Special Education - Graduate Programs

The Curriculum & Instruction: Special Education graduate program at Florida State prepares teachers to learn advanced skills. As a student here, you’ll conduct research in special education and related areas while enjoying close mentorship from our faculty. Designed for existing teachers, this program particularly helps those individuals who desire to enter special education teacher roles.


Above all else, the program aspires to train high-quality special education teachers who provide service to those in need. Our faculty regularly produce nationally recognized research to improve outcomes for and understanding of children, youth and adults with disabilities.

Within the Special Education program, we offer master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees. In the master’s program, you can specialize in:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Teachers already licensed in the state of Florida can earn the Autism Endorsement from the Florida Department of Education. After finishing this program and earning the endorsement, you will enjoy increased marketability and new job opportunities. Demand for autism specialists continues to grow, and this specialization prepares our students for a variety of autism-related jobs.
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Reading
  • Severe Disabilities

Please note: these are advanced programs designed for current teachers. If you wish to become certified to teach special education, please see our Special Education combined BS/MS pathway.

Admission Requirements

In order to meet minimum University admission requirements, applicants must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA – An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution, with a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA) in all coursework attempted while registered as an upper-division undergraduate student working towards a bachelor’s degree.
  • GRE test scores. Official test results are required from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). These scores are considered official only when they are sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the testing agency. Examinee copies are not considered official. Graduate Record Exam (GRE): http://www.ets.org/ – FSU Institution Code: 5219.

M.S. and Ed.S. Applicant Target Scores:
Verbal – 146+
Quantitative – 140+

Ph.D. Applicant Target Scores:
Verbal – 151+
Quantitative – 145+
Writing – 3+

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) do not retain scores longer than five years. If your test scores are older than five years, you may have to retake the test to have official scores sent directly to FSU from the testing agency. If you have the report that was mailed to your home address for older scores, then FSU will accept that report.

NOTE: The GRE requirements for master’s and specialist programs have been waived for the Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021 terms.

  • Language proficiency test (international students only)– FSU accepts scores from TOEFL (minimum 80), IELTS (minimum 6.5) and MELAB (minimum 77).
  • Transcripts – Applicants must submit an official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college and/or university attended to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The address for submitting transcripts is:

Florida State University
Office of Graduate Admissions
314 Westcott Building
P.O. Box 3061410
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410

Applicants must upload the following REQUIRED supporting documents to the Admissions Application Portal:

  • Statement of purpose – should describe your purpose for pursuing a degree, qualifications and long-term career goals.
    • At least one (1) page for M.S. and Ed.S. applicants
    • At least two (2) pages for Ph.D. applicants
  • Letters of recommendation
    • Two (2) for M.S. and Ed.S. applicants
    • Three (3) for Ph.D. applicants
  • One page resume/curriculum vitae
  • Writing Sample – it is acceptable to submit a paper used in another class, or one that was published.

Application Deadlines

Master’s and Specialist programs:

Fall: July 1st
Spring: November 1st
Summer: March 1st

Doctoral program:

Fall: December 1st (early deadline for consideration for financial aid), March 1st (final deadline)
Spring: November 1st
Summer: March 1st

Apply Now
Apply Now- International Students

Tuition & Aid

Information about tuition and fees at Florida State is available here. You can learn more about the scholarship and aid opportunities for College of Education students here.

Career Opportunities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for special education teachers is expected to grow by 7.4% through 2026. That translates into 15,100 new jobs.
 The median national annual salary for special education teachers is $60,600 per year.

Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers, and a typical path usually offers ample opportunities for professional development and growth. Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. With students who have mild or moderate disabilities, they ensure that lessons and teaching strategies are modified to meet the students’ needs. With students who have severe disabilities, they teach the students independent living skills and basic literacy, communication, and math. They generally work school hours when students are present, and use nights and weekends to prepare lessons and grade papers. Some teachers work during the summer months.

Our Faculty

Click here to learn more about our Special Education faculty!

Admissions Contact