to Interventions, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, and Disabilities for Post-Secondary Settings with an Emphasis in Autism or three licensing options (Mild or Severe Interventions Licenses and an Early Childhood Special Education License). Services and resources to help online students succeed are plentiful, and include a Writing Center, tutoring, and tech support. There is no GRE requirement. Accredited by CAEP
Photo courtesy of the University of Cincinnati Creative Services
Founded in 1870 as Cincinnati College, the University of Cincinnati (UC) incorporated two schools that had both been established in 1819 (Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio). The University had been in the works since the 1858 death of local merchant Charles McMicken, who in his will bequeathed funds to create an institution of higher education. The Civil War and other factors hindered the school from opening until 1870, but now this comprehensive public research university has more than 44,000 students studying over 350 academic degree programs offered through the fourteen schools and colleges. Located in the Heights neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, UC has a multitude of campuses spread over almost 500 acres. A member of the University System of Ohio and one of the largest universities in the nation, UC is provided with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: UC’s College of Education offers multiple start dates a year and five distinct educational paths for future and current educators. Students can choose from Master of Education (MEd) programs in Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Leadership, STEM, or Gifted, Creative & Talented. All programs are 30 credit hours with coursework that can be completed entirely online—each specialization also has a dedicated webpage with focus area-specific resources. Utilizing a “multifaceted approach to deliver course content through an asynchronous combination of media presentations, readings, discussion sessions, online assignments, peer and professional support systems, and local internships,” the programs are designed to be completed in about two years and provides support from beginning to end. Enrollment advisors help students navigate initial coursework and entry into the program. Once a student has applied, a Program Manager is on hand to offer guidance all the way until graduation. There is no GRE requirement for students who possess an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Accredited by CAEP
Known as “Indiana’s Land-Grant University,” Purdue University was conceived in 1865 by declaration of the Indiana General Assembly. The federal Morrill Land-Grant of 1862 provided the impetus to establish the school, but industrialist John Purdue and the residents of Tippecanoe County sealed the deal for the school to be located in West Lafayette, Indiana with additional funding and land. As the major benefactor, John Purdue requested the school be named for him, and in 1871 a groundbreaking ceremony would lead to classes for 39 students three years later. Currently more than 40,000 students are enrolled in over 250 academic degree programs offered in the ten colleges and online. The West Lafayette campus serves as the flagship in the Purdue University System, and this public research university is a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools regionally accredits Purdue.
Program Details: Offering three Master of Science in Education (MSEd) degrees 100% online, Purdue covers many bases for professionals who want to enter or advance in the field of education. Students of all educational backgrounds can benefit from the MSEd in Learning Design and Technology (LDT), a degree that focuses on developing “knowledge and skills to design, develop, implement, and evaluate multimedia instructional materials.” The MSEd in Special Education program gives students several options: the 31-credit Master’s route, an initial-licensure route with specializations in Mild (36 credits) or Mild & Intense (45 credits) Intervention, and the additional special education licensure route with varying Intervention Levels (32-41 credits). The MSEd in Curriculum & Instruction degree is for teachers who desire to enrich their students’ learning. The 30-credit program presents four concentrations in Gifted, Creative and Talented Studies, English Language Learners, Mathematics Education, and Educational Technology. Applicants with an advanced degree who graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are exempt from the GRE requirement. Accredited by NCATE
Saint Joseph’s University began as Saint Joseph’s College in 1851 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Classes for the 30 enrolled students (all men) were held beside Saint Joseph’s Church, which was a congregation following the Society of Jesus religious tradition. The school outgrew the church and in 1922 a fundraising campaign helped the school move to a 23-acre location in a residential area of Philadelphia. The school became coeducational in 1970 and a full university in 1978, and since 2008 SJU also encompasses a former Episcopalian school site with the Maguire Campus. A third campus, Overbrook Campus, helps accommodate the over 9,200 students currently enrolled in over 140 academic degree programs, and this private Roman Catholic school is the seventh oldest Jesuit university in the United States and a part of the 28-member Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Saint Joseph’s has regional accreditation through the the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: Saint Joseph’s provides online, two-year MS in Education degree programs that help teachers become more specialized. Students choosing Special Education have their choice of several tracks in addition to the general Special Education track (all of which can also be stand-alone certificates): Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Wilson Reading System®. The Special Education core requires 24 credit hours—depending upon track chosen, the credit hour requirement can range from 36 to 39. The MS in Education Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing PK-12 degree program can provide initial teacher certification in Pennsylvania (and potentially in other states through reciprocity). The 36-credit hour curriculum prepares students with classes such as “Sign Communication in Instructional Settings” and “Families, Schools, and Communities: Communication in Collaboration.” Two other MS in Education degrees are also available online: Educational Leadership and Secondary Education. The GRE is not required for admission into any of the Masters of Education programs.
