Missouri State University
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Special Education

Counseling, Leadership and Special Education 

For More Information

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5449
Fax: 417-836-4918

Career Preparation

Completion of the cross-categorical undergraduate program in Special Education carries an initial professional certificate (PCI) to teach in Missouri in a variety of educational settings with children and youth with disabilities. The focus of this cross-categorical pre-service program is on preparing teachers for work with students who have mild to moderate learning disabilities (LD), mental retardation/developmental disabilities (MR/DD), Emotional disorders (BD) and physical and other health impairments (POHI). Clearly, the philosophy which drives our program is based on meeting the unique needs of children and youth with disabilities without emphasizing a label.

Recent reports have identified a critical shortage in qualified special education teachers. Those students pursuing either an Elementary or Secondary Education major with certification in Special Education will be in high demand to meet the diverse learning needs of children and youth in today’s classrooms.  

Academic Program

The pre-service teacher education curriculum in Special Education leads to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Education. The program is approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Holders of this special education certificate may be employed to teach in grades K-12 in cross-categorical, as well as other special and general education settings.

The program requires satisfactory completion of a minimum of 132 to 135 hours. The program includes course work that will satisfy the university’s general education requirements. This sequence is designed to help the student acquire competencies in content and subject-matter areas necessary to implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for children and youth with disabilities in a variety of K-12 educational settings. Professional education courses (74-76 hours) are sequenced and aligned with required field experiences of at least 180 practicum hours in actual settings supervised by competent and highly qualified special educators.

A high school student considering special education as a career is encouraged to become actively involved with children and youth with disabilities. Prospective special education majors may gain awareness of disability issues through participating in volunteer and other activities such as summer camps for special populations, Future Teachers of America (FTA), participating in school-based peer tutoring programs and contacting adults with disabilities in the community to learn their perspectives on education and other issues.

In addition, a selection of high school courses to provide a strong academic preparation in psychology, English, mathematics, science and social studies is recommended. Admission to the Teacher Education Program at Missouri State requires completion of 45 college hours; a 2.50 GPA; a valid ACT score (if required by DESE); completion of EDC 150, SPE 310 and COM 115 with a C or higher; and a score of 265 on all components of the state’s general competency test; the C-BASE; Missouri Family Care Safety Registry check; 1st portfolio checkpoint and approval of the PEC.


The following list provides examples of upper division special education courses. Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for course descriptions and specific degree requirements.

  • SPE 310: Intro. to Special Education
  • SPE 320: Intro. to Teaching Cross-Categorical Spec. Ed.
  • SPE 345: Educational Evaluation of Exceptional Students/346
  • SPE 515: Fdtns. Appld Behavior Analysis/Intervention
  • SPE 517: Effec. Practices in Sp.Ed.
  • SPE 516: Applic. Appld. Behvr Analysis/Intervention
  • SPE 521: DD/OHI Methods
  • SPE 522: DD/OHI Practicum


The faculty in Special Education are located in Hill Hall. All faculty hold doctoral degrees with emphasis in special education. Faculty members are actively involved in teaching, research and service activities at the local, state and national level. 


While the faculty provides advisement assistance to all undergraduate students, the college has a central advisement office located in Hill Hall. Students are encouraged to gain initial advisement from the center. The College of Education in partnership with the Springfield Public Schools and surrounding districts provide access to unique facilities and technologies which will ensure a quality pre-service teacher education experience.


All students pursuing course work in special education are encouraged to join the student division of the CEC. In addition to CEC, other organizations include Kappa Delta Pi, Student National Education Association (SNEA) and the student Missouri State Teacher’s Association (SMSTA). Disability Resource Center provide a full array of support for students who require necessary academic modifications. Most importantly, the College of Education is committed to assisting students in finding employment in the teaching field upon graduation.

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

First Semester Courses Hours
GEP 101 First Year Foundations2
CIS 101 or CSC 1012
Humanities Perspective3
ENG 110 Writing I3
PSY 121 Introductory Psychology3
KIN 210 Healthy Lifestyles: Preventive Approaches3
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship3
Total Hours 18
Second Semester Courses Hours
BIO 100 Biological Science for Educators4
COM 115 Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
MTH 130 Contemporary Mathematics3
HST 121 or 1223
Humanities Perspective3
EDC 150 Introduction to Teaching0
Total Hours 17

Sophomore Year

First Semester Courses Hours
SPE 310 Introduction to Special Education3
EDT 365 Educational Applications of Technology and Media3
MTH 320 Foundations of Mathematics for Teachers3
ENG 210 Writing II: Writing Across the Disciplines3
GRY 100 World Regional Geography3
ECO 155 Principles of Macroeconomics3
Total Hours 18
Second Semester Courses Hours
RDG 318 Foundations of Literacy Instruction3
SPE 345/3464/2
PSY 360 Educational Psychology3
SPE 560 Working with Families of Exceptional Individuals3
ENG 334 Literature for Children3
Total Hours 18

Junior Year

First Semester Courses Hours
CSD 312 Normal Language Acquisition3
EDC 350 School and Society3
SPE 320 Introduction to Teaching Cross Categorical Special Education3
SPE 515 Foundations of Applied Behavior Analysis and Interventions for Teachers in Applied Settings3
RDG 420 Methods of Teaching Reading and Language Arts in Elementary Schools3
RDG 421 Practicum-Methods of Teaching Reading and Language Arts in the Elementary Schools2
Total Hours 17
Second Semester Courses Hours
SPE 516 Application of Applied Behavior Analysis and Interventions for Teachers in Applied Settings3
SPE 521 Methods of Teaching Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Other Health Impairments4
SPE 522 Practicum-Instruction of Students with Developmental Disabilities and Other Health Impairments2
PHY 101 Physics by Inquiry for Educators4
SPE 550 Career/Vocational Education and Transition3
Total Hours 16

Senior Year

First Semester Courses Hours
SPE 519 Methods of Teaching Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders4
SPE 520 Practicum-Teaching Individuals with Learning and Behavioral Disorders2
SPE 517 Effective Practices in Special Education4
Humanities Perspective3
KIN 545 Perceptual and Motor Development3
Total Hours 17
Second Semester Courses Hours
SPE 495 Supervised Teaching Special Education5
SPE 496 Supervised Teaching Special Education5
SPE 591 Clinical Practicum in Special Education1-2
Total Hours 10-12