Special Education - BS, BA

Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services

About This Degree

Utah State's Department of Special Education and Counseling is consistently ranked among the top 20 education programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Students graduating from USU with a degree in special education are highly sought after by school districts across Utah and the United States. Utah State has a 100% job placement rate for special education graduates, with many students getting hired before they even graduate.

The department offers a number of unique educational and training opportunities for those interested in working with children and youth with disabilities. The program prepares students to work with individuals who have mild, moderate, and severe disabilities, as well as young children with disabilities. Students are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with local school districts or on-campus programs.

The special education degree is offered on the Logan Main Campus as a traditional teacher preparation program. It is also offered online across the state for teacher candidates who are working as a para-professional or teacher of record in Utah (OPTT - Online Teacher Preparation Program).

The special education major on the Logan Main Campus is a popular choice for a composite major with Elementary Education (meaning students who graduate can apply for both an Elementary Education or Early Childhood License and a Special Education License).

Students receive a first or 2nd BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages. OPTT (Online Practical Teacher Training) can also be taken towards a master's degree.


Birth to Age 5 Special Education:

This emphasis prepares graduates to work with children ages birth to five years who have disabilities. Children ages birth to three years are typically served by early intervention programs in their homes. Children three to five years are taught in public preschool settings within local school districts. Students in this emphasis may choose to combine this emphasis with either the mild/moderate disabilities emphasis or the severe disabilities emphasis.

Severe Disabilities:

This emphasis prepares graduates to work with students who have low-incidence disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic and acquired brain injury, and multiple disabilities. Graduates typically teach academic and life skills in a K-12 classroom or in a post-secondary setting (students age 18-21).

Mild/Moderate Disabilities:

This emphasis prepares graduates to work with students who have high-incidence disabilities, such as learning disabilities, mild/moderate intellectual disabilities, behavior and emotional disorders, or communication disorders. Educators work with children in grades K-12 in a resource-room setting or inclusive setting teaching academic skills.

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

With a degree in special education, students may pursue the following careers:

  • Public or private school educator
  • Adult service provider
  • Recreation specialist
  • Behavior specialist
  • Developmental specialist
  • Early intervention provider

Job Outlook



Laura Parrish

Academic advisor
Email: laura.parrish@usu.edu
Office: EDUC 336
Phone: (435) 797-7575

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Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the special education program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to the department as pre-majors.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions or from other USU majors will be admitted as pre-majors in good standing, with a GPA of at least 3.00.
  • 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, Breadth Physical Science with a grade of C or higher and HDFS 1500 with a grade of C or higher.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

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