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Summary of Requirements for the Degree in Special Education-Learning Disabilities

Students who earn degrees in Special Education also complete the elementary certification program.  Upon completion of the program, they are qualified to teach all subjects in regular education classrooms, grades K-5 (and all subjects in regular education, self-contained classrooms, grades K-8); children with learning disabilities in grades K-12; and a core subject area (their teaching major) in regular education classrooms, grades 6-8. Requirements of the Special Education program include:

University Integrative Studies and Writing Requirements

  • Integrative Studies
    • Integrative Studies in the Social Sciences (ISS)
    • Integrative Studies in the Sciences: Biological and Physical (ISB and ISP)
    • Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities (IAH)
  • University Writing Requirements
    • Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures (WRA) Tier I(formerly called ATL)
    • Tier II writing course required within the major
  • Math Requirement
    • All students must demonstrate proficiency beyond the level of College Algebra; specific requirements vary by College and degree major

Professional Education Studies

TE 150 and CEP 240 can be taken during the freshman and sophomore years and serve as prerequisites for TE 301. Students must be formally admitted to the teacher preparation program before they can take TE 301 (see Applications & Admissions for more information). Once admitted to the teacher preparation program, students typically take TE 301 during the junior year, TE 403 and TE 404 during Fall Semester of the senior year and TE 405 and TE 406 during Spring Semester of the senior year (prerequisities with minimum grade requirements exist). Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in these five education courses, with no individual grade below 2.0, to progress to the internship year.

Special Education Studies

Along with completing professional courses in Teacher Education and other program requirements, Special Education LD majors take courses in their endorsement area through the Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education Department (CEP 301, CEP 449, CEP 451 and CEP 452). These upper division courses are taken after students are admitted to the Teacher Preparation Program for Special Education-Learning Disabilities. Courses in Introductory Psychology (PSY 101) and Oral Language Development (CSD 333) are also required. However these classes can be taken prior to admission to the College of Education.

Teaching Majors and Minors

Special Education majors who were freshmen in 2009 or later must complete one of four approved elementary teaching majors:  Language Arts, Integrated Science, Mathematics or Social Studies.  In addition, they may opt to add one or more approved disciplinary teaching majors or disciplinary teaching minors; however, doing so is optional. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 overall and in their teaching major to progress to the internship year.  Students who were freshmen before 2009 and are pursuing the two minor option must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in both teaching minors.

Elementary Planned Program

The Elementary Planned Program is designed to provide the breath of content knowledge required to teach all subjects in the elementary grades. The Planned Program must include a minimum of 20 credits that are not double counted with the teaching major. A minimum grade of 2.0 is required for all courses in the Planned Program.

Competency Examinations

The Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) Basic Skills test must be passed prior to admission to the teacher preparation program. All students pursuing elementary certification must pass the Elementary Education MTTC (083) prior to the internship year. The MTTC corresponding to the teaching major must be passed before the candidate can be recommended for the endorsement on his or her certificate. The MTTC corresponding to the teaching major must be passed prior to the internship year if the candidate wishes to have a middle school internship placement.

Technology Requirements

The Michigan Department of Education requires that students demonstrate awareness, proficiency and expertise in personal productivity and pedagogical technology before they receive a teaching certificate. MSU requires demonstration of specific skills prior to the internship. Typically, this is accomplished in professional education courses.

Bachelor Degree

All baccalaureate requirements must be fulfilled and the bachelor degree must be conferred prior to beginning the internship year.

Criteria for Progression to the Internship

All standards (academic requirements, testing requirements and professional standards) must be satisfied before a student can progress to the internship year.

Internship Year

The internship includes a full academic year of study and experience in a selected school. During the internship, interns complete 12 credits of graduate-level coursework. All 12 credits earned in the CEP 800-level courses may later be counted on the master's degree in Special Education at MSU. With faculty approval, some of the credits earned in the 800-level courses may later be applied to other selected master's degree programs.


After successful completion of all College, University, and State of Michigan requirements (including the internship and courses taken concurrent with the internship), the teacher candidate is eligible to apply for provisional teacher certification. After the application has been reviewed by the Certification Office in 134 Erickson, the qualified candidate is recommended to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) for certification.