Open 4+1: M.A. Special Education

Pursue your master's degree and teaching certification in one of today's most in-demand teaching areas.

How it Works

During your final undergraduate year at your home institution, you will complete two online courses with RWU at a significantly discounted rate. You will then complete your remaining coursework in just one year either on campus at RWU or fully online following your graduation from your undergraduate program. 


Undergraduates will apply (ideally in the spring of the junior year) to begin their graduate coursework with RWU in the fall semester of their fourth year of undergraduate study, and will complete the remaining courses formally as an RWU student in the summer term, fall semester, winter term, and spring semester. 

Special Education Open 4+1 Schedule


Students who participate in the Open 4+1 M.A. Special Education program will take the first two courses online with RWU at a significantly discounted rate - more than 75 percent off regular tuition rates. By pursuing a one-year master's degree in Special Education, you will also have the benefit of entering the work force a year sooner than most master's programs, allowing you to take advantage of an additional year of earning potential. 

Application Instructions

You should apply for the Open 4+1 M.A. Special Education program during your third undergraduate year at your home institution. For a complete application, please submit the following materials: 

  1. Online application- Be sure to select the Open 4+1 option and apply for the term in which you intend to take your first online course with RWU (your first term of your final year of undergraduate study). 
  2. Two letters of recommendation (academic or professional) - Provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders in the online application and they will receive a secure login to provide your letter directly in our system. Recommenders can also email their letters to us directly at Recommenders should be able to attest to your potential to succeed in graduate school and work with children with exceptionalities. 
  3. Statement of Intent (three pages, double-spaced maximum) detailing: A) Why you hold the dispositions to become a special education teacher committed to equity; and B) Experiences that inspired your desire to work with youth with exceptionalities. Upload your statement in the applicant portal after you have submitted your online application or email it to us at
  4. Official college transcript(s) of all undergraduate coursework - You may upload an unofficial transcript during the application process, but an official transcript must be received directly from your undergraduate institution(s) prior to beginning your first class. Transcripts can be mailed to the Office of Graduate Admission, Roger Williams University, 1 Old Ferry Rd., Bristol, RI 02809, or submitted through official e-transcript services to
  5. Passing score on the Praxis I Principles of Learning & Teaching K-6 (elementary) or 7-12 (secondary). This requirement is waived for students who already possess initial teaching certification or have met all eligibility requirements for initial certification. 
  6. Current resume - Upload your resume in the applicant portal after you have submitted your online application or email it to us at
  7. A copy of a current BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification) background check or equivalent document - Submit to

For full details on each requirement, visit our How to Apply page

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Preferred Application Deadline

August 1st prior to the intended fall semester start.