Special Education, B.A.


This program is designed for undergraduate students interested in a career as a special education teacher. Students will be prepared to work with students with disabilities in P-12 settings. Students who successfully complete the degree and certification requirements and have a positive recommendation by the faculty will be recommended for teacher certification in multi-categorical special education.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Candidates practice within ethical and legal guidelines; advocate for improved outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families while considering their social, cultural, and linguistic diversity; and engage in ongoing self-reflection to design and implement professional learning activities.
  2. Candidates understand the impact of different theories and philosophies of early learning and development on assessment, curriculum, instruction, and intervention decisions. Candidates apply knowledge of normative developmental sequences and variations, individual differences within and across the range of abilities, including developmental delays and disabilities, and other direct and indirect contextual features that support or constrain children’s development and learning. These contextual factors as well as social, cultural, and linguistic diversity are considered when facilitating meaningful learning experiences and individualizing intervention and instruction across contexts.
  3. Candidates use their understanding of human growth and development, the multiple influences on development, individual differences, diversity, including exceptionalities, and families and communities to plan and implement inclusive learning environments and experiences that provide individuals with exceptionalities high quality learning experiences reflective of each individual’s strengths and needs.
  4. Candidates use their knowledge of family-centered practices and family systems theory to develop and maintain reciprocal partnerships with families. They apply family capacity-building practices as they support families to make informed decisions and advocate for their young children. They engage families in opportunities that build on their existing strengths, reflect current goals, and foster family competence and confidence to support their children’s development and learning.
  5. Candidates apply their understanding of the academic subject matter content of the general curriculum and specialized curricula to inform their programmatic and instructional decisions for learners with exceptionalities.
  6. Candidates apply models, skills, and processes of teaming when collaborating and communicating with families and professionals, using culturally and linguistically responsive and affirming practices. In partnership with families and other professionals, candidates develop and implement individualized plans and successful transitions that occur across the age span. Candidates use a variety of collaborative strategies while working with and supporting other adults.
  7. Candidates assess students’ learning, behavior, and the classroom environment in order to evaluate and support classroom and school-based problem-solving systems of intervention and instruction. Candidates evaluate students to determine their strengths and needs, contribute to students’ eligibility determination, communicate students’ progress, inform short and long-term instructional planning, and make ongoing adjustments to instruction using technology as appropriate.
  8. Candidates know and understand the purposes of assessment in relation to ethical and legal considerations. Candidates choose developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate tools and methods that are responsive to the characteristics of the young child, family, and program. Using evidence-based practices, candidates develop or select as well as administer informal measures, and select and administer formal measures in partnership with families and other professionals. They analyze, interpret, document, and share assessment information using a strengths-based approach with families and other professionals for eligibility determination, outcome/goal development, planning instruction and intervention, monitoring progress, and reporting.
  9. Candidates use knowledge of individuals’ development, learning needs, and assessment data to inform decisions about effective instruction. Candidates use explicit instructional strategies and employ strategies to promote active engagement and increased motivation to individualize instruction to support each individual. Candidates use whole group instruction, flexible grouping, small group instruction, and individual instruction. Candidates teach individuals to use meta-cognitive strategies to support and self-regulate learning.
  10. Candidates collaborate with families and professionals to use an evidence-based, developmentally appropriate, and culturally responsive early childhood curriculum addressing developmental and content domains. Candidates use curriculum frameworks to create and support universally designed, high quality learning experiences in natural and inclusive environments that provide each child and family with equitable access and opportunities for learning and growth.
  11. Candidates create and contribute to safe, respectful, and productive learning environments for individuals with exceptionalities through the use of effective routines and procedures and use a range of preventive and responsive practices to support social, emotional and educational well-being. They follow ethical and legal guidelines and work collaboratively with families and other professionals to conduct behavioral assessments for intervention and program development.
  12. Candidates plan and implement intentional, systematic, evidence-based, responsive interactions, interventions, and instruction to support all children’s learning and development across all developmental and content domains in partnership with families and other professionals. Candidates facilitate equitable access and participation for all children and families within natural and inclusive environments through culturally responsive and affirming practices and relationships. Candidates use data-based decision-making to plan for, adapt, and improve interactions, interventions, and instruction to ensure fidelity of implementation.
  13. Candidates apply team processes and communication strategies to collaborate in a culturally responsive manner with families, paraprofessionals, and other professionals within the school, other educational settings, and the community to plan programs and access services for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  14. Candidates identify and engage with the profession of early intervention and early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) by exhibiting skills in reflective practice, advocacy, and leadership while adhering to ethical and legal guidelines. Evidence-based and recommended practices are promoted and used by candidates.

Admission to the Professional Program

All University teacher education students must apply and be admitted to Professional Program/Internship at mid-point(s) in their programs prior to final internship (i.e. student teaching). Requirements for admission vary by program, but for undergraduate students include 60 credit hours with a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, successful completion of a state-approved basic skills examination. Students in the BA in Special education must also complete EDTE 201, EDFI 300, EDPY 401 and EDEX 523 with a grade of C or better. Contact your adviser for more information on admission to the Professional Program.

Degree Requirements (120 hours)

Program of Study

Requirements Credit Hours
1. Carolina Core 31-43
2. College Requirements 0
3. Program Requirements 9-21
4. Major Requirements 68

Founding Documents Requirement

All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers.  This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective.  Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.

1. Carolina Core Requirements (31-43 hours)

CMW - Effective, Engage and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher

ARP - Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (6-8 hours)

SCI - Scientific Literacy (7 hours)

GFL - Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language (0-6 hours)

​To meet the GFL requirement, students in the BA in Special Education complete the Carolina Core approved courses in Foreign Language (GFL) or by achieving a score of 2 or better on a USC foreign language placement test.

GHS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours) 

GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours) 

AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)

CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (0-3 hours)

INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)

VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (0-3 hours)


Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements

2. College Requirements (0 hours)

No college-required courses for this program.

3. Program Requirements (9-21 hours)

Minor (18 hours) optional

A student may choose to complete a minor consisting of 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Electives (9-21 hours)

The number of elective hours required depends upon the number of hours used to fulfill other degree requirements. Minimum degree requirements must equal 120 hours. Courses applied toward the optional minor will reduce the number of electives needed to reach 120.

4. Major Requirements (68 hours)

A minimum grade of C is required in all major courses.

Education Core (15 hours)

Course Title Credits
EDTE 201Issues and Trends in Teaching and Learning3
EDFI 300Schools in Communities3
EDPY 401Learners and the Diversity of Learning3
EDEX 205Understanding the Foundations of Disability3
EDEX 523Introduction to Exceptional Children3
Total Credit Hours15

Multi-categorical Special Education Core (32 hours)

Course Title Credits
EDEX 301Introduction to Students with Autism3
EDEX 315Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis in Special Education3
EDEX 316Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Interventions3
EDEX 390Introduction to Assessment in Special Education3
EDEX 392Collaborative Partnerships in Special Education3
EDEX 491Introduction to Inclusion of Students with Mild Disabilities2
EDEX 580Direct Instruction in Reading for At-Risk Learners3
EDEX 582Teaching Mathematics to Students at Risk3
EDEX 640Managing Problem Behavior in the Classroom3
EDEX 670Nature of Students with Multi-categorical Disabilities3
EDEX 671Instruction of Students with Multi-categorical Disabilities3
Total Credit Hours32

Clinical Experience and Seminar (21 hours)

Course Title Credits
EDEX 413Internship I in Special Education6
EDEX 426Seminar in Special Education3
EDEX 496Internship II in Special Education12
Total Credit Hours21

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Special Education, BA