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Bolster Your Credentials—and Your Impact—With an EdS in Special Education

Join Walden’s Eds in Special Education online program and gain the skills and knowledge you need to help your students reach their full potential. Explore the latest issues impacting the special education field and gain confidence to drive meaningful change in your work environment. While not a pathway to licensure, this program’s curriculum is informed by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)’s Professional Preparation Standards.

An EdS in Special Education degree prepares educators to create unique, data-driven intervention models that support high-quality education for students with exceptionalities.

Discuss Today’s Critical Issues

Explore topics such as special education advocacy, policy, and program development and assessment.

Build Your Confidence

In the capstone, work with a K–12 school or organization to identify and mitigate real-world challenges.

Expand Your Capabilities

Broaden your horizons with research and leadership skills that can serve you both professionally and academically.

Program Savings

Receive up to a $5,000 Walden Live & Learn Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 29, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Curriculum

Completion Requirements

  • 45 quarter credits

Education Specialist candidates must have access to a school or learning environment that services students with special education approved educational plans.

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0539.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits

Choose one course from the following two courses:

EDSD 7002

Leading the Future of Education

As an advanced graduate student, you are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life. This practical course provides meaningful skills you will need to select your path, complete your degree, and become a successful leader of educational change in the 21st century. Networking and research skills, scholarly writing, critical thinking, use of Walden resources, and the three advanced graduate paths (e.g., PhD, EdD, EdS)—this course addresses all of these in a manner that provides a solid foundation of skill sets upon which to base your journey. You will find a balance of assignments (e.g., case studies, discussions, application assignments) that will ignite your passion for learning, allow you to collaborate with others, and guide your current and future work. This course is designed to reflect Walden's social change mission and provide you with meaningful tools for success as an advanced graduate student.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7006

Leading the Future of Education

As an advanced graduate student, you are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life. This practical course provides meaningful skills you will need to select your path, complete your degree, and become a successful leader of educational change in the 21st century. Networking and research skills, scholarly writing, critical thinking, use of Walden resources, and the three advanced graduate paths (e.g., PhD, EdD, EdS)—this course addresses all of these in a manner that provides a solid foundation of skill sets upon which to base your journey. You will find a balance of assignments (e.g., case studies, discussions, application assignments) that will ignite your passion for learning, allow you to collaborate with others, and guide your current and future work. This course is designed to reflect Walden's social change mission and provide you with meaningful tools for success as an advanced graduate student.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7070

Special Education: Exploring Theory and Practice

Special education is a dynamic field with a growing research base of best practices and changing implementation efforts for students who demonstrate a broad spectrum of adaptive and learning challenges. Special education professionals in this course explore how theoretical research in the field evolved and influenced emerging and prevalent practices in the field. Through the realistic lens of a case study, candidates will explore a range of research topics as well as investigate how research has influenced practice. Through their coursework, educators are supported in the development of skills and dispositions that will assist candidates as they envision and influence the future of special education.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7071

Leading Change in Special Education: Advocacy, Policy, and Law

Leadership and advocacy go hand-in-hand when seeking to promote policies that support effective practices in education for ALL students. Through analysis and reflection, candidates can examine the evolution of special education legislation and pivotal case law and can analyze the connections among advocacy, leadership, policy, and law as it plays out in realistic scenarios. Special education professionals will also investigate change theory and leadership styles, allowing them to reflect on their own and others' paradigms in order to determine best practices to promote positive educational and social changes. They must apply leadership, advocacy, self-evaluation, and social change skill sets to current practice as they will be called upon to do in future careers. Candidates can also engage in a culminating project through which they construct a professional plan for advocacy and leadership in an area of interest that includes issues of diversity and special needs.

(5 cr.)
RSCH 7110

Research Theory, Design, and Methods

Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the doctoral level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the importance of theory in research, and research processes. The course also introduces students to the quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research designs and methods. Students devote special attention to understanding the ethical and social change implications of conducting research and engaging in scholarship. They apply their knowledge and skills by developing elements of simple research plans for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7072

Research Methodology for Special Education

In this course, special educators examine research methodologies important and unique to the field of special education. Particular attention is given to single-subject research designs that are used to study behavioral change in individuals or small groups as a result of an intervention. Topics include reliable measurement, repeated measurement, description of conditions, baseline and treatment conditions, and single-variable rules. Candidates will apply the concepts studied in the course to the special education case study. By the end of this course, candidates will begin to delineate various special education research-based methodologies that may apply to an area of interest for their capstone projects.

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7073

Designing Specialized Instruction for Diverse Learners

Whether practicing in a school, university, or other professional settings, special educators are called upon to implement data-driven assessments in order to plan and implement individualized instructional plans for students with diverse learning and social challenges. In this course, educators review research and practice specific to specialized instruction for students with disabilities in language, reading, writing, math, and content areas. Topics also include effective practices for instruction and evaluation for students with social-emotional and behavioral needs, including applied behavior analysis, positive behavioral interventions, and skill building. Related brain-based research will be examined, as well as assistive technologies and methods of delivery, whether in individual, small group, or inclusive settings. 

