B.A. Early Childhood Special Education

Hasan Zaghlawan, Ph.D. - Program Coordinator

(970) 351-1648

Program Description

The University of Northern Colorado's undergraduate program in: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) prepares teacher candidates to teach young children with disabilities (Birth – 8 years). The program supports national and state ECSE standards that promote the development of young children with disabilities in inclusive settings. Graduates will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in: ECSE. Students who successfully complete all requirements of our Teaching Emphasis program will receive a recommendation for licensure as an ECSE Teacher through the Colorado Department of Education and a recommendation for Large Child Care Center Director Qualification through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

The curriculum consists of recommended Liberal Arts core requirements, courses in early childhood and early childhood special education theory, practice, and pedagogy and courses in the Professional Teacher Education Program to ensure students have the breadth of knowledge to be an early childhood special education teacher. Strong emphasis is placed on promoting families as partners, collaborative and cross-disciplinary service approaches, recommended intervention practices that are based on research evidence, and appropriate practices for work with children and their families across a range of abilities and cultural experiences. Students are required to take technology courses; and the use of technology is incorporated into the special education coursework. Extensive field based experiences in inclusive settings with children in three age-groups- birth to 2 years, 3- 5 years, and 5-8 years are included. The program meets national and state early childhood special education professional development standards for the promotion of development and learning of young children from birth to age 8 in inclusive settings.

Declaring ECSE as a Major

Students can declare ECSE as their major upon acceptance into the University of Northern Colorado. Students may also transfer into the ECSE program at any time from within a different UNC major, from another 4-year university, or a 2 year college. It is recommended that transfer students meet with the program coordinator to ensure a smooth transition into the early childhood special education major.

Program Courses and Sequence

The ECSE Undergraduate Program consists of 125 credit hours of courses and student teaching practicum. If you wish to see an example of the courses over the full four-year period, access the link on the left called the “Four-year Plan.” You may note from this plan that students only enter into the "ECSE Blocks A & B" courses in the two semesters immediately prior to taking their student teaching practicum. In other words, typically, you will complete early childhood special education courses in the last two years of your program.

When you decide to be an early childhood special education major, you will need to meet with an advisor in the School of Special Education, and together you will complete an individually tailored Special Education Advising Sheet (see link on left). You can also access the full catalog of courses using the catalog link on the left.

As you progress through the program, you will need to maintain an acceptable Grade Point Average (GPA) so that you do not fall behind.Students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher by the time 30 semester hours are completed. First semester transfer students’ GPA will be reviewed at the end of the first semester on campus. They must then have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to enter into the Student Teaching Practicum that occurs at the end of the program.

ECSE majors must also pass 2 licensure exams prior to being recommended for ECSE licensure from this program. Students must pass an Elementary Content Test (either the Praxis II or the PLACE) and the PLACE Early Childhood Special Education Licensure Test. Please see the links on the left side of this page to access information on these tests.