The Texas Legislature established Texas Tech University’s precursor, the Texas Technological College, in Lubbock, Texas in 1923. Located in the South Plains of West Texas, the school opened for classes just two years later. Six buildings made up the campus initially, and just over 900 coeducational undergraduate students were the first to enroll in 1925—two years later graduate programs were added. Gaining university status and the new name Texas Tech University (TTU or “Texas Tech”) in 1969, the school in now the flagship institution of the Texas Tech University System and the sixth largest university in Texas. More than 36,000 students are now enrolled in over 300 academic degree programs in TTU’s twelve colleges and schools, and the campus covers nearly 2,000 acres. A public research university (with “highest research activity” as designated by the Carnegie Foundation), Texas Tech receives regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Texas Tech provides an online Master of Education in Special Education degree program housed in the College of Education and through the eLearning & Academic Partnerships division. The 36-credit hour program presents six areas of emphasis in addition to the general track: Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, Deaf Education, Educational Diagnostician, Orientation and Mobility, and Visual Impairment. Entirely online, students take four required core courses—the remaining 24 credit hours are devoted to the emphasis area specialization electives. For the general track, classes cover topics such as “Children and Youth with Low Incidence Disabilities,” “Authentic Assessment for Students with Exceptionalities,” and “Instructional Strategies for Teaching Students with High Incidence Disabilities.” Students choose a final Master’s thesis or comprehensive written exam to finish the program. The Office of Graduate Education and Research supplies advising and other graduate support services to online students. Applicants are encouraged but not required to submit GRE scores. Accredited by NCATE
The University of Dayton can trace its roots back to a Dayton, Ohio school that was developed on a 125-acre farm. The St. Mary’s School for Boys opened in 1850 and was developed by Father Leo Meyer, S.M and three Society of Mary (Marianist) brothers. Campus has grown to nearly 400 acres today, and the school transitioned into the University of Dayton (UD) in 1920. One of only three Marianist universities in the United States, this private Roman Catholic institution of higher education is a member of both the Association of Marianist Universities and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Four schools and colleges (School of Law, School of Engineering, School of Business Administration, School of Education and Health Sciences, and the College of Arts and Sciences) provide over 130 academic degree programs to more than 10,000 enrolled students. UD has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Nine online Master of Science (MSE) degree options await students in the University of Dayton School of Education and Health Sciences through the Department of Teacher Education and the Department of Educational Administration. Students have their choice of three Educational Administrations degree programs ranging from 30 to 42 credit hours and six Teacher Education programs. The programs designed for teachers include degree options such as Interdisciplinary Education Studies, Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, and Literacy. Classes are presented online asynchronously and led by the “highly qualified and experienced” faculty members. Student assistance is offered for online education students in addition to the support provided by faculty, staff and fellow students. For some MSE programs, GRE scores may be submitted to strengthen the application; other programs require scores but waive them if the undergraduate GPA was 2.75 or higher. Accredited by NCATE
Established in 1909 as the First District Agricultural School, Arkansas State University’s original purpose was to provide agriculture and textile manufacturing training. The campus was on donated land in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and classes began in 1910 for nearly 200 students. Eight faculty members provided the training, but the school quickly grew first into a junior college and then into a college. By 1967 the school had changed names several times but would become definitively Arkansas State University (ASU or “A-State”). The flagship of the Arkansas State University System, A-State occupies nearly 1,400 acres, enrolls more than 14,000 students on the main campus, and currently has an alumni network of over 80,000. A public research university with over 160 academic degree programs, A-State is the second largest institution of higher education in the state of Arkansas and has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Various online Master of Science degrees can be obtained from A-State, and students have a choice of avenues including administration, curriculum development, early childhood, and special education. Four MSE programs require 30 credit hours, and there are three that require 36 hours. The MSE in Gifted, Talented, and Creative (GTC) degree program, for example, is a 30-credit hour program that can be completed in eighteen months and includes classes such as “Current Issues in Gifted Education” and “Identification, Nature, and Needs of the Gifted, Talented, and Creative.” All programs require a practicum, internship or Capstone to complete the degree—the 36-credit hour Special Education Instructional Specialist K-12 degree program requires the course “Special Ed Lab Experiences,” for instance, in which students develop “field-based projects” that are guided to fruition within a special education field placement. An assortment of A-State Online graduate success stories are available to help prospective students with their decision. There is no GRE requirement. Accredited by CAEP
The rich history of George Washington University began as Columbian College many years before a single student would attend. In 1790, George Washington declared in his first presidential State of the Union address that founding a national university would be central to the benefit of the American people. Nearly 30 years later in 1819, a collection of Baptist ministers put forth a petition to Congress for this university. The ministers collectively raised the funds and purchased 46 acres in the District of Columbia. Finally, in 1822 classes began for the first group of students at Columbian College. In 1904 the name was changed in honor of the first president, and George Washington University (GW) is a private research university with three campuses, fourteen schools and colleges, and over 25,000 students. Regional accreditation for GW is granted by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: Through the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), GW Online provides four Master of Arts degree programs and a collection of graduate certificates. The certification programs offer focus areas like Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners and Educational Leadership and Administration. The degree options are also diverse, and cover areas such as Leadership and Special Education. The MA in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership degree is 36-credit hours, offered completely online, and can be completed in just two years. Core courses include “Developing Multimedia Materials” and “Computers in Education and Human Development” and electives can be chosen from a range of classes such as “Critical Issues in Distance Education” and “Advanced Instructional Design.” This degree is ideal for professionals who want to successfully “navigate the rapidly changing global environment of jobs in educational technology,” and there is no GRE requirements for admission. The GSEHD is accredited by CAEP
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (University of Illinois or UIUC) was initially established as the Illinois Industrial University, one of the original land-grant universities after the passage of the federal Morrill Act of 1862. The institution was founded in 1867 and located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. Classes began in 1868 with two professors and 77 students. The first President, John Milton, pushed for a liberal arts focus, but the university leaders preferred to provide an educational focus on industrial arts and agriculture. Even though Milton resigned in 1880, his drive for liberal arts heavily influenced the school, which now has sixteen schools and colleges offering over 250 academic degree programs. A public research institution and the flagship campus of the University of Illinois System, UIUC sits on nearly 6,400 acres and serves more than 45,000 students. A land-, sea-, and space-grant school, regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: With a goal of addressing the “challenges facing today’s learners by advancing knowledge and impacting policy through research, teaching, and outreach,” the College of Education at Illinois offers an online Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership degree program with five predetermined concentrations through the Education Policy, Organization & Leadership Department (EPOL). Students can choose from concentration focus areas in Diversity & Equity in Education, Education Administration & Leadership, Global Studies in Education, Human Resource Development, and Learning Design & Leadership. There are also eleven additional tracks within the concentrations to further customize the degree, such as the Management of ELearning for Workplace Learning & Training track within the Human Resource Development specialization or the Bilingual or ESL Education track within Learning Design & Leadership. All focus areas are entirely online, and the GRE is not required for admissions to any of the online Master’s programs in the College of Education.
#12. University of Iowa
The State University of Iowa was founded in 1847 shortly after Iowa joined the United States as the 29th state in the Union. Located in Iowa City, the University of Iowa (the approved moniker for discussing the school in conversation since a Board of Regents vote in 1964. Officially the school is still named “State University of Iowa” but is mostly referred to as UI or “Iowa”) opened for classes in 1855. The coeducational school welcomed 124 students on the first day, allowing Iowa to lay claim to being the oldest university to admit both men and women without distinction or prejudice. The oldest university in the state and the second largest, Iowa is the flagship campus and is designated as a space-grant institution. Eleven colleges offer over 200 academic degree programs to the current student body of more than 33,000 students. A public research university, Iowa is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Three Master of Arts (MA) degrees are offered online through the University of Iowa College of Education. Students can choose from Educational Leadership, Educational Measurement, or Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency. The MA in Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency (MATLCC) is a 33-credit hour program for current instructors. Five start dates a year for this eighteen-month program allows for both flexibility and convenience, and customization is available in areas such as “English Language Learners, STEM, Diversity in Schools, Literacy, Talented and Gifted/Exceptionality, Global Education, LGBTQ Issues in Education, and Technology.” Core coursework explores topics such as “Learning Environments: Design, Context, Activity” and “Diversity and Identity in K12 Schools.” The degree is not for those seeking initial licensure but is ideal for educators who desire to be equipped with the skills needed to “develop, implement, and manage the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction in their classrooms.” The GRE is not required.
