• Special Education
    Professor Jim Calder inspires students to succeed
  • Special Education
    Field experiences
    are essential to learning
  • Special Education
    Project Help teachers use the latest techniques for teaching children with autism
  • Special Education
    MTSU students get real-life experience working with students in the Transition Academy

Special Education

Teachers fulfill unique needs in the lives and development of our younger citizens; for children whose needs go beyond what is usually available in the classroom, the teacher is even more crucial. Students can have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. Teachers make sure that lessons and teaching strategies are changed to meet individual needs. If you have a desire to experience this rewarding challenge, a career in special education can lead to numerous employment opportunities. At MTSU, you can take the important first steps by choosing to major in Special Education in the Department of Elementary and Special Education. The program covers grades K-12 and includes meeting Tennessee requirements for licensure.

Respected teachers guided her life decisions

Respected teachers guided her life decisions

Rachel Ray knew before she came to MTSU that she wanted to study special education. “My high school had a peer buddy program similar to the one at MTSU. During my free periods, I would go to a child development class and work with teachers and students. I grew to love and feel passionate about every part of the class I was allowed to participate in,” Rachel says. Graduating in May 2013 with a major in Special Education—comprehensive, severe to profound disabilities, Rachel is teaching at Youth Village Center for Boys in Bartlett. She attributes “getting the best” out of her education to Dr. Tom Black. Not only did his classes focus on practical knowledge, but “he also did something that many professors do not—shared his own experiences,” Rachel says. She also praises the value of experiences gained from Best Buddies, a volunteer organization that pairs a child with special needs with a community buddy, and the Rutherford County Schools’ Transition Academy, a program involving communication skills and job training for public school students ages 18-22.

Heart for special education grows stronger at MTSU

Heart for special education grows stronger at MTSU

Working as a special needs teacher’s assistant led Terry Marie Kilgallon, who lives in Spring Hill, to her life’s work. “I experienced an epiphany on the very first day. The seed was planted in my heart to dedicate the rest of my working years to students with special needs,” Kilgallon remembers, adding that the seed took root when she returned to college some 18 months later. Teachers such as Dr. Jim Calder, whose high expectations in the classroom were “sprinkled with a passion that inspired,” cultivated that seed and strengthened her determination to be a special education teacher. Terry Marie graduated in May 2013 with a major in Special Education—modified, K-12. She is a middle school resource teacher where she takes a lead role in an anti-bullying program. She hopes eventually to return to college to pursue a master’s degree focusing on literacy skills.

Individuals trained to teach bring a desirable range of expertise and creativity to planning and administrative roles. Graduates completing their teacher preparation at MTSU are found in public and private school classrooms throughout Tennessee and in many other states. In addition to classroom teaching, other career options include

  • Agency and administrative work
  • Community and foundation work
  • Consulting, professional development, and teacher training
  • Education marketing and research
  • Education policy development
  • Higher education teaching and administration
  • Job coaching
  • Mental health agency work
  • Private tutoring

Educators who studied at MTSU are employed in a variety of settings that include the Tennessee Department of Education and other state agencies, community colleges and universities, Head Start programs, and tutoring services. Graduates are employed in public and private schools and school districts throughout the country as well as in Tennessee.  

Among the employers of MTSU alumni are

  • Anderson County Schools
  • Bedford County Schools
  • Cannon County Schools
  • Carroll County Schools
  • Cheatham Co Schools
  • Coffee County Schools
  • Collierville Christian Academy
  • Crockett County Schools
  • Cumberland County Schools
  • DeKalb County Schools
  • Dickson County Schools
  • Dyer County Schools
  • Fayette County Schools
  • Fayetteville City Schools
  • Franklin Special School District
  • Giles County Schools
  • Grundy County Schools
  • Hamilton County Schools
  • Hardeman County Schools
  • Hickman County Schools
  • Kids Connection
  • Knox County Schools
  • Lawrence County Schools
  • Lebanon Special School District
  • Lewis County Schools
  • Lincoln County Schools
  • Macon County Schools
  • Madison County Schools
  • Manchester City Schools
  • Marion County Schools
  • Marshall County Schools
  • Maury County Schools
  • McNairy County Schools
  • Memphis and Shelby County Schools
  • Metro Action Commission, Nashville
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Middle Tennessee Christian School, Murfreesboro
  • Montgomery County Schools
  • Moore County Schools
  • Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Perry County Schools
  • Providence Christian Academy, Murfreesboro
  • Robertson County Schools
  • Rutherford County Schools
  • Sequatchie County Schools
  • Sumner County Schools
  • The Webb School, Bell Buckle
  • Trousdale County Schools
  • Tullahoma City Schools,
  • Warren County Schools
  • Wayne County Schools
  • White County Schools
  • Williamson County Schools
  • Wilson County Schools
  • Youth Village Center for Boys

