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Elementary/Middle Special Education, Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Welcome!  We are so glad you are seeking information about a major in special education at the University of Maryland.  This overview will provide you with basic information about our program. The Elementary/Middle Special Education Teacher Preparation Program leads to a Bachelors of Science (B.S.) degree with teacher certification. There are through two tracks of study available to students, both tracks prepare our candidates to meet varying learner needs in diverse classrooms through DUAL certification options.

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

The brochure below will provide you with more details about the mission and vision of the program and certification tracks:


Tracks of Study






Certification Overview: What is Initial Certification?

Graduates are eligible for special education (Track I) or dual special and elementary education (Track II) initial 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 and without disabilities. To ensure preparation for diverse classroom settings and needs, faculty embed self-reflection, advocacy, critical consciousness, and cultural competence throughout the program of study. Teacher candidates will be prepared to teach students withsupport students at-risk, students in need of intervention, and 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.
  • Focus on collaboration in co-taught inclusive classrooms
  • 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

What Skills are Highlighted in the Special Education and Dual Certification Program?  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
  • Enhance access, engagement, and participation in inclusive classroom settings.
  • Use universal design for learning, accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology to support

Do you want a Masters Degree After Completing Initial Certification? Following completion of initial teacher certification all students are invited to apply to the “Double Count” Masters Degree program.  The “Double Count” program is an opportunity to obtain a Masters Degree in Special Education at a significantly reduced cost.  Specifically, 12 credits of your undergraduate coursework will count toward the graduate degree.  The application of the credits decreases both the cost and time required for the Special Education Masters Degree.

       Informational Video:

EDSP Program Overview







Please feel free to reach out to us for additional information, with questions you may have, or just to chat to learn more about what we offer future special and general education teachers. We are excited that you are considering UMD and hope that we will hear from you soon regarding your interest in our program.  Please see “Program Contacts” section.

For information on undergraduate admission to the University, please visit https://www.admissions.umd.edu.

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.

If you have questions about coursework, field experiences, program mission, or tracks of study please contact: Dawn Martin, DJMartin@umd.edu 

If you have questions about the yearlong internship please contact: Stacey Williams, staceyw@umd.edu

If you have questions about admission or advising please contact the Office of Student Services, ed-advising@umd.edu, or 301-405-2364.



For more information visit the COE Undergraduate Advising website

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

Special Education Bachelor/Masters Scholarship Support Application Flyer Advertisement-- OSEP.pdf

Special Education Benchmarks- Specific benchmarks are required for admission and continuation in the Professional Teacher Education Programs. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the Professional Teacher Education program. Admission to the professional program is competitive. 

Special Education Sample 4-year Plan

Director of Special Education Teacher Certification: Dawn J. Martin - djmartin@umd.edu

To access Undergraduate Forms, Policies and Procedures, click here