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Special Education

Special Education

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Type

Major

Department

Education Department

A degree in special education will prepare you to make a difference in the needs of students with diverse ability levels and advocate for inclusive education in every classroom.

Program Overview

Special Education

Be a source of support and positive change in the lives of students with diverse abilities.

The Bachelor of Arts in Special Education is a specialized degree path that will prepare you to take on an exceptionally important role in K-12 school systems and provide support, encouragement and a positive learning environment to students served in special education programs.

In addition to standard education courses that will acquaint you with pedagogy best practices and how to be an excellent educator, the B.A. in Special Education will place a particular emphasis on diversity and inclusion, academic programming and assessment, and targeted intervention strategies for students with exceptionalities.

Similar to Western’s standard Education majors, the B.A. in Special Education requires you to engage in a yearlong student teaching residency in which you will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with students under the supervision of an experienced educator. You’ll leave Western with not only a versatile teaching skillset, but also a better sense of how you can bring your passion for serving students in special education programs and as a learning leader in your school.

Make a difference

Use your passion for helping others to make a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of students.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

The Special Education Standard Major requires the Elementary Education Standard Major coursework in addition to any minor offered at Western. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended that Special Education Standard Majors strongly consider a minor in Psychology.

The Special Education Standard Major requires students to complete all requirements of the 43 Special Education Core Content and including 42 credits of Education (EDUC) coursework. The major also requires students to complete 40 credits of interdisciplinary content coursework.

Course List
Code Title Credits
Special Education Core Content:
MATH 140College Algebra (GT-MA1)3
MATH 221Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching I3
MATH 222Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching II3
MATH 323Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching III3
SCI 110Habitable Planet (with laboratory)4
SCI 111Nature of Science1
SCI 120Living Planet (with laboratory)4
SCI 210Dynamic Planet (with laboratory)4
Two of the following:6
ENG 150
Introduction to Literature (GT-AH2)
ENG 161
Introduction to Creative Writing (GT-AH1)
ENG 220
Grammar and the English Language
ENG 250
Critical Approaches to Literature
ENG 331
Literature and Ethnicity: Studies in:
ENG 334
Poetry: Studies in:
ENG 337
Women Writers
ENG 352
Children's Literature
Four of the following (courses must include at least 3 disciplines):12
ECON 201
Macroeconomics (GT-SS1)
ECON 202
Microeconomics
ECON 215
Environmental Economics
GEOG 120
Introduction to Human Geography (GT-SS2)
GEOG 250
Geography of North America (GT-SS2)
GEOG 351
Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean
HIST 100
Topics in World History (GT-HI1)
HIST 126
U.S. History to 1865 (GT-HI1)
HIST 127
U.S. History Since 1865 (GT-HI1)
HIST 200
Historical Inquiry
HIST 260
HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICA GHI1
HIST 327
Colorado History
HIST 349
History of the Hispanic Southwest
POLS 117
Introduction to Political Ideas (GT-SS1)
POLS 180
Introduction to American Politics (GT-SS1)
POLS 250
Politics of the Environment
Total Credits43

Required Education Coursework

The B.A. in Special Education requires 42 credits of Education coursework and the Gateway course.

Pre-residency coursework:

Course List
Code Title Credits
EDUC 000Education Gateway Course0
EDUC 102Learning & Teaching (GT-SS3)3
EDUC 202Education and Schooling in the U.S. (GT-SS3)3
EDUC 210Science Teaching Methods3
EDUC 326Equity, Diversity and Social Justice in Education3
EDUC 332Inclusive Schools3
EDUC 340Application of Pedagogy and Practice3
Total Credits18

4th year Residency Coursework 

Special Education Coursework to be taken in year 4 of Special Education Standard Major Program.

Course List
Code Title Credits
EDUC 411Strategies for Inclusive Teaching in Special Education3
EDUC 412Inclusive Assessment & Comprehensive Programming3
EDUC 414Collaboration Across Special Education3
EDUC 430Inclusivity in General Education3
EDUC 433Inclusive Literacy Assessment3
EDUC 431Inclusivity in Teaching Literacy3
Six credits of the following:6
EDUC 415
Student Teaching in Special Education
Total Credits24

The residency for the Special Education Major must be completed in a K-12 special education classroom, where residents are expected to work cooperatively 24 hours per week with qualified mentor teachers. During this year-long clinical residency, students are applying and extending the pedagogical knowledge they are learning in their education courses. The Special Education licensure coursework is taught online.   

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
EDUC 000 Education Gateway Course 0
EDUC 102 Learning & Teaching (GT-SS3) 3
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 140 College Algebra (GT-MA1) 3
SCI 110 Habitable Planet (with laboratory) 4
Elective Specialization Elective 3
 Credits17
Spring
SCI 120 Living Planet (with laboratory) 4
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
GenEd Social Sciences 6
GenEd Humanities 3
 Credits16
Year Two
Fall
EDUC 202 Education and Schooling in the U.S. (GT-SS3) 3
MATH 221 Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching I 3
SCI 111 Nature of Science 1
GenEd Social Sciences 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
Elective English Elective 3
 Credits16
Spring
EDUC 210 Science Teaching Methods 3
MATH 222 Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching II 3
SCI 120 Living Planet (with laboratory) 4
Elective Specialization Elective 3
GenEd Social Sciences 3
 Credits16
Year Three
Fall
EDUC 326 Equity, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 3
MATH 323 Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching III 3
GenEd Humanities 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
Elective Specialization Elective (upper division) 3
 Credits15
Spring
EDUC 332 Inclusive Schools 3
EDUC 340 Application of Pedagogy and Practice 3
Elective Specialization Elective (upper division) 3
Elective English Elective 3
GenEd Humanities 3
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
EDUC 411 Strategies for Inclusive Teaching in Special Education 3
EDUC 414 Collaboration Across Special Education 3
EDUC 415 Student Teaching in Special Education 3
EDUC 430 Inclusivity in General Education 3
 Credits12
Spring
EDUC 412 Inclusive Assessment & Comprehensive Programming 3
EDUC 415 Student Teaching in Special Education 3
EDUC 431 Inclusivity in Teaching Literacy 3
EDUC 433 Inclusive Literacy Assessment 3
 Credits12
 Total Credits119

Careers


Top Skills

  • Child Development
  • Collaboration & Teamwork
  • Disabilities Management
  • Early Literacy & Numeracy
  • Observation and Assessment
  • Patience & Empathy



Career Pathways

  • Adapted Physical Education Specialist
  • Behavior Intervention Specialist
  • Early Intervention Specialist
  • Resource Room Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Transition Specialist

Take the first steps toward your academic and personal growth.

Fostering your intellectual development is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling and enriched life after graduation. Wondering how you can apply your program of choice to your intellectual and personal journey? Check out our “What Can I Do With This Major?” tool to explore the diverse opportunities and pathways within any degree program.

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 30 for 2024. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Special Education

Take advantage of everything Western has to offer.

Take your education outside of the classroom-build your professional network, gain practical experience and jump-start your career.

  • Community Partnerships: Many classes involve working with children and teachers in the various schools around the Gunnison Valley.
  • Future Educators of America: Students in this club engage in volunteer work and professional development opportunities with other like-minded students.
  • Residency Year: Students may choose to student teach in a special education program, K-12, anywhere in the world.

A specialized approach

The B.A. in Special Education will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to help students with diverse abilities thrive in the classroom.

News & Research

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Read More about Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Department Information

Education Department

Department Chair

Brooke Hanks, M.A.

Senior Lecturer

Contact Information

970.943.2030

khinze@western.edu

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Crawford Hall 101
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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