Program Format

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Special Education (Extended Certification - Online Format)


An online program format allows you the flexibility you need to complete your degree as it fits your schedule. The certification portion of the program is 25 credits and can be completed in 18 months, including student teaching. Courses are offered in an online format. Course curriculum is enhanced through field work experiences. These field experiences are conducted either in your current classroom (if it meets the requirements for student teaching) or in a special education classroom. Students will also have several face-to-face meetings scheduled throughout the program  that complement the online experience. 

Student Teaching

Student teaching can be completed either on the job or in a traditional student teacher placement.

On the Job Student Teaching

If you are currently an elementary, middle or secondary regular education certified teacher and are teaching in a regular education classroom, you may be able to earn certification while working in the regular education classroom. If you teach at the elementary level, you must have four or more students identified with special education needs in your classroom at least 60% of the day. If you teach at the middle or secondary level, you will need to work with four or more students identified with special education needs for 60% of the classes you teach daily.

Traditional Student Teaching

If you currently have regular education certification and are not teaching in a regular education classroom, you can earn certification by completing your student teaching in a special education classroom with a cooperating teacher. Student teaching placements will be made in cooperation with Stritch's College of Education and Leadership.

Student Support

Students enrolling in the program become part of a cohort, a group of students who learn together and move through the program at the same pace. Aside from receiving the support of professional colleagues in the cohort, you will have the usual faculty, staff and technical support for which Stritch is known. The online coordinator is your primary contact for content questions. A graduate admissions counselor specifically trained to work with online students will answer your admission, financial aid, and other general questions. A technical support staff member is available for computer and technological issues. You will be assigned to an action research advisor who will guide you through the research writing project.