Get your Masters in Special Education degree from Southern Miss!
You are a bold leader who is determined to lead the way in teaching, support, and advocation for exceptional individuals in our state. Your goal is to obtain your special education degree, but you are not sure how to balance education along with your busy schedule. With an online Special Education degree, you can reach your goals without ever stepping into a traditional face-to-face classroom.
The University of Southern Mississippi’s fully online Masters of Education degree in Special Education offers three concentration areas: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Emotional/Behavior Disorders, and Severe/Low Incidence Disabilities. There is also a partially online option for emphasis in Gifted Education. This convenient and affordable online degree provides a quality graduate program for professionals to increase their professional skills, while learning to serve exceptional individuals. This is your life, plus college.
Your future starts at Southern Miss!
Southern Miss also offers a Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision Online degree.
The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools of Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). That means you can expect a Special Education degree program with the highest standards and quality.
The Graduate School will be authorizing standardized test waivers to applicants to the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 terms.
- Special Education Teacher- Mild/Moderate Disabilities
- Special Education Teacher- Emotional Disabilities
- Special Education Teacher- Severe Disabilites
- Special Education Teacher- Gifted Education
- Behavior Specialist
- Educational Interventionist
- Teacher Support Team Specialist
- Disability Specialist
Transition Programming: School to Adult Life
Assessment of Individuals with Exceptionalities
Legal Issues in Educating Exceptional Learners
Components of the Reading and Writing Process
Single Subject Research in Educational Settings
Research in Special Education
Educational Research: Interpretation and Applications
Select 15 hours
Practicum (3 hours):
Practicum in Mild/Moderate Disabilities 1-6 hrs.
Practicum in Severe Disabilities 1-6 hrs.
Practicum in Teaching Individuals with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 1-6 hrs.
Practicum with Gifted Students 1-6 hrs.
Advanced Practicum in Special Education 1-9 hrs.
Substitutions for required courses must be approved in advance and in writing by the graduate coordinator or the department chair. Transfer credit must have prior approval by the graduate coordinator or department chair. In addition to the above requirements, the individual must pass comprehensive examinations. Each student is allowed two attempts to pass comprehensive examinations. Each student should register with the department’s graduate secretary for comprehensive examinations, one to three months prior to the examination. It is the responsibility of the student to keep abreast of the dates and times of the comprehensive exams.
Please note that the above information is meant to be a guide and is not official. For further information regarding courses for this degree, see the University Bulletin. Please be aware that not all course choices listed in the University Bulletin are available online. However, sufficient online options are available to complete this degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
Licensure requirements and approval are determined by each state’s licensing board. For additional information about professional licensure, please review the Professional Licensure Disclosures web page.
Additional course fees may apply. Fees range between $20 – $60.
We offer four concentration areas for the Special Education degree: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Emotional/Behavior Disorders, Severe/Low Incidence Disabilities, and Gifted Education.
Each of the emphasis areas are designed to lead to licensure through the Mississippi Department of Education. While universities do not grant licensure, we work very closely with the MDE to ensure that you are eligible for licensure upon completion of our programs. In some instances, you can attain licensure before completing the full degree course sequences. You should speak to our Coordinator for Special Education (Dr. Hollie Filce, Hollie.Filce@usm.edu) to discuss your specific situation.
While we encourage you to complete the full degree sequence, we are happy to assist candidates who only need licensure. Please contact our Coordinator for Special Education (Dr. Hollie Filce, Hollie.Filce@usm.edu) to discuss your specific situation. Please remember that non-degree seeking students are not eligible for financial aid.
Step One: Complete an application to graduate studies and submit all required documents.
- Original completed signed application form. Applications are available at www.usm.edu/graduate-school then click “Apply Here”.
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (including community colleges).
- Official reports of test scores. Acceptable scores for admission to the M.Ed. programs in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education are the GRE, the MAT, or the Praxis II (PLT and Specialty Area scores). If your scores have not been sent to USM, please request these as soon as possible, as this can take some time:
- Three letters of recommendation & signed forms (forms found with the application).
- Application fee: All applicants must submit a $35 non-refundable fee for each program to which you apply. You may pay by credit card.
- Assistantship: Indicate interest in assistantships on the application & contact the Department.
- Other required information (see Step 2).
Step 2: Submit the following documents to the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, & Special Education. You may submit via email, fax (601-266-4548), postal mail (Department of Curriculum, Instruction & Special Education; 118 College Drive, #5057; Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001; ATTN: Graduate Program Application) or hand delivery (Speech, Reading, & Special Education Building (SRS) room 143):
- A brief letter of intent (approximately 2 pages) stating your professional experience and goals, your reasons for pursuing this degree, and how attainment of this degree would help meet those goals.
- A copy of your professional vita (resume).
- A copy of all current teaching licenses.
- Three strong letters of recommendation (as described in Step One).
