Support all individuals with diverse learning abilities and behavioral needs with Northern's online master's degree in special education, with optional specialization in visual impairment.

Format: Online or On Campus


Enhance your educator preparation to support people with diverse learning abilities and behavioral needs with Northern's master’s degree in special education, offered online and on campus. This graduate program is designed for:

  • Current special education teachers who wish to advance their knowledge in their field as generalist special education teachers or teachers of students with visual impairments
  • Current K-12 general classroom teachers who'd like to pivot to special education and diversify their skills
  • Teachers responding to the market demand for special education teachers and teachers of students with visual impairments


Visual Impairment Specialization

Educators - including special educators - who already have state licensure can select the master’s degree program or the master’s degree with specialization in visual impairments to expand their ability to serve students with disabilities.


Northern has a longtime partnership with the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which is located in a brand-new building right next to campus in Aberdeen. 


Northern is one of only three universities in the nation to include a practicum in a school for the blind and visually impaired – and the only university with a school of the blind and visually impaired within the bounds of its campus. The visual impairment specialization will prepare you to become a teacher of the visually impaired. 



Start your master's degree early! Northern's undergraduate special education majors can start the master’s during their senior or final year through an accelerated program, taking up to 12 credits in the master’s at the 500 level instead of the 400 level. 


Special Education Handbook



Students must complete practicum requirements during the program. Students in the Visual Impairment Specialization will have the opportunity to complete their experiences in the new state-of-the-art SDSBVI on the NSU campus. Practicums can be arranged locally or remotely.


For more information about internship options in this program, email