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Why This Matters


    Six percent of American students, or more than 3.2 million children, are enrolled in programs designed for the enrichment and acceleration of those who are gifted and talented.

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 14,300 MORE OF YOU BY 2029

    Districts are increasingly providing the specialized curriculum and enrichment opportunities that help gifted and talented students excel. The need for special education teachers, including gifted and talented educators, is expected to expand by 3% over the next decade.


    The U.S. Department of Education has reported that there are shortages of teachers for the gifted and talented in a number of states, including Maine, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and others.

Our Research

This list focuses on graduate programs leading to a master of arts, master of science, or master of education in gifted and talented education. The name of the program changes from school to school, but the goal of each program is similar: educating teachers and administrators in working effectively with students who are academically gifted.

Since educational certification occurs at the state level in the U.S., the certification options offered by our chosen programs differ from one another, depending on where the school is located. Many states feature an endorsement or add-on certification for working with gifted and talented students that can be amended to the graduate student’s teaching certification on completing the program.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 61 hours to write this article
  • 192 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 317 education programs we compared

The Top 38 Master’s in Gifted And Talented Education Degree Programs

Best Master's in Gifted And Talented Education Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
Millersville University
Best in the Northeast
Alvernia University
Best Public University
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Best On-Campus Program
The University of Alabama
Best Special Education Focus
University of Southern Mississippi
Best Study Abroad Options
Eastern Kentucky University
Best in the West
University of Northern Colorado
Best Private University
Drury University
Best Mid-Sized University
Florida Atlantic University
Best Cohort-Based Program
Louisiana State University
Best for Small Class Sizes
Marshall University
Best Small University
Mary Baldwin University
Best Alumni Network
Minnesota State University, Mankato - College of Education
Best Non-Licensure Program
New Mexico Highlands University
Most Affordable
Purdue University
Alumni Recommended
Youngstown State University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Teachers of the gifted and talented fall under the general category of special education instructors. They may work in classrooms set up specifically for gifted students, or may be in classes where the gifted have been mainstreamed.

Educators with certification in gifted and talented education may also be employed at the district or state level, or in government or private organizations working to determine the scope and nature of education for the nation’s children.

Depending on the requirements for supplemental certification in the state your school is located in, program requirements may include a practicum or experiential learning component. This may involve working in a public or private school setting with gifted and talented students under the supervision of a professor or other professional.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching gifted and talented education programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? In order to successfully apply for a master’s degree in Gifted and Talented Education, you will need an undergraduate diploma; a preference may be given to those whose undergraduate education focused on teacher preparation. Some schools require a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher; many also require applicants to be currently certified as teachers in the state.
  • What is the job outlook for those who earn this degree? The job outlook in gifted education is strong, with a modest increase in size anticipated over the next decade in the field. The job market will be particularly acute in areas where there is an anticipated shortage of teachers for the gifted.

If you are interested in an online program at a school in a different state from that in which you are certified, it would be wise to speak with an admissions counselor to ensure that the program will meet your needs and allow you to earn the appropriate training for your location. Admissions counselors can be an excellent source of information in general as you research possible programs.

A counselor can also help you explore financial aid options. In addition to scholarships offered by the school, you may be able to locate financial assistance through your school district or professional organizations to which you belong.

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