B.S.E. IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

Image of young children building with colorful blocks in a classroom. Child in the foreground is smiling and looking at the camera.

The Special Education Teacher Licensure Program envisions a world in which all individuals with disabilities are provided quality-of-life opportunities and experiences in natural environments, including the general education environment.


WHY SHOULD YOU BECOME A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER?

Your Chance to Have a Substantial Impact on the Lives of Others

You will see not only the daily impact on the students, but also the lifelong impact on the lives of their families. You will be in a position to help them celebrate the small victories that will lead to greater success and unlock their full potential—a potential most people often do not see. Teaching special and exceptional learners also means advocating for the students and their particular needs. You’ll have the opportunity to work with other educators, parents, and health professionals to find resources that meet the educational needs of these unique students.

Incredible Job Security and Opportunities for Advancement

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of special education teachers is expected to increase 6% by 2024. As the number of special and exceptional learners increases, so will the demand for special education services, making this a versatile career choice with numerous pathways for advancement. In addition, having a specialization in special education will make you a more marketable candidate for other teaching positions.


Five Steps to Begin Your Teaching Career in Special Education

STEP 1: Satisfy Core Requirements

Complete all University Core requirements or an associate’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.7.

STEP 2: Apply for Admission

Fill out the online admissions application and submit the required materials to the UA Little Rock Office of Admissions.

STEP 3: Submit Test Scores

Submit your admission test scores to your advisor.

STEP 4: Complete Background Check Process

Before you can be placed in a school for your field experiences or internship, you must have an approved background check in the Arkansas Educator Licensure System (AELS).  Please contact the Director of Licensure and Placement for directions to complete this process.

STEP 5: Complete the Child Maltreatment Training

Before you can be placed in a school for your field experiences or internship, you must complete your Child Maltreatment Mandated Reporter training. Once you have completed the 60-90 minutes of self-paced training you should download your certificate of completion and store it in your files for future use and licensure.

WHAT YOU’LL STUDY

The Bachelor of Science in Education degree in special education promote and strengthen the professional development of individuals involved in the education of children and youth with disabilities in a variety of settings, including schools, early childhood settings, and community settings through the development of professionals who will use state of the art methodologies and technologies.

Admission, Program, and Graduation Requirements

Apply for Undergraduate Admission to UA Little Rock

  1. Visit apply.ualr.edu to complete an application for undergraduate admission and submit the $40 non-refundable application fee.
  2. Applicants with fewer than 12 transferable college credit hours should request that an official high school transcript or GED scores be sent to the Office of Admissions. Only official transcripts will be accepted, and must be submitted in a sealed, stamped envelope from the issuing institution or sent via electronic data interchange from the high school.
  3. Applicants with fewer than 12 transferable college credit hours may need to request official ACT or SAT scores from the testing agency (UA Little Rock ACT Code 0132; UA Little Rock SAT code 6368) if the official high school transcript does not include scores and s/he did not indicate UA Little Rock as a score recipient at the time of testing. ACT, SAT, COMPASS or Accuplacer scores must be from tests taken within the last five Students have the option of taking the Accuplacer test available through UA Little Rock Testing Services.
  4. Any applicant previously enrolled at another institution(s) must request that an official college transcript(s) be sent to the Office of Admissions. Only official transcripts will be accepted, and must be submitted in a sealed, stamped envelope from the issuing institution or sent via electronic data interchange from the previous institution. Students may submit an official “In Progress” transcript from the institution at which s/he is currently enrolled for admission purposes, but will still be required to submit a final, official transcript once all grades have been posted. Freshmen who completed high school concurrent credit at an institution other than UA Little Rock must submit an official college transcript.
  5. Students born after January 1, 1957, must submit proof of two MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) immunizations.

For more detailed information regarding admission requirements, please review the Undergraduate Catalog or visit the UA Little Rock Office of Admissions website.

Transfer Student Admission

Transfer students must be academically advised before registering for classes. Students who are undecided on a major are advised in the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising. Students who have decided on a major should make an appointment with an advisor in the academic department offering the major.

Students may potentially enroll in UA Little Rock courses prior to final transcript credit articulation. Transfer credit articulation is an ongoing process that can only be completed once a student submits all final transfer credits and the credits are posted to the UA Little Rock transcript. Because transfer credit articulation impacts course placement and registration, transfer students with a provisional admission status may need registration overrides into core, major, or minor courses during the first semester on campus. The process of transfer credit articulation may take several weeks at minimum to process after a student has been fully admitted to UA Little Rock. For more details regarding transfer credits, please review the Undergraduate Catalog or visit the Transfer Student Services website.


