Nov 29, 2021  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [Current Academic Year]

Special Education K-12 Cognitive Impairment Endorsement - Secondary [BS]

The Michigan Department of Education endorses special education teachers in discrete educational categories of disability, one of which is Cognitive Impairment. A student qualifies for the cognitive impairment educational category based on assessments of intelligence, achievement, and adaptive behavior. As a Michigan Teacher with this endorsement, you can teach across the spectrum of Cognitive Impairment, from mild to severe multiple disabilities. In your program, you will focus on effective teaching and learning practices that promote academic, emotional and personal growth for students with cognitive impairments.


This major prepares students to successfully teach secondary general education students and youth with Cognitive Impairments throughout a variety of K-12 settings. Students master the skills necessary for assessing, teaching and modifying instruction and curricula for students with Cognitive Impairment. This includes using research-based strategies to promote the development of language, reading, writing, spelling, calculating and thinking. Skill development continues as students learn to plan and implement instruction in a variety of settings and domains and use assistive technology to support students wherever and whenever it is needed. Students will also learn how to develop and maintain collaborative relationships and partnerships with parents/families/caregivers, educators, administrators, consultants and community service providers.


Majors in the area of Cognitive Impairment will complete 100 hours of clinical experience with students with Cognitive Impairment prior to their special education student teaching placement. Students will be provided with opportunities to both observe and work with students in self-contained classrooms, resource rooms, and inclusive settings in urban, rural, and suburban schools. In addition, given the unique range of educational settings in Michigan, students can experience a center-based setting. Most of these experiences will be associated with specific classes and assignments. 

Students also have the opportunity to join (free) EMU’s student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC-S). Full time, undergraduate students may further receive stipends to attend the Michigan CEC Chapter’s annual conference with registration fees 100% reimbursed as well as some assistance for travel and lodging. For only $10, students can join the national organization (CEC), as well.

An option exists for majors to complete an additional 11 credit hours of coursework and earn an Emotional Impairment teaching endorsement along with their Cognitive Impairment teaching endorsement. (See an advisor for more information.)

Department Information

Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders | David Winters, Ph.D., Department Head | 128 Porter, 734.487.3300,

Advisor Information

Jacquelyn McGinnis, Ph.D., 128E Porter, 734.487.3300,

Myung-Sook Koh, Ed.D., 122 Porter, 734.487.3300,

Teacher Certification

Successful completion of this course of study, in the context of other program requirements, qualifies the student for recommendation to the Michigan Department of Education for a Michigan Standard Teaching Certificate with a K-12 endorsement as a Teacher of Students with Cognitive Impairment, certification code SA and, depending on the minor selected, an additional endorsement. This program of study meets all requirements of the Council for Exceptional Children. The Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) covering this field is #056, “Cognitive Impairment.”

In Michigan, an endorsement must be attached to either an elementary or secondary teaching certificate. Students selecting Secondary Certification must select a teachable minor from the approved list, and students must pass the certification test related to the minor in order to be recommended for endorsement in the minor field.

Initial Teacher Preparation Program Admission

To pursue the sequence of courses necessary to complete eligibility for a recommendation for certification, one must apply for and be admitted to the teacher preparation program.

Admission to the teacher preparation program is not automatic. Only those persons who have formally applied are considered for admission. Not all persons who apply become eligible for admission.

Teaching majors and minors are unofficial until program admission. Students pursuing teacher certification should follow the catalog that exists at the time of program admission. Students must apply to the teacher preparation program as soon as they have earned 56 credit hours.

Admission to Initial Teacher Preparation Program Candidacy

Students must meet all of the following requirements

  • Completion of 56 credit hours
  • Appropriate cumulative GPA. One of:
    • An overall EMU GPA of 2.5 or higher based on a minimum of 12 credit hours taken at EMU. An EMU GPA of 2.5 or higher in your major, based on at least one course in your major.
    • Transferred 56 credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA from all previous institutions.
  • A grade of “C” or higher in the following courses (if taken): WRTG 121 , COMM 124 , Quantitative Reasoning [GEQR] , One Lab Science, PSY 101 , and all of the professional education courses.
  • ICHAT criminal background check and Statement of Civil/Criminal Convictions. If you answered yes to any of the civil/criminal conviction questions on the application, you would need to provide:
    • A copy of the Judgment of Sentence, or Registrar of Actions, or Certification of Conviction.
    • A written explanation of the offense(s). Application of students with civil/criminal convictions will be carefully reviewed and may take longer to process.
  • Attendance at Group Advising Session required. Your major may require additional advising sessions.

Continuance Criteria

Criteria for continuance in a special education program of study in the Department of Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders is dependent upon:

  1. Maintenance of a 2.5 GPA.
  2. Maintenance of a 2.5 GPA in major courses in the program of study.
  3. Completion of all courses in the major with a grade of C or better. Students will be required to retake any major course in which they earn a grade below C.
  4. Demonstration of behaviors, which indicate stability, maturity, understanding, and aptitude, as judged necessary for predicted success in the professional field of special education. Such qualitative judgments will be made by the department faculty.