The University of San Diego was created when the San Diego College for Women and the San Diego College for Men and the School of Law merged in 1972. The San Diego College for Women was founded in 1949 by two influential religious leaders: Reverend Charles Buddy, bishop of the Diocese of San Diego and Reverend Mother Rosalie Hill, Superior Vicaress of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. An endowment was provided by the Society, which allowed classes to begin in 1952, and two years later the San Diego College for Men and the School of Law was founded. The University of San Diego (USD) since the merger in 1972, the school sits on 180 scenic acres known as Alcalá Park. Six schools and colleges provide more than 60 academic degree programs for the 8,500 currently enrolled students, and USD is a private Catholic university with regional accreditation through the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: Through a partnership with the Division of Professional and Continuing Education and USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, students are presented with a 30-credit hour, entirely online Master of Education (MEd) degree program. Housed in the Department of Learning and Teaching, the program provides “a strong researched-based curricular foundation with immediate practical classroom applications.” Core classes focus on topics like “Social Justice and Educational Equity” and “Cognition and Learning,” and students have five specializations options: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), Inclusive Learning, School Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, and Literacy and Digital Learning. The program is designed for current teachers with at least two years of experience and can be completed in eighteen months. A Master of Education student blog is available as a resource to current and prospective students. Applicants have the option of submitting GRE scores, but it is not required. USD is accredited by CAEP
When Kansas became a state in 1861, the movement to establish a teacher training school was in place. The Kansas State Normal School was founded in Emporia, Kansas in 1863 and would grow to become Emporia State University. Classes began in 1865 for the eighteen enrolled students, and the only professor also served as the school’s president. The first building that would occupy the campus would not be completed until four years had passed from the school’s establishment and after the first graduation had occurred. More funding became available as other normal schools around the state closed and allowed it to be allocated for Emporia’s school, which changed names several times as it grew. Becoming Emporia State University in 1977, the university now enrolls almost 6,000 students in more than 80 academic degree programs offered through the four schools and colleges. The third oldest public university in Kansas, Emporia State has regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction degree program at Emporia State University offers four different focus areas completely online. All four MS in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) programs are 33 credit hours and can be completed in an accelerated twelve months. Students have a choice of Curriculum Leadership PreK-12, Effective Practitioner PreK-12, Instructional Coach/Teacher Leader PreK-12, or National Board Certification PreK-12. The different areas allow for students of varying experience and with distinct professional goals to find a program that fits their needs. Four start dates are provided for convenience, and all concentrations share 24 core credit hours to begin their degree. Classes in the core include “Supporting Technology Integration for School Leaders,” “Beliefs, Values & Issues in Educational Practice,“ and “Curriculum Leadership: Models & Strategies.” A final practicum culminates the degree for all four concentrations—students demonstrate the skills they have learned in a field experience. No GRE is required. Accredited by NCATE
Not many schools can make the claim that their existence is owed to a group of governors from more than one state. Western Governors University (WGU), however, is a school option for many because of the Western Governors Association, which is made up of nineteen governors from the western states of America. At an Association meeting in 1995, the governors conspired to design and establish a school uniquely suited to the needs of working adults and non-traditional aged students. The school was founded in 1997 and based upon a competency-based model of educating. Administrative offices are in Salt Lake City, Utah, and all programs are offered entirely online. A private non-profit university, WGU has four colleges (the College of Business, the College of Information Technology, the Teachers College, and the College of Health Professions) to provide programs to the almost 80,000 currently enrolled students. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities provides regional accreditation.
Program Details: WGU’s Teacher College offers five initial-licensure degree programs and fourteen programs for current educators who want to specialize in a particular area or advance into leadership positions. All programs that lead to licensure are Master of Arts in Teaching degrees; the focus areas include Elementary Education, English Education, Mathematics Education (Middle Grades and Secondary), and Science Education. The programs for already licensed teachers provide lots of areas to expand a student’s knowledge and skills: three Master of Science degrees (Special Ed, Curriculum & Instruction, and Education Leadership), two Master of Education degrees (Instructional Design and Learning Technology), and nine MA degrees (one in English Language Learning, three in Mathematics, and five different Science Education). All programs require their own set of coursework and credit hours. GRE scores are not required, but part of the application process includes a meeting with an Enrollment Counselor. Accredited by NCATE, now CAEP
#16. Graceland University
Graceland College, which would grow into Graceland University, was established in 1895 by the Community of Christ (known then as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in Lamoni, Iowa. The name “Graceland” was chosen due to the graceful, hilly slope that served as the site of the campus. Classes were held initially in the downtown area because campus construction was not completed when the first enrolled students began studying. Coeducational from the beginning, eighteen men and women were in the first group of students. A campus location in Independence, Missouri was added in 1910, and additional satellite campuses sprung up in both states. This private liberal arts institution is still affiliated with the Community of Christ and was granted university status in 2000. Now nearly 2,500 students are enrolled in more than 50 academic degree programs, and the Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to Graceland University.
