BS in Special Education

The Special Education Program at Boston University provides opportunities for students to prepare for careers as teachers in public and private school programs, and in residential and vocational settings.

Preparation in the School of Education can lead to recommendation to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for teaching licenses at the Initial Level as Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities and Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities. Fulfillment of licensure requirements in the program can lead to licensure in states with which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has reciprocity.

BU students specializing in the education of students with disabilities engage in a comprehensive course of study that includes a strong base in the liberal arts, with coursework in the humanities, social sciences, and math and science, as well as in general education and special education. Fieldwork in area schools with students with and without disabilities is threaded all throughout the students’ course study.

Required Courses for All Special Education Majors

All undergraduate special education majors must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours in education, to include:

  • SED LS 560 Introduction to Language and Language Acquisition
  • SED SE 250 Disability, Education, and Public Policy
  • SED SE 401 Special Education: Cognition and Learning
  • SED SE 480 Teaching Students with Special Needs
  • SED SE 515 Assessment in Special Education
  • SED SE 593 Practicum: Students with Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K–8 or
    SED SE 594 Practicum: Students with Moderate Disabilities, 5–12 or
    SED SE 595 Practicum: Severe Disabilities, Pre-K–12 or
    SED SE 493 Practicum in Disabilities Studies

Additional courses are required for specializations within the special education major. Students should consult with their advisors concerning additional requirements. Seniors, with the permission of their academic advisor, may register for selected graduate courses.

Specializations

Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8) (Total Credits: 132)

Students who specialize in the education of students with moderate disabilities focus studies on increasing their understanding of the characteristics of and methods for educating students with mild to moderate learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and behavioral disorders in preschool and through grade 8.

Distribution Requirements (42 cr)

  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar (4 cr)
  • CFA AR 261 Introduction to Art Education (2 cr)
  • CFA MU 119/120 Music Appreciation (2 cr)
  • CAS WR 202 Children’s Literature in the Elementary School (2 cr)
  • SED LS 560 Introduction to Language and Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED EC 305 Child Development and Education (4 cr)
  • CAS HI 175/176 World History to 1500/World History after 1500 (4 cr)
  • CAS NS 101 Integrated Science I (4 cr)
  • CAS NS 102 Integrated Science II (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 107 Mathematical Reasoning in Elementary Grades: Number Systems (4 cr)

Interdisciplinary Requirements (20 cr)

  • CAS HI 151 The Emerging US to 1865 (4 cr)
  • CAS HI 152 The United States since 1865 (4 cr)
  • CAS GE 201 World Regional Geography (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 108 Mathematical Reasoning in the Elementary Grades: Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics (4 cr)
  • CAS SO 210 Confronting Persistent Social Inequalities in American Schools (2 cr)
  • CAS SO 211 Confronting Racial, Cultural, Gender, and Social Identities in Urban Classrooms (2 cr)

Disciplinary Sequence (12 cr or more for a minor)

  • Three courses in one discipline or
  • Three courses that are interdisciplinary or
  • A minor in one discipline designated by the state as essential for successful teaching of the elementary curriculum: economics, English, geography, history, math, political science, and science.

Note: Regardless of which option students take, only one can be at the 100 level and at least one course must be at the 300 level or higher.

Professional Studies (58 cr)

  • SED ED 100/101 Introduction to Education (6 cr)
  • SED ED 225 Project Citizen: Promoting Civic Engagement (2 cr)
  • SED PE 211 Movement Education: Early Childhood to Adolescence (2 cr)
  • SED SE 250 Disability, Education, and Public Policy (4 cr)
  • SED HE 221 Foundations of Health Education (2 cr)
  • SED ED 410/412 Social and Civic Contexts of Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 401 Cognition and Learning (4 cr)
  • SED LR 501 Teaching of Reading (4 cr)
  • SED LR 503 Reading and Writing Assessment (2 cr)
  • SED SE 480 Teaching Students with Special Needs (4 cr)
  • SED CH 300 Methods of Instruction/Elementary 1–6 (10 cr)
  • SED SE 515 Assessment in Special Education: Procedures (2 cr)
  • SED SE 593 Student Teaching Practicum: Students with Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K–8 (8 cr)
  • SED TL 520 Teaching English Language Learners (4 cr)


Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8) combined with Elementary Education (Grades 1–6) (Total Credits: 142)

Students who specialize in the education of students with mild to moderate disabilities combined with elementary education focus studies on increasing their understanding of the characteristics of and methods for educating elementary-aged students with and without mild/moderate learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and behavioral disorders. This course of study enables students to enter the teaching profession with a strong knowledge base and skills in teaching the wide range of students who are found in today’s elementary classrooms. To complete all requirements for this program, students who do not enter with AP credits may need to complete some coursework during one or more summers.