Program Admission

For admission to Teacher Education and Professional Prep I courses, all applicants must:

  • be formally admitted to UA Little Rock
  • have completed RHET 1311 and 1312 English Composition, SPCH 1300, MATH 1302 (see advisor) with a grade of C or greater in each of these courses
  • have completed all core requirements with an overall degree plan cumulative GPA of 2.70 or greater or 3.0 in the last 50 hours
    • Students seeking admission to the college with associate’s degrees designed for transfer (Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, and some Associate of Science degrees) may be fully admitted with audit for equivalent Core Courses and required entrance exam scores upon full admission to UA Little Rock. Please refer to the “Community College Transfers” information above.
  • submit required entrance exam scores in reading, writing, and math.*
* For entry into the undergraduate initial licensure programs, we will accept required ACT scores at or above a minimum math score 19, reading score of 19, and a writing score of 6 or the English/Writing Combined score of 19. If an individual has taken the ACT multiple times, we will consider the highest score in each category. We will accept corresponding comparable SAT scores as well. If a prospective student has ACT scores below the minimum composite score, or have not taken the writing section of the ACT, they may take the Accuplacer Next Generation exam or exams at the UA Little Rock Testing Center and must make at least a score that corresponds to the comparative ACT minimum score. Or, they may also choose to retake the ACT (not offered at the Testing Center) to attempt to reach the minimum score required for entrance into the programs. If an applicant has taken the Praxis Core or Praxis I/PPST, we will also accept what were considered passing scores in those exams as well (Praxis Core minimum scores: reading 156; math 150; writing 162; PPST minimum scores of Reading 172, Math 171, and Writing 173). We will accept any of the above passing scores in any combination for reading, math and writing. There will also be an appeals process for students who do not meet the minimum scores and wish to pursue admission. Ask your advisor about this process.

For admission to Professional Prep II courses, all applicants must:

  • satisfactorily complete all Professional Prep I requirements with an overall GPA of 2.75 or greater

For admission to Professional Prep III Internship I, all applicants must:

  • satisfactorily complete all Professional Prep II requirements with an overall GPA of 2.75 or greater
  • achieve passing scores on the Praxis special education content exam

For admission to Professional Prep IV Internship II, all applicants must:

  • satisfactorily complete all Professional Prep III requirements with an overall GPA of 2.75 or greater
  • satisfactorily complete Internship I

Retention Requirements

Retention decisions are the responsibility of the faculty. Once admitted, students are required to maintain a 2.75 grade point average, with at least a C in all courses specific to the elementary program. In addition, students’ professional behaviors, content knowledge, and classroom performance will be evaluated throughout the program. Successful completion of the licensure program is not based solely on the number of course credits, but requires demonstration of specified professional knowledge, skills, and behaviors. While a student may require additional time to meet some performance expectations, the faculty may limit that time and reserves the right to remove a student from the program should appropriate progress not be demonstrated.


Graduation Requirements

    • Completion of all courses on degree plan with grades as required and passing scores on all required Praxis II and other exams (see Licensure Officer for correct exams to take).
    • Entry of all required artifacts into Chalk and Wire and submission of these artifacts for assessment in Chalk and Wire.
    • Submission of Graduation Application on Boss by announced deadline.

Educator Licensure

Graduation and Educator Licensure are two separate processes. Please contact the Director of Licensure and Placement for guidance through the Educator Licensure process during the semester you apply for graduation.

Curriculum


Core (35 hours)

Must be completed before admission into this program as well as passing the Praxis Core examination.

Second Language Proficiency (6 hours)

3 hours of a second language is suggested and INTR 1320 American Sign Language I is recommended.

Major (87 hours)

Floating Block (9 hours)

Candidates may enroll in these courses without FULL admission to the Special Education Program

  • TCED 1100 First Year Experience: Introduction to Teaching or equivalent
  • SPED 3304 Multicultural Families and Community Partnerships or equivalent
  • HIST 4355 Arkansas History
  • INTR 1320 American Sign Language I
Teacher Education Courses (18 hours)
  • SPED 4301 Education of Exceptional Learners
  • ELEM 2302 Child Growth and Development
  • ELEM 3300 Building Learning Environments OR TCED 4330 Classroom Management
  • READ 3322 Foundations of Reading
  • TCED 4383 Instructional Skills
  • TCED 4321 Teaching Diverse Learners
Professional Special Education (60 hours)

Professional Prep Courses are taken ONLY in First Summer in the Program (12 hours)

