The major in Special Education is designed to prepare undergraduate candidates to become highly proficient in the delivery of instruction and services to all school-aged children and adolescents with exceptionalities. The program consists of a 48-credit hour major plus a 24-credit hour cognate (in lieu of a minor).

Candidates are selected each October to begin studies in the subsequent spring semester as a cohort.

Program Benefits

Northeastern Illinois University offers flexible course offerings, small class sizes, and an affordable education.

The Special Education major programs are offered at both the Main Campus and El Centro.

Career Options

The Department of Special Education has a strong reputation for preparing quality special education teachers in Chicago and the surrounding area over the last 20 years. Graduates from Department programs enter K-12 schools prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners and to address critical issues in the field.

In order to obtain Illinois state teaching credentials, candidates must ensure all program coursework is completed prior to student teaching (with passing scores on ICTS exams #155, #163 must be passed prior to student teaching). Additionally, candidates must successfully pass all required state exams (i.e., #188) and meet acceptable evaluations of dispositions and professional behaviors.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students apply for admission during the Fall semester and must be fully admitted to the University at that time. Minimum admission requirements include:

  1. Minimum GPA of 2.75 based on all undergraduate work. New students must have successfully completed 12 credit hours at NEIU with a 2.75 or greater GPA if their previous work falls below 2.75.
  2. One of the following: Passage of the Illinois Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)/ Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). ACT plus writing or SAT scores may be eligible to be used in lieu of these tests. Students who choose to use the ACT plus Writing or SAT score for admission to the Goodwin College of Education must request that ACT or SAT send an official score report to themselves for college approval and send an official score report to Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). More information Goodwin College Admission Website. If scores are not reflected in the student’s ELIS account, NEIU will not be able to complete the entitlement process.
  3. A spontaneous writing sample and/or interview required at the discretion of the Department.
  4. A minimum of 20 hours working, volunteering or observing students with disabilities.
    Documentation must be on agency letterhead

Within one semester of admission, students must be admitted to the Goodwin College of Education. See Goodwin College of Education admission requirements in that section of the catalog. No more than two grades of “C” or less in professional sequence coursework is allowed. A grade of “D” in any required Special Education course will not be accepted toward the Special Education major. The student may repeat a “D” course once, dependent on departmental review (see program maintenance criteria). If a student fails to get a “C” or better, the student will be dropped as a Special Education major.

All students must maintain a 2.75 GPA. To be entitled to licensure a student must earn a grade of “B” or better in Student Teaching. A 2.75 cumulative G.P.A. is required for graduation.

Learning Requirements

The program is divided into three levels. Progress through each level is contingent upon the successful completion of both prescribed coursework and program benchmarks.


Level I
Fall I (may be completed prior to acceptance into major)
EDFN-306 Education And Individual Differences 3
Spring I
EDFN-307 Psychology Of Instruction And Learning 3
SCED-311 Writing Intensive Program: School Curriculum 3
SPED-371 Writing Intensive Program: Foundations Of Special Education 3
SPED-372 The Development & Characteristics Of Children And Youth With Exceptional Learning Needs 3
Summer I
SPED-382 Strategies For Differentiating Instruction For Students With Exceptional Learning Needs 3
ELED-302 Writing Intensive Program: Foundation Of Teaching The English Language Arts 3
Level II
Fall II
SPED-383 Informal Assessment And Progress Monitoring 3
SPED-374 Supervised Field Experience I 3
SPED-395 Technology And Special Education 3
ELED-310 Methods Of Teaching Mathematics In The Elementary Grades 3
Spring II
SPED-384 Instructional Design For Individuals With Exceptional Learning Needs 3
SPED-377 Supervised Field Experience II 3
LTCY-311 Fundamentals Of Literacy Instruction 3
SPED-379 Managing Behaviors In The Classroom 3
Summer II
SPED-376 Teaching Learners With Moderate To Severe Disabilities 3
Level III
Fall III
SPED-323 Consultation In Special Education 3
BLBC-340 Teaching English Learners In Diverse Classrooms 3
SPED-385 Community Partnership And Advocacy 2
SPED-316 Professional Development Of The Special Educator 1
SCED-303H Methods Of Teaching History In The Secondary School (OR SCED 303R) 3
Spring III
SPED-381 Student Teaching Sped 12
Total Hours 72

Undergraduate Special Education Program Benchmarks

Students must complete all benchmarks for each level before allowed to progress to the next level.

Level 1

Successful completion of all coursework at this level and completion of the following:

  1. Minimum overall GPA of 2.75
  2. No more than two grades of “C” or less in professional sequence coursework (see Program Maintenance Criteria)
  3. Acceptable or above ratings on all key program assessments and associated professional standards
  4. Acceptable or above ratings on all diversity proficiencies and technology proficiencies
  5. Acceptable or above evaluations of dispositions and professional behaviors
  6. Professional sequence course retaken once if a grade lower than “C” and if approved by the department (see Program Maintenance Criteria)
  7. Admission to the Goodwin College of Education
  8. Meeting all expectations and requirements set forth by the Clinical Experience and Student Teaching (CEST) Office

Level 2

Successful completion of all coursework at this level, all of the Level 1 criteria plus:

  1. Passing score on the Learning Behavior Specialist (LBS) I state exam (#155) and the Special Education General Curriculum exam (#163) prior to student teaching (SPED 381)
  2. Ability to meet the standard for acceptable professional writing
  3. Grade of "B" or above in clinical experiences

Level 3

Successful completion of all coursework at this level, all of the Level 1 and 2 criteria plus:

  1. Grade of “B” or above in student teaching
  2. Completion of an acceptable IEP Project
  3. Completion of the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) during student teaching

Exit Requirements for Degree Completion

Successful completion of Levels one through three, with exception of passing score on edTPA.

In addition to the successful completion of the Special Education major and cognate, students must complete the general education requirements. Transfer students should meet with an advisor before registering for general education courses. Students must complete NEIU General Education Program.

Minimum credit hours for degree: 120 credit hours.

Exit Requirements for Program Completion/Entitlement

Successful completion of Levels one through three, with evidence of passing score on edTPA

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
4 years
28,525 USD
In-state/neighboring state: $396.19/credit hour. Out-of-state: $792.38/credit hour. Fees: $71
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