Program Details: Graceland’s Edmund J. Gleazer School of Education provides five completely online MEd degree programs for both teachers and those who aspire to work in other teaching roles. Master of Education degrees in Differentiated Instruction, Literacy Instruction, Curriculum & Instruction, Special Education, and Instructional Leadership are available and all require 30 credit hours to graduate. All programs offer multiple start dates each year and allow students to begin their program when convenient and finish in about two years. The coursework is varied and relevant and runs the gamut with topics like “Critical Perspectives of Children’s Literature,” “Managing Student Learning and Behavior,” and “Classroom Inquiry and Action Research.” Focusing on a “practiced-based” approach, students of the online MEd are expected to work in a classroom setting in tandem with their own coursework and apply what they learn. There is no GRE requirement. Accredited by the State of Iowa Department of Education
Begun as the Arkansas Industrial University, the University of Arkansas was created in 1871 in order to participate in the federal funding provided to states to open institutions of higher education through the Morrill Act of 1862. Classes at the Fayetteville, Arkansas school welcomed eight students in 1872—and the campus site was a former barn. The school grew to be more than just an industrial institution, so students successfully lobbied to have the name changed in 1899 to University of Arkansas (“U of A”), and now more than 27,000 students enjoy calling U of A their school of choice. A public state doctoral research university and flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System, U of A offers over 200 academic degree programs and employs more than 1,350 faculty members. Designated as a land- and space-grant school, regional accreditation is provided to the University by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: U of A Online offers multiple educational Master degree program options completely online. Administration, mathematics, and adult learning are some of the venues professionals can explore online and with no on-campus requirement. The MEd in Adult and Lifelong Learning degree is 33-credit hours non-thesis program to help students gain the skills to lead and educate adults. The MEd in Educational Leadership is a program that “provides professional preparation for educators seeking administrative positions”—it also requires 33 credit hours and can be completed in about two years. For current high school teachers who desire to enhance their mathematics skills in order to “teach with confidence any high school mathematics or statistics course from introductory algebra and geometry to AP calculus or statistics,” the 30-credit hour MA in Secondary Mathematics offered through the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is ideal and guides students to “complete a portfolio documenting each of the program’s components.” GRE scores are either not required or waived with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Accredited by CAEP
A community school was developed in the late 1800s by families in the mountains of North Carolina. Desiring a better education for their children, the parents hired a teacher from Virginia named Robert Lee Madison. Madison began teaching the children in 1889 but saw the need for more teachers in the area. Acquiring state funding, the Cullowhee Academy opened as normal school by Madison soon after, and this Academy would become Western Carolina University (WCU or simply “Western”) in 1967. Just five years later during the University of North Carolina System reorganization, Western was brought into the collective system and is now one of sixteen universities in the system. Located in the unincorporated village of Cullowhee on nearly 600 acres, WCU is a public coeducational institution of higher education with over 11,000 students currently enrolled. Eight schools and colleges make up the school, and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Offered only online through WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions in the School of Teaching and Learning, degrees in Special Education, Elementary Education, or Middle Grades Education can be achieved. The Special Education degrees are for both current teachers (the Masters of Education degree) or students who need licensure (the Masters of Teaching degree). The MAEd program has a variable 30-33 credit hour requirement based on the student’s needs, and the MAT program requires 42 credit hours. The Elementary and Middle Grades degrees are both MAEds and require 30 credit hours each. Track options vary slightly for both, including Literacy, STEM, or AIG for the Elementary focus area and Language Arts/Literacy, Math, or STEM for Middle Grades. Advisors are available to provide guidance and support as well as resources such as “How-to Instructions” for being an online student. The GRE is not required for admission. Accredited by NCATE, now CAEP
Future United States President Milliard Fillmore founded a private medical school in Buffalo, New York in 1846. This institution would go on to become SUNY Buffalo but its initial focus was on teaching obstetrics. Joined by a law school and an undergraduate college, the school became more comprehensive. In 1962 the State University of New York (SUNY) System purchased the school, and it was named as we know it today: State University of New York at Buffalo (University at Buffalo, UB, or SUNY Buffalo). The flagship institution in the SUNY system, University at Buffalo is a public research school with campuses in both Buffalo and Amherst and has the highest enrollment of students. Over 30,000 students are enrolled in the thirteen schools and colleges and more than 350 academic degree programs are offered. A sea- and space-grant institution, SUNY Buffalo is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: The Graduate School of Education (GSE) at the University at Buffalo offers eight online Master of Education programs for students who are current teachers. The program options are Music Education, Math Education, English Education, Education and Technology, Literacy Education Studies, and Science and the Public, and all require 30 credit hours to graduate in about two years. The unique Science and the Public degree is a collaboration between the UB GSE and the Center for Inquiry. With classes such as “Science, Technology and Human Values,” “Critical Thinking,” and “History and Philosophy of Science,” students are prepared “to engage in public activities and debates related to science, promote science literacy and . . . promote scholarship.” Some degrees may require the GRE but waive the requirement for licensed teachers already in possession of a master’s degree; others do not require it at all. Accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)
The Dakota Territorial Assembly established a university six years before North Dakota would become a state. The University of North Dakota (UND) was established in 1883 and had a progressive focus (during that period of time) as a liberal arts institution with a coeducational student body. Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, eight students enrolled on the first day of classes. Residence life was harsh in the early years because the school lacked a furnace for the cold winters and windows couldn’t open to allow any breeze during the hot summers. Regardless of the early hardships, students flocked to the school and now nearly 15,000 students are currently enrolled in just under 225 academic degree programs in the ten divisions of the school. With high research activity as designated by the Carnegie Foundation, UND is a public institution and the oldest university in the state and receives regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Three start dates are offered for the two Special Education degree programs offered entirely online by the UND College of Education & Human Development. Students have the choice of pursuing an MEd or an MS in Special Ed, and within each of those degrees there are nine predetermined specialization options offered. Classes are presented asynchronously and the entire program can be completed in just eighteen months. Requiring a minimum of 32 credit hours to graduate, students seeking initial licensure will need to take additional hours. As a program developed for both “certified teachers or non-certified individuals who want to strengthen their skills in serving children and young adults with mild to moderate disabilities,” students can focus on specializations in Gifted/Talented, Visual Impairment, Learning Disabilities, or a General Special Ed track—just to name a few. Special Education-specific online student support is provided to help students become successful graduates. There is no GRE requirement for admission. Accredited by CAEP
In response to the unique educational needs that are present for military servicemen and women, retired Marine James P. Etter determined to established an institution of higher education that would specialize in programs for military members. Offering distance education would be key for the institution, due to the fact that individuals serving in the military move often and to far distances. The American Military University (AMU) was founded in 1991 by Etter, and the degrees would prove to be relevant and career-oriented. Originally in Manassas, Virginia, administrative offices are now in Charles Town, West Virginia. The name of the school has been American Public University (APU) since 2002, and the programs are open to all students, not just those in the military. Part of the American Public University System (APUS), this private, for-profit university serves nearly 100,000 students online with over 200 academic degrees offered through six schools. APU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Four degrees—two requiring previous licensure and two that are non-licensure—are offered at APU’s School of Education. All MEd degrees, the degrees requiring licensure are in Educational Leadership and Teaching, and the two degrees for those not need or requiring licensure are Teaching-Elementary Education and Teaching-Secondary Social Studies. The two specialized MEd Teaching degrees each require 45 credits; the Educational Leadership and the Master of Education in Teaching each require 36 credits. As do the other programs, the MEd in Teaching offers monthly start dates and the acceptance of up to fifteen hours of transfer credits. Core courses cover topics like “Classroom Management for the 21st Century” and “The Professional Educator,” and eight concentrations are offered: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary Teachers, Elementary Reading, English Language Learners, Instructional Leadership, Online Learning, Special Education, and STEAM (STEM + the Arts). There is no GRE requirement for admission.
