Undergraduate Program Special Education

PSU special education student working with clients

Special Education Bachelor's Degree Overview

The Special Education program at Portland State University provides students with an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in special education and a Preliminary Teaching License with an endorsement in special education. This program is the only undergraduate teacher preparation licensure program in special education in the state of Oregon.

PSU's Special Education bachelor's degree is unique in that it offers preparation to teach students across a wide range of ages, including students age 3 through 21 and those who have more significant disabilities requiring extensive supports.

The undergraduate licensure program significantly reduces the cost of licensure for students and more directly addresses the critical shortage of these teachers across the state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

PSU's Special Education faculty are committed to our students, improving education in Oregon and across the country, and fostering strong partnerships with community agencies.


The special education major requires 64 credits, including practicum and field experiences. Download a list of program requirements (PDF).

To major in special education, you must apply and be accepted to the major.

Special Education Minor Overview

PSU's special education minor prepares aspiring special education teachers to enter a graduate teacher education program and be licensed to teach Special Education. You'll be introduced to the skills and knowledge required for those wanting to teach students with special needs at either the elementary or secondary level. In addition to a core set of courses, you'll choose electives from a range of departments, including math, special education, psychology, child and family studies, and speech and hearing sciences.

The minor in Special Education is intended for students who plan to enter a graduate teacher education program and be licensed to teach Special Education. While the minor is not a requirement for admission to the PSU College of Education, Special Education program, it does include all the prerequisites and highly recommended courses for admission to the program. Students seeking a license for teaching special education must complete a graduate-level program. The College of Education recommends students for teacher licensure at the completion of the Special Education program.

Degree Details

Special Education Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

The bachelor's degree in Special Education is part of the largest Department of Special Education in Oregon and is accredited through both the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the state of Oregon's Teacher and Standards Practices Commission.

Our faculty bring students a wide range of expertise in special education including instructional methods such as autism, positive behavior support, inclusion, assessment, early intervention/early childhood, the transition to adulthood, and visual impairments. PSU's faculty are deeply involved in improving special education services and instruction in Oregon and across the country. They do this through the development of research-based curricula and teaching methods, setting up model classrooms and programs, and building collaborative relationships within schools and between schools and the community. Their research has led to improvements in education for students with and without disabilities.

Our program welcomes collaboration and values community-based partnerships to support children, youth, families, school districts, and agencies throughout the state. These partnerships include both mutual collaboration to support pre-service teacher candidates and recent graduates as well as outreach and service to local school districts and community agencies.

What can I do with a Bachelor's degree or Minor in Special Education?

Graduates of the Special Educator License + BA/BS program are eligible for an Oregon Preliminary Teaching License with an endorsement in Special Education. This license enables candidates to teach students ages three through 21 (grades pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade) with a wide range of disabilities.

Featured Courses

  • SPED 411 Foundations of Special Education
  • SPED 414 Legal Foundations of Special Education
  • SPED 416 Classroom Assessment, Instruction, and Behavior Management
  • SPED 409 Professional Introduction to the School Year (September Experience)
  • SPED 430 Families and Advocacy
  • SPED 437 Reading Assessment and Instruction
  • SPED 409 Professional Practices Seminar 1 (Practicum 1)
  • SPED 448 Positive Behavior Support in the Classroom
  • SPED 433 Math Assessment and Instruction
  • SPED 422 Comprehensive Individualized Assessment and Curriculum 1
  • SPED 412 Diagnostic Assessment
  • SPED 423 Comprehensive Individualized Assessment and Curriculum 2
  • SPED 432 Inclusive Practices
  • SPED 409 Professional Practices Seminar 2 (Practicum 2)
  • SPED 438 Reading Assessment and Instruction

Transfer Requirements for the Special Education Bachelor's Degree 

Transfer students must complete a minimum 64 Special Education major requirements at PSU. These are the Special Education courses completed during the junior and senior years.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The Special Education Bachelor's degree at Portland State University is accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the state of Oregon's Teacher and Standards Practices Commission.