Special Education


Bachelor of Science in Special Education
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
School of Professional Programs


Audrey Bartholomew


The mission of the Education Department is to prepare lifelong reflective educators who exhibit flexibility, compassion, collaboration, and student-centered pedagogy knowledge and skills. The Education Department offers strong experiential, student-centered, and responsive program preparing students to develop:

  • Knowledge of content and instructional practice
  • Professional dispositions
  • Pedagogical skills

Our vision is to prepare future educators to have an exponential impact on the lives of their students and the broader community. The core values that drive the Education Department and guide our ethos, principles, and standards are:

  • Knowledgeable Professionals
  • Collaborative Practitioners
  • Inclusive and Culturally Competent Educators
  • Reflective Life-Long Learners

Major Description

The Bachelor of Science in Special Education program will lead to special education certification in the state of Maine. Completers of this program will graduate, along with having a breadth and depth in general education outcomes, with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to educate a wide variety of students with disabilities in K-12 school settings. Additionally, this major has been designed using existing education courses as a foundation, enabling students to double major in general education and special education.

Curricular Requirements

CAS Core Requirements Credits
Total 42–46
Required Courses Credits
EDU 105 – Exploring Teaching 3
SPE 220 – Exceptionality in the Classroom 3
SPE 350 – Special Education Law 3
SPE 300 – Special Education Methods or SPE 315 – Supporting Students with Autism 3
EDU 206 – Foundations of Lit/Lang Dev 3
EDU 373 – Teaching Mathematics, K-8 3
SPE 301 – Inclusive Classroom Management 3
SPE 410 – Assessing and Remediating Challenging Behavior 3
EDU 385 – Diversity Issues in Schools 3
SPE 486 – Special Education Practicum 3
SPE 405 – Inclusive Methods and Data-Based Decision Making 3
SPE 490 – Spec Edu Internship/Seminar 12
Total  45
Open elective courses (needed to reach 120 credits) Variable
Minimum Required Total Credits 120

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of their bachelor's degree in Special Education, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the Maine Common Core Teaching Standards
  • Demonstrate professionalism through accountability and engagement
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively in both written and oral formats
  • Demonstrate appropriate dispositions as defined by professional expectations


The Special Education minor will help prepare students to support individuals of all abilities through hands on experiences and up to date knowledge and instruction from the field of special education. Students will gain information on a wide variety of disabilities including high and low incidence disabilities. Students will be required to complete field work hours in a classroom or other relevant setting in some courses and will be expected to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned to their real world settings. Courses cover a wide breadth of knowledge including disabilities in the general education classroom, psychology, disability studies, and hands on strategies to teach skills.

Required Courses Credits
SPE 220 - Exceptionality in the Classroom 3
HWOS 432 - Disability Studies and Inclusive Communities or SPE 405 - Inclusive Methods and Data-Based Decision Marking 3
Total 6
Four of the following (12 credits) Credits
Any SPE course 3
ASL 101 - Introduction to American Sign Language 3
EDU 486 - Site-Based Field Practicum 3
EDU 465 - Educational Studies Internship 3
PSY 105 - Introduction to Psychology 3
HWOS 432 - Disability Studies and Inclusive Communities 3
Total 12
Total Credits 18

Academic and Technical Standards

Field Experience

The faculty in the Education programs are committed to ongoing and frequent observation and involvement in schools. The teacher education programs at UNE have a specific competency-based focus to meet the Maine standards for teacher certification. All students engaged in teacher preparation will spend time in a field setting in each of the semesters for which they are registered for professional education courses. Involvement in the schools will be connected to specific, course-related tasks (e.g., observation, teaching lessons, conducting experiments, administering assessments, etc.). Transportation to and from schools is the responsibility of the student.


Without specific permission from the Education Chair, courses may not be taken during the internship semester, so all required coursework must be completed the semester prior to the internship. Admission to the internship is not guaranteed and students must have reached Advanced Standing to apply.

In addition, the student should have:

  • Sufficient knowledge regarding the components of effective instruction.
  • Sufficient knowledge of appropriate grade-level content and teaching methods.
  • Sufficient knowledge of the developmental needs of students.
  • Sufficient knowledge of how to establish and maintain effective cooperative relationships with school personnel, students, and parents.
  • Understanding of and empathy for working with students.
  • No serious reservations identified on the Student Assessment of Professional Attributes (SAPA) instrument.

The selection of individual internship sites will be made by the Certification and Placement Officer. Geographical location relative to UNE is a consideration. UNE has a collaborative relationship with many districts and selects both schools and teachers based on their interest in and ability to assist interns in demonstrating mastery of the Maine Common Core Teaching Standards. Placement in an internship is not guaranteed. The Education programs, through its Certification and Placement Officer, will make a good faith effort to negotiate an appropriate placement. Schools have the right to refuse placement requests. The 15-week student teaching internship experience must be done in a local Maine Public School that is in an established internship protocol with the University of New England.

Professional Educator Review Board (PERB)

All students enrolled in the internship must demonstrate their teaching competence with respect to Maine Common Core Teaching Standards before the Professional Educator Review Board (PERB). The Board is comprised of professional educators from area schools as well as UNE faculty. Students are required to develop a presentation reflecting their proficiency in meeting these state standards and present and defend the presentation in front of the Board. Passing PERB is a requirement for completion of the certification program and subsequently is recommended to the Maine State Department of Education for teacher licensure.

Advanced Standing

All students in education certification programs must apply for admission to advanced standing when they have completed approximately 60 credit hours. To apply for advanced standing, students must develop a portfolio demonstrating how they have met proficiency in the following areas: a) teaching skills, knowledge, and disposition aligned with the Maine Common Core Teaching Standards; b) basic academic skills and c) professional skills. This portfolio is evaluated by a committee of education faculty and a pass/fail determination is made based on a holistic rubric.

Students not meeting these criteria do not remain enrolled in a certification program; however, students have the option of changing their major to a non-certification major such as Educational Studies. Students can reapply for advanced standing upon completion of each additional semester up until their second to last semester (i.e., students graduating in Spring must meet advanced standing by the beginning of the previous Fall semester.

Transfer Credit

Courses completed at another accredited college can be transferred to this degree program. Transferred courses must be reasonably close in scope and content to the required courses offered at UNE in order to count as exact equivalents. Otherwise, they may transfer as general electives. All courses completed must be no older than five years.

Other restrictions apply. See Undergraduate Admissions for more information.


See Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

Financial Information


Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2023–2024 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of the date of publication April 28, 2023.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.