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M.Ed. in Special Education - Online via the World Campus


For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

All applicants are expected to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from prior coursework.

Application Materials

The process of applying for graduate admission at Penn State requires the following application materials, all of which are submitted via The Graduate School's online application.

  • Graduate Application and application fee – Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your online application.
    • Résumé or curriculum vitae
    • Personal statement – A one to two page statement addressing your purpose and objectives in enrolling in a graduate program in Special Education.
    • Transcripts – A copy of an official transcript from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. Upon admission and your acceptance of admission, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
    • Three references – Reference forms will be uploaded directly to the Graduate School application by the reference writer who will receive an email from the Graduate School after the applicant enters reference contact information into the application.
    • Proof of English ProficiencyThe language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with some exceptions. For detailed information please visit the Graduate School's Requirements for Graduate Admissionspage.

      Applicants should request that TOEFL scores be sent to Penn State electronically. Applicants should request that IELTS scores be mailed directly to Penn State's Graduate School at the following address:
      The Pennsylvania State University
      Graduate Enrollment Services
      114 Kern Building
      University Park, PA 16802 

    • GRE test scores are NOT required for M.Ed. applicants.

    How to Apply

    Begin the graduate school application

    • Choose “DEGREE ADMISSION” as your enrollment type.
    • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as your campus.
    • Choose “SPECIAL EDUCATION” as your major.
    • Choose “M ED” as your degree.

    Application Deadlines

    Your degree application, including receipt of all application materials, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete:

    • JUNE 15 for Fall semester admission
    • NOVEMBER 1 for Spring semester admission
    • APRIL 1 for Summer semester admission

    Applying as a Nondegree Graduate Student

    To begin taking courses without submitting the full degree application, you may apply as a "nondegree" graduate student. You may take up to 15 credits in nondegree status before submitting your degree application.

    Important Note: If you apply and begin coursework as a nondegree graduate student, you must re-apply to the master's degree and pay the degree application fee to be considered for admission into the M.Ed in Special Education degree program.

    To apply as a nondegree graduate student:

    1. Begin the graduate school application.
    2. Select "NONDEGREE ADMISSION" as your enrollment type.
    3. Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as your campus.

    Earning a Graduate Certificate Concurrently

    While pursuing the master's degree, students may also earn the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis and/or the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Educating Individuals with Autism. To do so, a student must complete a separate certificate application on the Graduate School website and pay the associated application fee before completing all of the credits required for the desired certificate. For example, a student wishing to earn the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis along with the M.Ed. in Special Education should submit two separate applications – one for the M.Ed program and one for the graduate certificate program.