The continuance or termination decision will be made by the faculty in the program area. Students may request a meeting with the faculty of a program area to apprise faculty of any extenuating circumstances that may aid faculty in arriving at a fair and equitable decision. The faculty decision will be final and transmitted to the student in writing by the department head.

Nothing in this department’s procedures will negate University or College of Education action for students on academic, administrative, or social probation.

Termination from the Department

Students who fail to comply with the continuation criteria stated above will be notified in writing of their termination from the program. Students so notified have the right to appeal such termination through normal University channels. In some cases, a student will be required to meet with program area faculty to discuss academic performance and continuation in the program.

General Education Requirements:

For specific requirements, see General Education  or print a worksheet .  

Major Requirements: 40 hours

Completion of all courses in the major with a grade of C or better is required. Students will be required to retake any major course in which they earn a grade below C.

Professional Secondary Education Sequence: 34 hours

Pre-Student Teaching Experience Requirements

One hundred and fifty (150) hours of pre-student teaching are required.

  • Fifty (50) hours will be completed in general education secondary classrooms. 
  • Fifty (50) hours will be completed in elementary special education settings. 
  • Fifty (50) hours will be completed in secondary special education settings. 

Some of these hours will be completed in conjunction with education courses. All hours should be documented per department procedure.

Student Teaching

Two (2) semesters of student teaching will be completed, one in a general education secondary classroom (in minor) and one in a special education setting.

Minor Requirement:

This major requires a teaching minor. Students should see their advisor for a list of applicable minors.

Program Total:

Students must earn a minimum total of 124 credits at the 100-level or above.

Critical Graduation Information

Each undergraduate student will be responsible for the fulfillment of the requirements or their equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration at a college or university or a subsequent catalog including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

In the event an undergraduate student does not complete the degree requirements within seven years of the date of their original registration at a college or university, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their major/minor in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all bachelor’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some majors and minors require more than the minimum in one or more of the areas below; students are urged to consult the online catalog for the requirements of their particular programs.

  • Earn a minimum total of 124 credits at the 100-level and above. Courses with numbers below 100 will not be counted toward this degree requirement. At most 8 credit hours of physical education (PEGN) activity courses will be counted toward this requirement.
  • Meet the requirements of the General Education program (see information below).
  • Complete a Writing Intensive (GEWI) Course in your major.
  • Earn a minimum of 60 credits from a four-year college or university; courses taken at community colleges cannot be used to meet this requirement. (Some formal program-to-program articulation agreements modify this requirement. See specific agreements for details.)
  • Earn a minimum of 30 credits from courses taken at EMU.
  • Complete 10 of the last 30 hours for the degree from courses taken at EMU.
  • Have a minimum of 30 unique credit hours in their major and 20 unique credit hours in their minor for a total of at least 50 unique credit hours between them. Some majors that require 50 or more hours themselves do not require a minor; students should check the requirements of the selected major in the undergraduate catalog to see if a minor is required.
  • Earn no more than 60 credit hours in one subject area (prefix). Credits in excess of the 60 maximum will not be counted toward the minimum of 124 credits required for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Earn the minimum number of credits in 300-level and above courses in each major and minor as specified below - these credits must be earned in distinct courses; that is, no course can be used to fulfill this requirement in more than one major or minor.
    • Earn a minimum of 6 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each minor
    • Earn a minimum of 9 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that requires a minor.
    • Earn a minimum of 15 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that does not require a minor
  • Transfer credit will be awarded for courses taken at colleges and universities that are accredited by one of the recognized regional accrediting bodies only if the courses are college-level (equated to 100-level or above at EMU) and the student earned a “C” (or 2.0 on a 4 point scale) or better. Transfer credit may be awarded on a case-by-case basis for college-level courses in which a “C” (2.0) or better was earned at institutions outside the U.S. or at non-accredited U.S. institutions; individual departments/schools conduct the internal review of such courses within EMU, and additional documentation may be required. Please note: EMU awards only credit for transferred courses; grades are not used in the calculation of an EMU GPA.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses taken at EMU in order to graduate. In addition, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be reached in each major and minor. Only courses taken at EMU and those applied to a student’s major or minor will be used in the calculation of their major and minor cumulative GPAs. (Note: some programs may require a higher GPA - check with your program advisor.)

General Education Requirements EMU’s General Education Program requires students to choose from a menu of approved courses in several different areas; do not assume that other courses in the same department or with similar names will fulfill these requirements. A detailed description of General Education requirements is available in the General Education  section of the catalog.

Students who transferred to EMU may have modified general education requirements based on Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) or articulation agreements; consult your academic advisor for additional information.