The Department of Special Education offers multiple options for graduate study to meet the varying professional needs and goals of teachers interested in enhancing their competency to educate individuals with disabilities.
The Master of Science (M.S.) program, designed for practicing special education teachers who have prior training and licensure in special education, addresses teacher leadership and action research throughout the coursework. Courses are taught by graduate faculty who have both practical experience and expertise in special education. Each cohort member will work with a faculty mentor for a culminating project.
The Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) program is designed for teachers with initial training and licensure in general education. The program is designed to meet the professional goals of both general education teachers who want to move into special education roles and those who want to better serve students with disabilities within their general education classrooms. Courses are taught by faculty who have practical experience and expertise in special education.
Discover what life as a Illinois State graduate student is like with an Online Graduate Student Information Session.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
To be considered for this program, you must meet the following requirements.
Resume and Cover Letter
Submit a current resume and a cover letter that outlines your professional goals.
Submit evidence of one year of successful teaching experience. This can come from an administrator or HR representative.
If you have less than a cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, submit your official GRE scores (use institution code 1319).
Letters of Recommendation
Submit the names and email addresses of two references for letters of recommendation within the online application.
Your letters should include the following:
- How long the reference has known you
- Information about your professional work experiences
- Characteristics you possess that will make you successful in a graduate program
Ensure your references know enough information about you and enough time to write a comprehensive letter.
Take a screenshot of your “my credentials” page from your Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) account. Make sure your name and endorsement(s) are visible. Submit the screenshot with your application.
English Proficiency Scores (International Students Only)
International students applying to this program must have a TOEFL score of at least 79 iBT or IELTS score of 6.5 band.
Due to limited on-campus courses, immigration documentation cannot be issued for students seeking F-1 or J-1 status.
- Fall (August) Term — March 1 (preferred)
- Spring (January) Term — October 1 (preferred)
- Summer (May/June) Term — March 1 (preferred)
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good-standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).
Graduate assistants receive
- monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.