- An analytic writing sample (Required for candidates using the Praxis II as their entrance exam requirement. Those submitting GRE or MAT scores are not required to provide a writing sample). This writing sample is designed to provide the University with an example of candidates’ incoming writing skills. Please include your full name at the top of your essay.
DIRECTIONS: Present your perspective on the statement below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views. You do not need to include references or citations, as your essay is purely your current perspective. You must write 750-1000 words (which is about 3-4 pages double spaced), and your perspective should be written in Standard English.
“The study of an academic discipline alters the way we perceive the world. After studying the discipline, we see the same world as before, but with different eyes.”
Step 3: Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Complete the Federal Financial Aid Application. Please note that applications are applicable to an academic year (which begins in the fall semester). Priority dates for applications are March 15 (prior to the fall semester). Therefore, if you are entering during the spring or summer semester, you will need to contact Financial Aid and ask how to apply for the current academic year. Personnel in the academic departments cannot assist you with this. Please contact Southern Miss Financial Aid Office at 601.266.4774 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
- Please note that master’s level candidates in certain fields may be eligible for the TEACH grant. There is no application for this grant, rather it will be listed on your award letter from the Federal Financial Aid Application. If you are interested in the TEACH grant, and this award isn’t listed on your award letter, please contact financial aid. Please review all information on the TEACH grant at https://www.usm.edu/financial-aid/teach-grant.
- Departmental scholarships may be available for qualifying students. Applications are typically due in early April. For more information go to www.usm.edu/cise/scholarships.
- Scholarships in gifted education are available for graduate students enrolled in full-time study during the summer semesters. These $500 scholarships are funded by the Frances A. Karnes Endowed Scholarship and the Christopher J. Karnes Gifted Education Memorial Fund. To apply, please call 601.266.5236 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 4: If an applicant has a disability that qualifies under the ADA and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (preferably as soon as accepted for admission) for information regarding Southern Miss. policies and procedures: voice (601) 266-5024; Tel (601) 266-6837; fax (601) 266-6035.
It is strongly recommended that candidates complete the application process as early as possible. In order to be assured that there is adequate time for all documents to be reviewed by the admissions committee, it is requested that all required documents be submitted no later than three weeks prior to the beginning of the beginning of the semester you wish to begin coursework. If documents are submitted after this time, candidates may choose to enroll in courses with non-degree seeking admission status. Please note that non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid.
To take courses as a non-degree student, you must (1) complete an application to the Graduate School and (2) complete the non-degree enrollment form. Both can be found at this link: http://apps.usm.edu/graduate-school/grad-school-apps/
For the most up-to-date information on our degree programs, courses offered, etc. please contact our Coordinator for Special Education (Dr. Hollie Filce, Hollie.Filce@usm.edu).
The Teach Mississippi Institute is an alternate route licensure program approved by the Mississippi Department of Education. This program does not lead to a degree, but candidates may apply the 6 of the 12 hours required in the TMI to a M.Ed. in Special Education if admitted to the M.Ed. program.
The TMI requires 3 courses (9 hours) during the summer semester followed by a 1-year supervised internship (3 credit hours).
Pre-requisites to summer coursework:
- Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in a non-education area.
- Non-degree admission to the USM Graduate School (application and non-degree enrollment form at: http://www.usm.edu/graduate-school/apply-graduate-school)
- TMI application/enrollment documents (available by contacting the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education).
Summer Coursework required (9 credit hours):
SPE 709, SPE 632, and CIS 603
Pre-requisites to 1-year supervised internship (3 credit hours):
- Successful completion of SPE 709, SPE 632, and CIS 603
- Successful completion of Praxis I and Praxis II (in your content area).
- Submission of Teaching Position Information Form (available by contacting the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education). Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to secure a teaching position in their content area (Special Education grades 7-12). The program nor the university assist with this process.
Visit our Elementary Education program site to learn more information on how to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Please visit our programs page here: https://online.usm.edu/programs/
Other classes that aren’t listed may count towards your degree once your transcript has been evaluated and posted.
Yes, the program is available totally online. Students are not required to visit campus for an in-class lecture; however, an online lecture may be required by your instructor.
No, online students pay resident tuition. For information about pricing, click here.
If yes, visit online.usm.edu/military for more information on how Southern Miss can serve you and your needs. We will help you with funding and scholarship information, admissions, and course enrollment.
In addition to the requirements detailed in Academic Requirements and Procedures, applicants must submit the following documents:
- Official scores from one of the following standardized exams – Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Praxis II Subject Assessment Examination.
- Letters of Recommendation – Three (3) letters of recommendation from professionals in the field of education who are qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.
- Statement of Purpose – In a letter or essay format, describe your professional experiences and goals and how obtaining this degree will help you to realize those goals.
- Writing Sample
- Copy of current educator license, if applicable.
Program Requirements and Academic Policies
In addition to the requirements detailed in General Degree Requirements and General Academic Information, students who are seeking initial licensure or who have gained special education licensure through alternative routes may be required to complete additional courses to satisfy program prerequisite deficiencies.