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Online Master's in Secondary Special Education and Transition at KU.

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Online Master's in Secondary Special Education and Transition

Positive adult life outcomes for youth with disabilities start here. The University of Kansas School of Education will prepare you to provide effective transition services through the online master's in secondary special education and transition.*

The end of high school is an important period of transition for all students, as they enter adulthood and decide whether to continue with education, search for a job or forge a meaningful life in some other way in their community. For students with disabilities, choosing a fulfilling path after high school is made easier with guidance from transition specialists and coordinators who help these students determine their personal goals and work with them to make and execute a plan to promote their achievement. Compared to students without disabilities, students with disabilities have:

  • Double the drop-out rate1
  • Half the rate of postsecondary education attainment2
  • Significantly higher rates of unemployment and underemployment3

Fortunately, this reality can be altered by special educators with the skills and insight to ensure that students with disabilities can begin to plan for their adult lives as early as elementary school. Students with disabilities are more likely to graduate high school as college- and career-ready young adults when they have access to specialists who can help them understand and prepare for adult roles and responsibilities from an early age. Effective implementation of evidence-based secondary transition practices and interagency collaboration can ensure that these students have the skills, experiences and supports in place to transition seamlessly to positive post-school outcomes.

Support young adults with disabilities—and their families—as they prepare for successful post-school outcomes.

The University of Kansas Department of Special Education was the first program to develop an online master's degree in secondary special education and transition, beginning a tradition of excellence that continues today. The program's faculty is internationally known for its leadership in the field of transition and for innovative field-based research, and the university itself is acclaimed for its commitment to high-quality education for children and youth with disabilities.

Graduates of the online master's in secondary special education and transition go on to become highly effective researchers, teacher educators, transition specialists, state and federal transition professionals, and policy specialists. In this program you'll explore different career development options for students with disabilities, including work-based learning and school and community vocational training models, as well as family partnerships, the impact of cultural and linguistic diversity on transition planning, interagency collaboration, transition assessment, school and community engagement, transition leadership, and policies impacting transition services and support. You'll learn about the agencies and services available to help youth with disabilities in the transition process, and when you graduate, you'll be prepared to put the theory, methods and context you've studied into practice.

Transition Coalition and the Beach Center on Disability

KU's excellence and expertise in transition is reflected in the on-campus Beach Center on Disability, an internationally acclaimed research and support center that hosts the Transition Coalition. For nearly two decades, the Transition Coalition has provided training and support to practitioners who support students in transition. Faculty members who teach in the online master’s in secondary special education and transition program are actively involved with both the center and the coalition.

Program Details


  • 10 courses, 8 weeks per course, 30 credit hours
  • Complete in as few as 2 years
  • Opportunity to apply practical approaches grounded in pedagogical theory through interactions with children and youth in your own community
  • Learn from renowned faculty in a department that has set the standard in the practice of special education for over 50 years
  • Complete your coursework anytime, anywhere, through our innovative online format
  • No GRE required for admission
  • Program aligned to CEC/DCDT National Transition Standards

View Admissions Requirements

What You'll Learn

While obtaining your secondary special education degree online, you will complete coursework in career development, work-based learning, transition assessment, interagency services and collaboration, and strengthening family partnerships. You will learn methods for applying effective transition models and programs within educational settings, putting theory into practice. When you graduate, you will have a deeper understanding of the interagency and vocational services that support youth as they transition into adulthood, and you will be ready to connect individual youth with the most appropriate resources. Your studies will culminate in a master's project that will not only demonstrate your knowledge of the transition standards and competencies identified by the Council for Exceptional Children's Division of Career Development and Transition, but will showcase, through an electronic portfolio, your ability to implement research-based practices highlighted in the literature.

For more detailed information on the topics covered in this program, view the course listings.

Career Outcomes

The online master's in secondary special education and transition program at KU will prepare you to succeed in positions both inside and outside of PK-12 education settings. If you are a licensed educator, this program will support you as a special education teacher or advisor at the secondary level in public or private schools. Your skills and experience could lead to a transition services-related position within a school district or a state or national government agency. Or you could put what you've learned to work in a community agency or institute of higher education.

*This program is an online Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree in special education with an emphasis in secondary special education and transition. It does not lead to initial nor advanced licensure in special education in the state of Kansas.

Note: In order to enroll in this program, a bachelor's degree is required. No program can guarantee licensure. It is each student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements in his or her state and to apply for the licenses or endorsements necessary to his or her career goals. Our department staff and licensure officer can provide individual support during the application process to help you understand your state’s requirements.

Important Dates

Application Deadline

August 9
Fall 2019 Term

Next Start

August 26
Fall 2019 Term


Coming Soon


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