College of Education *
College of Education *

Undergraduate Special Education Teacher Preparation Program for Elementary/Middle Information


The University of Maryland offers two full time undergraduate teacher preparation programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree: (1) Elementary/Middle Special Education and (2) Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. 

Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program

In the Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program, graduates are eligible for special education teacher certification in the state of Maryland, with reciprocity in 49 states. The four-year, 120-credit-hour course of study prepares teachers to assume the increasingly complex and sophisticated responsibilities of a teacher of students with disabilities. Teacher candidates will be prepared to teach students with mild (high incidence) to severe (low incidence) disabilities, across disability categories.  Distinctive programmatic features include:

  • Maryland Certification in Special Education in Elementary/Middle (Grades 1-8)
  • Maryland Certification in Severe Disabilities (Birth to Grade 12)
  • Focus on Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Behaviors Disorders, Physical Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Developmental Delays, and Physical and Other Health Impairments.
  • Rigorous and relevant coursework to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for successful teaching careers in special education 
  • Focus on evidence based instructional practices and decision making
  • Year Long Internship (Field Experience) in inclusive, diverse classrooms

The Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation program includes three phases of preparation. The first phase (first two academic years/freshman & sophomore years) involves completion of the University's liberal arts requirements that all students are required to take. This coursework is referred to as the Core Liberal Arts and Sciences Studies requirements (CORE) or General Education requirements depending on the date of admission to the university. In addition, teacher candidates complete pre-professional courses known as Supporting Academic Content coursework (SAC). The SACs provide an understanding of typical human development and behavior and serve as a foundation for later coursework in special education. Students enroll in the introductory course in special education, EDSP 210, which is usually taken during the sophomore year. The admissions process to the Special Education Program is described in EDSP 210. Candidates who have met the selective admission requirements and been admitted to the program may proceed with the last two phases of the program.

The second phase (third academic year/junior year) includes foundational special education coursework addressing basic teaching techniques and strategies that apply to all students with disabilities, across all age and severity levels. Teacher candidates are provided opportunities to observe and participate in different elementary or middle special education classroom settings.

The third and final phase of the program (fourth academic year/senior year) includes extensive opportunities to integrate coursework, instructional inquiry, and fieldwork.  Teacher candidates enroll in a full year internship experience with elementary or middle school students having disabilities that vary by type and severity in inclusive general education and special education classrooms. In addition, teacher candidates who meet the University of Maryland Graduate School admission requirements take twelve credits (four courses) during the fourth year that will apply towards both the Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Teacher candidates must pass the required Praxis II exam (0354/5354) before the Internship II in their final semester.

The Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation is designed to prepare professionals to work with students with disabilities in Grades 1 through 8 and to collaborate with their families and other educational personnel. Teacher candidates in the program develop skills to:

  • Assess the academic and social strengths and limitations of elementary and middle school aged students with disabilities
  • Plan individualized educational lessons/instruction and support services that promote inclusive experiences and independent performance
  • Individualize, implement, and evaluate evidenced based instructional methods
  • Organize learning environments designed to meet individual needs
  • Foster participation in the general education curriculum
  • Use universal design for learning, accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology to support educational outcomes
  • Collaborate with general educators, support professionals (e.g., speech, occupational, physical therapists), students, and their families
  • Advocate for services and educational opportunities for elementary and middle school students with disabilities

Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program Objectives
Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program Undergraduate Sequence

Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Undergraduate Program Application Process

Applications to the Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program are due at the end of sophomore year by May 1.

For more information regarding the Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program, please contact:

Office of Student Services
College of Education
1204 Benjamin Building
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742
Phone: 301.405.2364 or E-mail: 
Monday through Friday - 8:30am to 4:30pm

Phase I: Application to University of Maryland 
Phase II: Application to Special Education Program

Applicants must submit one of the following passing test scores for Summer, 2015 or Fall, 2015 admission. Click here for Test Scores.

Students must progress timely through their program sequence, field placements, and internship. Additionally, they must receive satisfactory evaluations from field placement supervisors on the College of Education Foundational Competencies each semester they are enrolled in or they will not be eligible to continue in the special education certification program. For more information regarding teacher certification in special education, please contact a special education faculty member directly via email.