Undergraduate FAQs

  • If I already earned a Bachelor's Degree in a field outside of special education and I want to become a special education teacher, do I need to get another B.A.?

    No, you do not need an additional bachelor's degree. We recommend completing the special education licensure requirements through a graduate level program. Either through a Master's degree program or a non-degree licensure program.

  • Who will be my advisor?

    When you are admitted to the Special Education program, you will receive a letter from the special education office. This letter will contain the name and contact information of your advisor. You will be required to meet with your advisor at least once per semester in person before you can register for classes. This is done to ensure you are registering for the correct classes and are on-track for graduation.

  • How long will it take to complete the special education program?

    It takes four years to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Special Education program if you enter as a freshman and follow the four-year plan. The time it will take transfer students to complete the program varies, depending on the number of credit hours that transfer to UNC.

  • How do I stay informed about the Special Education Program?

    The School of Special Education Undergraduate Coordinator maintains a special education student LISTserv that all special education majors are required to join. This will allow the school to communicate, via email, information about the program, changes, upcoming meetings, registration dates, volunteer and job opportunities etc.

  • What is PTEP and how do I get accepted?

    PTEP is the Professional Teacher Education Program which includes requirements the Colorado Department of Education established for obtaining teacher licensure. EDFE 110 is the class in which you will apply to PTEP.  This is also the course in which you are finger-printed and receive a formal background check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigations. To take EDSE 270, you must have and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. To be fully admitted into PTEP you must complete the background check and pass either the PLACE or Praxis II Elementary Content Knowledge Test.

  • When will I start taking Special Education classes?

    Generally, students start taken a few Special Education classes their sophomore year. An individual 4-year plan is developed for each student, in coordination with your advisor, so each student knows what classes they need to take each semester.

  • Are there any club or organizations I can join with other special education majors?

    The School of Special Education sponsors a student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children at UNC. This active organization meets frequently and completes activities such as annual art contest, attended state conference for special educators, volunteering to assist individuals with disabilities, etc. UNC also sponsors a chapter of Best Buddies, an organization that focuses on meeting the needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • Which students (Grades and abilities) will I be licensed to teach?

    Early Childhood majors: You will be licensed to teach students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade (up to age 21) who are on an IEP and receiving special education services.

    Generalist majors: You will be licensed to teacher children from birth up to age 8 who are on an IFSP or an IEP and receiving early intervention and special education services, respectively.

  • Will I be able to do a "semester abroad" or "university led" program at another university while working towards my degree?

    Yes, the School of Special Education works closely with students to make sure your classes will advance you towards your degree. UNC does offer these programs. Contact the program coordinator early to determine your options. We recommend students complete these programs in the first couple of years at UNC.

  • Can I get a minor in an area outside of my special education/early childhood special education?

    Yes, you can earn a minor while completing this program. However, it is not required. The Special Education undergraduate degree programs contain no elective classes. As a result, many of the credit hours completed for a minor will be in addition to the required credits for the licensure program and/or teaching emphasis. If you choose to add a minor, please work closely with your advisor in selection and scheduling of classes.

  • Can I work full time while completing the program?

    Most students will work part time during their program. However, during the last 3 semesters field experience is required which makes it difficult to work while completing the program.

  • I work as a paraprofessional now, can I get "work experience" credit?

     The only credit allowed for work experiences is the for the first Field Experience course, EDSE 270. You may be waived from completing the first field hours (35 hours for your work experience). There is a formal approval process that your advisor can explain.

  •  What is "Field Experience"?

    Early Childhood Special Education: When you are in an early intervention program (Birth to 3) or in a 3-­8 classroom as part of a UNC class, it is considered a field experience. We have 3 primary field experiences each student will complete in addition to their student teaching practicum. They are EDSE 270 (K-­3rd grade), EDSE 436 (birth to 3), and EDSE 437 (preschool). Field experiences offer the opportunity to practice what has been taught in the UNC ECSE program classes. EDSE 270 is an observation only field experience (35 hours) that will be conducted in kindergarten and elementary setting.  EDSE 437 is a 130-­hour field experience in preschool setting for Block A (Field Experience in ECSE: 3-­8 years).  EDSE 436 is a 130-hour field experience in an early intervention setting for Block B (Field Experience in ECSE: Birth-­3).  

    Generalist: When you are in a K-12 classroom as part of a UNC class, it is considered a field experience. We have 3 primary field experiences each student will complete in addition to their student teaching practicum. They are EDSE 270, EDSE 328, and EDSE 329. Field experiences offer the opportunity to practice what has been taught in the UNC Special Education program classes. EDSE 270 is an observation only field experience (35 hours). EDSE 328 is a 130-hour field experience in an elementary setting for Block I (Academic Support Needs) or Block II (Significant Support Needs). EDSE 329 is a 130-hour field experience in a secondary (middle school or high school) setting for Block I (Academic Support Needs or Block II (Significant Support Needs. If you are currently working as a paraprofessional, you may be able to complete the first field experience in your classroom. You will need to discuss this with your program
    coordinator and the field experience coordinator.

  • What is a student teaching practicum?

    Student teaching practicum is an opportunity in which each student spends an entire semester working full time (640 hours) with one ECSE teacher in an early intervention program, preschool, or elementary school. You will gradually assume the responsibilities of the ECSE teacher and learn to work independently while receiving guidance from a cooperating teacher and a university consultant.

  • What are the requirements to enroll in the student teaching practicum class (EDSE 444)?

    You must have successfully completed all required courses before entering your student teaching practicum. YOu must also have passed the PLACE or Praxis II Elementary Content or PLACE ECSE test and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • Where can I complete my teaching practicum?

    You can complete student teaching in any state. Students can request a specific program, district, or even a specific school. We attempt to honor requests but also must obtain approval from the district and early intervention and/or special education director. However, students may not complete their student teaching in a school in which they attended in the past or in which a relative is employed. Due to laws that are specific to the US, completing a student teaching practicum outside of the United States is allowed only at Department of Defense Educational Activity schools. Please discuss placements outside of Colorado as soon as possible with the School of Special Education Field Experience Coordinator. 

  • When I complete my program, in which states will I be licensed to teach?

    After completing the Bachelor of Arts program (Teaching Emphasis), you will apply for a Colorado teaching license at the completion of your program. If you plan to move to another state it’s best to obtain a Colorado license first and then apply to the state where you intend to teach.

  • Can I take classes at the Lowry Center (Center for Urban Education)?

    It is dependent on the course. Talk with your advisor about your specific needs. The Center for
    Urban Education (CUE) is a cohort program with different requirements. Typically, students cannot take courses from the Main Campus and CUE.

  • How do I get information about transferring to UNC?

    UNC's Office of Admissions an help you with details about transferring to UNC.

    View Transfer Admission Details