Special and Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science in Education
Department of Educational Specialties
College of Education
This undergraduate program prepares students to become certified teachers of children and youth who have disabilities, as well as those who do not. The program pairs a strong background in elementary education (teaching of math, science, social studies, reading, etc.) with a rich coursework in special education. Teaching practicums and fieldwork give direct experience in classrooms throughout the program.
This program is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children.
This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.
- All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
- At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
- At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
The full policy can be viewed here.
In addition to University Requirements:
- At least 89 units of major requirements
- Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.
- Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.
Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements. Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded throughout courses in the program of study.
Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
|Minimum Units for Completion||121|
|Highest Mathematics Required||MAT 155|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Required|
|Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching||Required|
|University Honors Program||Optional|
|Some online/blended coursework||Required|
|Progression Plan Link||Not Available|
Student Learning Outcomes
Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the Association for Childhood Education International, Council for Exceptional Children, and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium
Special Education Learning Outcomes
- Foundations: Special educators understand the field as an evolving and changing discipline based on philosophies, evidence-based principles and theories, relevant laws and policies, diverse and historical points of view, and human issues that have historically influenced and continue to influence the field of special education and the education and treatment of individuals with exceptional needs both in school and society.
- Development and Characteristics of Learner: Special educators know and demonstrate respect for their students first as unique human beings. Special educators understand the similarities and differences in human development and the characteristics between and among individuals with and without exceptional learning needs (ELN).
- Individual Learning Differences: Special educators understand the effects that an exceptional condition can have on an individual’s learning in school and throughout life. Special educators understand that the beliefs, traditions, and values across and within cultures can affect relationships among and between students, their families, and the school community.
- Instructional Strategies: Special educators possess a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to individualize instruction for individuals with ELN. Special educators select, adapt, and use these instructional strategies to promote positive learning results in general and special curricula and to appropriately modify learning environments for individuals with ELN.
- Learning Environments and Social Interactions: Special educators actively create learning environments for individuals with ELN that foster cultural understanding, safety and emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and active engagement of individuals with ELN. In addition, special educators foster environments in which diversity is valued and individuals are taught to live harmoniously and productively in a culturally diverse world. Special educators shape environments to encourage the independence, self-motivation, self-direction, personal empowerment, and self-advocacy of individuals with ELN.
- Language: Special educators understand typical and atypical language development and the ways in which exceptional conditions can interact with an individual’s experience with and use of language. Special educators use individualized strategies to enhance language development and teach communication skills to individuals with ELN. Special educators are familiar with augmentative, alternative, and assistive technologies to support and enhance communication of individuals with exceptional needs.
- Instructional Planning: Special educators develop long-range individualized instructional plans anchored in both general and special curricula. In addition, special educators systematically translate these individualized plans into carefully selected shorter-range goals and objectives taking into consideration an individual’s abilities and needs, the learning environment, and a myriad of cultural and linguistic factors.
- Assessment: Assessment is integral to the decision-making and teaching of special educators and special educators use multiple types of assessment information for a variety of educational decisions. Special educators use the results of assessments to help identify exceptional learning needs and to develop and implement individualized instructional programs, as well as to adjust instruction in response to ongoing learning progress. Special educators understand the legal policies and ethical principles of measurement and assessment related to referral, eligibility, program planning, instruction, and placement for individuals with ELN, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- Professional and Ethical Practice: Special educators are guided by the profession’s ethical and professional practice standards. Special educators practice in multiple roles and complex situations across wide age and developmental ranges. Their practice requires ongoing attention to legal matters along with serious professional and ethical considerations. Special educators engage in professional activities and participate in learning communities that benefit individuals with ELN, their families, colleagues, and their own professional growth.
- Collaboration: Special educators routinely and effectively collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways. This collaboration assures that the needs of individuals with ELN are addressed throughout schooling.
- Development, Learning, and Motivation--Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to development of children and young adolescents to construct learning opportunities that support individual students’ development, acquisition of knowledge, and motivation.
- Curriculum Standards
- Reading, Writing, and Oral Language—Candidates demonstrate a high level of competence in use of English language arts and they know, understand, and use concepts from reading, language and child development, to teach reading, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, and thinking skills and to help students successfully apply their developing skills to many different situations, materials, and ideas;
- Science—Candidates know, understand, and use fundamental concepts of physical, life, and earth/space sciences. Candidates can design and implement age-appropriate inquiry lessons to teach science, to build student understanding for personal and social applications, and to convey the nature of science;
- Mathematics—Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts and procedures that define number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. In doing so they consistently engage problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation;
- Social studies—Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts and modes of inquiry from the social studies—the integrated study of history, geography, the social sciences, and other related areas— to promote elementary students’ abilities to make informed decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society and interdependent world;
- The arts—Candidates know, understand, and use—as appropriate to their own understanding and skills—the content, functions, and achievements of the performing arts (dance, music, theater) and the visual arts as primary media for communication, inquiry, and engagement among elementary students;
- Health education—Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts in the subject matter of health education to create opportunities for student development and practice of skills that contribute to good health;
- Physical education—Candidates know, understand, and use—as appropriate to their own understanding and skills—human movement and physical activity as central elements to foster active, healthy life styles and enhanced quality of life for elementary students.
