Teacher Education: Special Education (Birth-Age 21) B.S.Ed.

The Bachelor of Science in Special Education (B.S.Ed.) is designed to provide students with the perspectives and skills necessary to work with all individuals with disabilities from birth through age 21 and their families in a range of family-centered, culturally responsive, inclusionary, and developmentally appropriate settings including home, community settings and schools. These include the ability to:

  • Promote individuals’ learning and development within natural environments and/or inclusive settings;
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of individuals with exceptionalities and their family structures, preferences and participation levels;
  • Offer evidence-based instructional practices that are guided by and sensitive to the family and individual supported by meaningful assessment information, and linked to developmentally and/or individually appropriate curricula;
  • Foster collaborative relationships with family members, peers of the same discipline and individuals across disciplines including related service providers and general education teachers; and
  • Support effective transitions across settings, grade levels and post-secondary

The Special Education major leads to Vermont (VT) Teacher Licensure with a variety of endorsement options in Early Intervention, Early Childhood Special Education and Kindergarten through age 21 Special Education to serve individuals birth to age 21 based on students’ professional goals. The program incorporates field-based experiences which makes significant use of the wide array of early intervention, early childhood special education, public-school, and community settings throughout local and regional placements. 

Major Requirements

B.S.Ed. in Special Education students will complete both a sequence of professional courses related to early intervention, early childhood special education, and K-age 21 special education as well as a liberal arts foundation as result of the Catamount Core coursework. The B.S.Ed. in Special Education program also provides opportunities for students to study abroad. Further, students may select other electives of choice and may also elect to pursue additional areas of study through enrollment in academic minors, undergraduate certificates or co-majors.

The B.S.Ed. in Special Education Professional Preparation sequence begins with five core courses that build the foundational knowledge and skills for any special educator working with individuals with disabilities and their families from birth through age 21. First, EDSP 1050 introduces students to the history of Special Education, and the experiences of individuals with disabilities across the birth-age 21 age span. Second, students will take a development course which introduces them to the basic principles and research findings in the discipline of development and how this knowledge can form the basis for educational practice. Third, students will take ECLD 1560, an introductory course that explores the theories, practices, and policies related to the intersection of race, language policy, and school. The fourth course in the first year core is EDSP 2170 which explores evidence-based behavior management interventions with a focus on relationship-centered approaches. In the spring semester of the first year, students will also enroll in a one-credit seminar (EDSP 1000) which introduces students to careers in the field of special education and the endorsement age-bands for special education teacher licensure in VT. The seminar will assist students in designing their four year plans including personalized practicums and licensure options.

In the second year students become eligible to enroll in EDSP 3980, their first practicum course at the age-band of their choosing to work towards their personalized licensure and endorsement goals. Students may repeat EDSP 3980 up to three times across the program of study (i.e., 9 credits). Multiple practicum experiences overtime enables students to explore their interests in the different age-bands for which they can earn a Special Education license or endorsement. These formative experiences occur in diverse, community, and school-based settings close to our UVM campus. 

During the second year of the major students will enroll in an additional professional sequence of methods courses focused on evidence-based practices for teaching students with disabilities.  ECSP 3110 focuses on early intervention for infants and toddlers who have disabilities and their families. The course reviews the nature of disabilities in infants and toddlers and the strategies that are used for interventions as well as developing individualized intervention plans. ECSP 3120 covers the various assessment strategies that are used in early intervention and early childhood special education to help determine eligibility, priorities, resources, concerns of the family, and strengths and areas of growth for the child; the most effective ways to best support the child’s developmental and educational growth. ECSP 2100 focuses on curriculum planning and inclusionary practice to meet the needs of preschool aged children with disabilities and their families. Students take EDSP 3230 designed to emphasize, and teach associated skills, related to the collaborative nature of teaching in Special Education. EDSP 3120 focuses on assessment knowledge and skills essential for special educators (Ages 6 through 21), including test selection, administration and scoring, and legal issues related to special education assessment.

In the third year of the major, students enroll in ECLD 3050 to learn more about culturally responsive practice and working with families across home, school and community contexts. In EDSP 3110 majors will learn about inclusive teaching strategies to meet the needs of students with moderate to severe disability, service delivery models and will learn how to write individualized education plans for children with disabilities ages 3-21. Students will also learn about how to integrate assistive technology and utilize augmentative and adaptive communication strategies. During the spring of the junior year students will have the opportunity to study abroad. Students electing not to study abroad might also choose to pursue an academic minor, co-major or undergraduate certificate.

In the fall of the fourth year of the program students will take EDSP 3140, a literacy intervention course that focuses on evidence-based practice in literacy intervention for K-12. They will also enroll in EDSP 3150 which focuses on evidence-based numeracy intervention K-12.

The B.S.Ed. in Special Education Professional Preparation sequence is completed with EDSP 3991 a full time one semester student teaching experience in the licensure age-band chosen by the student (i.e., early intervention [birth through age 2], early childhood special education [ages 3-6], special educator [kindergarten-grade 8], and special educator [grade 7-age 21]). EDSP 3000, Contemporary Issues is a 2 credit seminar that accompanies EDSP 3991 and provides students further support as they complete their student teaching and portfolio and prepare to enter the profession as new special education teachers. 

Majors may be eligible for 1-3 of these licensure bands depending on their program plan:

  • Early Childhood Special Educator (Birth–Age 2 & Ages 3–6; Part C & B requirements) 
  • Special Educator (Kindergarten-Grade 8) 
  • Special Educator (Grade 7 – Age 21) 

Other Information

Study Abroad is encouraged spring semester of Junior Year.  Speak with an Advisor to discuss options.

The course of study consists of a minimum of 120 credits.

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam (or equivalent exam or coursework) should be completed by the end of the second year of the program and is a requirement for teacher licensure.