  • SPED 4311 Behavior Management
  • SPED 4353 Transition and Life Adjustment

Second or Subsequent summers in the program

  • SPED 4312 Medical Problems in Child Development
  • SPED 4302 Assistive Technology in Special Education

Professional Prep I (12 hours)

  • SPED 4343 Special Education Law
  • SPED 4306 Characteristics and Methods of Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  • SPED 4326 Assessment in Special Education
  • SPED 4302 WS Behavior Management
  • SPED 4101 Field Experience I Mild Disabilities

Professional Prep II (12 hours)

  • READ 4322 Literacy Assessment of Students with Special Needs
  • SPED 4328 Teaching Content in Special Education
  • SPED 4330 Characteristics & Methods of Severe Disabilities
  • SPED 4302 WS Language Development and Disorders
  • SPED 4103 Field Experience II Severe Disabilities

Professional Prep III (12 hours)

  • SPED 4901 Internship I (K-6)
  • SPED 4331 Internship Seminar 1

Professional Prep IV (12 hours)

  • SPED 4902 Internship II (7-12)
  • SPED 4332 Internship Seminar 2

Minor (none required)

Unrestricted General Electives

Remaining hours, if any, to reach 122 minimum total hours, 45 hours of upper-level courses (3000-4000 level), or 30 hours in residence.

Course Descriptions

Special Education Courses

SPED 3304 Multicultural Families and Community Partnerships
This course is designed to promote development and effective use of skills in the areas of consultation and collaboration with families of diverse backgrounds and children with disabilities. The course examines the philosophies, roles and services of various professionals providing services to individuals with disabilities in inclusive settings. Models of teaming, collaborative strategies, communication techniques, problem-solving approaches and role management skills are explored. Candidates will study personal and professional dispositions required to support families of learners with disabilities. Methods for identifying resources within communities and processes for communicating and consulting with families and professionals are examined. Factors that affect family functioning and the family’s influence on child development will be examined. The course emphasizes the impact of individuals with disabilities on families. Strategies for assessing family strengths and needs, and techniques for communicating and collaborating with families are also explored. Three credit hours.

SPED 4101 Field Experience I Mild Disabilities
In field experience, candidates observe the application and assessment of teaching content, practices, and methodologies for students with mild to moderate disabilities in elementary, middle, and high school settings.

SPED 4103 Field Experience II Severe Disabilities
In field experience, candidates observe the application and assessment of teaching content, practices, and methodologies for students with severe to profound disabilities in elementary, middle, and high school settings. One credit hour.

SPED 4301 Education of Exceptional Learners
Prerequisite: PSYC 2300 or consent of instructor. Introduction to the psychological, sociological, philosophical, legal, and educational implications of educating exceptional learners in the mainstream; the role of teachers, professionals, and parents as team members in providing appropriate education and necessary adaptations for exceptional learners. Dual-listed in the Graduate Catalog as SPED 5301. Three credit hours.

SPED 4302 Assistive Technology in Special Education
Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Teacher Education Block. This course will prepare teachers to respond to individuals’ functional needs in order to enhance access to the general or special education curricula. Candidates will identify and assess how to evaluate, select and use both hardware and software for the purposes of enhancing instruction, assist students with school-related tasks, help students communicate and help students function better in their environment. Three credit hours.

SPED 4306 Characteristics and Methods of Mild/Moderate Disabilities
Prerequisite: an introductory course in exceptional learners and/or characteristics of students with mild disabilities. Methods and materials for educating students with mild disabilities in regular and special education environments including behavior management, programming for secondary students with mild disabilities, career education, teacher-made materials, and commercially available materials appropriate for use with students with mild disabilities. Three credit hours.

SPED 4311 Managing the Learning Environment
Prerequisite: EDFN 2300. Positive approaches to behavior management. Students receive firsthand experience in using behavior analysis in field settings. Dual-listed in the Graduate Catalog as SPED 5311. Three credit hours.

SPED 4312 Medical Problems in Child Development
Prerequisites: Admission to the Elementary education Program and eligible for admission to Block III with a 2.75 GPA or greater. The primary concern of the course is to review medical conditions and events arising during prenatal, postnatal and early childhood, which contribute to the nature and cause of major educational disabilities. Special attention is given to syndromes associated with mental retardation, disorders of the central nervous system, infections disease, and a wide range of conditions placing children at-risk for developmental delays. Emphasis is directed toward early medical identification, prevention of secondary disabilities, and strategies for responding to chronic health conditions in educational settings. Guest lectures by physicians and other health related professionals are an integral part of the course. Dual-listed in the Graduate Catalog as SPED 5312. Three credit hours.

