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Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education

Concentration: Special Needs(BA)

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Special Needs Concentration Overview

Purdue University Northwest’s elementary education and special needs dual license concentration is designed to provide you with an understanding of the teaching methods, practices and challenges found in elementary classrooms. You’ll engage in experiences and coursework that prepare you for the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms.

School of Education and Counseling

Through foundational and methodological courses, field placements and mentorship, this dynamic program trains you to become a innovative and effective teacher who is capable of working with all learners.

As a Special Needs concentration student, you’ll learn to help K-12 children reach their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic status, cultural background or severity of disability.

Special Needs Concentration Curriculum

As a student in the special needs concentration, you’ll take a balance of general education courses, College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences core courses and education courses. Your special education concentration courses focus on specific aspects of learning and education related to working in general educational contexts and with exceptional learners.

Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) at PNW follow both inTASC and CAEP accreditation standards.

Start with an introduction to special needs and an overview of education throughout history.

Special Needs Concentration Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDST 20000 – History and Philosophy of Education
  • EDPS 26000 – Introduction to Special Education

Interview for full admission to the Educator Preparation Program and expand your knowledge of pedagogy.

Special Needs Concentration Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDPS 28500 – Diversity and Education
  • EDCI 35550 – Teaching and Learning in the K-12 Classroom
  • EDPS 32800 – Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Needs I

Explore strategies for literacy instruction and teaching students with disabilities. This year, you’ll also complete three licensure assessments.

Special Needs Concentration Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDCI 32303 – Literacy Instruction in K-3
  • EDPS 38000 – Special Education Law for Teachers
  • EDPS 45000 – Teaching Students with Disabilities

Conclude your studies with hands-on teaching experience. In your seventh semester, you’ll spend three days each week in the classroom before going on to a full-time student teaching assignment during your final term.

Special Needs Concentration Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • EDPS 43000 – Creating and Managing Learning Environments
  • EDPS 36100 – Assessment for Special Educators
  • EDPS 41100 – Collaboration & Transition Practices for Individuals with Disabilities

Special Needs Concentration Highlights

As an education major with a special needs focus, you’ll engage in immersive coursework that covers the fundamentals of teaching as well as communication strategies today’s teachers need. These include effective instruction, classroom and behavior management, assistive technology, assessment and collaboration.

You’ll also have extensive opportunities for field placement in urban, suburban and rural schools.

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Special Needs Concentration Outcomes

Upon graduation, you will obtain dual licensure in elementary education and special education.

Because of the high demand for teachers who are qualified to meet the individual needs of exceptional students, our graduates are offered a broad variety of career opportunities.

This degree enables you to choose where you want to teach –whether it’s in a general education classroom, a self-contained classroom or a resource room – in school districts across the country.

Special Needs Concentration Career Paths

A special needs concentration from PNW prepares you for a number of careers in the field, including:

  • Teacher (K-6)
  • Consultant teacher
  • Co-teacher in an inclusive setting

Special Needs Concentration Beyond the Classroom

You’ll have many opportunities to get involved in on- and off-campus activities, including:

  • PEL Fellows
  • Student Ambassadors
  • PNW Aspiring Educators

See All Student Organizations

Special Needs Concentration Employers

Graduates of this program are employed in organizations and companies like:

  • School Town of Munster
  • Lake Station Community Schools
  • Portage Township Schools

Special Needs Concentration Scholarships

In addition to the scholarships available to all PNW applicants, students seeking a special education concentration may also apply for program-specific scholarship awards, such as:

  • Diane Nicole Huntington Memorial Scholarship
  • Thomas Ray Crowel Scholarship in Education (Hammond campus only)
  • School of Education (Hammond campus only)

See All CHESS Scholarships

Special Needs Concentration Accreditation

All of the Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) at Purdue University Northwest are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Laila Verduin

Purdue Northwest has given me the opportunity to grow into the teacher my future students need and deserve. I'm grateful to have had the amazing support and encouragement of my professors, advisor and peers!

Laila Verduin, Elementary Education, Concentration: Special Needs

The campus is a rather close network but with large opportunities attached. PNW wants you to succeed!

Hannah Stombaugh
Elementary Education/Special Education, ’23

I’ve had some of the best professors. They have been supportive, uplifting and inspiring. They’ve been my biggest support throughout my experience here at PNW and are always willing to go the extra mile to help us students.

Katie McNamara
Elementary and Special Education, Crown Point

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Purdue University Northwest recognized among top education programs for literacy preparation in teaching

Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) undergraduate program in Elementary Education received recognition from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for its rigorous preparation of future educators in how to teach reading.

Read the Announcement

Meet the Faculty

Patrick Keegan

Patrick Keegan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Education

Patrick Keegan is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Counseling. He teaches courses in elementary social studies methods and multicultural education.

Geoff Schultz

Geoff Schultz, Ed.D.

Professor Emeritus

Geoff Schultz served as a professor and department head in undergraduate teacher preparation. He taught for nineteen years at PNW before his retirement in 2022, and he is also a trained CAEP board examiner.

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Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Education with a Concentration in Special Needs at PNW

Purdue University Northwest’s special needs concentration enables you to engage in experiences and coursework that prepare you for the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms.

To see how a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in special education from PNW opens doors, from classrooms to leadership, take the next step today!

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