Even though the impetus for the development of the University of Michigan-Flint started in 1944 when the Flint Board of Education requested a satellite program of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the school proudly harkens back to a letter written by Ann Arbor resident Sarah Miles Case in 1837 in which the school’s establishment was first mentioned as a possibility. In 1956 everything fell into place, and a satellite commuter campus for junior and senior university students opened in Flint, Michigan. By 1971 the school was a full university and gained accreditation as an independent institution. A residential school with the addition of residence halls in 2008, UM-Flint now enrolls almost 9,000 students in the 100 degrees offered in five schools and colleges and online. A public university (and one of the two Ann Arbor U of M satellites—the other being UM-Dearborn), regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The online Master of Arts (MA) in Literacy Education degree program at UM-Flint is crafted for current PreK-12 teachers who want to enhance the reading skills of the young people in their classrooms. Requiring 36 credit hours, students take a literacy core with classes such as “Technology: Focus on Literacy Learning and Instruction,” “Teaching English Language Learners in the K-12 Classroom,” and “The Literacy Specialist.” The Summer Clinical seminar is a required two-week on-campus experience (those who live in the area are not required to reside on campus). Students work with the children of Flint in this six-credit hour summer school setting immersion. Specific scholarships for new MA in Literacy Education students are offered to make sure prospective students have the resources they need to obtain the degree, and through the Office of Extended Learning, online students receive other support and services. There is no GRE requirement. Accredited by NCATE
#23. Lamar University
Lamar University began in 1923 as the South Park Junior College. The first classes were held on the third floor of South Park High School—125 students enrolled the first year. As the school grew and attracted students from a larger radius, a contest was held to rename it in 1932. The winning name was picked in honor of Republic of Texas President, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and now the school has taken up residence on the permanent 292-acre campus in Beaumont, Texas. A member of the Texas State University System since 1995, Lamar University (LU) is a public coeducational research institution (classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) with a current student enrollment of over 15,000. Over 150 academic degree programs are offered through the seven colleges that comprise Lamar, and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Five 36-credit hour Master of Education degree programs are available completely online through Lamar University. Both teaching and administrative degrees are offered. For teachers who want to enhance their classroom, there’s the MEd in Teaching Leadership (provided with a general track or one of two specializations in ESL Education of Gifted & Talented) or the MEd in Special Education. Teaching Leadership trains teachers who will go on to “support student learning by building key relationships with school community stakeholders including students, teachers, faculty, parents and the community at large.” Educational Administration, Educational Technology Leadership, and Digital Learning and Leading round out the offerings with a focus on administrative and/or technical aspects of education. All programs can be completed in as little as eighteen months, and there are three start dates a year. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and higher are eligible for a GRE waiver. Accredited by NCATE
#24. Clemson University
Clemson University began in 1889 as the Clemson Agricultural College with funding both from the benefits of the Morrill Act of 1862 and monies bequeathed from the estate of Thomas Green Clemson. Established in Clemson, South Carolina as a military school, classes began for the nearly 450 male students in 1893. During the Great Depression women could become day students, and in 1946 the school ceased to have any military focus. Becoming fully coeducational in 1955, the school would become integrated in 1963. It was also in the mid-1960s that the name was changed to Clemson University, and now this public research institution situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on 1,400 acres in Clemson, South Carolina is university to more than 22,000 students. A sea- and land-grant school, Clemson offers nearly 200 academic degree programs and has regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Designed with current working K-12 educators in mind, the completely online Clemson College of Education Master of Education in Teaching and Learning degree program offers a “rich, engaging curriculum . . . to advance your professional standing in just 18 months.” Beginning each summer, students enter the 30-credit hour program as a cohort and have their choice of three specialization emphasis areas: STEAM, Experiential Learning for Early Childhood, or Instructional Coaching. Core coursework is asynchronous and comprises eighteen of the credits, offering classes in topics such as “Cultural Diversity in Education,” “Contemporary Issues in Assessment,” and “Curriculum Theory.” The remaining classes are devoted to the student’s chosen concentration, and a final required Capstone Project culminates the degree. Online student resources are provided through the College of Education and plentiful, assuring the success of each student. The GRE requirement is waived for applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Accredited by CAEP
#25. Drexel University
Drexel University was established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. Local banker Anthony Drexel was the founder of the school, and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist he wanted a to create a coeducational school with a focus on making the world a better place. Classes would not begin until 1919, and through Drexel’s initial vision to prepare “each new generation of students for productive professional and civic lives while also focusing our collective expertise on solving society’s greatest problems,” students today are still encouraged to take part in an eighteen-month internship experience exploring their area of study. Nearly 25,000 students are enrolled in the fifteen schools and colleges both on the University City campus and online, and over 200 academic degree programs are offered. A private research university, Drexel is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: Drexel University’s School of Education provides a 100% online MS in Special Education degree program with the goal of preparing “highly qualified professionals to expand educational horizons for all students in need.” The 45-credit hour program can be completed in under two years and is made up of 27 core credits, 12 concentration credits, and two Capstone courses that lead to “6 credits in action research.” Engaging coursework includes classes like “Emotional and Behavioral Support of Individuals with Disabilities,” “Special Education Law and Processes PreK-8,” and “Teaching Secondary Mathematics in an Inclusive Environment.” Six specializations are offered: Applied Behavior Analysis, Special Education Leadership, Multisensory Reading Instruction Level 1 (Wilson® Level 1 Certification), Collaborative Special Education Law & Process, Technologies for Special Education, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Faculty is knowledgeable, and program managers and advisors are on hand to help students through the program. There is no GRE requirement for admission.
