Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Special Education K-12 Endorsement [BS]

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The Michigan Department of Education endorses special education teachers in discrete educational categories of disability, four of which are offered at EMU: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cognitive Impairment, Emotional Impairment, and Learning Disabilities.  Depending on the disability, a student may have difficulty with cognitive processing, academics, behavior, life skills, language and communication, socialization, memory, and mental health. As a Special Education (K-12) major, you will choose one of these concentrations with an option to add a second. No matter which concentration(s) you choose, you will focus on effective teaching and learning practices that promote academic, social-emotional, and personal growth for students with disabilities.

  • Option 1 - Autism Spectrum Disorders: Autism Spectrum Disorders is a neurologically-based disability causing persons to process information differently. ASD primarily impacts communication, socialization, and academics. This concentration prepares students for an SV endorsement.
  • Option 2 - Cognitive Impairment: A student qualifies for the cognitive impairment educational category based on intelligence, achievement, and adaptive behavior assessments. As a Michigan teacher with this SA endorsement, you can teach across the spectrum of cognitive impairment, from mild to severe multiple disabilities. 
  • Option 3 - Emotional Impairment: This concentration, preparing for an SE endorsement, focuses on students identified as having emotional and behavioral disorders, those who experience mental health challenges, and those whose behavior puts them at risk for failure in school, home, and/or the community. 
  • Option 4 - Learning Disabilities: Learning disabilities are associated with processing deficits that may impact a person’s ability to master various academic skills, including basic reading skills, reading fluency, reading comprehension, written expression, math calculation, math problem-solving skills, oral expression, and listening comprehension. Pursuing this concentration prepares you for an SM endorsement.

Note - In Michigan, special education endorsements must be paired with a general education content area of specialization. Therefore, students pursuing this major must also major in either Elementary - Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (with Certification) [BS]  or Teaching and Learning (with Secondary Certification) [BS] .

For Secondary Certification, in addition to satisfying the requirements of this major and Teaching and Learning (with Secondary Certification) [BS] , students must also complete a secondary education major in a discipline (three majors in total). Students are highly encouraged to discuss the cost and time needed to complete this option with an advisor before beginning coursework.


This major prepares students to successfully teach individuals with disabilities in various K-12 settings. Students will master the skills necessary for designing, implementing, and monitoring academic and behavioral interventions that allow youth to succeed in school and transition to independent adult living. Throughout the program, there is an emphasis on evidence-based interventions and practices. Students will further learn to develop and maintain collaborative relationships with parents/families/caregivers, general education teachers, related service providers, administrators, consultants, and community service agencies. Field experiences connect theory to reality. Students will be competent to assess, analyze data, and develop and implement individual education programs upon graduation.


Majors complete 100 hours of clinical experience with youth with disabilities before their special education student teaching placement. Students will be allowed to observe and work with learners in center-based programs, self-contained classrooms, resource rooms, and inclusive settings in urban, rural, and suburban districts. Most of these experiences will be associated with specific classes and assignments.

As noted above, an option exists for majors to complete an additional 15-16 credit hours of coursework toward a second special education endorsement at the same time as their initial special education endorsement (pending a passing score on the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification). See an advisor for more information.

Department Information

Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders 128 Porter, 734.487.3300 

David Winters, PhD, Department Head

Advisor Information

College of Education Advising Center | Make an appointment, 206 Porter, 734.487.3415 

Initial Teacher Preparation Program

To pursue the sequence of courses necessary to complete eligibility for a recommendation for certification, one must satisfy the teacher preparation program’s checkpoint criteria. The requirements are standard for all teacher preparation programs.

Satisfying the teacher preparation program checkpoint requirements is not automatic. For specific requirements, please see Teaching and Learning (with Secondary Certification) [BS]  or Elementary - Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (with Certification) [BS] .

Double Major Requirement

Students are required to pair this major with one of the following majors:

Major Requirements: 36 hours

Students are required to complete a Writing Intensive Course in the Teaching and Learning (with Secondary Certification) [BS]  or Elementary - Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (with Certification) [BS] . Upon successfully completing the course, students will satisfy the Writing Intensive general education requirement and are not required to complete one as part of this major’s required courses.

Core: 12 hours

Students must take all core courses. Note that SPGN 251, a requirement for the Teaching and Learning majors, is a prerequisite for all of them. 

Concentration: 12 hours

Students must select one concentration.

Note: SPGN 251 is a prerequisite for SPCI 360 and SPEI 360. For SPAI 360 and SPLI 360, SPGN 251 may be taken concurrently.

Exit Course: 12 hours

This is typically completed during a student’s last semester. At this point, all other coursework should be completed. 

Suppose the student chooses two concentrations to seek dual special education endorsement. In that case, their student teaching placement is split, with eight weeks for the first endorsement area and six weeks for the second.

Minor Requirement:

This major does not require a minor.

Students are required to pair this major with Teaching and Learning (with Secondary Certification) [BS]  or Elementary - Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (with Certification) [BS]  

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.

Critical Graduation Information

Each undergraduate student will be responsible for fulfilling 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.

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 this catalog for the requirements of their particular programs.

  • Earn a minimum total of 120 credit hours at the 100-level and above.
    • Courses numbered below 100 are not counted toward this degree requirement.
    • At most, eight credit hours of physical education (PEGN) activity courses are counted toward this requirement.
  • Meet the requirements of the General Education program (see information below), including completing a Writing Intensive (GEWI) course in the student’s 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. A double major automatically satisfies the need for a minor unless one of the two majors requires a specific 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 over the 60 maximum will not be counted toward the minimum of 120 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 to calculate an EMU GPA.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses taken at EMU to graduate. In addition, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be reached in each major and minor. Only courses a student takes at EMU and those applied to their major or minor are used to calculate 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 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.


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