Special Education

Special Education

Students do not all learn in the same ways. As part of UNI’s special education program, you’ll discover how to help children who learn differently. You will gain specialized knowledge and expertise designed to eliminate barriers to student learning and support students in reaching their full potential.

In Iowa, the special education minor is an endorsement that pre-service teachers can add to a major in teaching at the early childhood, elementary or secondary level.

The Department of Special Education prepares teachers to work with all children, including those who have special needs or may be at risk for learning and/or behavior difficulties. The curriculum is a carefully planned sequence of classroom and practical experiences. You will have the opportunity to work closely with both UNI faculty and exemplary teachers within local schools. Through this program you will acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and teaching practices necessary to teach children with learning and behavioral challenges and collaborate with families and other school personnel.

You'll have the opportunity to serve many roles and responsibilities within schools such as teaching students, collaborating with families and other personnel, and supporting children in a range of school and community settings. The rewards and satisfaction will be immense, as you have the opportunity to work with others to make a difference for students who display a wide variety of strengths, needs and challenges.  

Graduates of the UNI special education program have a 100 percent placement rate within one year of graduation.


Transferring to UNI for a special education minor? Meet with your education adviser and contact the Department of Special Education as soon as possible to assist you in planning your minor coursework and experiences. Early planning smooths out the wrinkles in selecting and scheduling your minor classes effectively. It also will provide you the opportunity to jump in and get engaged in activities with other students and faculty with similar interests.


Early Childhood Special Education - Teaching

Special Education Teaching, Instructional Strategist 


Early Childhood Special Education Teaching (with additional classes this can lead to a preK through K early childhood special education endorsement)

Special Education Teaching, Instructional Strategist (with additional coursework, can lead to one or more of the following endorsements: instructional strategist I K through 8: mild/moderate; instructional strategist I 5 through 12: mild/moderate; or instructional strategist II: intellectual disabilities, K through 12)


Graduate Programs:


Special Education
Hands-on opportunities

You will spend more than 100 hours in field experiences prior to student teaching. From the beginning of your time in the special education program, you’ll participate in various classroom settings, providing you ample opportunities to apply coursework to hands-on learning.

Special Education

The Council for Exceptional Children is an international community of professionals who are the voice and vision of special and gifted education. CEC's mission is to improve, through excellence and advocacy, the education and quality of life for children and youth with exceptionalities and to enhance engagement of their families. UNI’s SCEC chapter is actively engaged in many service, learning, and other activities on and off campus.

Special Education

The renovated Schindler Education Center opened for the 2017 spring semester. The space includes state-of-the-art technology, collaborative learning spaces and more to both enhance student learning and expose special education students to facilities they are likely to find in the pre-K through 12 classrooms they will eventually lead.


96% of last year's graduates are either continuing their education or employed




Have questions or want more information? Fill out the form below and someone from the department will contact you directly. To receive general university information from UNI’s admissions office, please click on ‘Request More Info About UNI’.

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