Minnesota State University Moorhead started as the Moorhead Normal School and was established in 1885 when the Minnesota State Legislature appropriated $60,000 to open a school for teacher training in the northwestern part of the state. The town of Moorhead welcomed 29 students and five instructors when the school opened its doors in 1888—tuition was free for students who agreed to stay after graduation and teach in the area for at least two years. The name would change several times, and in 1995 the school joined the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Five years later the school officially settled on the name Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSU Moorhead or MSUM), and now just over 8,000 students are enrolled in about 100 academic degree programs in the five colleges on campus and online. A public university, MSU Moorhead is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: A 32-credit hour program, the MSU Moorhead online Master of Science in Special Education is fully online and joined by other Master of Science degree programs in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership. Offering five licensure options, the MS in Special Education degree program provides students the opportunity to “understand advanced concepts, critically review research, and apply these concepts and research to the professional practice through ongoing, systematic professional development.” Students have their choice of six emphasis areas allowing for degree customization (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, Physical/Health Disabilities, and Specific Learning Disabilities), and core courses lay a solid foundation with classes such as “Research and Applications in Behavior Analysis,” “Theory and Process of Consultation and Collaboration,” and “Advanced Assessment in Special Education: Birth-Age 21.” There is no GRE requirement. Accredited by NCATE
#27. Ohio University
Tracing its roots to the leadership of clergyman Manasseh Cutler and colonial militia officer Rufus Putnam, Ohio University grew out of a charter and the congressional Northwest Ordinance of 1787. When Ohio became a state in 1804, establishing the school was actively pursued. Located in Athens, Ohio, classes began in 1809. There was one building, one professor, and three students that first year–all white, and all male. Becoming more diverse, the first African-American student, John Newton, graduated in 1828, and the first female student, Margaret Boyd, enrolled in 1868. Now almost 37,000 students are currently enrolled in this space-grant, public research institution. The oldest university in Ohio, eleven colleges comprise the main campus in Athens, and there are multiple regional campuses and an online presence. Nearly 1,900 acres make up the physical scope of the school, and it is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Ohio University’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education offers five online Master’s degree programs. Through the Department of Teacher Education, students can pursue an Advanced MEd in Curriculum and Instruction or an MEd in Reading Education. For “practicing teachers who want to advance their professional skills in teaching to support student learning,” the 33-credit Curriculum & Instruction degree program begins in the summer and can be completed in just a year. The Reading Education program is 31 credit hours and also for licensed teachers. Ideal for educators who want to “further their knowledge and understanding of language and reading development, teach reading across grades K–12, administer reading assessments and make data-driven decisions, work with other teachers and specialists to design appropriate reading instruction to meet the needs of all students, and develop and conduct original research to further their own learning.” Admissions suggests applicants include GRE scores. Accredited currently by NCATE (CAEP after 2021)
#28. Walden University
Begun in 1970 by two educators, Walden University was established to appeal to working adults in need of advanced doctoral degrees. University teachers Bernie and Rita Turner, as well as Berkeley faculty member Harold “Bud” Hodgkinson, founded the school in Naples, Florida and classes began in 1971. With approval from the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant PhDs and EdDs, the school’s headquarters moved to Minnesota in 1982, and now Walden offers online degrees at all levels—bachelor, master, and doctoral. A for-profit Public Benefit Corporation, Walden reaches 57,000 online students in more than 150 countries. Five colleges offer multiple degree programs to provide students “with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change.” The Higher Learning Commission has granted Walden University with continuous regional accreditation ever since its initial receipt in 1990.
Program Details: The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University offers a MS in Education “dedicated to enhancing educator effectiveness.” Students can transfer in up to fifteen credits and there are a multitude of emphasis area options. A self-directed track allows for customization, and ten predetermined concentrations range from Adolescent Literacy & Learning to Mathematics K-6 to Special Education K-12 (non-licensure). The 30-credit hour self-directed program (the specializations may add additional credit hours to the requirements) has core classes in subjects like “Teacher as Professional,” “Enhanced Learning for Diverse Populations,” and “Action Research for Educators.” As a school specializing in online distance education, Walden has the expected online student resources as well as additional guidance and support services. Personal Advisors help students from the beginning—a variety of specialized advisors are available for academic, financial, and career goal needs. The GRE is not required. Accredited by NCATE, soon to be CAEP
Fort Hays State University (FHSU) started as a teacher training school, the Western Branch of the Kansas State Normal School. The school to educate teachers was founded as a branch campus in 1902 in Hays, which is in the western region of Kansas. The main campus of the normal school would grow to become Emporia State University, likewise, the Western Branch would grow and become Fort Hays State University. Initially, 57 students enrolled in the first classes, which were held on the former Fort Hays military base. Now over 15,000 students can engage in classes within the 31 academic departments housed within FHSU’s five schools and colleges and the online Virtual Campus. Governed by the Kansas Board of Regents, FHSU is one of the six universities in the state university system and the third largest. Main campus is located on 200 acres, but nearly 4,000 acres makes up the entire campus (which includes a working educational University Farm). Regional accreditation is provided by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Through the FHSU Virtual College, the Department of Advanced Education Programs in the College of Education offers several education degree programs and endorsements entirely and partially online. From the fully online 36-credit hour Master of Science in High-Incidence Special Education to the English for Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement, students have the opportunity to pursue their education with “flexibility, convenience, and educational quality in mind.” A Master of Science in Instructional Technology is another fully online degree option also requiring 36 credit hours. This MS degree program prepares students to be proficient leaders with “advanced knowledge of multimedia tools, presentation development, strategies related to integrating multimedia in educational and training environments” in order to enhance their classrooms. A truly comprehensive and supportive environment, many cutting-edge technological tools are provided to current students and graduates on an ongoing basis. None of the programs require GRE scores for admission. Accredited by CAEP and aligned with the Kansas state standards
Minot State University began as a two-year normal school in 1913 in in Minot, North Dakota. Located in the northwestern region of the state, the Minot Normal School was opened to train teachers for the area. The school grew into a four-year degree-granting institution in 1924—this precipitated the first name change. Another name change would be necessary when the academic offerings grew to include more than educating teachers in 1964, and again in 1987 when the school gained university status. The third-largest university in the state, Minot State University (MSU) is a member of the North Dakota University System and enrolls more than 3,500 students. There is a graduate school and three colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education and Health Sciences) that construct this rural, public university and offer over 70 academic degree programs, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Students can earn an online MS in Special Education degree with less than 30 credit hours at Minot State University. Multiple emphasis areas include Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Specific Learning Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, and Special Education Strategist. Joining the online MS in Special Education degree program, the Master of Education is now available entirely online for students. Requiring a minimum of 30 credit hours, the MEd degree offers two fully online concentrations (Curriculum and Assessment and Special Education) and a self-directed track. Core courses include “Models of Teaching & Learning,” “Diversity in a Global Perspective,” and “Dynamics of Managing Learning.” Concentration classes are offered in the summer term, and students have a choice of a final thesis or project to culminate the degree. For prospective students, MSU Online offers various tutorials to help acclimate them to online learning. GRE scores are not required. Accredited by NCATE
Begun as a school for women, Queens University of Charlotte was founded in 1857 as the Charlotte Female Institute. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina (known as the “Queen City”), the school changed names multiple times before becoming Queens College in 1912. That was the same year that the campus settled on a permanent location in the Myers Park neighborhood. During the 1940s men were allowed to enroll in classes, and in 1987 the school became fully coeducational as men were admitted as residential students. The school gained university status in 2002 and the name was changed one last time to Queens University of Charlotte. More than 2,500 students are currently enrolled in almost 50 academic degree programs at the six schools and colleges that comprise the school. An affiliation with the Presbyterian Church is still strong, and this private university is regionally accredited by the the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The Wayland H. Cato, Jr. School of Education at Queens University of Charlotte provides an entirely online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership for current teachers and aspiring principals. The 33-credit hour curriculum was developed by Queens education faculty to equip students “with valuable insights from their own experiences in the field and the skills to drive meaningful outcomes.” Core classes include important, interactive subjects such as “Building Community,” “Supervision to Improve Instruction,” and “Education Law and Ethics.” Coursework focuses on preparing students “for the challenges of school administration, from building a community to resolving disputes to mastering the finances that keep your school running.” A whole webpage of specific Master’s in Educational Leadership Resources provides general education tools and program-related tutorials. Student testimonials are plentiful and full of high praise for the program. There is no GRE requirement for admission for applicants with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.70. Accredited by NCATE
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota began as the all-male Saint Mary’s College in 1912. Established in Winona, Minnesota by Bishop Patrick Richard Heffron and run by the Winona Diocese, the junior college transitioned into a full four-year degree-granting liberal arts institution in 1925. The school was purchased by the De La Salle Christian Brothers religious order (they were founded by Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle in the 17th century) in 1933. Known for their focus and dedication to teaching, the Lasallian Brothers helped the school grow in size, scope, and academic offerings. Women were admitted in 1969, making the school coeducational, and in 1995 the name was changed to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMU or Saint Mary’s) because of its programmatic growth across Minnesota, Wisconsin and in Jamaica and Kenya. A private, Roman Catholic university, Saint Mary’s serves almost 6,000 students across the campuses, extension centers and online, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Spring, summer and fall start dates are possible for students entering the Saint Mary’s online Master of Arts in Special Education (MASE) degree program. Not just for special education teachers, the program helps teachers of all backgrounds learn how to best meet the needs of their students, some of whom may have special needs. A fully online program (for teachers who are already licensed—students seeking initial licensing will need to come to campus), 36 credit hours are required for graduation. Taking courses such as “Assistive Technology, Instruction & Interventions,” “Social Emotional Learning and Well-Being,” and “The Individual Education Process,” students become “prepared with the skills and inclusive approaches needed to help all types of learners achieve their full potential.” Specific special education resources are provided, and all students in Saint Mary’s online programs are supplied with iPads outfitted with all they need for success. GRE scores are not required for admission.
