College of Education & Professional Studies

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Bachelor’s Degree Program

Prepare for a person-centered teaching career.

Many Special Education programs limit licensure to a grade level or a specific level of ability. At UW-Whitewater, you’ll earn a Special Education bachelor’s degree with breadth and depth. 

Our program is cross-categorical, meaning that it prepares future Special Education teachers to work with students of varying ages and need levels. This inclusive approach encourages you to help students based on their individual needs. 

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Why study Special Education at UW-Whitewater?

With our inclusive curriculum, dedicated faculty and long-standing reputation for teacher preparation, UW-Whitewater is among the best colleges for Special Education majors in Wisconsin. 

As our department also houses two graduate degree programs, you’ll be surrounded by faculty members and students committed to researching and advancing the field. 

Here are a few other advantages to earning your degree in Special Education at UW-Whitewater: 

  • Access to the Wisconsin Instructional Technology Resource Institute, which houses computer labs, virtual reality experiences, and more
  • Help from a dedicated librarian who specializes in education
  • An array of program-specific scholarships available to incoming and current students
  • Field experience or student teaching abroad in Ecuador,  Jamaica, Mexico, or Sweden

What our students do

Special Education teaching experience

Gain first-hand teaching experience in local schools

Mentors for special education majors

Pursue research with faculty mentors

Local community volunteer opportunities

Volunteer in the local community

Serve as agents of change

Serve as agents of change

Why study Special Education at UW-Whitewater?

Field study and student teaching

Special Education majors complete at least three fieldwork experiences before their final student teaching semester. This allows students to actively engage in classrooms through observation and co-teaching, and gain practical experience in a specialty area, such as intellectual disabilities or emotional/behavioral disorders (learning disabilities, autism, and dyslexia). 

Student teaching, also called directed teaching, is a semester-long experience in a classroom. 

Students meet with professor at UW-Whitewater

Campus and community involvement

Our Special Education students have various opportunities to interact with classmates or volunteer on campus or in the local community. 

Special Education majors often join UW-Whitewater organizations such as: 

Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin
Provides educational and social opportunities to future teachers, and is a branch of both the National Education Association and the Wisconsin Education Association Council. 

Best Buddies
As part of this national organization, our chapter matches college students with people with intellectual disabilities for one-on-one friendships. 

CARE: Creative and Resourceful Educators
Advocates for the community of young children and their families through education, fundraising and service. 

LIFE: Learning is for Everyone
The LIFE program offers a complete college experience to young adults (ages 18 to 25) who have an intellectual disability. Participants gain independent living skills and prepare for meaningful employment experiences. Special Education majors have an opportunity to work and engage with students in the LIFE program. 

What our graduates do

Teachers after graduation

Teachers

School administrators

Administrators

Program directors

Program directors

Disability specialist

Disability specialist

Jobs in Special Education: Career success

Most of our graduates become special education teachers, and many pursue graduate degrees. With their advanced training, these students could work in special education careers such as:

  • Autism specialist
  • Behavioral specialist
  • Board-certified behavior analyst
  • Curriculum specialist
  • Dyslexia interventionist
  • Educational diagnostician
  • Learning support teacher
  • Program director
  • School administrator
  • School counselor
  • Transition specialist

Professional development and other Special Education offerings

In addition to our traditional on-campus Special Education bachelor’s degree programs, UW-Whitewater offers additional learning opportunities and credentials for teachers and other educational professionals:

Graduate degrees in Special Education

  • Master of Science in Special Education: Emphasis in Professional Development
  • Master of Science in Education: Emphasis in Cross Categorical Licensure

Post-Baccalaureate Special Education certificate programs

Learn more about these programs

Our faculty

The UW-Whitewater Special Education faculty have a range of educational and clinical experience. Among the faculty are board-certified behavioral analysts and recipients of various teaching, advising and publishing awards. 

Our faculty members have research and professional interest in areas such as: 

  • Autism
  • Co-teaching
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Learning strategies
  • Person-centered planning
  • Reading interventions
  • School Reform
  • Universal design for learning
Meet our faculty »

Want to learn more about earning your degree in Special Education at UW-Whitewater? Contact us »

This program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Education in Cross Categorical Special Education.

Your class schedule will likely include: 

  • Characteristics and Methods for Autism and Neurodiversity
  • Characteristics and Methods for Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
  • Characteristics and Methods for Intellectual Disabilities
  • Characteristics and Methods for Learning Disabilities
  • Behavior Management for the Inclusive Classroom
  • Collaboration for Co-Teaching
  • Special Education Law

Minors in our department include:

While you can declare Special Education as your major when you enter UW-Whitewater, you’ll need to be admitted to Professional Education separately. This requires:

  • completion of 30 credits
  • a GPA of at least 2.75
  • passing all education foundation courses
  • attending all required program meetings/orientation

See full education requirements

UW-Whitewater also offers an online Special Education degree completion program (SpecEd4U) designed for paraprofessionals wanting to complete a bachelor’s degree and be licensed to teach special education.  

Learn more about the online degree

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater application for admission and indicate your interest in earning a degree in education

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