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Special Education

Special Education

Special Education B.S. Ed.

Undergraduates completing this degree program will take coursework and field experiences that prepares teachers to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities such as specific learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia) as well as students with a mild/moderate form of autism, intellectual disability, behavior or other health impairment.

The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education faculty and staff in general and special education collaborate to ensure undergraduate students learn critical knowledge and skills embedded within structured experiences to effectively teach students of all abilities.



The Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree program is accredited by the national Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. This ensures degree requirements meet the standards established by CAEP and the Council for Exceptional Children. CAEP accreditation ensures faculty create a culture of evidence-based best practices delivered through a rigorous course of study that prepares individuals to become competent and caring educators.

Degree Requirements

The four-year Special Education Plan of Study consists of 124 semester hours of coursework. This does not include remedial coursework needed by individuals or two semesters of college-level foreign language if the applicant is not able to test-out of this requirement. Our program embeds more than 400 hours of mentored classroom and tutoring experiences prior to a 16-week student teaching internship. Students complete general education, professional education and specialized education courses as depicted in the degree check sheet linked below. The second page of the Bachelor of Special Education Degree Sheet lists a suggested sequence of courses students need to complete each semester to attain the degree in four years.

Degree checksheet for this program

Teacher Certification

Special Education Certification (Mild/Mod) + General Education Certification = Highly Qualified
One hundred percent of graduates from the Bachelor of Science in Special Education program have attained Special Education mild/moderate teacher certification, pre-kindergarten through high school. In addition, students must pass the associated general education (early childhood, elementary, secondary subject area) state exam after obtaining an initial Special Education certification. Students may need to take additional courses to gain needed expertise to pass these state exams. The following areas are offered within general education:

  • Early childhood education
  • Elementary education
  • Secondary subject areas:
    • Science
    • Mathematics
    • Language arts
    • Social studies

Certification for Non-U.S. Citizens
Non-U.S. citizens can attain Oklahoma Special Education teacher certification upon successful program completion and passing required Oklahoma certification exams.

Two students at desk working with a teacher

Application Materials and Advising
The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education Undergraduate Advising Office serves as the advising and information center for undergraduate students who plan to major in Special Education and for current undergraduate Special Education majors. The Undergraduate Advising Office is in Collings Hall, Room 137 and can be contacted by calling 405-325-2238 or by email at

Admission Requirements
When undergraduate students at the University of Oklahoma meet the following criteria, they become eligible to apply for admission into the JRCoE Special Education Program.

  • A grade of C or better in the following 24 hours of General Education Requirements:
    • English Composition I & II - 6 hours
    • Gen-Ed Core I Math (College Algebra, Introduction to Statistics,
    • Pre-Calculus, Math for Critical Thinking) – 3 hours
    • US History I or II – 3 hours
    • American Federal Government – 3 hours
    • Introduction to Psychology – 3 hours
    • Natural Sciences – at least 3 hours
    • Advisor-approved Gen-Ed course (Foreign Language, English
    • Literature/Artistic Forms, additional Math/Science/Social Studies) – 3 hours
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.75 (OU institutional & overall GPAs) on all other coursework attempted

Admission Timeline

Application Due Date
Start DateDescription
AugustFallThis is for students who have completed all the above admission requirements and plan to enroll in fall JRCoE courses.
OctoberSpringThis is for students who will complete the above list of requirements by the last day of final exams for the fall semester. If the OGET exam is not passed or a course is not successfully completed, full admission may be rescinded.
JanuarySpringThis is for students who have completed all the above admission requirements and plan to enroll in spring JRCoE courses.
MarchSummer or Fall
This is for students who will complete the above list of requirements by the last day of final exams of the spring semester. If the OGET exam is not passed or a course is not successfully completed, full admission may be rescinded.

Complete and Submit Application

  • Complete the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education’s Undergraduate On-line Full Admission Application (sent out via email from the JRCoE Undergraduate Advising Office)
  • The application requires students to submit a three-page, double-spaced essay describing:
    • Desire to become a special education teacher
    • Previous experience with individuals with disabilities
    • Personal attributes and abilities that will contribute to becoming a successful Special Education teacher
  • Applicants selected for interviews meet with the Special Education Admission Committee. Topics covered during the interview include:
    • Questions based upon the essay, past academic performance, OGET examination or other parts of the application packet
    • Program expectations (including but not limited to course pedagogy performance, field experience commitments and attention to the program portfolio managed by program area faculty)
    • College's emphasis on professional conduct, demeanor and
      expectations during college courses, field work and formal and
      informal gatherings.

Foreign Language Oral Proficiency Requirement
Demands created by a rapidly increasing multicultural society caused the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to require all incoming freshman education students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. Students who do not score at the novice-high level on a foreign language test need to enroll in language courses. In addition to the traditional languages (Spanish, French, Italian, German, etc.), American Sign Language* and Native American Languages meet this requirement and both options are offered at the University of Oklahoma.

*Note: Declared Education majors receive priority enrollment privileges into ASL courses over non-Education majors.

The four-year Bachelor of Science in Special Education consists of 124 semester hours of courses (not including remedial coursework or the two required semesters of college-level Foreign Language coursework), field experiences, and two student teaching internships. The documents below contain specific information about the undergraduate Special Education Program.

  • Special Education Degree Sheet
    • General Education Requirements: 55 Hours
    • Professional Education Requirements: 25 Hours

    • Specialized Education Requirements: 44 Hours
  • Special Education Four-Year Plan-of-Study
    • This plan indicates when the coursework should be completed and when Special Education courses are scheduled.

Becoming Highly Qualified Teacher in Early Childhood, Elementary, or Secondary Education
To be considered a “Highly Qualified Teacher” under the State of Oklahoma standards, students should prepare to take a certification test in at least one general education area (early childhood, elementary, secondary subject area) and are encouraged to take additional courses as electives to prepare for these certification areas. Early Childhood and Elementary Certification may be added on after the student has been traditionally certified in Special Education and passed the corresponding OSAT for the general education area. Secondary subject areas may also be added on after passing the corresponding OSAT.

Early in their programs, students should discuss their career goals with their advisor to plan appropriate coursework and field experiences. More information can be found at the Certification Examination for Oklahoma Educators website. To obtain more information about Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary certification and appropriate coursework, download the “Highly Qualified”(PDF) document and discuss career plans with your education academic advisor.