Jun 15, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog | 2021-2022 
Undergraduate Catalog | 2021-2022 Previous Edition

Special Education, B.A.

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The B.A. program in Special Education includes a choice of one of two licensure areas:  (1) the Special Education: General Curriculum license or (2) the Special Education: Adapted Curriculum license.  The Special Education: General Curriculum license qualifies graduates for the Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License to teach children with special needs in grades K-12 with mild disabilities (i.e., learning disabilities, mild cognitive disabilities, and emotional/behavioral disabilities).  The Special Education: Adapted Curriculum license qualifies graduates for the Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License to teach children with special needs in grades K-12 with severe disabilities (i.e., significant cognitive disabilities, multiple disabilities).

Graduates of the program are prepared to: provide individually planned, systematically implemented, and carefully evaluated instruction for students with special needs; provide educational services to students with special needs in general classrooms, resource classrooms, and other educational settings; and help students with special needs achieve the greatest possible personal self-sufficiency and success in present and future environments.  Graduates of the program are prepared to meet the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and the ten Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Standards for new teachers in Content Pedagogy, Student Development, Diverse Learners, Multiple Instructional Strategies, Motivation and Management, Communication and Technology, Planning, Assessment, Reflective Practice, and School and Community Involvement.  Graduates have specific coursework and clinical experiences in a variety of settings in order to learn and apply evidence-based knowledge and practices in the field of special education.

Admission Requirements (Pre-Education)

Freshmen and Transfers

  • Minimum GPA:  2.7
  • Pre-Major/Prerequisite Courses:  A minimum of 30 credit hours in approved college-level courses, and a grade of C or above in the following:
  • Other:  
    • Passing scores on the Praxis Core: Academic Skills Assessments in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; or an acceptable substitute score on the SAT or ACT
    • Scores for the practice NC General Curriculum test (available in Canvas)
    • Completion and clearance on the Criminal Background Check
    • Signed Statement of Commitment to Professional Dispositions
    • Recommendation of Advisor
    • Approval of the Chair (or his or her designee) of the department that offers the program
  • Declaration of Major:  The Special Education major is intended to be started in the first semester of the Junior year; students should plan to declare the major no later than the second semester of the Sophomore year.  Students must complete an “Application for Admission to a Teacher Education Program” in the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL) in the Cato College of Education.  Students must apply for admission to a specific teacher education program and complete the admissions process in order to enroll in any professional education courses at the 3000 level or above.

Degree Requirements

The Major in Special Education leading to the B.A. degree requires 120 credit hours as follows:

General Education Courses (31-35 credit hours)

For details on required courses, refer to the General Education program .  Students in this major should plan on taking the following course that meets general education requirements and also satisfies prerequisites for courses in the major:


* SPED 2100  and either EDUC 1100  or EDUC 2100  should be taken no later than a student’s Sophomore year.  Both courses must be completed with a grade of C or above to qualify for admission to the Teacher Education Program in Special Education.

Major Courses (54-60 credit hours)

Licensure Courses (18-24 credit hours)

Select one of the following licensure areas:

Unrestricted Elective Courses

It is recommended that students take content courses that will enable them to be labeled as “Highly Qualified” to teach content courses within a Special Education setting.  Students should see an advisor for additional recommendations. 

Degree Total = 120 Credit Hours

Academic Advising

Freshmen and Sophomores who intend to major in Special Education are classified as Pre-Education students in Special Education. These students are assigned an advisor in the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL), who help students select appropriate General Education and elective courses, and who will help them meet the requirements for admission to teacher education. To be admitted to the Teacher Education Program in Special Education, students must have completed an admission application through the TEAL office, attained a grade of C or above in SPED 2100  and either EDUC 1100  or EDUC 2100 , attained passing scores on all three parts of the Praxis Core test or acceptable alternatives (SAT or ACT scores), and attained an overall GPA of at least 2.7 in at least 30 credit hours of coursework.

Applications for admission to the Teacher Education Program in Special Education are available from and are to be returned to the TEAL office after a student has earned at least 30 semester hours of coursework. Students are then assigned a major advisor in special education who assists planning the remainder of the program of study, including selection of either one of the two licensure areas, or both licensure areas. Course selections for each subsequent semester must be approved by the student’s advisor in special education.

Additional Requirements

The successful completion of this degree program includes meeting the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s licensure requirements for K-12 certification.  Consequently, additional requirements must be completed during the student’s program and are listed below.  Since state licensure requirements often change, additional work may be required to complete the program with a teaching license.

Planning Sheet

All education students are tracked through their program with a Program Planning Sheet.  The original planning sheet is uploaded to the advising system and lists all courses taken, transfer hours, General Education and minor requirements met, and courses remaining in the program.  Note that the University requires that the minimum number of credits in a degree program is 120 credit hours.


Some courses in the professional program include a clinical requirement where students complete specific activities or designated hours in an appropriate setting.  Clinicals are designed to expose students to diverse school demographics, locations, and programs.

Grade Requirements

All students with an education major must maintain a 2.5 GPA overall and a 2.75 GPA in their professional courses.  All professional courses must be passed with a grade of C or above, and students must have a GPA of 2.75 in professional courses the semester prior to student teaching.  Students may repeat a professional course once.  Courses may have required prerequisites, so courses should be taken in the sequence indicated on the plan of study.

Honors Program

For details about the Honors Program in Education, visit the program page .


Teacher education candidates participate in the yearlong internship during their final year of the program.  During the first semester, students spend a minimum of one day per week in an assigned classroom while completing coursework on campus.  During the second semester of the internship, students complete full-time student teaching in the same classroom.  Applications for this yearlong internship are due two semesters prior to student teaching; part two of the application is due one semester prior to student teaching.

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