The University of Maryland offers two full time undergraduate teacher preparation programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree: (1) Elementary/Middle Special Education and (2) Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. 

Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program

In the Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program, 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:

  • Maryland Certification in Special Education in Elementary/Middle (Grades 1-8)
  • Maryland Certification in Severe Disabilities (Birth to Grade 12)
  • 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

The Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation program includes three phases of preparation. The first phase (first two academic years/freshman & sophomore years) involves completion of the University's liberal arts requirements that all students are required to take. This coursework is referred to as the Core Liberal Arts and Sciences Studies requirements (CORE) or General Education requirements depending on the date of admission to the university. In addition, teacher candidates complete pre-professional courses known as Supporting Academic Content coursework (SAC). The SACs provide an understanding of typical human development and behavior and serve as a foundation for later coursework in special education. Students enroll in the introductory course in special education, EDSP 210, which is usually taken during the sophomore year. The admissions process to the Special Education Program is described in EDSP 210. Candidates who have met the selective admission requirements and been admitted to the program may proceed with the last two phases of the program.

The second phase (third academic year/junior year) includes foundational special education coursework addressing basic teaching techniques and strategies that apply to all students with disabilities, across all age and severity levels. Teacher candidates are provided opportunities to observe and participate in different elementary or middle special education classroom settings. 

The third and final phase of the program (fourth academic year/senior year) includes extensive opportunities to integrate coursework, instructional inquiry, and fieldwork.  Teacher candidates enroll in a full year internship experience with elementary or middle school students having disabilities that vary by type and severity in inclusive general education and special education classrooms. In addition, teacher candidates who meet the University of Maryland Graduate School admission requirements take twelve credits (four courses) during the fourth year that will apply towards both the Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Teacher candidates must pass the required Praxis II exam (0354/5354) before the Internship II in their final semester.

The Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation is designed to prepare professionals to work with students with disabilities in Grades 1 through 8 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 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 educational outcomes
  • Collaborate with general educators, support professionals (e.g., speech, occupational, physical therapists), students, and their families
  • Advocate for services and educational opportunities for elementary and middle school students with disabilities

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 UM GPA of 2.75 or higher; 3.0 GPA is recommended for best consideration
  • Completion of lower-level Fundamental English requirement with a “C-”  or better
  • Completion of lower-level Fundamental Math requirement with a “C-”  or better
  • Minimum passing scores on a Basic Skills Tests (see advisor for details)

Gateway Courses

  • Satisfactory completion of EDSP 210  with a “B-”  or better
  • Satisfactory completion of STAT100 with a “C-”  or better

Experiential Requirements

  • A resume that shows prior experience in the education field with youth in the age range you intend to teach
  • A written goal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation (one must be from a faculty member or instructor)
  • Satisfactory rating on the College of Education Foundational Competencies


STEP ONE: Apply for undergraduate admission to the University

Once admitted to the University, proceed to Step Two.

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 UM. Academic advisors help you understand the academic requirements and curricular offerings in the College of Education. They assist you to realistically evaluate your academic progress and its relationship to successful continuance in the program. Advisors also 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.

Advising is mandatory for all students in the College of Education. Depending upon your major and your academic standing in the College, you will be assigned an advisor from within the Office of Student Services (Room 1204, Benjamin). All students are required to make advising appointments no more than 2 weeks before your scheduled registration date.

Our Advisors:

  • Janis Cornell-DeMoss, Director of Student Services
    Advises: Students on Academic Probation/Dismissal, Dean's Level Exceptions to Policy.
  • Jessica Chew, Academic Advisor

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

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

To access Undergraduate Forms, Policies and Procedures, click here