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Explore our EdS in Special Education (Non-Licensure)

With an EdS in Special Education, you can further your career in a growing field while making a direct impact on the lives of students with exceptionalities.

With nearly 6 million students nationwide in need of special education services, there is a growing demand for professional leaders in the field. The Education Specialist (EdS) degree in Special Education can position you for leadership roles in school districts, communities, and the profession as a whole.

In this online Education Specialist degree program, you will:

  • Deepen your understanding of the critical trends and issues impacting special education today.
  • Learn how to collaborate effectively with families and school staff to enhance special education practice.
  • Engage in real-world case studies that require collaborative problem-solving and the implementation of research-based strategies.
  • Illustrate your knowledge through a capstone project that allows you to focus on a real-world problem of practice in special education.

The EdS curriculum is informed by the Council for Exceptional Children Advanced Role Content Standards and focuses on key issues in the field of special education, such as leadership and policy, program development and assessment, collaboration, and ethical practice.

An EdS degree can dramatically impact your salary and career as an educator-leader in less time, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn a Doctor of Education (EdD) or PhD in Education. However, the innovative structure of our Lifelong Learner Pathways allows you to lay the groundwork for your doctorate if you later choose to pursue it. As an EdS student, you will take the same initial courses as EdD and PhD students, where you exchange ideas and engage in advanced graduate coursework. If you are inspired to pursue your doctorate, you can transfer into the EdD program with a specialization in Special Education without starting over, saving you time and money.

Find information about Walden programs and licensure requirements specific to your state.

Highlights

Like all of our Education Specialist degree programs, Walden’s EdS in Special Education program is designed to empower busy educators like you to pursue a specialized post-master’s degree while continuing to work full time. Our program offers unprecedented flexibility that lets you tailor your studies to your needs and goals, and even change direction midstream without losing time or money.

  • You can switch degree paths even after starting your program. Students in the Doctor of Education (EdD) program and the EdS post-master’s programs take the same four initial courses. With our Lifelong Learner Pathway, you can continue toward your doctoral degree without having to start over.
  • Increase your impact as an educator-leader in less time. With an EdS in Special Education, you can make a greater impact on your salary and career trajectory—not to mention your community—in significantly less time, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn an EdD or PhD in Education.
  • Learn from highly qualified and diverse faculty mentors, who blend academic theory with real-world insights to enrich your learning and broaden your perspectives on the latest trends.

Save Time and Money on Your Degree

The ability to transfer credit at Walden can give you a more seamless, effective, and cost-efficient way to continue your education. Complete your required coursework sooner by transferring applicable required graduate credits into a Walden degree program.

Program Savings

Receive your first course at no cost if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. 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.

*Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Time to degree completion assumes it takes 2 years and 3 months to complete the 9 courses.

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 Total *
Tuition 45 total quarter credit hours $615 per semester hour $27,675
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $1,440


TOTAL $29,115


Transfer up to 22 credits $14,170


Total with Maximum Transfer Credits† $14,945

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.


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.

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