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Special Education Major (SPED)

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Required: 127 semester hours, to include at least 36 semester hours at or above the 300 course level

AOS Code: U265

The Special Education Program provides opportunities for the study of school-age learners with mild to moderate disabilities (learning disabilities, behavior/emotional disabilities, and educable mental disabilities). Students enrolling in this program learn about trends and issues in the field of special education, characteristics and needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities, specialized teaching methods for working with these students, strategies for collaboration with parents/families and colleagues, positive means for providing behavior supports, and technology applications that support students’ education.

In addition to courses in the major area, students elect a second academic concentration (e.g., psychology, sociology, interdepartmental studies). Field experiences and student teaching take place at local public and private schools with students who have mild to moderate disabilities. Students completing this program and its requirements are eligible for licensure by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in special education: general curriculum (K–12).

Transfer students may require additional semesters to complete this undergraduate degree program.

Also see Teacher Education for Teacher Education admission requirements and second academic concentration requirements.

Student Learning Goals

Students completing the teacher preparation program in special education: general curriculum are able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of current federal and North Carolina law and policy related to special education and related services.
  • Explain the basic educational and clinical concepts relative to definition, characteristics, identification, and diagnosis of students with mild to moderate disabilities.
  • Create or revise program models for effective special education service delivery, including transition, based on a system of care philosophy and issues related to competent professional role management.
  • Use exemplary diagnostic, instructional, and therapeutic approaches, including those based on technology applications, for effectively and positively meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of students’ special education programs and services as well as overall program and service structures.
  • Work collaboratively with other school professionals, paraprofessionals, parents, and community and agency personnel to meet the needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities.


I General Education Core Requirements (GEC)

See complete GEC requirements and approved course listings for all categories.

Core Category

Sem hrs

Students may select courses for:


Literature (GLT)


Fine Arts (GFA)


Philosophical, Religious, Ethical Principles (GPR)


One additional GLT, GFA, or GPR course


Historical Perspectives on Western Culture (GHP)


Mathematics (GMT)


Natural Sciences (GNS)
one must be a laboratory course; each must have a different departmental prefix


Reasoning and Discourse (GRD)
ENG 101 or FMS 115 or RCO 101, and one additional GRD course




Department specifies courses for:


Social and Behavioral Sciences (GSB)
required: PSY 121 and SOC 101



II General Education Marker Requirements

See details and courses. It is possible to meet all GE Marker Requirements while completing the GE Core requirements or courses required by the major/ concentration.

Students may select courses for:

Global/Global Non-Western Perspectives (GL/GN)
four (4) courses carrying GL/GN markers, at least one of which must carry the GN marker

One Speaking Intensive (SI) Course
In addition to this SI Marker requirement, students must also complete a second SI course within the major. All programs have identified at least one course among their major requirements that is taught as Speaking Intensive.

One Writing Intensive (WI) Course
In addition to this WI Marker requirement, students must also complete a second WI course within the major. All programs have identified at least one course among their major requirements that is taught as Writing Intensive.


III Major Requirements

Minimum 51 semester hours in the major: SES 135, 240, 250, 252, 350A, 350B, 350C, 360, 447, 460, 466, 465, 469, 471, 472

IV Related Area Requirements

CUI 320 or 335, 420, 450; ELC 381; HEA 201; LIS 120; PSY 121*, 250; SOC 101*

*PSY 121 and SOC 101 satisfy GSB.

V Teacher Licensure Requirements

  1. General Education requirements as identified within each major
  2. ELC 381  
  3. LIS 120  
  4. CUI 450  
  5. CUI 320 or CUI 335 or CUI 420  
  6. HEA 201  
  7. Students must have a 2.75 overall grade point average to be admitted to teacher education, and a 2.75 grade point average in all courses with a SES prefix in order to be admitted to student teaching. Any grade below C- in a required core course makes a student ineligible to continue in the licensure track.

VI Second Academic Concentration Requirement

All students majoring in Special Education are required to complete an approved second academic concentration consisting of a minimum of 24 semester hours in a basic academic discipline. Depending on the academic discipline selected, a maximum of 6 hours may be counted toward both the General Education (GE) requirements and the second academic concentration. The following concentrations have been approved for Special Education: Anthropology; Communication Studies; Human Development and Family Studies; Psychology; Sociology; approved interdepartmental studies.

V Electives

Electives sufficient to complete the 127 semester hours required for degree.