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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Special Education (CHSE)

College of Education
3214 Benjamin, 301-405-6515/4
Director: F. Kohl (Associate Prof & Program Director)
Professors: P. Beckman, P. Burke, P. Leone, J. Lieber, D. Neubert
Associate Professors: S. De La Paz, F. Kohl, R. Silverman, A. Taboada Barber
Assistant Professors: K. Cummings, J. Wexler
Professors Emeriti: A. Egel, J. Hebeler, S. Moon, D. Speece (Prof Emerita)

The Major

Special Education offers a rigorous undergraduate program that prepares teachers of children or young adults with disabilities with the necessary skills to assess, plan, teach, and evaluate the education of persons with disabilities.  The program has been routinely nationally ranked and recognized as one of the top preparation programs in the country.  Teacher preparation focuses on students with high incidence disabilities (autism spectrum disorders, learning and developmental disabilities, behavior disorders, intellectual disabilities, ADHD/ADD, etc.) and low incidence disabilities (autism, physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, etc.).  It is a four year professional certification program which graduates teacher candidates with a Bachelor of Science in special education, leading to special education teacher certification in the State of Maryland and certification reciprocity in most states throughout the country. Teacher candidates enroll in special education course work that meet state, university, and college requirements and take supporting course work designed to provide an understanding of human development including basic psychological and sociological principles of human behavior.  A two-semester internship is required in the senior year that focuses on the application of teaching skills.  Special Education majors receive preparation in the following areas: universal design of learning/assistive technology; academic, language, motor, and cognitive development; social and educational needs of individuals with disabilities; diagnostic and educational assessment; evidenced based instructional procedures and materials; national standards and curriculum development; classroom and behavior management; effective communication and partnership with parents and families of children with disabilities; community resource planning; and local, state, and federal laws and policies concerning children and youth with disabilities.  Courses offered in the special education program may be found under the acronym EDSP. 

NOTE: Contact an advisor in the Office of Student Services (1204 Benjamin) for additional information.

Program Learning Outcomes

        1.  Special Education teacher candidates have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter they teach as described in professional (Council for Exceptional Children), state (MSDE), and University standards.

        2.  Special Education teacher candidates practice evidence-based instruction and decision-making through the use of assessment as well as the critical interpretation of research and inquiry to improve educational practice.  They accurately assess, plan, and analyze student learning, make appropriate modifications to instruction, monitor student learning, and have a positive effect on learning for all students.

       3.  Special Education teacher candidates demonstrate understanding of learners and their social and cultural contexts with a global perspective and intentional sensitivity to other cultures.  They are able to work with students, families, and communities in ways that reflect the dispositions expected of professional educators as delineated in professional (CEC), state (MSDE), and University standards. 

       4.  Special Education teacher candidates competently integrate technology and universal design in learning in instruction to support student learning and develop data-driven solutions for instructional and school improvement.  They demonstrate proficiency in the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards.

Admission to the Major

Prior to formal acceptance as a special education major, undergraduates are required to enroll in a special education introductory course (EDSP210), which provides a survey of the history and current issues in special education. Upon successful completion of the introductory course and 45 semester hours of requirements, teacher candidates apply for formal admission to the professional program by submitting an application with a statement of intent specifying their professional goals. To be accepted as a full special education major, teacher candidates must fulfill the College of Education requirements for admission to Teacher Education, as well as the following program requirements:

1.  Completion of course work indicated below:
HIST200 or 201, STAT100, Lab Science, ENGL Literature, PSYC100, SOCY100 or 105, HESP202, MATH212, EDHD411, and EDSP210.

2.  Admission is competitive beyond the minimum 2.75 grade point average required for consideration.

3.  Submission of an application together with a statement of intent specifying the applicant's professional goals.

4.  Submission of three letters of recommendation.

5. Completion of College of Education Foundational Competencies Acknowledgment Form.

Admittance will be based on a variety of criteria, including completion of the required courses, the grade point average, the applicant's experience with persons with disabilities, and the appropriateness and clarity of the professional goal statement. For more information, see the admission section of the College of Education entry.

Placement in Courses

The Special Education program includes both pre-professional and professional education course work.  Before teacher candidates may enroll in courses identified as part of the professional sequence, they must complete the selective admissions requirements and be fully admitted to the College of Education's Teacher Education program.

Requirements for the Major

Undergraduates who are interested in majoring in Special Education must consult a program advisor as early as possible after matriculation at the university since the curriculum requires an extensive and sequenced program of studies. Individuals accepted as Special Education majors take a two-semester sequence of foundation special education courses and practicum experiences during the third year (Semesters V and VI). These courses provide the teacher candidate with a solid foundation in theory and practice related to the education of all children with disabilities across a wide range of ages.

Teacher candidates work directly with children or youth with disabilities during each semester, leading up to the teaching internship during the last semester.

