Special Education – Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA)

The Bachelor of Arts in Special Education is designed to meet the non-categorical teacher certification requirements for the District of Columbia and other school jurisdictions.  Students will be prepared for careers as teachers in public and private schools, or as special educators who provide direct services to children and youth with special needs. The program of study is designed to provide learning experiences that enable candidates to develop competencies required to assess the academic, social, and behavioral needs of exceptional children and youth in a multi-ethnic urban school setting. Students will also be trained in the application of teaching methods and learning strategies in a behaviorally-oriented K-12 learning environment. The program focuses on the education of disabled children from age three to 21 and professional interaction with their families. Emphasis is placed on responding to the developmental and cultural uniqueness of each child, as students in the program learn to design, implement, and evaluate curricular activities and learning environments.

Accreditation: The program is accredited by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Objectives for Special Education Undergraduate Programs

Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy.
  2.  Communicate effectively.
  3.  Utilize effective classroom and behavior management techniques.
  4. Design, implement, and assess developmentally appropriate teaching/learning activities.
  5. Understand and demonstrate respect for individual needs and diversity.
  6. Integrate instructional and assistive technology to enhance learning for all students.
  7. Commit to continuous growth through reflection and professional development.
  8. Advocate change to improve education for students, school system, and self; display leadership qualities.
  9. Effectively collaborate with students, parents, colleagues, schools, and communities.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Special Education Program

Students in the bachelor’s program in Special Education complete a 126 credit hour plan of study to earn the degree. Students take courses in foundation of education, special education, methods and materials in teaching, practicums and student teaching. These courses allow students acquire and apply teaching methods, learning strategies, and instructional interventions that are based on sound research and best practices.

Recent elective courses have included:

  • Child Health and Nutrition
  • Children’s Literature
  • Technology for Teachers

Core course topic areas include:

  • Education of Exceptional Children
  • Assessment of Exceptional Children
  • Methods and Materials of Teaching
  • Practicums and Student Teaching

Program of Study

Student Organizations and Activities

Students are encouraged to pursue campus- and department-sponsored service learning and community-based research opportunities with community organizations, nonprofits, schools and other groups in the local area. Opportunities include:

Council for Exceptional Children: The voice and vision of special education, this is the premier association for special education professionals

Early Childhood Education Club: The student-led club volunteers, tutors, and hosts fundraisers for children in the District of Columbia.

ACEI: Association for Childhood Education International is to promote and support the optimal education, development, and well-being of children and youth worldwide.

NAEYC:  The National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest national early childhood organization. Our faculty encourages students to join.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Special Education Program

Dr. Delia Robinson Richards, Program Coordinator, presents diverse early childhood topics at national and international conferences. She is a Fulbright Scholar who has developed and implemented early childhood programs in the United States and in the Caribbean. Her research projects include the implementation of the multiple intelligence theory into the early childhood curriculum and Black fathers’ involvement in their children’s academic achievement.

Arlene King-Berry, Professor Special Education, is a dynamic educator, and lawyer, with over 25 years of experience in the field of education. She has held a variety of positions in the District of Columbia Public and Charter Schools as teacher, supervisor, Director of Special Education, and Special Education Attorney and Hearing Officer. Arlene is actively involved in grant writing, scholarly publications, and is a seasoned presenter at local, national, and international conferences. Numerous awards attest to her prolific professional and community contributions.

Career Pathways and Prospects

The Bachelor of Arts in Special Education prepares students for graduate study in any number of fields or for a career in areas such as:

  • Teaching
  • School Leader/Principal
  • Specialist

UDC’s Special Education faculty and the university’s Career and Professional Development Center have a strong track record of assisting graduates in transitioning into the workforce.

Contact info:

Dr. Delia Robinson-Richards, Program Coordinator | T: 202.274.5875 | E: drrichards@udc.edu

Dr. Arlene King-Berry |T: 202.274.5973 | E. akberry@udc.edu