SPED 4326 Assessment in Special Education
This course addresses assessment strategies for K-12 special education. A specific focus will be given to the principles of assessment. Various aspects of the learning environment are examined and procedures for gathering assessment data are explored. The general goal of this course is to develop competencies in assessment. Candidates will use content from foundational knowledge and skill related to the characteristics of disability and ways to identify disability. Major emphasis will focus on assessment for eligibility for special educational services. Specific emphasis will be placed upon developing skills to observe learners for disabilities, identify and evaluate relevant formal and informal assessment strategies that contribute to the identification, placement and instructional planning for students with learning problems in both early and school age populations. Candidates will learn to identify the needs of children related to health and/or sensory impairments, the identification of abilities in the developmental domains along various age groups. Three credit hours.

SPED 4328 Teaching Content in Special Education
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Teacher Education Block, and SPED 4311, SPED 4301, EDFN 3320, and SPED 4326. Candidates will learn to individualize instruction for learners with various disabilities. Candidates will use formal and informal assessment data to design instruction in general academic content. Additionally, candidates will identify strategies to modify and adapt the curriculum for delivery in inclusive settings. Candidates will align instruction to Common Core State Standards, use evidence-based best practices to individualize instruction, and design curriculum based assessments. Three credit hours.

SPED 4330 Characteristics & Methods of Severe Disabilities
This course focuses on current best practices in curriculum, and methods for students with severe disabilities, including specific strategies for teaching students with severe disabilities, general strategies for working with heterogeneous groups of students in inclusive settings, and methods for adapting the general education curriculum to include students with severe disabilities in elementary, middle, and high school.

SPED 4331 Internship Seminar 1
This is a co-requisite to the first student teaching experience. Students will practice and demonstrate skills and competencies required to effectively teach learners with mild to moderate disabilities in grades K-6. This Seminar course will help the preservice teacher to make sense of the student teaching experience. It will provide an opportunity for candidates to discuss activities and concerns and to explore ways to ensure that the student teaching experience is rich and provides a quality professional experience. During course meetings, candidates discuss varied expectations of the student teaching experience, including planning, assessment, instruction and classroom management. Candidates will have opportunities to explore questions about their student teaching experiences. The course is designed to help the pre- professional develop the professional competencies and dispositions of the professional special educator. Candidates will reflect on teaching and gain confidence in self assessment through questions. The goal of the seminar is to engage in the socialization to the teaching profession and develop professionals who are committed to special education, to the teaching profession, and the frameworks that create a competent and reflective practitioner. Supervision is provided by faculty from the university. This course must be taken concurrently with SPED 4901. Three credit hours.

SPED 4332 Internship Seminar 2
As a co-requisite to the second student teaching experience, this Seminar course will help the pre-service teacher to enhance their skills/competencies in delivering instruction to learners with disabilities in the experience in grades 7-12. It will provide a forum for students to discuss activities, concerns and explore ways to ensure that the experience is rich and provides a quality professional development. During course meetings, candidates discuss varied expectations, including planning, assessment, instruction and classroom management. Candidates will have opportunities to explore questions about the student teaching experience. The course is designed to help the pre-professional hone the professional competencies and dispositions of the professional special educator in their second internship setting. Becoming a reflective educator is a focus of this experience in addition to evaluating professional development. The goal of the seminar is to enhance their socialization into the teaching profession, prepare for required for exit exams, and develop a professional teaching portfolio. Three credit hours.

SPED 4343 Special Education Law
The purpose of the course is to provide students with the basic understanding of the legal and ethical issues that impact assessment, eligibility, placement, and delivery of services of students with disabilities. The focus will be on the due process procedures and elements of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) necessary for successful teaching of students with disabilities as found in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Three credit hours.

SPED 4353 Transition and Life Adjustment
Prerequisite: Successful completion of the teacher education block. This course presents information regarding the transition and life adjustment of persons with mild to severe disabilities. The focus is on the development and implementation of transition plans for adolescents with disabilities, self-advocacy development, and services available to adolescents and adults with disabilities. Course activities will include assisting students who present more challenging learning/behavioral problems and requiring more intensive interventions for behavioral concerns. Candidates will complete course activities in three functional areas: I) students who present with challenging learning or behavioral concerns, 2) students requiring transition and life adjustment planning, and 3) accessing and informing transition planning through teaming and planning skills. Three credit hours.

SPED 4901 Internship I (K-6)
This is the first full-time (12-week) internship in the pre-service teacher’s experience in which they will practice and demonstrate skills and competencies required to effectively teach learners with disabilities in a K-6th grade setting. Supervision is provided by faculty from the university. It should be taken concurrently with SPED 4331. Nine credit hours.