To be completed with a “B-” or better  
EDSP210 Introduction to Special Education (UP)3
To be completed with a “C-” or better 
*PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology (HS or NS)3
*SOCY100 or 1053
*HIST200 (HS or HU) or 3
201 U.S. History (HS or HU and DVUP)
HESP202 Introduction to Hearing and Speech Science3
*Physical or Biological Science with Lab (NL)4
*STAT100 Statistics & Probability (AR) 3
  (MATH 111will NOT satisfy this requirement)
EDHD411(HS) or PSYC3553
MATH212 Elements of Mathematics3
*ENGL Literature (HU)3
*EDPS301 Foundations of Education (HS) or 3
   *EDPS210 (HU) Historical & Philosophical
    Perspectives on Education  
*May double count for GenEd and major requirement 
Professional Semester I (Fall Only) 
EDSP411 Universal Design for Learning3
EDSP413 Behavior and Classroom Management in Special Education3
EDSP400 Instruction of Students with Severe Disabilities I3
EDSP451 Instruction & Curriculum in Elementary/Middle Special Education3
EDSP443 Language and Literacy Acquisition in Children with Disabilities3
Professional Semester II (Spring Only) 
EDSP403 Instruction of Students with Physical Disabilities3
EDSP415 Assessment in Special Education3
EDSP416 Reading and Writing Instruction in Special Education I (HU)3
EDSP410 Instruction of Students with Severe Disabilities II3
EDSP485 Assessment & Instruction in Mathematics in Special Education3
Professional Semester III (Fall Only) 
EDSP484 Reading & Writing Instruction in Special Education II3
EDSP487 Family Partnerships in Special Education 3
EDSP404 Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
EDSP452 Internship I: Elementary/Middle Special Education (SP)3
Professional Semester IV (Spring Only) 
EDSP490 Teacher Candidate Research Seminar in Special Education 3
EDSP495 Internship II: Elementary/Middle Special Education12


Other Requirements for the Major

A minimum overall grade point average of 2.75 must be maintained after admission to Teacher Education. All teacher candidates are required to obtain satisfactory evaluations on the College of Education Foundational Competencies and to attain qualifying scores for the State of Maryland on a Test of Basic Skills assessment ( www.msde.maryland.gov/MSDE/divisions/certification/certification_branch/testing_information/ ).  A Test of Basic Skills assessment is required for admission, and Praxis II Special Education is required for the teaching internship and graduation. The culminating experience of the program is the yearlong internship, which takes place in a partner school or a professional development school (PDS).

Requirements for the Minor

NOTE: The minor in Special Education is under review. For further information, please contact the Office of Student Services, 1204 Benjamin Bldg, 301-405-2364 or ed-advising@umd.edu .

The minor in Special Education provides opportunities for undergraduates to enroll in a sequence of education courses to determine if working with students with disabilities is a viable career option. For individuals interested in pursuing this career option, a one-year M.Ed. program, leading to certification as a special educator, is also available.

  • 18 credits are required for this minor
  • Two courses (6 credits) may overlap with a student's major
  • Individuals pursuing the minor must select one of three age-based specializations:  Early Childhood, Elementary, or Secondary Special Education.
  • The minor incorporates coursework to meet the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) reading requirements that are part of the special education teacher certification requirements.
  • A cumulative 2.75 GPA and junior status (60 credits) is required for enrollment in all professional education courses (i.e., all courses required for the minor except EDSP 210/470).
  • All courses for the minor must be passed with a grade of "C-" or better. 
  • No more than two courses (6 credits) may be taken at an institution other than the University of Maryland.

Core Courses required for the Minor:

EDSP210/470 Introduction to Special Education
EDSP413 Behavior & Classroom Management in Special Education
EDSP415 Assessment in Special Education
EDSP416 Reading & Writing Instruction in Special Education I 

Additional Courses Required for Early Childhood Special Education:

EDHD425                  Language Development & Reading Acquisition
EDSP423                  Assessment in Early Childhood Special Education

Additional Courses Required for Elementary Special Education:

EDHD425                 Language Development & Reading Acquisition
EDSP485                 Assessment & Instruction in Mathematics in Special Education

Additional Courses Required for Secondary Special Education:

EDHD426 or
Cognition & Motivation in Reading: Reading in Content Areas or Reading in the Secondary School
EDSP485 Assessment & Instruction in Mathematics in Special Education

Minor and M.Ed. Teacher Certification Program

For individuals interested in pursuing special education teacher certification, a one year M.Ed. program is available after completing the 18-hour minor in special education and an undergraduate degree. To be admitted to this M.Ed. Special Education program, program applicants must apply to the graduate school (www.gradschool.umd.edu) during their senior year and pass the Praxis CORE at scores established by the Maryland State Department of Education www.education.umd.edu/studentinfo/teacher_education/praxisinfo.html . All teacher candidates at the University of Maryland must pass Praxis II prior to the teaching internship. 

For further information, please contact Office of Student Services, 1204 Benjamin Bldg, 301-405-2364 or ed-advising@umd.edu .


Advising is mandatory for all special education majors. For more information or to schedule an advising appointment, contact the Office of Student Services (301-405-2364).

Fieldwork Opportunities

A two-semester internship is arranged for teacher candidates in their senior year. The internship and other field experiences allow teacher candidates to apply concepts and techniques presented in university-based courses.


The yearlong, two-semester internship, which is the culminating experience in the teacher preparation program, takes place in a partner school or a Professional Development School (PDS) during the senior year of the program.

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

The Special Education program encourages student participation in extracurricular activities within and outside of the University. Opportunities include the Council for Exceptional Children. For more information, stop by the Office of Student Services, 1204 Benjamin Building.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Special Education Endowed Fund in honor of Jean R. Hebeler is devoted to support candidates preparing to work with individuals with disabilities. Awards are competitive. Applications are accepted in the spring semester for the following academic year.

In addition, the College of Education offers a number of scholarships.  Please visit     www.education.umd.edu/studentinfo/scholarships.html  for more information.

In addition, the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

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