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The following courses must be completed before starting the Special Education: Elementary, MS and License or Special Education: Secondary, MS and License programs. The program starts at the beginning of summer term each year. The prerequisite courses must have been completed within seven years prior to beginning the special educator program.

  • PSY 311 Human Growth and Development (4 credits)
  • MTH 211, 212, Foundations of Elementary Math I and II (8 credits). Both must be taken.
  • SPED 418/518 Survey of Exceptional Learners (3 credits)

In the chart below each course is described, times offered at PSU, and important notes about the course are provided:

Prerequisite and times offered at PSU Important notes about this course
PSY 311 Human Growth and Development (4 credits) Offered at PSU fall, winter, spring and summer terms Development of the individual across the life-span, from conception to death. Surveys the biological bases and social contexts of developmental processes (e.g., cognitive, social, emotional development). Implications of research for education, parenting/family relations, and social policy. Course needs to include human development from birth to age 18 or beyond. An equivalent course can be found at area community colleges.
MTH 211 and 212 Foundations of Elementary Math  (8 credits @ 4 credits each) The courses are focused on how to teach math. If you are planning to teach and support academics for students with disabilities, both MTH 211 and 212 must be taken. Foundations of Elementary Mathematics in order to gain a strong base in teaching math.
SPED 418/518 Survey of Exceptional Learners (3 credits) Offered at PSU fall, winter, spring, and summer terms This course provides the foundation for understanding various exceptionalities and how special education is provided to students in schools.

Registering for the prerequisite courses

It is advisable to begin prerequisite courses as soon as possible. If you plan on taking eight or fewer credits per term at Portland State University and are not currently a student you may register as a Quick Entry non-admitted student. A first-time registrant must submit a Quick Entry Application Form to the Office of Admissions and Records so that a registration file can be created. The application is available online or at the Office of Admissions and Records in 105 Neuberger Hall. There is a one-time $25 fee for this process. Nonadmitted/non-degree students are not eligible to receive financial aid. Please allow 48-72 hours for your registration record to be created. Consult the Schedule of Classes for course offerings and registration.

Course substitutions
You may have previously taken a course(s) that can serve as a substitution for a prerequisite. If you feel you have completed an equivalent course please submit a Course Substitution formpdf icon with supporting documentation.

Highly recommended courses

The following courses are highly recommended as preparation for the Special Educator program.

  • SPED 199/410: Careers in Special Education (1 credit)
  • SPED 410/519: Principles of Special Education (3 credits)
  • SPED 199/460: Outdoor Education/Recreation with Individuals with Disabilities, or, UNST 421: Senior Capstone: Learning From and About Persons with Significant Disabilities (6 credits)
  • CI 432 - Computer Applications for the Classroom (3 credits)