The elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program leads to a Bachelors of Science degree with teacher certification through two tracks of study, Both tracks prepare our candidates to meet varying learner needs in diverse classrooms through DUAL certification options.

  • Track 1 Certification:  Mild to Moderate Disabilities Certification (Grades 1-8) and Severe Disability Certification (Birth-22)
  • Track 2 Certification: Elementary Education Certification and Mild to Moderate Disabilities Certification (Grades 1-8)







Certification Overview: Graduates are eligible for special education teacher certification in the state of Maryland, with reciprocity in 49 states. The four-year, 120-credit-hour course of study prepares teachers to assume the increasingly complex and sophisticated responsibilities of a teacher of students with disabilities. Teacher candidates will be prepared to teach students with mild (high incidence) to severe (low incidence) disabilities, across disability categories.  Distinctive programmatic features include:

  • Focus on Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Behaviors Disorders, Physical Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Developmental Delays, and Physical and Other Health Impairments.
  • Rigorous and relevant coursework to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for successful teaching careers in special education 
  • Focus on evidence based instructional practices and decision making
  • Year Long Internship (Field Experience) in inclusive, diverse classrooms

Program Preparation:  The Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation is designed to prepare professionals to work with students in Grades 1 through 8 with varying needs, design inclusive classrooms, and to collaborate with their families and other educational personnel. Teacher candidates in the program develop skills to:

  • Assess the academic and social strengths and limitations of elementary and middle school aged students with and without disabilities
  • Plan individualized educational lessons/instruction and support services that promote inclusive experiences and independent performance
  • Individualize, implement, and evaluate evidenced based instructional methods
  • Organize learning environments designed to meet individual needs
  • Foster participation in the general education curriculum
  • Use universal design for learning, accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology to support

Informational Video: Click Image Below






For information on undergraduate admission to the University, please click here.

Once admitted to the University, students in the College of Education must meet the Selective Admissions requirements in order to proceed into the Professional portion of the Elementary-Middle Special Education program.  The Selective Admissions requirements for the Elementary-Middle Special Education program are as follows:

Academic Requirements

  • Completion of a minimum of 45 credits
  • Cumulative UMD GPA of 2.75 or higher; 3.0 GPA is recommended for best consideration and for graduate programs
  • Completion of lower-level Fundamental English requirement with a “C-” or better
  • Completion of lower-level Fundamental Math requirement with a “C-” or better
    (NOTE: Special Education majors must take STAT 100)
  • Minimum passing scores on a Test of Basic Skills

Gateway Requirements

For current students graduating in the Spring 2022 semester or before:

  • Satisfactory completion of EDSP 210 or EDSP 470 with a "B-" or better
  • Satisfactory completion of STAT 100 with "C" or better

Effective Fall 2019 for students graduating in the Spring 2023 semester or after:

  • EDSP 210 (or approved substitute) with a B- or higher 
  • 2.70 Cumulative GPA in the following courses:
    • Biological Science with Lab
    • Physical Science with Lab
    • MATH 212
    • STAT 100

*Each of the above 4 Gateway Courses must be completed with a minimum grade of "C-".

Experiential Requirements

  • Prior experience in the education field with youth in the age range you intend to teach
  • A written goal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation (one must be from a faculty member)
  • Submission of the College of Education Foundational Competencies/Model Code of Ethics for Educators (FC/MCEE)

STEP ONE: Apply for undergraduate admission to the University

Once admitted to the University, proceed to Step Two after working with a COE Academic Advisor.

STEP TWO:  Please submit your application to the Professional Teacher Education Program online.

Please contact the Office of Student Services,, or 301-405-2364.



Academic Advising is an essential part of your academic experience at UMD.

Our mission is to help you understand the academic requirements and curricular offerings in the College of Education (COE). Our advisors:

  • Assist you with realistically reviewing and planning your academic progress and discussing its relationship to successful degree completion.
  • Inform you about different campus resources and services that will help you to make the most of your experience while at the University of Maryland.
  • Administer mandatory advising meetings each semester (which are required for all current COE majors). 

For more information visit the COE Undergraduate Advising website

 For a list of the College of Education Scholarship opportunities, click here.

Special Education Benchmarks

Special Education Sample 4-year Plan

Elementary/Middle Special Education 4-year Plan and General Ed Requirements
NOTE: Students may apply for admission to the Professional Teacher Education Programs only once. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the Professional Teacher Education program. Admission to the professional program is competitive.

Director of Special Education Teacher Certification: Dawn J. Martin -

To access Undergraduate Forms, Policies and Procedures, click here