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Explore the unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's special education, unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle K-9 bachelor's degree certifies graduates to teach both special education in K-12 classrooms and general education in K-9 classrooms. Graduates are also uniquely qualified to co-teach with another educator in an inclusive classroom. This is the only program of its kind in the UW System.

Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to work with all learners, including students with specific learning disabilities, emotional behavioral disabilities, communication disorders, autism, intellectual disabilities, sensory and physical disabilities. You will also be prepared to work with students who are gifted or are learning English as a second language.

Curriculum throughout the major is designed to provide a unified approach in preparing teacher candidates for the diverse K-12 learning environment. Coursework will help you develop specialized instruction and interventions; make data-based decisions; advocate for early numeracy, mathematics and literacy awareness; provide behavioral support; practice culturally responsive teaching and promote project-based learning and inquiry. In addition to a full semester of student teaching, more than 200 classroom hours will be spent observing and aiding in both special education and general education K-12 classrooms. 

Special education and inclusive practices majors also will have multiple opportunities to take their learning to the next level. Through cultural immersions, collaborative student-faculty research and service-learning experiences, you could participate in programming at the Kenai Peninsula school district in Alaska; conduct research and author a journal article or present at a local or national conference; or experience the Scottish special education system firsthand in Scotland. Majors also have the option to add a UWEC certificate in Interprofessional Early Intervention, which allows them to add the Early Childhood Special Education license.

As a graduate of the unified special education, K-12 and elementary/middle K-9 degree, you'll be prepared to teach any child and any young adult in any learning environment — making you highly qualified and extremely in demand.

Why special education, unified special education k-12 and elementary/middle k-9 at UW-Eau Claire?

Real-world, professional experience. Unified special education coursework is rooted in firsthand learning. Through several school-based experiences, practicums and student-teaching opportunities, you will gain experience working in both general and special education classrooms. This includes the opportunity to work with children in inclusive settings where general education and special education teachers co-teach, as well as an opportunity to help high school students with special needs plan their transition from high school to post-high school.

Up-to-date practices. Expert faculty throughout the major will provide you with knowledge of grade level content as well as special education procedures as outlined by current federal legislation. You'll learn best practices and latest techniques for effective instruction, behavior management, inclusive practices, co-teaching and intervention. You'll also become familiar with special education law, ethical behavior, and how best to consult and collaborate with parents, school personnel and agencies in designing high-quality learning for all children.

Relevant student organizations. There are multiple student organizations at UW-Eau Claire relevant to future educators. For example, Aspiring Educators is focused on future teachers who are active on campus and in the schools in the community, connecting you with other students in the education major. Joining a student org is an excellent way to apply what you've learned in the classroom to the real world.

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 to better understand the world around them. One opportunity, Special Education in Scotland, allows you to travel with your peers and faculty to observe education abroad and learn about another culture.

Exceptional placement rates. Due to the nationwide shortage of teachers, students in our program 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.

98% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2021-2022 Graduate Report

Quick facts

Unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle K-9 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
  • 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 special education k-12 and elementary/middle k-9 degree from UWEC?

Graduates of the unified special education program will hold licenses in K-12 cross-categorical special education and K-9 general education — including preschool (4K) and kindergarten — and will be well-prepared for a variety of specialized jobs. Our graduates go on to become special and general education teachers in both public and private schools. Some grads choose to continue their study in other areas of special education, including child life specialist programs, educational leadership or administration. Alumni also are qualified to engage in research, develop curricular and instructional materials or lead in-service teacher training.

Because of an ongoing shortage of teachers — and UW-Eau Claire's long history of producing exceptional teachers — our graduates have no problem finding jobs in Wisconsin and beyond.

I began my college career unsure of what I wanted to be. Almost two years in, I fell in love with education, specifically early childhood education. Every day I have fallen more and more in love with the career path I have chosen thanks to my amazing professors. UW-Eau Claire has helped me pursue my dreams, meet amazing people, expand my perspective, and gain confidence.

Madeline Williams Special Education, Unified Special Education K-12 and Elementary/Middle

Unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle bachelor's degree program curriculum

Curriculum within the unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle K-9 major will help you meet the needs of all your students in the least restrictive, and most inclusive, environment possible — whether that be in a special education or general education classroom.

What classes do special education, unified special education k-12 and elementary/middle k-9 majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the special education, unified special education K-12 & elementary/middle 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