#33. Texas A&M University
The Texas state legislature took advantage of the federal Morrill Act of 1862 and established the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in 1871. This school would go on to become Texas A&M University—the state’s first public university. Located on 2,416 acres in Brazos County (which had been donated by the locals), classes began in 1876. White male students would be the only ones allowed admission until the 1960s when women and students of color could enroll for the first time. The 1960s also saw the name of the school change to Texas A&M University, and now campus covers over 5,000 acres on the main College Station, Texas site and at a branch campus in Galveston. A land-, sea-, and space-grant institution of higher education, Texas A&M is a public research university with over 66,000 students enrolled in almost 400 academic degree programs. Nineteen academic schools and colleges make up Texas A&M and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Through the College of Education & Human Development at Texas A&M, an online Special Education degree is housed in the Department of Educational Psychology. Offering the choice of pursuing a Master of Science or a Master of Education degree, Texas A&M’s special ed program requires 36 credit hours and can be completed in two years. A start date in June allows students to move through the program sequentially, and classes include both synchronous and asynchronous deliveries. Coursework includes subjects such as “Early Literacy for Students with Diverse Instructional Needs,” “Program Development for Student with Behavior Problems,” and “Educating Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Although students are not required to be licensed teachers, it is “intended for individuals with a solid background in education, behavior, disability, or related fields.” A final comprehensive exam completes the degree. Admission to the Special Education program does not require GRE scores.
Frostburg State University started as State Normal School No. 2 in 1902 in Frostburg, Maryland. Chartered by the Maryland General Assembly, the editor of the Frostburg Mining Journal, J. Benson Oder, and other local residents worked hard to establish the school to train teachers for their town. Initially the school welcomed 57 high school students and had four instructors, but by 1935 the school grew to become a full college. Growing even more in size and the academic programs offered, the school became Frostburg State University (FSU or Frostburg) in 1987. Now with three colleges (College of Business, College of Education, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Frostburg has been a member of the University System of Maryland since 1988. Offering over 65 academic programs, this public university currently enrolls nearly 6,000 students and has regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: The Master of Education degree program with a concentration in Special Education is offered online from the Educational Professions Department and presents two different focus areas: Grades 1-8 or Grades 6-12. Students spend a great deal of time getting real world experience in the classroom setting—over 300 contact hours are expected as well as a practicum experience. Requiring 39-42 credit hours, the program provides a professional education core comprised of three classes (Principles and Practices of Research, Developmental Theory and Experiential Growth, and Cultural and Technological Awareness in the Context of Global Education), a special education core with courses like “Characteristics of Exceptional Children” and “Managing Student Behavior and Social Interaction Skills,” and then electives and a Capstone. Online students are “advised by faculty members who are deeply committed” both to the field of special education and the student’s academic experience. The GRE is not required for admission. Accredited by NCATE
Indiana University Bloomington was established by an Indiana State Legislative Act in 1820. Originally called the State Seminary, the school was located in Bloomington, Indiana, and classes began in 1824 for the ten male students who were the first to enroll. As an institution of higher education, the school thrived and changed names several times—becoming nick-named affectionately “The University of the State” in 1852. Seven campuses make up this flagship university of the Indiana University System, and now as a coeducational school over 43,000 students are enrolled in approximately 550 academic degree programs that are offered. A doctoral-extensive research public institution, IU Bloomington has sixteen academic schools and colleges and is the largest university in the state. Nestled on nearly 2,000 acres, IU Bloomington employs over 1,800 faculty members and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: IU Bloomington’s School of Education provides four degrees for current teachers who desire to become more specialized or advance into leadership roles. All are Master of Science in Education (MSEd) degrees, and students can choose from Adult Education, Educational Leadership, Special Education, or Literacy, Culture and Language Education. The MSEd in Special Education degree program is only offered online and provides four specialty tracks options: autism, behavior specialists, early childhood, instructional strategies, and intense interventions. All programs require 36 credit hours and promise the same quality instruction that the on-campus programs are praised for. The Literacy, Culture, and Language Education (LCLE) program, for instance, lays a solid foundation with substantive core courses to select from such as “Legal Perspectives on Education,” “Anthropology of Education,” and “Cognition and Semiotics.” GRE scores are not required for the MSEd in Educational Leadership and waived as a requirement for the other degrees with an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or higher (3.20 for the Adult Education program). Accredited by CAEP
Indiana Wesleyan University began as Marion College in 1920 in Marion, Indiana. Incorporated a year earlier, the private evangelical Christian liberal arts school was associated with the Wesleyan Church and founded to train teachers. The school grew, adding additional academic programs and establishing extension Education Centers across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The name was changed to Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 1988, and the five schools and colleges offer over 120 academic degree programs to the more than 15,000 currently enrolled students. A member of both the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, IWU also has an international campus in New South Wales, Australia (since 2013) and online degree programs (since 1997). The largest private university in the state, IWU is provided with regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Through the School for Educational Leadership, IWU offers an online MEd in Special Education degree program that can be finished in just over two years. Crafted for current classroom educators who want to advance in the field of special education, the program helps students obtain Exceptional Needs-Mild Intervention licensure in Indiana. Students from other states are welcomed into the program but will need to be familiar with their home state’s licensing requirements. Progressing together through the 33-credit hour program as a cohort, students engage in asynchronous core and special education classes such as “Professional Learning and Ethical Practices,” “Individual Assessment and Data-Based Interventions,” and “Personal Attributes and Leadership.” Academic Advisors and Off-Campus Library Services are some of the resources specific to the online learning student’s IWU experience, and a prayer network program called Spiritcare is available to working adult students to provide spiritual support. The GRE is not required for admission. Accredited by NCATE
Fitchburg State University was established as a teacher training school in 1894 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Originally called the State Normal School in Fitchburg, the institution was a two-year program and welcomed 46 female students in its first year. A former high school building served as the initial campus, but the school grew and added buildings and programs through the years. Men were invited as students in 1911 with the new and revolutionary for its time “practical arts teacher-training” program. Becoming a full four-year degree-granting institution in 1932, the name “Fitchburg State University” was bestowed on the school in 2010. A public university, Fitchburg State offers over 75 academic degree programs to the 7,000-plus coeducational students currently enrolled. The campus sits on nearly 80 acres in Fitchburg, but an additional 120 acres make up ecological and biological study areas in the adjacent towns of Lancaster, Leominster, and Lunenburg. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges provides regional accreditation.
