Undergraduate Catalog: 2020-21

Special Education BS

The Special Education program at the University of Saint Francis licenses candidates to teach children in all grades: pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school. Majors also have the option to add a license in Elementary Education with 2 additional courses required. This high demand license affords Special Education majors opportunities to teach in urban, suburban, and rural schools and in public, parochial, and private schools.

Special Education majors learn several models of instruction, including adaptive inclusion, co-teaching, collaborative planning, and project-based learning. Majors also have opportunities to apply problem solving skills that address the academic and social-emotional needs of individual children. Collaborative relationships both with their fellow classmates and experienced teachers in schools are an essential element of the program. Discovering ways to differentiate all aspects of their teaching and assessment is a fundamental aspect of becoming a special educator. By acquiring skills to adapt methods, materials, and assessments, Special Education majors assist children to maximize, demonstrate, and transfer learning, with the goal of increasing children’s abilities to successfully function in society. Working with USF’s special needs theatre group, the Jesters, Special Education majors experience the application of special needs methodologies in non-academic settings.

Special Education graduates enjoy a 100% job placement rate directly out of the university. Graduates are ready to teach, manage, and assume positions of leadership in schools and social service agencies that serve children and families of children with special needs. Graduates work in school districts, community agencies, non-profit organizations, medical facilities, and in private practice in the region, state, and across the nation. Graduates of the undergraduate program often choose to pursue a Master’s Degree in Special Education (Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention). They are well prepared for graduate school at USF and can take advantage of the reduced tuition through the Virtual Campus online graduate programs.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the undergraduate Education program teacher candidates will demonstrate the following proficiencies:

  • Learner Development The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences. (INTASC Standard 1)
  • Learning Differences The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards. (INTASC Standard 2)
  • Learning Environments The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation. (INTASC Standard 3)
  • Content Knowledge The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content. (INTASC Standard 4)
  • Application of Content The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues. (INTASC Standard 5)
  • Instructional Practice Assessment The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making. (INTASC Standard 6)
  • Planning for Instruction The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context. (INTASC Standard 7)
  • Instructional Strategies The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways. (INTASC Standard 8)
  • Professional Learning and Ethical Practice The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner. (INTASC Standard 9)
  • Leadership and Collaboration The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession. (INTASC Standard 10)

Council for Exceptional Children Standards

  • Beginning special education professionals understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities. (CEC Standard 1)
  • Beginning special education professionals create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination. (CEC Standard 2)
  • Beginning special education professionals use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities. (CEC Standard 3)
  • Beginning special education professionals use multiple methods of assessment and data sources in making educational decisions. (CEC Standard 4)
  • Beginning special education professionals select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities. (CEC Standard 5)
  • Beginning special education professionals use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional ethical principles and practice standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession. (CEC Standard 6)
  • Beginning special education professionals collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences. (CEC Standard 7)


Special Education students are licensable at the elementary level, and at P-12 (All-grade) levels. All Education programs have been revised to conform to State of Indiana REPA licensing criteria. Because Indiana State education requirements may change, program requirements may be altered according to state specifications.

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Education: Special Education all-grade Mild Intervention program requires 120 credit hours, which includes:

  • 48 credit hours of Education and Reading courses
  • 21 credit hours of Special Education courses
  • 6 credit hours of additional content courses to add optional Elementary Education K-6 certification
  • 47-50 credits in general education
  • Elective hours if needed to reach 120 credit hours

Program of Studies

  • 42 credit hours of required Education courses: EDUC 108, EDUC 105, EDUC 207, EDUC 208, EDUC 303, EDUC 304, EDUC 356, EDUC 374, EDUC 375, EDUC 376, EDUC 377, EDUC 412, EDUC 493 and /or EDUC 491, EDUC 498, and PSYC 339
  • 12 credit hours of required Reading: READ 200, READ 275, and READ 302
  • 21 credit hours of Special Education courses: SPED 137, SPED 226, SPED 230, SPED 326, SPED 420, SPED 421, PSYC 326
  • 1 additional content course: HIST 101 or HIST 102 to add optional Elementary Education K-6 certification
  • 47-50 credit hours of general education
  • Elective hours if needed to reach 120 credit hours

Admissions Requirements

Candidates majoring in teacher education must complete the following criteria to be formally admitted to Teacher Education (Progression Point 1):

  • EDUC 108, EDUC 207, and SPED 137 with grades of C or better.
  • Maintaining an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.8.
  • Achieve successful EDUC 207 Field Evaluation scores.
  • Demonstrate Basic Skills through the Praxis Core exams.
  • Clearance of National Sex Offender check.
  • Submit proof of 10 hours of Service Engagement.
  • Complete Professional Development requirements.

Progression Requirements

Candidates in the teacher education program are monitored each semester for Deficiency Points. Deficiency Points are assigned for the grades of “D” and “F.” A calculation of deficiency points is based on the following scale: a “D” is equal to three (3) deficiency points; an “F” is equal to four (4) deficiency points. Accumulation of 12 deficiency points in the major and professional education courses results in dismissal from or non-admittance to the Teacher Education program.

Candidates who earn less than a “C-” (C minus) in any professional education and/or content course must retake the course. Professional education and content courses may only be repeated one time for admission to or retention in the Teacher Education program. Grades of WP and WF are counted as having been taken ‘one time’ and, thus, are subject to the “repeated course” rule. Deficiency points cannot be removed by retaking courses.

Candidates must meet the following criteria to be accepted into the Clinical Internship (Student Teaching) phase of the program (Progression Point 2):

  • Be admitted into the Teacher Education program.
  • Submit the completed Application for Clinical Internship (Student Teaching).
  • Submit an Expanded Criminal History check and Authorization form.
  • Clearance of National Sex Offender check.
  • Achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.8.
  • Achieve a GPA of 2.8 in Professional Education and content area coursework (see Teacher Education Handbook for courses).
  • Pass all Professional Education or content major courses with a grade of “C-” or higher.
  • Achieve successful EDUC 304 Field Evaluations
  • Submit proof of 30 hours of Service Engagement.
  • Complete Professional Development requirements.

Graduation Requirements

Upon successful completion of Clinical Internship (Student Teaching) (Progression Point 3), candidates must:

  • Maintain a 2.8 professional and cumulative GPA
  • Submit proof of a total of 40 hours of Service Engagement
  • Complete Professional Development requirements.

To apply for teacher licensure, candidates must meet the above criteria in addition to completing the following:

  • Pass Indiana required Pearson CORE Content Knowledge Test (025) Mild Intervention (P-12) and (064) Mild Intervention: Reading Instruction if they have not taken the Elementary CORE Reading Test (060).
  • Pass the appropriate Indiana required Pearson Developmental (Pedagogy) Test (007) P-12 Education.
  • Submit the online Application for an Indiana Teaching License in LVIS which includes an application fee.
  • Submit proof of Certification from either an American Red Cross or an American Heart Association approved program in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AED) at the adult and child levels with the online application.
  • Submit proof of research-based Suicide Prevention Training.