Special Education - Online and Distance Education

Special Education

Master's Degrees | Special Education

Special Education

Entrance Exam: GRE

The NC State University MAT degree program in special education prepares candidates to teach in K-12 schools in the U.S. Graduates earn both an initial NC teaching license in Special Education: General Curriculum and a Master’s degree. In the MAT curriculum graduate students expand their knowledge of pedagogy and are exposed to ways in which to integrate practice with theory, as well as to experience today’s culturally diverse and technology-enhanced classrooms.

Read more about Professional Licensure.

The MAT program in special education is designed for those who hold a Bachelor’s degree but do not hold a valid NC teaching license. In addition, in order to be eligible for admittance, applicants must already have at least 6 college-level credit hours (with a grade of “B” or better) in each of the following content areas: English, Social Studies, Math, and Science.

Candidates lacking in these content area courses can complete them at another college or university or as a NDS (non-degree student) at NC State prior to admission.

The MAT program at NC State University follows a mixed instructional model that includes courses that are online, face-to-face on campus, a mix of online and face-to-face (i.e., hybrid), as well as Distance Education off campus (i.e., in schools not far from the NC State campus in Raleigh). A total of 33 credit hours are required to complete the MAT degree program in special education (see below). Students are allowed to enroll in either part- or full-time status and begin studies in the spring, fall, or summer academic terms.

In order to satisfactorily complete the MAT program all students must pass the edTPA assessment protocol, which “is a performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by teacher preparation programs throughout the U.S. to emphasize, measure, and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom." Similarly, in order to receive initial teaching licensure in NC Exceptional Children: General Curriculum, all MAT special education graduates must pass the state of NC Foundations of Reading test, as well as the General Curriculum test administered by the NCDPI.


Applicants must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a college or university that holds regional accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency such as SACS;
  • 3.0 GPA or higher in prior work, as required by the Graduate School;
  • The GRE is no longer required for admission to the Elementary MAT program if you have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. If your GPA is below 3.0, a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 300 on GRE is required. Scores should be no older than 5 years prior to the date of admission;
  • Minimum passing score of 100 on the TOEFL AND an official course-by-course evaluation from an accredited foreign credential evaluation service required for applicants with non-U.S. degrees*;
  • Meet the specific requirements of content area or grade level. See specialty coursework under curriculum for content standards.

In the absence of a content degree, 24 semester hours/credits in content relevant to the area in which you wish to teach are needed. Candidates who are missing content area courses can take them at a local college or university or as a PBS (post-baccalaureate student) at NC State prior to admission.

If an applicant does not have the 24 content area credits needed to be accepted into the program, he or she can still enroll in the first graduate classes as a Non-Degree student (NDS) while completing the full 24 content-specific hours and transfer those credits into the degree program. Up to 12 credit hours with a grade of “B” or better can be transferred into a master’s degree program (either completed as an NDS student or at another institution).

* Please note that the Master of Arts in Teaching is a Distance Education program, so students on university-sponsored visas are not eligible for this program. Please contact the Office of International Services with any questions.


This master's degree requires 33 graduate credits. At 2020-21 tuition rates, the cost of the required courses is $462 per credit for North Carolina residents and $1,311 per credit for non-residents. Thus, the total estimated cost for the 33-credit program is $15,246 for North Carolina residents and $43,263 for non-residents. See Online and Distance Education Tuition and Fees for cost details.

Plan of Study

MAT participants can undertake this program full-time or part-time. Depending on the content area, the program is approximately 33 credit hours, including a full-semester student teaching experience.