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7074

Implementing Effective School-Wide Intervention Models

Special educators must be prepared with valid and reliable assessment data in order to recommend and implement sound, research-based intervention models. In this course, educators examine problem-solving best practices for using data to identify students at risk of academic, social, or emotional difficulties. Candidates can also study methods of disability identification and monitoring student progress, and data-based decision making for instruction, universal instruction, and interventions useful for all students. Professional development for general and special education teachers and the role of caregivers (e.g., parents, families, guardians) will be explored. Functional behavioral assessment is examined as an evaluation tool for understanding behavior, and effective practices for school-wide positive behavioral support (SWPBS) are also explored. 

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7075

Sustaining and Supporting Effective Practices in Special Education

Effective special education leaders promote meaningful change for students with diverse learning and social needs, foster the use of effective practices, and sustain long-term program viability throughout diverse settings. Once effective practices are in place, they establish a clear plan for addressing program integrity and sustaining commitment to continuous improvement. Throughout this course, candidates can examine critical components to sustain change, including program evaluation, professionalism, culturally responsive practices, and policy to support continuous improvement. 

(5 cr.)
EDSD 7900

EdS Capstone Project: Creating and Supporting Effective Educational Practices

Effective education leaders promote meaningful change for all students, foster the use of effective practices, and sustain long-term program viability in diverse educational settings. Throughout the program course sequence, educators examine critical components to create and support continuous improvement. These skill sets are applied in this capstone course as educators create a project that promotes meaningful education and social change. Working in a consultative role as a school or district professional, the educator engages in a project to identify a problem within his or her academic and/or work environment and propose a solution in the form of draft recommendations for the school, district, or educational setting. Additionally, the educator projects how the proposed recommendations, if implemented, would be evaluated and sustained. A Capstone Project Rubric is used to guide in project development and evaluation.

(5 cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 45 quarter credit hours $615 per semester hour $27,675
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $1,440


  $29,115

*This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included.

Admission Requirements

Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply.

More information for international applicants.


Become a Special Education Change Agent 

In this non-licensure, online EdS in Special Education program, you’ll learn how to work effectively with families and school staff to enhance special education practice. Engage in relevant case studies that require collaborative problem-solving and the implementation of research-based strategies. Demonstrate your knowledge through a personalized capstone project that allows you to focus on a real problem of practice in a K–12 setting.

Meet Your Academic Team 

  • Stacy Ness

    Stacy Ness

    Program Director

    As program director in the School of Education and Professional Licensure, Dr. Ness oversees the special education, elementary education, early childhood studies, and principal preparation programs. She has also been an academic coordinator, course instructor, and lead university supervisor at Walden.


    Read Stacy's Bio
  • Carole Pearce

    Academic Coordinator

    Dr. Pearce serves as the academic program coordinator for the EdD programs in Higher Education and Adult Learning, College Teaching and Learning, and Adult Education. She has more than 25 years of experience as an adult educator and has been a Walden faculty member since 2008.

    Read Carole's Bio
  • Kevin Johnson

    Kevin Johnson

    Core Faculty

    Dr. Johnson has been an educator and leader at the elementary, middle, and high school levels as well as a consultant with the state department of education. He has also been a professor in Special Education and Education Leadership in higher education. Currently, he serves as an assistant professor.

    Read Kevin's Bio

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of Walden’s EdS in Special Education program, you will be prepared to:

  • Follow policies surrounding ethical and legal practices that support high-quality education for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Apply valid, research-based assessment measures to facilitate learning and behavioral interventions for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Evaluate special education programs, including the integration of related services (e.g., assistive technology, behavioral intervention, transition, inclusion) for individuals with exceptionalities based upon an understanding of individual differences
  • Distinguish research-based strategies used to improve data decision making, support, and services for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Support the continuous improvement of education programs, supports, and services for individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Effectively communicate with stakeholders to improve outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  • Design a scholarly response to address a special education problem and contribute to the profession.

Career Outlook

Your talent, compassion, and love for teaching have gotten you this far in your career. Now, strengthen your impact as an educator and advocate with an EdS in Special Education.

With an education specialist degree in special education, you can deepen your expertise and open doors to new professional opportunities. Earn a valuable academic credential, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn an EdD or PhD in Education—and transfer seamlessly into a doctoral program later if you choose to.

An EdS in Special Education can help prepare you to pursue career options such as:2

  1. Lead special education teacher
  2. Special education department chairperson
  3. Special education coordinator

An EdS in Special Education can help prepare you to work in settings such as:

  1. Public, private, and charter schools
  2. Colleges and universities
  3. Community organizations and businesses
  4. State departments of education

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

Approximately

7 million

 students in the U.S. receive special education services.1

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