B.S. Special Education

Are you interested in helping students with disabilities achieve great things?
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
Careers & Salaries Annual Employment Report
Delivery On Campus

UW-Stout's Bachelor of Science in Special Education program prepares future teachers for a cross-categorical license to teach elementary, middle, and high school students with disabilities in the areas of learning, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. Our Special Education on-campus degree completion program is designed for traditional first-year and transfer students.   

We’ll show you how to develop education programs uniquely suited for each student while working hand-in-hand with families and support services. / UW-Stout

Program Highlights

  • Personal faculty support and advisement
  • Early and varied field placements
  • Cross-categorical licensure
  • Instruct kindergarten through adolescence, including ages 5 through 21

Additional Program-related Offerings

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certification
  • Autism Certificate

As a special educator, your mission is to both advocate for your students and their families while providing an appropriate level education for each student’s ability. To succeed, you’ll need to know how to assess the characteristics of the learners you serve, design effective teaching strategies, and develop the right attitude to practice within established standards.

You’ll work with general education teachers to:

  • Develop lesson plans, materials, tests and access student learning
  • Adapt curriculum to be appropriate for each student
  • Teach specific learning strategies and study skills

The special education teacher responsibilities also include:

  • Assessment
  • Developing individual education and transition plans
  • Working with families and other support services

Increasingly, students with disabilities have been integrated into general education settings. Their education is usually supplemented by support services provided by a case manager. As a special education teacher, you must possess a working knowledge of all general education curriculum subjects and content.


Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


100% of Our Graduates are Employed or Continuing Education

Many program graduates become special education teachers and enjoy meaningful careers making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. As a graduate, you’ll be eligible to receive a Wisconsin teaching license in cross-categorical special education.

"Stout's Polytechnic approach provides small class sizes that allowed me to form connections with classmates and professors. The classes were never just lectures every day. There was always an activity or hands-on experience. I had experiences learning abroad, teaching in a classroom, working in labs, and doing research. This helped me be ready for graduate school."

-- Alexandra Jaenke
B.S. Special Education

Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more.

Request Information

Admission Requirements

New First-Year Students

  • There are no additional requirements for new first-year students.

Transfer Students

  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher from the last institution attended.

Students who meet this requirement will be admitted to the university in their chosen Education major. Subsequent acceptance into a teacher education major and enrollment in professional education coursework will require successful completion of Benchmark I requirements. Additional information can be found at the School of Education website.

Students whose cumulative GPA is lower than the 2.75 will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis for admission consideration.

Application and Transfer Information


To apply for the on-campus or online Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, you need to apply to UW-Stout.

Financial Aid

Students who are attending another institution, but are planning to receive their degree from UW-Stout, may be eligible to receive aid from UW‐Stout. In these cases, UW‐Stout is considered the Home Institution and the other campus is considered the Visiting Institution.

Transfer Students

Note: When filling out the application form, be sure to make a note in the student comment section that you intend to apply to the "online program." 

Preparing for Special Education

A college preparatory background is recommended if you are interested in the special education program. English, science, mathematics, social studies, art and music are important as these areas are all included in teaching children and young adults.

Starting Out

Your coursework is arranged so that special education courses can be taken at the same time as general education requirements. General education courses include English composition, speech, psychology, history, biology and math. Faculty members are highly qualified and eager to help you with course and career choices. Help also is available through the Advisement and Career Centers, the Counseling Center and Career Services.

As You Progress

The curriculum includes courses in:

  • Educational psychology
  • Multiculturalism
  • Classroom management
  • Vocational evaluation
  • Behavioral intervention in schools
  • School, family and community collaboration

You’ll also develop techniques used to teach across categories of disabilities, including cognitive, emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. Completing a variety of field experiences – from your sophomore year through to a full semester of student teaching – will give you the experience you need to succeed. Special education faculty and students also regularly engage in outreach service and collaboration within the region and state.

Career Opportunities

According to the 2014–15 Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Employment of special education teachers is projected to grow six percent from 2012 to 2022. … Employment growth will be driven by continued demand for special education services. Many job opportunities will stem from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation."

With the exception of teachers who work with students with profound and multiple disabilities in self-contained classrooms, the vast majority of special education teachers now work in regular education settings with students who have learning, cognitive, and emotional/behavioral disabilities, thus the needs for cross-categorical certification.

When students with disabilities are served outside of regular education classrooms it is typically in a "resource room" where students with various disabilities are provided specialized instruction, either individually or in small groups. The teacher may spend some time with a student or small group working on such things as study skills, preparing for a test, organization and test-taking strategies, and other strategies that help them learn more effectively and efficiently.

The individual education and placement plans developed for students with special needs are increasingly driven by the student’s instructional and behavioral needs rather than by category of disability diagnosis. Similarly, special education teachers are assigned a caseload of students with special needs based on their education plans rather than disability. Cross-categorical certification allows teachers to effectively plan curriculum for and successfully teach a wide variety of students.

SE Advisory Board

2020 SE Advisory Board

Sharon  Becker UW-Stout B.S. Sp. Ed. Program Director/Assistant Professor  
Tonya  Boudreaux Sp. Ed. Teacher, Eau Claire  
Debbie  Brennan CESA #11 Sp. Ed. Family Engagement Coordinator  
Debra  Delyea CESA #10 District Director of Sp. Ed.  
Tracy  DeRusha UW-Stout School of Education Coordinator of Field Experiences  
Vicki  Dowell UW-Stout Sp. Ed. Instructor  
Sharon  Fox Spring Valley School District Sp. Ed. Teacher for Middle and High School  
Nick Grunseth TECAP Student   
Madison  Hanson Student Ambassador  
Karen Idso UW-Stout Associate Lecturer in SCOPE  
Heather Klanderman UW-Stout School of Education Student Status Examiner  
Elizabeth Klein Peer Mentor  
Tonia  Kowieski Menomonie School District  
Becky  Marine UW-Stout CI-BS Sp. Ed. Advisor and Instructor  
Meg  Marmitt Elk Mound School District Sp. Ed. Teacher- Middle and High School  
Christine  McMasters Executive Director of Student Services at Chippewa Falls School District  
Dan  Paulson UW-Stout Autism Spectrum Disorder Instructor  
Chris Peterson SCOPE Department Chair  
Heather Sand Elmwood School District-Director of Special Education  
Andrew Thiel Eau Claire School District- Robbins Elementary School Principal (retired)  
Rachel Traynor UW-Stout CI-BS Sp. Ed. Student  
Sue Van Amber Chippewa Falls School District- Life Skills Teacher  
Mandy Van Vleet Eau Claire School District Sp. Ed. Director  
Sandy White Graduate School and UW-Stout Online Outreach Program Manager  
Professional Licensure Requirements

This program is designed to meet educational requirements for licensure/certification in the state of Wisconsin. Professional licensure/certification prerequisites vary from state to state, and we are not able to determine whether our program meets prerequisites in other states. If you intend to work in another state, contact that state's regulatory authority to determine if our program will meet the licensure/certification requirements, and contact the UW-Stout Program Director for assistance. Please see the following website for additional information.

B.S. Special Education Online

Our online bachelor's degree equips you with the skills you need to connect to diverse learners, helping them thrive.

Special Education

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