Dr. Thomas Black
Assistant Professor
tom.black@mtsu.edu

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Dr. James Calder
Professor
james.calder@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Lesley Craig-Unkefer
Associate Professor
lesley.craig-unkefer@mtsu.edu

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Zafrullah Khan
Associate Professor
zaf.khan@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Craig Rice
Associate Professor
craig.rice@mtsu.edu

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Students who wish to prepare themselves for careers as teachers must make formal application for admission to the teacher education program. Applications must be submitted no later than the second semester of the sophomore year. Students who transfer to MTSU after the completion of their sophomore years, or with more than 45 semester hours of credit, must make application during their first semester of residence. To be formally admitted to the teacher education program, candidates must

  1. complete the admission application;
  2. have acceptable scores on the ACT, SAT, or the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests as set by the Tennessee State Board of Education;
  3. complete at least 45 semester hours with at least 6 semester hours at MTSU;
  4. have an overall grade point average of 2.75; (Grades earned in basic, learning support, and university studies courses are not used in computation of the required average.);
  5. have three favorable professional interviews;
  6. have disciplinary clearance from MTSU Office of Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services;
  7. complete a background/fingerprinting check.

Students willing to work with a broad spectrum of abilities will earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in Special Education, choosing between the modified program, K-12 (for individuals with mild/moderate disabilities), or comprehensive program, K-12 (for individuals with severe/profound disabilities).

An undergraduate minor in Special Education is available.

Other undergraduate majors offered in the Department of Elementary and Special Education and leading to a B.S. include Early Childhood Education (grades Prek-3) and Interdisciplinary Studies with a choice of teaching levels of grades K–6 or 4–8.

Students wishing to teach in secondary schools must complete a major in the subject they wish to teach and a minor in Secondary Education in the Womack Department of Educational Leadership. Directed teaching and applying for and receiving teacher licensure complete the preparation process.

Graduate degrees available through the Department of Elementary and Special Education include the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree with majors in Special Education with three concentrations: Mildly/Moderately Disabled, Preschool Disabled, and Severely/Profoundly Disabled; in Curriculum and Instruction with three concentrations: Early Childhood, Elementary School Education (also Elementary School Education, Inclusion Education Specialist), and Middle School Education; and in Literacy.

An M.Ed. also is offered through the Regents Online Degree Program (ROPD) with a major in Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Early and Middle Childhood/Literacy: Reading-Language Arts.

A Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) degree is available under the Curriculum and Instruction major with a concentration in Elementary Education.

Graduate minors are offered in Special Education, Reading, and Curriculum and Instruction.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Literacy Studies and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement are available in the College of Education.
Special Education (Comprehensive) Special Education (Modified) 

An academic map is a suggested four-year schedule of courses based on degree requirements in the undergraduate catalog. This sample schedule serves as a general guideline to help build a full schedule each term. Milestones, courses, and special requirements necessary for timely progress to complete a major are designated to keep you on track to graduate in four years. Missing milestones could delay your program. 

This map based on the 2013-2014 undergraduate catalog is not a substitute for academic advisement - contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements. Also see the current undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.Note: Requirements are continually under revision, and there is no guarantee they will not be changed or revoked; contact the department and/or program area for current information. 

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years (see below). NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map.

Special Education (Comprehensive)

Department of Elementary and Special Education
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
EESE 10102  EESE 10112Take pre-professional skills test or meet ACT/SAT exmpt. (must verify scores); see advisor.
MATH (Math)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
BIOL 1030/1031 (Nat Sci)4  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  MATH 1410 (Math)3 
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  Nat Sci4 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020 or ENGL 2030 (Hum/FA)3  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  ELED 33003 
SPED 30103  BIOL 30004 
MATH 14203  CDIS 32503 
Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3  Soc/Beh Sci3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL16 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
READ 40156Complete UD form; file Intent to Graduate GEOG 2000 (Soc/Beh Sci)3Take Praxis II exams; PLT; Reading Across the Curriculum
ELED 31503Prereq: Adm. to teacher ed; MATH 1010 or 1710; MATH 1410 and 1420 SPED 42803Apply for Residency I
SPED 34403  SPED 41203 
HLTH 33003  SPED 40003 
SPED 43803  SPED 47203 
SUBTOTAL18  SUBTOTAL15 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
SPED 4220 (formerly 3220)5  SPED 432012Register with Career Development Center
SPED 41403     
SPED 42403Take Praxis II exams; Special Education Comprehensive   
SPED 49103   Apply for Teacher Licensure.
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL12 