SPED 4902 Internship II (7-12)
This is the second full-time (12-week) internship in the pre-service teacher’s experience in which they will practice and demonstrate skills and competencies required to effectively teach learners with disabilities in a 7-12th grade setting. Supervision is provided by faculty from the university. It should be taken concurrently with SPED 4332. Nine credit hours.

Interdepartmental Courses

ELEM 2302 Child Growth and Development
Prerequisites: admission to elementary program and concurrent enrollment in ELEM 2200. Study of environmental and hereditary influences on cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor development of typically and atypically developing children from birth to adolescence. Students consider both predictable developmental patterns and unique patterns due to sexual, socioeconomic, cultural, and normal variations in inherited characteristics. Students observe, record, and analyze behavior and development of children in an educational setting. Concurrent enrollment in ECED 2200 is required. Three credit hours.

ELEM 3300 Building Learning Environments
Prerequisite: Admission to the Program; ELEM 2200 Field Experience I; ELEM 2302 Child Growth and Development. Co-requisite: ELEM 3200 Field Experience II. Candidates will learn how to design, establish, and maintain effective learning environments including both the physical and psychosocial environments. Candidates will learn the theoretical base and applied strategies for guiding students from diverse backgrounds towards becoming cooperative, contributing, self-disciplined, and critical-minded participants in schools. Candidates will practice applying strategies in a field/lab setting. Three credit hours.

INTR 1320 American Sign Language I
A web enhanced elementary course in American Sign Language (ASL) using a natural language approach to introduce culturally appropriate signed concepts related to the immediate environment. Common communicative events and interactions are utilized to acquire a basic working vocabulary and grammar. Includes development of appropriate linguistic/cultural behaviors and awareness of/and respect for Deaf Culture. Receptive and expressive skills are fostered through interactive ASL lessons without voice. Three credit hours.

READ 3322 Foundations of Reading
This course introduces teacher candidates to the principles of literacy development, factors affecting literacy development, and different approaches to reading instruction. Focusing on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and selection of appropriate materials to influence motivation for reading, teacher candidates will explore instructional strategies that address struggling readers as well as high-risk learners in the context of a balanced approach to literacy instruction. Candidates will be introduced to concepts in the Science of Reading as codified by the Arkansas Department of Education. Three credit hours.

READ 4322 Literacy Assessment of Students with Special Needs
Prerequisite: READ 3322. This course provides candidates with the knowledge of current concepts and issues associated with literacy assessment ranging from kindergarten to grade twelve for students with special needs. Focusing on appropriate selection, administration, and interpretation of curriculum-based assessments, authentic assessments, and standardized reading assessments, candidates also will explore connections between referral and IEP processes, and RTI with attention to research-based intervention reading strategies embedded in field activities. Three credit hours.

TCED 4321 – Teaching Diverse Learners
This course provides knowledge of educational psychology, special education, and diversity and incorporates technology for learning and teaching. Course assignment requires students to observe classes in a variety of school settings with diverse populations. Includes a field component of 15 hours of classroom observation under the supervision of a cooperating teacher. Dual listed in the Graduate Catalog as TCED 5321, may not be repeated for credit. Three credit hours.

TCED 4330 – Classroom Management
Emphasizes creation of and fostering of classroom management techniques and strategies for the design of environments that are conducive to a safe place for teaching and learning. Includes connecting the school-home-community connections. Incorporates technology for learning and teaching. Candidates will have taken or passed Praxis CORE prior to course. Dual listed in the Graduate Catalog as TCED 5330. Three credit hours.

TCED 4383 – Instructional Skills
This course provides knowledge of instructional skills, assessment, and disciplinary literacy. Lesson planning and design, evaluation, equity, legal issues, technology implementation, and content area literacy strategies will be addressed. Includes a field component of 15 hours individualized or small group instruction/support in a K-12 classroom setting under the supervision of a cooperating teacher. Dual listed in the Graduate Catalog as TCED 5383, may not be repeated for credit. Three credit hours.


MEET OUR FACULTY

Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith, Ph.D.

Director of the School of Education, Program Coordinator, Professor

Contact Information

Jennifer Hune

Jennifer B. Hune, Ph.D.

Graduate Advisor, Associate Professor

Contact Information

HAVE QUESTIONS? ASK AN ADVISOR.

We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have about our available programs. Use the form below to submit your inquiries to the College of Education and Health Professions Advising & Support Center advisors.

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