Major in Special Education

With demand growing at an unprecedented rate, graduates with a degree in special education have a unique and important opportunity to use their education to educate children, adolescents and adults with developmental, learning or emotional disabilities.

Special education teacher candidates are also prepared to teach with technology and use assistive technology in their field placements and student teaching with K-12 students.

Designed for creative, passionate and patient teacher candidates who have a desire to work in challenging settings, a career in special education will often provide rewards unseen in any other professional fields.

Elmhurst graduates in this field have an impressive job placement rate: 100% of our special education teacher candidates who graduate each May are employed before the start of the new school year.

The major leads to licensure as a Learning Behavior Specialist I and prepares candidates to teach students in kindergarten through high school with the following disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Cognitive disability
  • Emotional disability
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment, and specific learning disabilities

All special education candidates will earn the English as a Second Language (ESL) approval for Special Education or Bilingual Special Education Approval.

Suggested Course Sequence

Fall Term

  • ENG 105 Composition I
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Spring Term

  • EDU 104 Cultural Foundations of Education in the United States
  • ENG 106 Composition II
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Fall Term

  • EDU 223 Education of PK-12 Learners with Exceptionalities
  • MTH 325 Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

January Term

  • TEL 212 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching English Language Learners

Spring Term

  • EDU 311 Educational Psychology (prerequisites: ENG 106, EDU 104)
  • TEL 204 Cross-Cultural Studies in Teaching English Language Learners
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Fall Term (Block I)

  • SPE 300 Introduction to Curriculum, Planning and Instruction (.75 credit)

  • SPE 301 Special Education Practicum I (.25 credit)

  • SPE 316 K-12 Literacy Instructional Strategies and Interventions (.75 credit)

  • SPE 434 Curriculum, Assessment, Instructional Strategies for Learners with High Incidence Disabilities (.75 credit)

  • SPE 338 Characteristics of Learners with Exceptionalities (.75 credit)

  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Spring Term (Block II)

  • SPE 350 Curriculum, Instruction and Assistive Technology (.75 credit)

  • SPE 352 Special Education Practicum II (.25 credit)

  • SPE 438 Curriculum, Assessment, Instructional Strategies for Learners with Low Incidence Disabilities (.75 credit)

  • SPE 439 Characteristics and Specific Needs of Students with Physical, Health and Sensory Impairments (.50 credit)

  • TEL 317 Methods and Materials for Teaching English Language Learners (.75 credit)

  • TEL 319 Linguistics for Second Language Learning

Fall Term (Block III)

  • SPE 440 Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties (.75 credit)

  • SPE 435 The Learning Environment/Positive Behavior Support (.75 credit)

  • SPE 442 Remediation of Difficulties in Understanding and Applying Mathematics (.50 credit)

  • SPE 450 Special Education Practicum: Collaboration and Professional Practice (1.0 credit)

  • TEL 439 Assessment of English Language Learners (.75 credit)

January Term

  • SPE 320 Establishing Professional Relationships: Communication and Collaboration (.75 credit)

Spring Term (Block IV)

  • SPE 458 Student Teaching in Special Education (3.0 credit)

Get Started

Completing Special Education Prerequisites at a Community College 

Planning to complete the program’s prerequisites at a community college prior to transferring? Use the advising sheets below to determine which courses you need to enroll in at the community college of your choice so you are prepared to apply to the SPE program.

Jaime Zurheide, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, and Program Director of Early Childhood Education and Special Education
Department of Education

William Slodki

Director of Teacher Education Admission; Adjunct Faculty, Education
Department of Education

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