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN SUMMER
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
EESE 10102  EESE 10112Take pre-professional skills test or meet ACT/SAT exmpt. (must verify scores); see advisor.
MATH (Math)3  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3 
BIOL 1030/1031 (Nat Sci)4  MATH 14103
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  Nat Sci4 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
SPED 30103  ELED 33003 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020 or ENGL 2030 (Hum/FA)3  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  BIOL 30004 
MATH 14203  CDIS 32503 
Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3  Soc/Beh Sci3 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL13 
JUNIOR SUMMER
READ 40156  HLTH 33003 
SUBTOTAL6  SUBTOTAL3 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
ELED 31503Prereq: Adm. to teacher ed; MATH 1010 or 1710; MATH 1410 and 1420 GEOG 2000 (Soc/Beh Sci) 3Take Praxis II exams; PLT; Reading across the Curriculum.
SPED 34403Complete UD form; file Intent to Graduate SPED 41203Apply for Residency I
SPED 40003  SPED 42803 
SPED 43803  SPED 47203 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
SPED 49103  SPED 432012Register with Career Development Center.
SPED 4220 (formerly 3220)5     
SPED 41403    
SPED 42403Take Praxis II exams; Special Education Comprehensive  Apply for Teacher Licensure.
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL12 

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed here.



Special Education (Modified)

Department of Elementary and Special Education
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
EESE 10102  EESE 10112Take pre-professional skills test or meet ACT/SAT exmpt. (must verify scores); see advisor.
MATH (Math)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
BIOL 1030/1031 (Nat Sci)4  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  MATH 14103 
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  Nat Sci4 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020 or ENGL 2030 (Hum/FA)3  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  ELED 33003 
SPED 30103  BIOL 30004 
MATH 14203  GEOG 2000 (Soc/Beh Sci)3 
Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3  Soc/Beh Sci3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL16 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
READ 40156Complete UD Form; file Intent to Graduate SPED 42503Take Praxis II exams: PLT; Reading Across the Curriculum
ELED 31503Prereq: Adm. to teacher ed; MATH 1010 or 1710; MATH 1410 and 1420 SPED 42803Apply for Residency I
SPED 34303  SPED 40003 
CDIS 32503  SPED 41703 
SPED 43803  SPED 47203 
SUBTOTAL18  SUBTOTAL15 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
SPED 4210 (formerly 3210)5  SPED 435012Register with Career Development Center
SPED 41503    
SPED 42403Take Praxis II exams; Special Education Modified   
SPED 41603   Apply for Teacher Licensure.
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL12 

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN SUMMER
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
EESE 10102  EESE 10112Take pre-professional skills test or meet ACT/SAT exmpt. (must verify scores); see advisor.
MATH (Math)3  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3 
BIOL 1030/1031 (Nat Sci)4  MATH 14103
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  Nat Sci4 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
SPED 30103  ELED 33003 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020 or ENGL 2030 (Hum/FA)3  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  BIOL 30004 
MATH 14203  GEOG 2000 (Soc/Beh Sci)3 
Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3  Soc//Beh Sci3 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL13 
JUNIOR SUMMER
READ 40156  CDIS 32503 
SUBTOTAL6  SUBTOTAL3 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
ELED 31503Prereq: Adm. to teacher ed; MATH 1010 or 1710; MATH 1410 and 1420 SPED 42503Take Praxis II exams; PLT; Reading Across the Curriculum
SPED 34303Complete UD Form; file Intent to Graduate SPED 40003Apply for Residency I
SPED 42803  SPED 41703 
SPED 43803  SPED 47203 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
SPED 41503  SPED 435012Register with Career Development Center
SPED 4210 (formerly 3210)5    
SPED 41603    
SPED 42403Take Praxis II exams; Special Education; Modified    
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL12 

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed here.

Special Education

SPED 3010 - Characteristics and Teaching of Diverse Learners
3 credit hours
A study of learners with disabilities as they deviate from the norm in physical, emotional, cognitive, or social characteristics. Includes meeting the needs of these learners through differentiated instruction in the least restrictive environment. (Required of all individuals who major or minor in education for state licensure.)

SPED 3430 - Characteristics of High Incidence Populations (Modified
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education; SPED 3010. In-depth study of characteristics, needs, and etiology of learners with high incidence disabilities in appropriate classroom settings.

SPED 3440 - Characteristics of Low Incidence Populations (Comprehen
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education; SPED 3010. In-depth study of characteristics, needs, and etiology of learners with low incidence disabilities in appropriate classroom settings.