Program Details: The online/hybrid MEd in Special Education degree at Fitchburg State is a mostly-online program with “limited Saturday sessions for select classes.” Offering seven concentrations (Individualized Concentration, Professional Concentration, Dyslexia Specialist Concentration, Reading Specialist (Initial Licensure), Reading Specialist (Non-Licensure), Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, and Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities), students have many opportunities to customize the degree. Based on the student’s chosen specialization, the credit hour requirements can range from 36 up to 42—the program can be completed in two years, but students are allowed up to six years to finish. Current online courses cover “Critical Literacy” and “Educational Research” and hybrid classes like “Family, School, and Community College” and “Reading in the Content Areas” are offered. The availability of online student resources is significant and comprehensive, and online information sessions provide a glimpse into program details for prospective students. GRE test scores are no longer required for admission. Accredited by NCATE (soon to be CAEP)
Due to the financial benefits to states from the passage of the federal Morrill Act of 1862, the Arizona Territory was able to begin conceiving a land-grant university for the area in 1885. The campus for the University of Arizona (UA or “Arizona”) began being constructed in 1887 in Tucson, Arizona—thus making the school the first to be established in the territory and the oldest in the state. Classes began for 32 students in 1891, and now more than 43,00 students are enrolled. Nineteen academic schools and colleges comprise UA and over 350 degree programs are offered at this public research university (with very high research as designated by the Carnegie Foundation), and the school boasts more than 500 students clubs and organizations. The main campus in Tucson encompasses 380 acres, and a majority of the campus is designated as an arboretum. Governed by the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The online Master of Arts in Special Education – Disabilities degree program at UA in offered through the renowned College of Education. Ideal for currently certified teachers, the program presents “a thorough, in-depth examination of teaching methods and learning structures” in order to “design individualized, effective learning plans for special needs students” to help them thrive. Four concentration areas are offered in Challenging Behavior, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Impairments, and Gifted Students. The 36-credit hour curriculum includes classes such as “Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Exceptional Learners,” “Foundations of High Incidence Disabilities,” and “Consultation and Collaboration for Special Needs Students.” Students work in special education settings in their home area to obtain real-world experience, and a final Master’s Report is an “in-depth study completed with a faculty member” to present the knowledge gained throughout the program. Online support is offered through various “dedicated support services.” GRE scores are not required for admission.
Established in 1858 by Franciscan Brothers as St. Bonaventure’s College, St. Bonaventure University (SBU) was located in between Allegany and Olean, New York (now with an address of Bonaventure, NY). Sitting on 500 acres in Western New York, the school is named for Bonaventure, a contemporary of Thomas Aquinas. Offering more than 70 academic programs, the school serves over 2,000 currently enrolled students. A distinctly Catholic university, SBU strives “to foster the development of knowledgeable, skilled, compassionate and ethical individuals by mentoring students within vitally engaging learning environments, ever mindful of such Franciscan values as individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service to others.” Primarily a residential campus, only a quarter of the enrolled student body does not live on campus, and all students enjoy the low student to faculty ratio of eleven to one. St. Bonaventure is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: A unique Master of Science in Education School Counseling (MSED) degree program is offered completely online from St. Bonaventure. For professionals who want to work “with students either in the classroom or in a P-12 school environment,” the program instructs students to “learn classroom theory and apply it.” With a clear focus on the mental health aspect of working in the schools, students in the program participate in coursework covering topics like “Abnormal Psychology,” “Multicultural Counseling,” and “Interventions for School.” Students take one course per seven-week term and can complete the program in just over two years. Online students can take full advantage of various online resources as well as the Career and Professional Readiness Center. Tutorials and student testimonials provide insight and resources for prospective students to determine if the program is a good fit for their needs. There is no GRE requirement for admission. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Programs (CACREP)
Three great schools would come together in the late 20th century to form the University of New England (UNE), which is currently located on two campuses in Portland and Biddeford, Maine. The oldest school that would lead to UNE was Westbrook Seminary, which was founded in Portland in 1831. The College Séraphique opened in 1939 in Biddeford—it was started by Franciscan Monks to educate young men of Québécois (native Quebec) descent. Lastly, the New England College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded in 1978 but within a year merged with College Séraphique to become the University of New England. In 1996 Westbrook Seminary joined the school, and now over 13,000 students are enrolled in the five academic colleges that are housed within UNE. The largest private coeducational university in the state, regional accreditation for UNE comes from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
Program Details: The UNE Online College of Graduate & Professional Studies offers an entirely online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) degree program “for professionals looking to advance their education careers.” A 30-credit hour program, students take classes asynchronously and can complete the degree in less than two years. Core courses cover topics lie “Teacher as Leader,” “Differentiation Theory & Strategies,” and “Motivational Theory & Class Management.” Focus areas for customization include Curriculum & Instruction Strategies, Literacy (K-12), Educational Leadership, and Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach K-12. Up to six credit hours can be transferred in, and multi-leveled support is available for online students. Applicants can seek guidance on the application and admissions process from Enrollment Counselors, and once admitted have a Student Support Specialist to call upon regarding program-specific questions. The MSEd program was “created to fit the schedule of busy teachers and school leaders,” and offers both quality and convenience. There is no GRE requirement.