- Instruction Standards
- Integrating and applying knowledge for instruction—Candidates plan and implement instruction based on knowledge of students, learning theory, connections across the curriculum, curricular goals, and community;
- Adaptation to diverse students—Candidates understand how elementary students differ in their development and approaches to learning, and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse students;
- Development of critical thinking and problem solving—Candidates understand and use a variety of teaching strategies that encourage elementary students’ development of critical thinking and problem solving;
- Active engagement in learning—Candidates use their knowledge and understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior among students at the K-6 level to foster active engagement in learning, self-motivation, and positive social interaction and to create supportive learning environments;
- Communication to foster collaboration—Candidates use their knowledge and understanding of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the elementary classroom.
- Assessment for instruction—Candidates know, understand, and use formal and informal assessment strategies to plan, evaluate and strengthen instruction that will promote continuous intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of each elementary student.
- Professionalism Standards
- Professional growth, reflection, and evaluation—Candidates are aware of and reflect on their practice in light of research on teaching, professional ethics, and resources available for professional learning; they continually evaluate the effects of their professional decisions and actions on students, families and other professionals in the learning community and actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally.
- Collaboration with families, colleagues, and community agencies— Candidates know the importance of establishing and maintaining a positive collaborative relationship with families, school colleagues, and agencies in the larger community to promote the intellectual, social, emotional, physical growth and well-being of children.
Additional Admission Requirements
Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
To be eligible for admission to the program, candidates must meet the following requirements:
45 units of coursework which includes:
- EDF 200, MAT 150, and MAT 155 with grades of "C" or better
- Two lab science courses with grades of "C" or better
- The English foundations requirement (ENG 105 or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.0. (If your English GPA is below 3.0, you may take an approved writing course to achieve the 3.0 GPA.)
- One of the following GPA requirements:
- A cumulative 2.5 GPA in Liberal Studies courses
- A cumulative 2.5 GPA in all courses
- Completion of a teacher orientation for Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Special Education
- Submission of:
- A positive endorsement from someone who has directly observed your work with children or adolescents within the ages of pre-school through high school. Such work experience can be either voluntary or paid, but must have occurred in a structured setting for a minimum of fifteen hours. Examples of acceptable experience may include work as a camp counselor, swimming instructor, Sunday school teacher, volunteer in a classroom, or other similar settings.
- A copy of your State-approved Identity-Verified Print (IVP) fingerprint clearance card obtainable through the Arizona Department of Public Safety (602-223-2279).
Take the following 89 units with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 with a course grade no lower than a "C":
- MAT 150, MAT 155 (6 units)
- EDF 200 (3 units)
- BME 200 (3 units)
- EPS 324, ESE 280 (6 units)
- EDF 301W, BME 430 (6 units)
- ECI 300, ECI 306, ECI 307, ECI 309, ECI 310, ECI 321, ECI 330 (23 units)
- ECI 308 Practicum, Literacy (1 unit)
- ECI 308 Practicum, Math and Science (1 unit)
- ECI 308 Practicum, Social Studies and Curriculum (1 unit)
- ETC 447 (3 units)
- ESE 308, ESE 423, ESE 424, ESE 425, ESE 426, ESE 434, ESE 450, ESE 454 (22 units)
- ESE 491 Special Education (K-12 grade setting) (8 units)
- ECI 490C Elementary (1-8 grade setting) (6 units)
In all of our teacher education programs, you are required to complete a student teaching or internship experience. In addition, a minimum number of units of practicum is required, which involves supervised field experience with a practicing teacher.
Before being accepted to student teaching, the following criteria must be met:
- Admission to the teacher education program
- NAU GPA must be at least 2.5, with a GPA of 3.0 in all teacher preparation courses, with no grade lower than a "C."
- Complete all plan requirements.
- All major coursework, with the exception of EDF 200, must be completed within the six years prior to student teaching.
- All candidates must demonstrate social and emotional maturity consistent with professional standards of classroom instruction as well as adequate physical health for teaching.
- A passing score on the required Arizona Educator Elementary Education Subject Knowledge Exam.
- For candidates requesting a middle school student teaching placement ECI 490C, the following requirement must also be met:
- A passing score(s) on the required Arizona Educator Middle Grade content exam(s).
AZ Teacher Certification Requirements
In order to obtain an AZ teaching certificate, you must also pass the required Arizona Educator Exams:
- Elementary Education Exams
- Special Education Exam
- Professional Knowledge: Elementary Exam
Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 121 units of credit.
- Please note that you may take as an elective POS 220 (or POS 110 and POS 241), which satisfies the state and federal constitution requirement for Arizona certification, or you may meet the requirement by demonstrating proficiency on a special exam.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.
Be aware that Arizona state teacher certification requirements leading to Institutional Recommendations may change at any time, and may impact program of study requirements.