SPED 4000 - Teaching Reading to Diverse Learners
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Admission to teacher education program or permission of the department. Opportunity for classroom teachers to better meet the needs of struggling readers in a variety of settings.

SPED 4120 - Curriculum, Methods, and Materials for Special Educatio
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education program; SPED 3440. Corequisite: SPED 4140.Development of skills in planning and implementing programs for learners with low incidence disabilities including techniques and strategies in practical applications.

SPED 4140 - Techniques and Strategies for Instruction in Special Ed
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education; SPED 3440. Corequisite: SPED 4120. A practical application of techniques and strategies for teaching learners with low incidence disabilities. Includes teaching technique, theories and approaches, data collection, and environmental management.

SPED 4150 - Techniques, Methods, and Materials in Special Education
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education; SPED 3430. The practical application of special education techniques and methods for teaching learners with low incidence disabilities. Includes curriculum planning, methods and materials, data collection, and environmental management for learners with low incidence disabilities.

SPED 4160 - Educational Assessment of Exceptional Learners
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education; SPED 3430 or SPED 3440. Selection and administration of standardized tests and subtests for the specific purpose of planning an effective instructional program. Includes information gathering techniques, evaluation of this information in selection of tests, and interpretation of information and test scores.

SPED 4170 - Strategic Teaching and Learning in Secondary Education
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: SPED 3010, SPED 3430; admission to teacher education program. Learning strategies instruction and the use of content enhancement routines in inclusive settings with diverse learning populations. Includes metacognitive strategies, development, and application of strategic instruction.

SPED 4210 - Residency I, Special Education - Modified License
5 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to Teacher Education, ELED 3150, READ 4015, SPED 4160, SPED 4380, SPED 4150, and SPED 4250. Participation in the resource room or inclusive classroom setting with students with mild disabilities. Weekly seminar attendance and participation required.

SPED 4220 - Residency I, Special Education - Comprehensive License
5 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to Teacher Education,  ELED 3150, READ 4015, SPED 4120, SPED 4160, SPED 4380, and SPED 4140. Participation in the self-contained or inclusive classroom setting with students with severe disabilities. Weekly seminar attendance and participation required.

SPED 4240 - Methods and Techniques of Behavior Management
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education; SPED 3010. An overview of various approaches to behavior management and their application in a variety of environments.

SPED 4250 - Education in the Affective Domain
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to teacher education program or permission of department; SPED 3010 and SPED 3430. Origins of emotional/social problems in learners with disabilities and strategies for promoting positive social/emotional outcomes for these learners in schools.

SPED 4260 - Problems in Special Education
1 to 3 credit hours
A problem-oriented course, on or off campus, planned and designed for individuals, a school faculty, school system, or other professional groups. Will provide opportunities for pre-or in-service education related to assessed needs.

SPED 4280 - Assistive Technology in Special Education
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: SPED 3010, SPED 3430 or SPED 3440, and admission to teacher education program or permission of department. Technology--low tech and high--and how it applies to the needs of school-aged learners with disabilities. Assessing and supporting these needs through the delivery of assistive technology.

SPED 4320 - Residency II, Special Education-Comprehensive License
12 credit hours
Full-day supervised teaching experience of 15 weeks duration in a public school setting. Pass/Fail.

SPED 4350 - Residency II, Special Education-Modified License
12 credit hours
Full-day supervised teaching experience of 15 weeks duration in a public school setting. Pass/Fail.

SPED 4360 - Directed Teaching in Special Education (Speech and Hear
12 credit hours
Full-day supervised teaching experience of 15 weeks duration in a public school setting. Pass/Fail.

SPED 4380 - Collaboration and Consultation
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: SPED 3010, SPED 3430, SPED 3440; admission to teacher education program. Examines ways the special educator/consultant interacts with general educators, educational systems, communities, families, and learners to create appropriate educational services for exceptional learners. Examines group processes, human behavior related to interaction, and the provision of skills and knowledge critical to effective collaboration and consultation with others about the education of learners with special needs.

SPED 4510 - Teaching Internship, Special Education
9 credit hours
Supervised teaching available only for those with at least one year of paid teaching experience in the major in which endorsement is sought. Applicants must meet all prerequisites for student teaching in Special Education. Pass/Fail.

SPED 4720 - Promoting Family-Professional Partnerships in Special E
3 credit hours
Understanding the concerns and needs of parents and care providers of children who have special needs. Presents strategies and techniques for professionals to work effectively and in collaboration with parents and care providers.

SPED 4910 - Developmental Assessment
3 credit hours
 Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education Program. A study of evaluative and diagnostic instruments and procedures used with learners with multiple disabilities.