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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs


Special Education

University Park, College of Education (SPLED)

PROFESSOR KATHLEEN McKINNON, Coordinator of Teacher Education in Special Education

The emphasis throughout the Special Education program is upon a broad clinical teaching model. Course work and practicum experiences focus upon the diagnosis and management of a wide range and degree of educational and behavioral problems of students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21. A core of Special Education courses aimed at general skill development in the areas of diagnosis, prescription, development of materials and teaching strategies, implementation, and evaluation is required of all students.

This major focuses on teaching principles and methodologies, classroom and behavioral management, and the development of teaching materials for children and youths with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities. This program helps prepare special education teachers to meet the needs of students enrolled in elementary and secondary public school special education programs.

Baccalaureate degree candidates must meet the following requirements 1-3 by the end of their third semester:
1. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00
2. Satisfaction of any basic-skills or entrance testing requirements as specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in force at the time of application for entrance to the major.
3. Documentation of at least 80 hours of volunteer or paid education work experience with learners of the age group the candidate plans to teach. Candidates for Special Education must document two separate 40-hour experiences in two different settings, with learners who have special needs. One experience should include learners with a different level of severity or functioning (e.g., mild/severe, young/adult) from those learners in the other experience. One experience should also include learners with cultural, social, or ethnic backgrounds different from the candidates own.

Requirements 4-9 must be met by the end of the fourth semester when students typically participate in the Entrance to Major process.

4. A grade of "C" or better in all specified courses.
5. Completion of an early field experience specified by the certification program.
6. Completion of a core of Education courses specified by the certification program.
7. Completion of additional credits as specified by the certification program.
8. Completion of at least 48 semester credit hours, including ENGL 15 GWS(3)or ENGL 30 GWS(3), three credits of literature, and six credits of quantification.
9. Approval from the professional education adviser or the head of the pertinent certification program. 

For the B.S. degree in Special Education, 122 credits are required. (See also Teacher Education Programs.)

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

(12-15 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)

(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selections)

(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selections)


ELECTIVES: 3 credits[19]

(This includes 12 credits of General Education courses: 6 credits of GQ courses; 6 credits of GS courses.)

EDPSY 10 GS(3), EDPSY 14(3), EDPSY 101 GQ(3), EDTHP 115 US(3), MATH 200 GQ(3), PSYCH 100 GS(3), PSYCH 212 GS(3) (Sem: 1-4)
Red Cross Certification in First Aid and CPR(0) (Sem: 1-8)
EDPSY 421(3), SPLED 395(3), SPLED 401(4), SPLED 404(3), SPLED 408(3), SPLED 411(3), SPLED 412(4), SPLED 454(4), SPLED 425(4), SPLED 495E(3) (Sem: 5-6)
SPLED 409A(3), SPLED 409B(3), SPLED 409C(3), SPLED 418(3), SPLED 495F(15), SPLED 495G(4) (Sem: 7-8)

Integrated B.S. in Special Education - M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction

The Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction with Emphasis in Language and Literacy Education Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (SE/CI-LL ED IUG) Degree Program consists of integration of required courses for a B.S. in Special Education with courses required for certification as a Reading Specialist and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Language and Literacy Education. The five-year, SE/CI-LLED IUG is an option for highly qualified students seeking certification to teach Special Education in Pennsylvania in grades K-12. Completion of the IUG (along with earning a passing score on PDE required PRAXIS tests) leads to a B.S. in Special Education, certification in Special Education and as a Reading Specialist in the state of Pennsylvania, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. Students are expected to complete courses required for the graduate level K-12 reading specialist concurrent with their undergraduate experiences and coursework in Special Education and will complete a capstone Special Education teaching experience in their final semester.

Time of Admission to SE/CI-LLED IUG

Students wishing to apply for admission to the SE/CI-LLED IUG initiate application during the semester in which they complete SPLED 495E. They finalize the application process at the end of the semester with a grade of B or better in SPLED 412. While this is typically the end of the junior year of study, it may fall sooner or later.

Joint Admission Process

Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction are located in the College of Education, with Reading Specialist certification offered through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction's emphasis area in Language and Literacy Education. Admission to the SE/CI-LLED IUG will be based upon having attained a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher, with a grade of B or better in SPLED 412.

Admission will be based on a recommendation by the Reading Specialist Program Coordinator in consultation with the Coordinator of Teacher Education in Special Education.

Students will be expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the IUG program of study. Failure to do so will result in the student being placed on academic probation for one semester; after which time, if the GPA is not 3.0 or higher, the student will be dropped from the IUG.

If the student decides not to continue enrollment in the joint SE/CI-LLED IUG, the student may, contingent upon fulfilling all other requirements for the B.S. in SPLED, complete SPLED 495 (the traditional capstone field experience) in their final semester and graduate with a B.S. in Special Education.


Beginning during the application process, as well as subsequent to admission, students should communicate with both their SPLED program adviser and the program adviser for the C I Reading Specialist program to ensure requirements of both programs are met.

Reduced Course Load

EDPSY 421 and LLED 595A may be double counted for the M.Ed. as well as the B.S. degree.

Tuition Charges

Undergraduate tuition rates will apply as long as the student is an undergraduate, unless the student receives financial support, for example, an assistantship requiring payment of graduate tuition (from "Information and Guidelines for Establishing Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate Degree Programs" - approved by the Graduate Council, May 8, 1996).

[19] Students may apply 3 credits of ROTC.
[21] A grade of C or better per course is required for all Special Education prerequisites and teacher certification.


Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2015

Blue Sheet Item #: 43-05-032

Review Date: 2/24/2015

R & T: 01/14/2014

UCA Revision #1: 8/14/06


Coordinator updated: 8/21/08 


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