Distribution Requirements (38 cr)

  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar (American Literature) (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar (World Literature) (4 cr)
  • CFA AR 261 Introduction to Art Education (2 cr)
  • CFA MU 119/120 Music Appreciation (2 cr)
  • CAS WR 202 Children’s Literature (2 cr)
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology (4 cr)
  • CAS HI 175/176 World History (4 cr)
  • CAS NS 101 Integrated Science I (4 cr)
  • CAS NS 102 Integrated Science II (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 107 Mathematical Reasoning: Number Systems (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 108 Mathematical Reasoning (4 cr)

Interdisciplinary Requirements (24 cr)

  • CAS HI 151 The Emerging U.S. to 1865 (4 cr)
  • CAS HI 152 The United States since 1865 (4 cr)
  • CAS GE 201 World Regional Geography (4 cr)
  • CAS SO 210 Confronting Persistent Social Inequalities in American Schools (2 cr)
  • CAS SO 211 Confronting Racial, Cultural, Gender, and Social Identities in Urban Classrooms (2 cr)
  • SED LS 560 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED EC 305 Child Development and Early Childhood (4 cr)

Disciplinary Sequence (12 cr)

  • Three courses in one discipline or
  • Three courses that are interdisciplinary or
  • A minor in one discipline designated by the state as essential for successful teaching of the elementary curriculum: economics, English, geography, history, math, political science, and science. Consult the College of Arts & Sciences Bulletin pages for minor requirements in these disciplines.

Note: Regardless of which option students take, three courses must be at the 200 level or higher, and at least one course must be at the 300 level or higher.

Professional Studies (68 cr)

  • SED ED 100/101 Introduction to Education (6 cr)
  • SED ED 225 Project Citizen (2 cr)
  • SED PE 211 Movement Education (2 cr)
  • SED SE 250 Disability, Education, and Public Policy (4 cr)
  • SED HE 221 Foundations of Health Education (2 cr)
  • SED ED 410/412 Social and Civic Context of Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 401 Cognition and Learning (4 cr)
  • SED LR 501 Teaching of Reading (4 cr)
  • SED LR 503 Reading and Writing Assessment (2 cr)
  • SED SE 480 Teaching Students with Special Needs (4 cr)
  • SED CH 300 Methods of Instruction/Elementary (10 cr)
  • SED SE 515 Assessment in Special Education (2 cr)
  • SED CH 555 Practicum: Elementary (10 cr)
  • SED SE 593 Student Teaching Practicum (4 cr)
  • SED TL 520 Teaching English Language Learners (4 cr)
  • SED ME 545 Methods of Teaching Mathematics (4 cr)


Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Grades 5–12) (Total Credits: 136)

Teachers of Students with Moderate Disabilities, grades 5 through 12, are interested in teaching students who have mild to moderate learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and behavioral disorders/conduct disorders in middle and high school settings. Students in this program specialize in a subject that is taught in middle and high schools (math, history, English, political science, general science, physics, etc.) in addition to specializing in the education of students with moderate disabilities.

Distribution Requirements (40 cr)

  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar (4 cr)
  • Two humanities courses from CAS (8 cr)
  • Two social science courses from CAS (8 cr)
  • CAS MA 107 Mathematical Reasoning: Number Systems (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 108 Mathematical Reasoning in the Elementary Grades: Algebra, Geometry (4 cr)
  • Lab science from CAS (4 cr)
  • Natural or lab science from CAS (4 cr)

Subject Matter Requirements (40 cr)

10 courses with at least four at the 300+ level in one of the following areas: English, Political Science, History, Science, or Mathematics

Professional Studies (56 cr)

  • SED ED 100/101 Introduction to Education (6 cr)
  • SED ED 225 Project Citizen (2 cr)
  • SED SE 250 Disability, Education, Public Policy (4 cr)
  • SED SE 315 Fieldwork in Special Education (2 cr)
  • SED DS 502 Introduction to Adolescent Development (2 cr)
  • SED SE 401 Cognition and Learning (4 cr)
  • SED SE 560 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LR 501 Teaching of Reading (4 cr)
  • SED ED 410/412 Social and Civic Contexts of Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 515 Assessment in Special Education (2 cr)
  • SED EN 506 or
    SED SC 572 or
    SED ME 500 or
    SED SO 572 (subject matter methods) (4 cr)
  • SED SE 584 Methods and Materials in Special Education: Secondary (4 cr)
  • SED SE 594 Practicum (8 cr)
  • SED TL 525 Teaching English Language Learners: Middle/High School (4 cr)


Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (Ages 3–21) (Total Credits: 138)

Students choosing to specialize as a Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities learn about the  educational needs of students with severe intellectual disabilities, pervasive developmental disorders—including autism—and severe physical disabilities. Studies include the etiology of the handicapping conditions; the nature of services and programs for the individuals; and the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational programs and services for students. Central to the program are emphases on: (a) transdisciplinary approaches to services; (b) the involvement of families; and (c) the delivery of special education services in general education settings.

Distribution Requirements (42 cr)

  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar (4 cr)
  • CFA AR 261 Introduction to Art Education (2 cr)
  • CFA MU 119/120 Music Appreciation (2 cr)
  • CAS WR 202 Children’s Literature (2 cr)
  • SED LS 560 Introduction to Language and Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology (4 cr)
  • SED EC 305 Child Development and Early Childhood Education or
    SED PS 241 Developmental Psychology (4 cr)
  • CAS HI 175/176 World History to 1500/World History after 1500 (4 cr)
  • CAS NS 101 Integrated Science I (4 cr)
  • CAS NS 102 Integrated Science II (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 107 Mathematical Reasoning in the Elementary Grades: Number Systems (4 cr)

Interdisciplinary Requirements (24 cr)

  • CAS HI 151 The Emerging US to 1865 (4 cr)
  • CAS HI 152 The United States since 1865 (4 cr)
  • CAS GE 201 World Regional Geography (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 108 Mathematical Reasoning in the Elementary Grades: Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics (4 cr)
  • CAS PS 234 Psychology of Learning (4 cr)
  • CAS SO 210 Confronting Persistent Social Inequalities in American Schools (2 cr)
  • CAS SO 211 Confronting Racial, Cultural, Gender, and Social Identities in Urban Classrooms (2 cr)

Disciplinary Sequence (12 cr or more for a minor)

  • Three courses in one discipline (e.g., psychology, sociology, history, math, science, English, etc.) or
  • Three courses that are interdisciplinary (e.g., psychology, sociology, history, math, science, English, etc.) or
  • A minor in one discipline, such as psychology, economics, English, geography, history, math, political science, or science.

Note: Regardless of which option students choose, only one course may be at the 100 level and at least one must be at the 300 level or higher. Since students take Introduction or Psychology, Development Psychology, and Psychology of Learning as part of their distribution and disciplinary requirements, completing courses for a Psychology minor is possible, and a relevant cognate area for this track.

Professional Studies (60 cr)

  • SED ED 100/101 Introduction to Education (6 cr)
  • SED ED 225 Project Citizen: Promoting Civic Engagement (2 cr)
  • SED SE 315 Fieldwork in Special Education: Severe Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED SE 316 Fieldwork in Special Education: Severe Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED SE 250 Disability, Education, and Public Policy (4 cr)
  • SED ED 410/412 Social and Civic Contexts of Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 401 Special Education: Cognition and Learning (4 cr)
  • SED SE 504 Introduction to Early Childhood Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED SE 505 Introduction to Severe Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED LR 501 Teaching of Reading (4 cr)
  • SED LR 503 Reading and Writing Assessment (4 cr)
  • SED SE 515 Assessment in Special Education (2 cr)
  • SED SE 507 Early Childhood Disabilities/Severe Disabilities: Assessment and Instructional Planning (4 cr)
  • SED SE 508 Early Childhood Disabilities/Severe Disabilities: Curriculum and Methods (4 cr)
  • SED SE 480 Teaching Students with Special Needs (4 cr)
  • SED SE 595 Student Teaching Practicum: Students with Severe Disabilities, Pre-K–12 (8 cr)
  • SED TL 520 Teaching English Language Learners (4 cr)

Other Dual Licensure Options

In addition to the licensure options described above, it is possible to take additional coursework to meet requirements for recommendation for licensure as listed below:

  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (5–12) and English Education
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (5–12) and Math Education
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (5–12) and Social Studies Education

Affiliations

The Special Education Program maintains affiliations with public school special education programs, private special schools, hospital schools, geriatric centers, group homes, clinics, nursing homes, community agencies, recreational settings, and residential facilities that serve individuals with a variety of disabilities. These placements offer opportunities to reaffirm career choices or to explore new possibilities within a field. Field and practicum experiences are incorporated systematically throughout programs.