Degree and Certification

This degree is a bachelor of science in education with an emphasis in special education.

Additionally, upon successfully completing the initial teacher-certification process, the state grants you cross-categorical certification.

Program of Study:

The program is comprised of three levels:

Early Level 

You are automatically accepted into Early Level with admittance to the University.

Course Work

The majority of your time in Early Level is spent completing your general-education requirements.

Course work through the College of Education & Human Development focuses on facilitating learning at all levels of development. Consideration is given to the influences of cultural, political, historical and economic factors on students, teachers and schools.

Field Experiences

Your field experiences in this level will include:

  • Sixteen hours in a classroom environment tutoring and working with students in small groups under teacher supervision.
  • Twenty hours in a service-learning environment in community organizations (e.g., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Granny’s House).


You must apply and interview for admittance into Mid-Level. For more information about the application process, please consult your adviser.

Course Work

This phase addresses the foundational principles of teaching students with special needs. Additionally, it focuses on the cross-categorical area in which a range of categorical disabilities are discussed, including learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.

Field Experiences

During the first semester, you will spend 60 hours in an elementary setting planning and delivering instruction, assisting with classroom and behavior management and facilitating individualized education plans.

During the second semester, you will spend 60 hours in a secondary setting with similar responsibilities.

Advanced Level 

The Special Education Senior Year On Site Program (SYOSP) is a cooperative program offered by the College of Education & Human Development and the MU Partnership for Educational Renewal (MPER).

During your senior year, you will be on site at a public school in Columbia or a surrounding community. SYOSP orientation takes place the spring of your junior year.

First Semester 

During the first semester of senior year, you will work in school three days per week and take your special education courses through MU. This experience allows for more intensive examination of teaching, learning, observing and assisting with instruction in multiple areas of special education.

Second Semester

You will be assigned to a special education classroom for a 16-week, full-time internship under the mentorship of an experienced special education teacher.