Bachelor of Science in Education: Special and Elementary Education

Equal access for all students

As we move to an inclusive educational environment where all children work and learn together, our programs promote inclusive practices through our dual major in special and elementary education and the content emphasis in special education.


We offer this plan to prepare you to become a certified teacher of children and youth who have disabilities, as well as those who do not. The courses included in the program of study are designed to address the Professional Standards for the Council for Exceptional Children, in addition to the Professional Standards for Arizona Teachers, adopted by the Arizona Department of Education. This plan prepares you to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities such as:

  • learning disabilities
  • emotional/behavioral disorders
  • mild-moderate intellectual disabilities
  • orthopedic and health impairments 

Courses in low-incidence disabilities prepare you to teach students with a variety of moderate to severe/profound disabilities:

  • autism
  • traumatic brain injury
  • multiple disabilities
  • moderate-to-severe intellectual disabilities
  • sensory impairments   

Student teaching

You student teach for one semester, with your time divided between special education and elementary education settings.

When you complete your degree, you will have earned one certificate in special education (grades K-12 cross-categorical special education) and one in elementary education (K-8).

With training in both special and elementary education, graduates of our dual major program are highly sought-after candidates for job openings.

Content emphasis

You may also pursue a single major in elementary education with a content emphasis in special education.

A special education content emphasis does not require student teaching, and it does not result in special-education certification.

School-based programs

As a special-education major, you may wish to take education coursework in a school-based program. At this time, we offer three unique school-based programs to special-education dual majors.

In each of these programs, you spend several hours each day working with students in public-school classrooms under the supervision of cooperating teachers and university faculty.

Rural ESL special education

The College of Education offers a rural special education program with an embedded ESL course of study, located in Kayenta, AZ, on the Navajo Indian Reservation.


Programs funded by a US Department of Education grant, when available, offer the dual major program in the greater Yuma area.


The third program, Praxis, is based in an elementary school in Flagstaff. This three-semester program is currently the only school-based program through which dual majors can take all of their elementary and special-education courses.


We accept applications for these programs each fall and conduct interviews during late fall and early spring. For more information, see Student Services.


You must be admitted to the College of Education’s teacher education program before you take any education courses except EDF 200 and ESE 380. Carefully review the information about admission requirements for our teacher education program.

Academic Catalog

For more information on this degree, please visit the Academic Catalog.