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FAQs


  • Who is my advisor?
    Darcie Peterson is the on-campus undergraduate advisor. She is located in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Building in room 371. Darcie is also the interim distance advisor if you are interested in the mild/moderate or severe undergraduate programs offered at select USU sites in Utah. You may contact her at darcie.peterson@usu.edu or (435) 797-3252.  
  • You may schedule an advising appointment with Darcie at cehs.usu.edu/advising
  • Why am I a pre-SPED major?
    All students interested in SPED are admitted to USU as a pre-special education major. Students apply to the major typically during the fall of their sophomore year. If admitted, students are admitted both to special education and teacher education programs.
  • How do I apply to the major?
    The online application can be found on the special education webpage. The application is available by July 1 and is due by October 10.
  • What are the requirements to be admitted to the major?
    Students must complete specific courses and pass a series of tests. At the time of application, students must also apply for a background check. Requirements for special education major.
  • I took SPED 1000 (Principles of Effective Peer Teaching). How will the credit count towards my special education degree?
    It counts in two ways.  First, the credit will help fulfill the teaching support requirement of the special education major. Second, the credit will count as experience points on the application for admission to the special education major.
  • When is the deadline for applications to the special education major?
    Applications are available online beginning each year on July 1. The applications are due by October 10. Students will be notified if they are accepted by before priority registration for spring semester. They begin the SPED major classes during the following spring semester by taking the professional education courses (ELED 3100,SPED 4000, SPED 5040, and TEAL 3660, and for Birth to Age Five Majors FCHD 2600 & 2630).
  • When are the SPED courses offered?
    Students must be admitted to the SPED major to take the professional education courses and the special education courses. Students are admitted as a cohort and take the courses together as a group. They apply by October 10. If admitted, they take the professional education courses the following spring semester. During the next academic year(s), students complete the special education coursework. Special education courses are only offered once per year and must be taken in sequence.
  • How many semesters does it take to complete the special education program?
    It takes four semesters on campus and six semesters at the regional campuses.
  • What is the required GPA to be admitted to the Special Education Program?
    The minimum required GPA is 3.0. The special education major has a limited number of openings, so the application process is competitive.  The average GPA of admitted students is 3.50.
  • How long will it take me to graduate?
    Most Logan Main Campus students graduate within four years. It is important for students to meet with their advisor to plan out their program semester by semester. The distance special education courses are offered part time.
  • How difficult is it to get into the special education major?
    Most students who meet the minimum requirements get into the special education program.  The application process is competitive. The admissions committee considers many factors but GPA counts most in the formula.  Other things that count are experience working with people with disabilities, passing the admission tests on the first attempt, completing the math requirements and the number of credit hours completed.
  • I am a transfer student. How easily will my credits transfer?
    USU has worked with other Utah schools as well as schools in the surrounding area to make this process as simple as possible. Please contact the special education advisor at USU as soon as you are thinking of transferring. She will work with you to make the transition as easy as possible. If students send her an unofficial transcript, the semester they are planning on moving to USU, and the program they are interested in completing, the SPED advisor will work out a graduation plan for them. 
  • What prerequisites do I need to complete before I can apply to the SPED major?
    Check out Admission Requirements. Students must complete ENGL 1010 with a grade of C+ or higher, Math 1051 or 1050 and Math 2010 and 2020 with a grade of C or higher, Breadth American Institutions with a grade of C or higher, Breadth Life Science with a grade of C or higher, PHYS 1200 with a grade of C or higher and FCHD 1500 with a grade of C or higher. They must pass the CEHS Writing Test  They must take the appropriate Praxis Exam.  The Praxis Exam must be passed before student teaching.  (Mild/Moderate:  Praxis 5169 Middle School Math, Severe and Birth to Age 5:  Praxis 5001:  Elementary Multiple Subjects. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on 40 attempted hours is also required.
  • How much longer will it take for me to combine a major with elementary education or secondary education?
    If students meet with an advisor and plan ahead, most students can complete the combined program within four years.
  • Will I need a car?
    Students need a car to get to practicum placements.
  • What is the difference between the different emphasis areas in special education?
    • The mild/moderate degree prepares teachers to work with students (kindergarten through twelfth grade) with high incidence disabilities such as learning disabilities, mild/moderate behavior and emotional disorders, mild/moderate intellectual disabilities and communication disorders. Teachers usually work in a resource room setting. Mild/moderate teachers typically teach academic skills.
    • The severe degree prepares teachers to work with students (kindergarten through twelfth grade) with low incidence intellectual and physical disabilities such as severe intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic and acquired brain injury, and multiple disabilities. Severe teachers typically teach functional and life skills.
    • The Birth to Age Five Degree prepares teaches to work with young children with disabilities (birth to age five). For children birth to 3 years, the early childhood teacher typically works in early intervention programs with families. For children 3-5 years old, the early childhood teacher teaches in public preschool settings in local school districts.
  • Where are the different Undergraduate Special Education programs offered?
    Mild/Moderate and Severe are offered on the Logan Main Campus and select regional campuses. Birth to Age Five is offered on the Logan Main Campus only.  If you have a bachelor’s degree already, the Alternative Teacher Preparation Program in Birth to Age Five and in Severe are offered throughout Utah. The Mild/Moderate Alternative Teacher Preparation Program is offered along the Wasatch Front.
  • How demanding is the special education program?
    The field of special education is demanding. Our special education courses are demanding in order to prepare the best special education teachers who can meet the demands of the field. The special education program at Utah State University has been ranked in the top 20 special education programs in the United States by US News and World Report for the last several years.
  • Are there scholarships available?
    There are a lot of scholarships available in special education. There are USU scholarships, state scholarships, federal loan forgiveness, TEACH grants, and departmental scholarships. This PowerPoint presentation explains the many scholarships available. 
  • How much practical experience will I receive in the classroom?
    Each semester that you are in the special education program, you will have a practicum placement. You will be teaching a group of students and applying what you have learned in your coursework. Students comment frequently that this is their favorite part of the program. As a freshman and sophomore there are also opportunities to work in the classroom. Talk to the special education advisor about these opportunities.
  • How approachable are the professors?
    The professors have an open door policy. When they are in the office, their door is open and they welcome students to come and ask questions. Regional campus students are invited to call or email their professors whenever they have a question.
  • Do you have to have a lot of experience with people with disabilities to get accepted into the special education major?
    Experience can help you decide if this is the right field for you, but it is not required. Many students take SPED 4910 to gain classroom experience before applying to the program.