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Explore the special education, unified early childhood bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire special education, unified early childhood bachelor's degree is designed for those who want teacher licensure in both early childhood special education and early childhood general education. Completion of the program qualifies you to teach children from birth to third grade as well as conduct home visits in early intervention. 

The only program of its kind in this region, this major is a dual-licensure program aimed at supporting Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction guidelines requiring that all students be taught in the least restrictive — and most inclusive — environments possible. Curriculum throughout the major will prepare you to work with diverse learners, including those with communication disorders, autism, intellectual disabilities, sensory and physical disabilities, specific learning disabilities and emotional behavioral disabilities, as well as those who are gifted or learning English as a second language. The major is an ideal choice for those who do not wish to teach past third grade and may be especially beneficial for those considering teaching in Minnesota instead of Wisconsin. 

Professional development and career preparation are key focuses of the program. More than 200 hours will be spent observing and aiding in classrooms. You'll also gain direct experience student teaching in multiple environments, including classrooms devoted to pre-primary students, primary students, students receiving early childhood special education services and students with mild disabilities. Additional fieldwork with children without disabilities will provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of typical and atypical child growth/development and general education curriculum.

As a graduate of the special education, unified early childhood program, you'll be trained to teach any young child in any learning environment — making you highly qualified and extremely in demand. Our alumni go on to pursue rewarding and impactful careers at school districts across the state, advocating for all learners and changing the lives of the children they serve for the better.  

Why special education, unified early childhood at UW-Eau Claire?

Up-to-date practices. Expert faculty throughout the major will provide you with knowledge of early childhood curriculum and special education procedures as outlined by current federal legislation. Through unique coursework, projects and school-based experiences, you'll learn best practices and the latest techniques in areas like behavior management, inclusive practices, co-teaching and intervention. You'll also become familiar with special education law, ethical behavior, and how to best consult and collaborate with parents, school personnel and agencies in designing high-quality learning for all children.

Study abroad opportunities. Explore how different societies educate their youth and gain new ideas about how teachers reach their students by studying abroad. Many UWEC students choose to immerse themselves in other schools and communities early on in their college careers in an effort to better understand the world around them. Being able to develop teaching techniques in another country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won't want to miss. 

Varied, engaging curriculum. Coursework throughout the unified early childhood in special education major will introduce you to a variety of teaching methods for young children of all abilities. Explore the connections between inclusive play and development. Learn how to educate and best care for young children with autism, health conditions or orthopedic impairments. Discover best practices for teaching early numeracy. And learn about infant and toddler early intervention and care, with special focuses on health, safety, nutrition, and designing and evaluating effective activities/environments. 

Outside-the-classroom learning. While at UWEC, you'll have multiple opportunities to take your education to the next level. Through cultural immersion and service-learning experiences, you'll have the opportunity to participate in programming at the Aldine School District in Houston, Texas; volunteer in classrooms in the Washington, D.C., area; work as a teacher’s aide in Tucson, Arizona; or experience the Scottish special education system firsthand in Scotland. These experiences often lead to new ways of thinking, enhanced cultural competency and a better understanding of culturally responsive instruction.

Exceptional placement rates. Due to the nationwide shortage of special educators, early educators and early childhood special educators, our Blugold teachers are in high demand. In fact, many graduates are offered a job prior to graduation — many times at the same schools where they served as student teachers.

96% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2020-2021 Graduate Report

Quick facts

Special education, unified early childhood program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program will earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. 
Student organizations
  • Best Buddies
  • Aspiring Educators
  • Blugold Beginnings 

Licensure information

Completion of teacher preparation programs at UW-Eau Claire meets licensure requirements in Wisconsin. Our programs may not meet requirements in other states. It is very important that individuals seeking licensure in another state obtain the most recent certification/licensure information directly from the state in which they seek employment. Find contact information on each state licensure office here.

Licensure requirements can change at any time. UW-Eau Claire’s Teacher Education Program Office ensures that our programs meet the requirements for licensure in Wisconsin. If you seek licensure in another state, be aware that their requirements could change at any time.

The United States Department of Education requires institutions to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure concerning whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Please note:

  1. Obtaining a Wisconsin Teaching License PRIOR to applying for a teaching license in another state is usually helpful and strongly recommended.
  2. "Meets requirements" means that a student is eligible for a license with stipulations, typically for 1-3 years, in that state. The stipulations are likely to be specific testing requirements and/or competency through a course or examination. In some instances, additional stipulations might be added.
  3. Licensure grade levels vary from state to state. Students who are eligible for a specific grade range in Wisconsin may be licensed for a narrower grade range in another state. Each state determines grade ranges for licensing differently.
  4. State licensure requirements may change at any time. Licensure questions should be referred to the Teacher Education Program Office (

The requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas

The requirements of this program do not meet licensure in the following states: Not Applicable

It has not been determined whether the requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

What can I do with a special education, unified early childhood degree from UWEC?

Graduates of the special education, unified early childhood program will hold licenses in early childhood special education as well as early childhood general education, which includes birth, home visits in early intervention, 4K, kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade. Because of an ongoing shortage of special education and early childhood teachers and UW-Eau Claire's long history of producing exceptional teachers, our graduates have no problem finding jobs in Wisconsin and beyond. 

Where are special education, unified early childhood alumni now?

From kindergarten teachers to early intervention specialists to elementary teachers, special education teachers and child care center owners, you can find Blugolds in school districts and communities across the state. And they are playing a critical role in the lives of others. By promoting inclusivity and intervening early, our grads are making a tremendous impact in their communities and helping all children be successful. 

From my very first meeting with my advisor, I knew that my decision to pursue a career in special education was the absolute best decision I could make in my college career. As a recent graduate and new teacher, I feel prepared, knowledgeable and passionate about my career choice in a way that sets me apart from others.

Hannah Pardon Early Childhood Special Education

Special education, unified early childhood bachelor's degree program curriculum

The special education, unified early childhood bachelor's degree is rooted in firsthand, real-world learning. Throughout the program, you'll have multiple opportunities to assist teachers in their classrooms — and lead your own — helping you to build your leadership skills, identify your preferred teaching style and round out your resume and portfolio. 

Curriculum within the program is blended, meaning you won't learn about topics in isolation. All courses talk about kids who are gifted, kids whose first language is not English, how to conduct specialized instruction and how to help students who are in general education. That knowledge is then layered with highly specialized courses in special education, preparing you well for all types of learners. 

What classes do special education, unified early childhood majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the special education, unified early childhood comprehensive major in the UWEC course catalog.

Learn more about UWEC

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Department information

Fall colors near Centennial Hall on lower campus.

Special Education and Inclusive Practices

Centennial Hall 3715
1698 Park Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Visit the Special Education and Inclusive Practices department website