Elementary/Middle Education (K-9) and Special Education (K-12) Major - Bachelor of Science (BS)

The elementary/middle education (grades K-9) and special education (grades K-12) major provides a pathway for future teachers to be dual-licensed in both regular education (English and language arts, math, science, social studies in grades K-9) and cross-categorical special education (grades K-12). 

Both federal and state law includes provisions for supporting students with disabilities in K-12 classrooms. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) was adopted and modified in WI in Act 258 in 2006. These laws require schools/districts to assess and provide services for children with disabilities. For decades, schools’ predominant model was a “pull-out” model, where students with disabilities were pulled out of general classrooms and supported by Special Education professionals in a separate setting. However, the pull-out model is most often not the "Least Restrictive Environment" (LRE) for students. (LRE, as established in IDEA regulations, must be offered to students who require special education services.) For more than 80% of students requiring special education services, the LRE is the general education setting. The inclusive model, in which all children are included in the general classroom and instruction is differentiated, requires that educators be equipped with the skills to understand, assess, and support the needs of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. The EME/SPE program will prepare future teachers with the skills and dispositions to better understand learner development, explore critically important special education topics such as the intersectionalities between disabilities, race, and other markers of difference, and employ research-based strategies both in inclusive classrooms and in specialized settings. 

Completion of the Elementary/Middle Education and Special Education Program and associated benchmark assessments will lead to endorsement for the following Wisconsin teaching licenses:

  • Elementary and Middle School, grades K-9 (2088) and
  • Cross-Categorical Special Education, grades K-12 (2081).

Students in all teacher education programs must satisfy the School of Education (SOE) core requirements.

Students in all teacher education programs must be admitted to the School of Education in order to complete their program requirements and be eligible for endorsement for the appropriate teaching license(s). Students majoring in elementary/middle education (grades K-9) and special education (grades K-12) must meet specific program admission criteria.  

Retention and advancement

Teacher candidates may be retained in their teacher education program provided they fulfill the conditions described in the SOE Retention Policy. Students must complete all course requirements and other benchmarks prior to student teaching as described in the Student Teaching and Internship Policy. Additional SOE program requirements, including the culminating assessment of pedagogical knowledge, are described on the SOE catalog page.


The Elementary/Middle Education and Special Education Program aligned with InTASC Teacher Standards, the national CAEP (elementary) and AMLE (middle-level) Standards, and the CEC Special Education Professional Preparation Standards.

Required general education courses (26 credits)

Besides the courses specified below, elementary/middle education and special education majors must satisfy additional general education requirements. The General Education Program requires a total of 42 credits.

EDS 203School, Society, and Teachers 1, 93
EDS 206Multicultural Education 3, 93
MTH 115Mathematics for Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers I 33
MTH 116Mathematics for Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers II 32
MTH 215Mathematics for Middle School Teachers I 32
HIS 110World History 43
GEO 200Conservation of Global Environments 53
Select one of the following: 64
Biological Science course from GE Natural Science List
Physical Science course from GE Natural Science List
ART 302Visual Language in the Global Classroom 73
Total Credits26

Recommended general education courses

PHY 106Physical Science for Educators 64
HED 207Youth Health Issues 83

Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Self and Society (GE Category 6).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Minority Cultures or Multiracial Women's Studies (GE Category 3).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Mathematical/Logical Systems and Modern Languages (GE Category 2). Must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: International and Multicultural Studies, World History (GE Category 4-1).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: International and Multicultural Studies, Global and Multicultural Studies (GE Category 4-2). Also satisfies a WI statutory requirement.


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Natural Laboratory Science (GE Category 5).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Arts (GE Category 8).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Health and Physical Well-Being (GE Category 9).

Additional required content courses (14-15 credits)

Elementary/middle education and special education majors must complete the following additional content courses to meet accreditation standards and/or WI statutory requirements. Some courses are also in the General Education Program.

PSY 212Lifespan Development 93
MTH 216Mathematics for Middle School Teachers II 32
TSL 250Educating Multilingual Learners3
Select the category not previously chosen for GE Catgeory 5: 63-4
Biological Science
Physical Science
Select one of the following:3
American National Government 1
State and Local Government 1
Total Credits14-15

Courses not requiring admission to the School of Education (18 credits)

EDS 308Foundations of Literacy3
EDS 309Teaching Global Perspectives Across the Curriculum3
EDS 311Curriculum and Pedagogy: Elementary/Middle Education3
EDS 318Literacy Methods I3
SPE 200Foundations of Special Education 93
SPE 340Collaborative Partnerships and Transitions for Students with Disabilities3
Total Credits18

Courses requiring admission to the School of Education (49-50 credits)

Field I block courses (must be taken concurrently)
EDS 402Field Experience I: Elementary Level 93
EDS 413Social Studies Methods 93
EDS 418Literacy Methods II 93
Field II block courses (must be taken concurrently)
EDS 446Field Experience II: Middle Level 93
EDS 421Science Methods 93
EDS 422Mathematics Methods 92
EDS 452Philosophy and Curriculum for Young Adolescent Learners3
Special education courses
SPE 300Designing Sustainable Inclusive Classrooms3
SPE 420Advanced Literacy and Math Practices for K-12 Students with Persistent Academic Challenges3
SPE 452Assessment in Special Education3
Special education field block (must be taken concurrently)8-9
Select one of the following options:
Option A: Local Experience (9 credits)
Advanced Practices for Students with Challenging Behaviors
Methods in Cross-Categorical Special Education (K-12)
Field Experience in Special Education (K-12)
Option B: Luxembourg Experience (8 credits) 10
Advanced Practices for Students with Challenging Behaviors in an International Setting
Methods in Cross-Categorical Special Education in an International Setting
Field Experience in Special Education in an International Setting
Student teaching semester 11
EDS 492Student Teaching Seminar 91
A combination of the following: 911
Student Teaching: Elementary/Middle Education (K-9)
Student Teaching: Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12)
Teaching Internship
Total Credits49-50

Also satisfies an SOE core requirement.


