Dr. Jennifer Urbach, Program Coordinator
The University of Northern Colorado's undergraduate Special Education Program prepares pre-service teachers to teach K-12 students with a variety of special needs. Special Education professors and faculty come from a variety of backgrounds and have a vast amount of experience in the field, ensuring that our students will learn the most current teaching practices in all areas. Upper-level classes have low student-to-teacher ratios and are paired with field experience courses, enabling you to utilize hands-on learning in order to connect classroom learning with real-life experiences. Full time teaching opportunities during your final semester allow you to improve your skills and prepare you for the life of a special education teacher. Students who successfully complete all requirements of our Teaching Emphasis program will receive institutional recommendation for licensure as a Special Education Generalist Teacher through the Colorado Department of Education.
Declaring Special Education as a Major
Students can declare Special Education as their major upon acceptance into the University of Northern Colorado. Students may also transfer into the Special Education 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 special education major.
Program Courses and Sequence
The Special Education Undergraduate Program consists of 126 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 "Special Education Blocks" courses in the two semesters immediately prior to taking their student teaching practicum. In other words, typically, you will complete special education courses in the last two years of your program.
When you decide to be a special education major, you will need to meet with an assigned 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 to enter the upper level courses. 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.
Special education majors must also pass 2 licensure exams prior to being recommended for licensure from this program. Students must pass an Elementary Content Test (either the Praxis II or the PLACE) and the PLACE Special Education Generalist Licensure Test. Please see the links on the left side of this page to access information on these tests.
The first step towards earning your degree and licensure to become a special education teacher is to be admitted into the university. The UNC Admissions website will get you access to application materials, housing information, financial aid information and forms, and numerous other sources of information that will make getting started at UNC in the School of Special Education a smooth process. You can access this website using the link on the left that is labeled, “Admission Process and Forms.”