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.
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 official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
A student applying to one of these programs must submit:
- current resume
- cover letter outlining professional goals
- evidence of one year of successful teaching experience. This can come from an administrator or HR representative.
- official GRE scores if you have less than a cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (use institution code 1319)
- 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.
- names and email addresses of two references for letters of recommendation within the online application
- Letters should include:
- how long the recommender has known the candidate
- information about the candidate’s professional work experiences
- characteristics the candidate possesses which would help them be successful in a graduate program
- candidates should make sure the recommender has information about them and sufficient time to write a comprehensive letter
- Letters should include:
- screenshot of your "my credentials" page from your Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) account. Be sure your name and endorsement(s) are visible.
- 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.