Do you feel called to teach? Do you seek a fulfilling career you are excited about, a career through which you make a real difference in the lives of people with special needs?
The special education program area offers an exciting array of undergraduate, graduate, and licensure-only special education programs, both on-campus and through distance education (online and through SECU Partnership East). The BS in special education general curriculum (GC) requires foundations curriculum and professional courses, with an emphasis on effective teaching practices, authentic assessment, technology integration, and serving students with diverse learning needs and backgrounds. The BS in special education general curriculum leads to K-12 licensure.

The GC program prepares you to work with children with disabilities who are ultimately pursuing a high school diploma and are studying in the general education curriculum. The courses in this program provide a common core of general knowledge and skills necessary for beginning teachers. Candidates in the special education GC program also complete all requirements for a Reading license.

The special education program area works in partnership with the educational community in the development of the professional special educators. The special education program at East Carolina offers a rich combination of mentoring and course work coupled with extensive field-based practices to prepare you to teach students with special learning needs. You will learn about disability characteristics for students with high-incidence disabilities, research-based instructional strategies and methods, and assessment practices designed to provide ongoing formative data for effective student learning. Along with early and ongoing field-based practicum courses, you will work closely with faculty, master teachers and university supervisors. That extensive educational experience means you will be empowered with the theory and the practice that will make you an expert in your field.

ECU Advantage

Special education at ECU includes an active student organization, the Student Council for Exceptional Children. By joining the SCEC, members surround themselves with others who have a passion for serving their community and individuals with exceptionalities. The SCEC also provides opportunities for professional and personal development by gaining experience through working with individuals with exceptionalities through community events.

Special education at ECU includes the Irene Howell Assistive Technology (IHAT) Center which offers hands on experiences with the use of assistive technology integrated into all special education courses. The IHAT Center is dedicated to professional development, research, and service around assistive technology topics and issues.

ECU is the largest producer of special education graduates in North Carolina. Our alumni have gone on to enjoy successful careers in a variety of school settings, and many of them have received state and national awards for their service and expertise.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Marsha Tripp (107 Rivers Building; 252-737-1897; trippma@ecu.edu)

Minimum degree requirement is 126 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements including those listed below - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

  • ART 3850 - Art in the Elementary School approved general education fine arts course

  • COMM 2020 - Fundamentals of Speech Communication or
  • COMM 2410 - Public Speaking or
  • COMM 2420 - Business and Professional Communication

  • MATH 1065 - College Algebra or
  • MATH 2127 - Basic Concepts of Mathematics

  • PSYC 1000 - Introductory Psychology

  • PSYC 2777 - Ethnocultural Psychology or
  • SOCI 2110 - Introduction to Sociology
2. Professional studies - 25 s.h.
  • EDTC 4001 - Technology in Education
  • EDUC 3200 - Foundations of American Education

  • EDUC 4400 - Foundations of School Learning, Motivation, and Assessment or
  • PSYC 4305 - Educational Psychology

  • READ 3301 - Reading Instruction in the Primary Grades *
  • SPED 2123 - Early Experiences for Prospective Teachers
  • SPED 4320 - Communication and Collaboration in Special Education
  • SPED 4324 - Internship in Special Education
3. Core - 30 s.h.
  • SPED 2000 - Introduction to Exceptional Children
  • SPED 2100 - Introduction to Students with Disabilities in the General Curriculum *
  • SPED 2109 - Introductory Practicum with Students with Disabilities in the General Curriculum
  • SPED 3001 - Assessing Students with Disabilities
  • SPED 3004 - Managing the Learning Environment
  • SPED 3005 - Instructional Programming in Special Education
  • SPED 3100 - Instructional Methods for Students with Disabilities in the General Curriculum
  • SPED 3109 - Instructional Practicum for Exceptional Children in the General Curriculum
  • SPED 4000 - Technology in Special Education
  • SPED 4100 - Issues and Strategies for Students with Disabilities in the General and Adapted Curricula
  • SPED 4300 - Practicum in Special Education
4. Cognates - 11 s.h.
  • MATE 3050 - Mathematics and Methods for Grades Pre-K-2
  • MATE 3051 - Field Experience in Mathematics Grades K-2
  • MATE 3060 - Mathematics and Methods for Grades 3-6
  • SCIE 3216 - Teaching Science in the Elementary School
5. Reading license - 18 s.h.*

*Note: The Reading License for this degree requires 24 s.h. Two of the required reading license courses are required in the degree - one in the core (SPED 2100) and one in professional studies (READ 3301). Both of these courses count towards the 24 s.h., resulting in an 18 s.h. requirement for students fulfilling requirements for this degree. Before registering for courses for the reading license, please see the coordinator of this program or your academic advisor.

    6. Electives to complete requirements for graduation.

      The academic concentration is not required for SPED majors.

        For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

        Careers With This Degree

        Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

        • Special Education, General
        • Special Education Teachers, Preschool, K and Elementary
        • Special Education Teachers, Middle School
        • Special Education Teachers, Secondary School
        • Special Education, General

        Career Opportunities

        ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

        NC Tower

        This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

        • Self-employed;
        • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
        • Work outside of North Carolina.

        US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

        This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

        Degree-specific internships

        For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.