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The Bachelor of Science in Special Education prepares candidates to teach students Kindergarten to 12th grade with both high and low incidence disabilities. The degree will provide opportunities for undergraduate students to work within diverse elementary, middle, and high school settings that occur in both urban and rural communities.

The program at the University of Kentucky (UK) will focus on preparing candidates to teach children and youth from 5 years of age through 21 years of age. This may include students with specific learning disabilities, other health impairments, emotional disturbances, intellectual disabilities, autism, or multiple disabilities.

The Special Education program is approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.


Why You Should Enroll

In the UK College of Education Special Education program, students are immersed in field experiences from the start. 

Special Education students gain over 200 hours of field experience in classroom observations that occur across disability categories and grade levels, in addition to a full semester of student teaching.


Program Details

Delivery Method: On-campus

Credit Hours: 120

Time to Completion: Refer to the Curriculum Guide in the following section for the courses needed to complete this program.

Tuition Cost: Refer to Full-time per Credit Hour Rates for Undergraduate Students on the UK Tuition and Mandatory Fees page.


Curriculum Guide

The B.S. in Special Education degree contains three steps:

  1. UK Core requirements
  2. Program related studies courses
  3. Professional education component

Below is a template of the course progression followed by Special Education students.  

Year 1

Semester 1 (16 course hours)

  • PSY 100- Introduction to Psychology (4)
  • EDS 375- Intro to Teaching Exceptional Children (3)
  • UK Core- Composition & Communication I : CIS or WRD 110 (3)
  • UK Core- Quantitative Foundations: MA111- Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics (3)
  • UK Core- Social Science: EPE 174- The College Student (3)


Semester 2 (15 course hours)

  • STA 210- Statistical Inferential Reasoning (3)
  • UK Core- Composition & Communication II: CIS or WRD 111 (3)
  • UK Core- Global Dynamics (3)
  • UK Core- Humanities (3)
  • UK Core- Natural Science (3)


Year 2

Semester 3 (15 course hours)

  • EDS 513- Legal Issues in Special Education (3)
  • EES 160- Geology for Teachers or PHY 160- Physics/Astronomy for Teachers (3)
  • MA 201- Math for Elementary Teachers (3) (B or better required in this course) 
  • UK Core- US Citizenship: EPE 301- Education in American Society (3)
  • Free Elective Course (3)


Semester 4 (16 course hours)

Check with your advisor to make sure requirements are completed for applying to the Teacher Education Program.

  • EDS 301- Initial Practicum in Special Education (1)
  • EDS 505- Preparing to Teach Diverse Learners (3)
  • EDS 516- Principles of Behavior Management and Instruction (3) or EDS 547- Collaboration/Inclusion (3)
  • EDS 526- Intro to Special Education Assessment and Program Planning (3)
  • EDS 570- Learning & Behavioral Disabilities (3)
  • UK Core- Arts and Creativity (3)


Year 3 

Semester 5 (13 course hours)

Apply to the Teacher Education Program

  • EDS 301- Initial Practicum in Special Education (1)
  • EDS 500- Communication Strategies (3)
  • EDS 516- Principles of Behavior Management and Instruction (3) or EDS 547- Collaboration/Inclusion (3)
  • EDS 517- Assistive Technology in Special Education (3)
  • EDS 530- Moderate/Severe Disabilities (3)


Semester 6 (18 course hours)

  • *EDC 326- Teaching Social Studies in Elementary Education
  • *EDS 401- Intermediate Practicum in Special Education 
  • *EDS 518- Behavior Management in Applied Settings
  • *EDS 548- Curriculum Design for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities
  • *EDS 549- Methods for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities
  • *SEM 328- Teaching Science in Elementary Education


Year 4

Semester 7 (15 course hours)

  • *EDC 339- Designing a Reading and Language Arts Program for the Elementary School
  • *EDS 402- Advanced Practicum in Special Education
  • *EDS 528- Reading and Language Arts Methods for Students with Learning & Behavioral   
  •   Disabilities
  • *EDS 529- Educational Programming for Students with Learning & Behavioral Disabilities
  • *SEM 337- Teaching Mathematics in Elementary Schools


Semester 8

  • *EDS 550- Student Teaching in Special Education

*requires prior admission to the Teacher Education Program




Contacts & Advising

Prospective Students who are not currently enrolled in courses at UK can contact the College of Education Director of Recruitment for information on the program.


Advising for Current Students: Current Special Education majors who have not been admitted to the Teacher Education Program are required to meet with a professional advisor in the Taylor Education Building Room 151 each semester prior to registration. Students are assigned to an advisor based on the first letter of their last name.


State Authorization & Licensure

If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.

Tuition and Fees

For information regarding current program cost please refer to the UK Tuition and Fees page.

Refund Policies

You can find tuition refund policies, deadlines, amounts, and other important information on the UK Student Account Services website.

AAQEP Accredited

AAQEP seal

The University of Kentucky is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), a national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The programs listed at this link have been awarded full accreditation by AAQEP through December 31, 2030. Accreditation acknowledges that a program prepares effective educators who continue to grow as professionals and has demonstrated the commitment and capacity to maintain quality.