This experience occurs during the summer on-site in Luxembourg. Students are responsible for the costs associated with the study abroad experience.


Must complete all course requirements and other benchmarks prior to student teaching. For more information, please see the Student Teaching and Internship Policy.

Additional teacher education requirements are listed on the School of Education catalog page.

All teacher education students must complete the general education, School of Education, major/minor, and university degree requirements in order to qualify for a degree. The easiest way to track all of these requirements is to refer to the Advisement Report (AR) found in the Student Information System (WINGS) Student Center. All enrolled students have access to the AR.

Baccalaureate degree requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the general education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college.
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.1, 2
  5. At least 40 credits must be earned in 300/400 level courses. Transfer courses earned or transferred at the 300/400 level apply to this requirement.
  6. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA1, 2 in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected).
  7. A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UWL is required for graduation. (See undergraduate resident requirement.)
  8. Submit an application for graduation via the "Apply for Graduation" link in the WINGS Student Center as soon as the student has registered for his or her final semester or summer term in residence. December and winter intersession graduates should apply by May 1. May and summer graduates should apply by December 1.

Grade point average requirements for some programs will be considerably higher than 2.00. Re-entering students may be required to earn credits in excess of the 120 needed for graduation in any curriculum in order to replace credits earned in courses in which the content has changed substantially in recent years. Each case will be judged on its own merit.


The grade point average recorded at the time the degree is awarded will not be affected by future enrollment.

No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within 30 days after the official ending date of each term.

Below is a sample degree plan that can be used as a guide to identify courses required to fulfill the major and other requirements needed for degree completion. A student's actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Also, this sample plan assumes readiness for each course and/or major plan, and some courses may not be offered every term. Review the course descriptions or the class timetable for course offering information.

The sample degree plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UWL in the fall term. Students should use the Advisement Report (AR) in WINGS and work closely with their faculty advisor(s) and college dean’s office to ensure declaration and completion of all requirements in a timely manner.

General Education Program
The general education curriculum (Gen Ed) is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UWL. Sample degree plans include Gen Ed placeholders to ensure completion of the general education requirements. Courses may be rearranged to fit the needs or recommendations of the student’s program of study. Gen Ed courses may be taken during winter term (January between the semesters) and summer to reduce the course load during regular terms (fall and spring). Students should consult with their advisor and/or the college academic services director in their college/school for assistance with course and schedule planning. Refer to the general education requirements for more specific details.

At least 40 credits of the 120 credits required must be earned at the 300/400-level. 

Note: New students and transfer students with 15 or fewer credits earned are required to take FYS 100 First-Year Seminar (3 cr.) during one of their first two semesters at UWL.

This sample degree plan does not establish a contractual agreement. It identifies the minimum requirements a student must successfully complete, to qualify for a degree, in a format intended to assist the student in planning their academic career. Actual degree plans may differ.

Year 1
CST 110 (Gen Ed Literacy-Oral)3ENG 110 or 112 (Gen Ed Literacy-Written)3
EDS 203 (Gen Ed Self & Society)3EDS 206 (Gen Ed Minority Cultures)3
MTH 115 (Gen Ed Math/Logical Systems)3MTH 116 (Gen Ed Math/Logical Systems)2
FYS 100 (Gen Ed First-Year Seminar)3GEO 200 (Gen Ed Global Studies)3
HIS 110 (Gen Ed World History)3Gen Ed Humanistic Studies3
POL 101 or 1023Gen Ed Health & Well-Being13
 18 17
Year 2
EDS 3083SPE 2003
EDS 3093EDS 3183
EDS 3113Gen Ed Natural Lab Science-Physical34
PSY 2123MTH 2162
Gen Ed Natural Lab Science-Biological4TSL 2503
MTH 2152Apply for Field Experience I4 
Apply for admission to SOE2  
 18 15
Year 3
SPE 3003SPE 4603
EDS 4023SPE 4553
EDS 4133SPE 4243
EDS 4183SPE 3403
ART 302 (Gen Ed Arts)3SPE 4523
Apply for Special Education Field Experience4 Apply for Field Experience II4 
 Apply for Student Teaching5 
 15 15
Year 4
EDS 4213All course requirements and other benchmarks must be completed prior to student teaching.6 
EDS 4222EDS 4921
EDS 4523EDS 4916
EDS 4463EDS 4975
Gen Ed Arts (not from ART)2-3 
SPE 4203 
 16 12
Total Credits: 126

HED 207 is recommended.


See the SOE admissions website for complete admission and application details. Students will be required to complete a criminal background check at the time of application for admission.


PHY 106 is recommended.


Students applying for field and student teaching placements will be asked to disclose any criminal charges.


Students must apply for student teaching through the Office of Field Experience one year prior to student teaching semester.


For more information, please see the Student Teaching and Internship Policy.