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Bethel’s M.A. in Special Education degree will prepare you to utilize critical thinking and data-based decison making to implement special education programming.


Fully Online

You'll complete 100% of your coursework online.

Start Dates: Spring 2017

Mostly Online

You'll complete over 80% of your coursework online.

Start Dates: Spring 2017, Summer 2017, Spring 2018


Courses will be a mix of online and face to face sessions. You'll complete 30-80% of your coursework online.

Location: Anderson Center, St. Paul

Start Dates: Spring 2017, Summer 2017

Total Credits


Approximate Program Length

24 months (plus thesis)


  • Educational Research (EDUC614)

    Focus is on understanding and reporting educational and psychological research. Students will conduct online computer searches, appraise the quality of professional literature, cite research using APA style, and understand the options of writing a master's thesis or conducting an action research project.

    1 credits

  • Characteristics of Mild-Moderate Disabilities (SPED600)

    Overview and introduction to the mild-moderate range of five disability categories represented under Academic Behavioral Strategist (ABS) including: Learning Disabilities (LD), Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD), Other Health Disabilities (OHD), Developmental Disabilities (DD), and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Definitions, eligibility criteria, characteristics, curriculum, and contemporary issues of each will be studied.

    3 credits

  • Introduction to Special Education (SPED605)

    Special education historical and legal issues. Basic characteristics of mild-moderate disabilities. State and federal laws, due process, data privacy requirements, exclusionary rules. Special education historical and philosophical background. Attitudes toward the exceptional child. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Significant litigation related to special education. Preview into the child with LD, EBD, OHD, DCD, or ASD.

    1 credits

  • Introduction to Academic Instruction and Behavior Management for the Exceptional Learner (SPED608)

    This course will prepare special education teachers for their unique role as academic instructors and skillful classroom managers. Students will become familiar with a wide range of evidence-based teaching and behavior management methods that include approaches for one to one, small group and class-wide delivery. An emphasis on universal design as it relates to the needs of both typically developing and exceptional learners will accompany a foundational introduction to Behavioral management through antecedent-based intervention and environmental arrangement.

    2 credits

  • Foundations of Instructional Strategies for Students with Mild-Moderate Disabilities (SPED618)

    Course provides teacher-students a framework for designing, implementing, and evaluating instructional methods to teach exceptional studentw writing, mathematics, social skills, organizational skills and transition skills. Examine and apply evidence-based instruction while making instructional modifications and accommodations to address the needs of students with a range of disabilities and needs.

    3 credits

  • Reading Foundations (SPED620)

    Covers the major components of reading and the instructional strategies that support the development of literacy for K-6 students including those students with mild-moderate disabilities. The course also provides an overview to the structure of the English language and basic linguistic analysis.

    3 credits

  • Reading Field Experience (SPED621)

    A 30 hour reading clinical. Students will practice reading assessment and instructional techniques with students who have mild-moderate disabilities. Reading Field Experience will take place in a K-12 school setting.

    1 credits

  • Special Education: Planning and Programming (SPED625)

    Special education delivery systems. Using assessment data to write academic and behavioral goals and objectives for incorporation into an individual education plan (IEP). Evaluation of available service delivery options to choose the most appropriate setting to meet students need. Effective multidisciplinary team processes with consideration of influence of diversity and language on eligibility, placement decisions, and programming.

    3 credits

  • Responsive Instruction, Intervention, and Assessment (SPED631)

    Preparation of special education teachers for their role in the screening, monitoring, and early intervention processes related to good instructional practice. Students will understand data collection and analysis practices that integrate multiple sources of information in a collaborative model. Emphasis will be on evidence-based instructional strategies for all students, as well as research-based interventions for students with a variety of needs. The focused content area will be reading.

    3 credits

  • Introduction to Behavioral Methods & Mental Health for Mild to Moderate Special Needs (SPED641)

    Introduction to behavioral methods and foundations of mental health for students with mild to moderate special education needs. Students analyze behavior methods/interventions for the classroom with emphasis on brain-based research. Understanding behaviors and mental health are explored within behavioral, social, emotional, educational, cognitive, physical, communication, and functional contexts as well as foundations of cognitive/emotional development and informal tools for screening.

    3 credits

  • Classroom-Based Assessment (SPED655)

    Focus is primarily on non-standardized assessment techniques including curriculum-based assessment/measurement; observations; functional behavioral assessment; learning styles/multiple intelligences; and ecological, authentic, and portfolio assessments. Review of behavior rating scales and various assessment data in evaluation reports. Students practice techniques in actual classrooms.

    3 credits

  • Assessment Clinical Field Experience (SPED670)

    Eighteen-week, 30 hour clinical field experience designed for students to demonstrate understanding and competent application of assessment. Students identify specific educational needs and judge eligibility for special education or response to intervention (RTI) process while using both formal, norm-referenced assessment as well as informal, classroom-based assessment.

    1 credits

  • Consultation, Collaboration & Resources (SPED675)

    Focus is on the communication skills necessary to consult and collaborate effectively with parents, administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and agency personnel about the special needs of students. Students will become acquainted with outside agencies, as well as transition needs and services. Clarifying personal beliefs and adjusting to diverse student needs within their student teaching environments are critical elements of this course.

    2 credits

This program fulfills the licensure requirements in the state of Minnesota. In addition to coursework, there are external tests you must pass. Minnesota also requires all teacher candidates for initial license to complete and pass the edTPA. If you want to obtain a teaching license in a state other than Minnesota, check that state's requirements for licensure.

Why Choose Bethel? 

Learn why you should choose Bethel (pdf) for a degree in Special Education. 

Premier Paraprofessional Partnership with Anoka-Hennepin

We partner with the Anoka-Hennepin School District to offer you opportunities to work as a full-time float para in area schools while you earn your master’s in special education. This program is a chance to gain first hand experience, get full-time pay and benefits while you work towards your degree, and make connections that will help you build a successful career.

Become a Bethel Student