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Earn your special education degree from USM!

Special Education BS
Program Overview

You are already a special education teacher’s assistant, so you know what it takes to work with students who have exceptionalities. Because of this experience, you may have considered becoming a special education teacher. Are you itching to implement your personal teaching styles to create a learning environment that reflects them?

At The University of Southern Mississippi, we show you how to teach to your full potential. This is why we created the Bachelor of Science Special Education Degree online Program: a perfect fit for current special education teacher’s assistants who want to take the next step toward becoming certified teachers. Your life, plus college.

Interested in furthering your education?  USM also offers a Master’s in Special Education Online Degree, as well as a Master’s in Educational Administrative and Supervision Online Degree.

Interested?

Your Future

Check out some of the jobs our graduates landed after earning this degree.

  • Special Education Teacher – Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  • Special Education Teacher – Emotional Disabilities
  • Grade K-2 Special Education
  • Special Education Resource Teacher
  • Special Education Inclusion Facilitator

Your future starts at Southern Miss!

Qualifications

We all have a thirst for knowledge. But only some of us have an eagerness to share it. Make teaching your profession.

Basic Technology Literacy Exam (BTLE)

All students applying for admission to Professional Education at The University of Southern Mississippi have been required to obtain a passing score on each of the five modules of the Basic Technology Literacy Exam. The five modules consist of word processing, spreadsheet, telecommunications, presentation, and database.

For full information on the BTLE, class schedules, FAQ’s and exam times, please visit https://www.usm.edu/elementary-special-technology-education/btle-test

GoldCard

To receive your GoldCard, you must meet the following criteria:

  • GPA of 2.65 or better on the 44 hour core coursework
  • ACT composite of 21 or higher with no scale score below 18
    • OR an SAT of 860 (verbal and quantitative) upon entrance into college
    • OR acceptable scores on the PRAXIS I: (Minimum Score Reading 170, Writing 172, and Mathematics 169)
  • Passing score on the Basic Technology Literacy Exam

Degree Requirements


  • ENG 101 – Composition One 3 hrs.
  • ENG 102 – Composition Two 3 hrs.


Science Requirement (8 hours minimum)

Select 2 courses with labs:

  • BSC 103 – Biology and Society 3 hrs. ◊ AND
  • BSC 103L – Biology and Society Laboratory 1 hr ◊
  • BSC 110 – Principles of Biological Science I 3 hrs. AND
  • BSC 110L – Principles of Biological Science I Laboratory 1 hr.
  • BSC 111 – Principles of Biological Science II 3 hrs. AND
  • BSC 111L – Principles of Biological Science II Laboratory 1 hr.
  • CHE 104 – Chemistry and Our Environment 3 hrs. AND
  • CHE 104L – Chemistry and Our Environment Laboratory 1 hr.
  • CHE 106 – General Chemistry I 3 hrs. AND
  • CHE 106L – General Chemistry I Laboratory 1 hr.
  • CHE 107 – General Chemistry II 3 hrs. AND
  • CHE 107L – General Chemistry II Laboratory 1 hr.
  • PHY 111 – General Physics I 3 hrs. AND
  • PHY 111L – General Physics I Laboratory 1 hr.
  • PHY 112 – General Physics II 3 hrs. AND
  • PHY 112L – General Physics II Laboratory 1 hr.
Mathematics Requirement (3 hours)

  • MAT 100 – Quantitative Reasoning 3 hrs. ***
  • MAT 101 – College Algebra 3 hrs. *
  • Higher-level MAT course


  • ENG 203 – World Literature 3 hrs.
Select 2 courses, 1 History required:

  • HIS 101 – World Civilizations: Beginnings to 1500 C.E. 3 hrs. *
  • HIS 102 – World Civilizations: 1500 to the present 3 hrs. *
  • PHI 151 – Introduction to Philosophy 3 hrs.
  • REL 131 – Comparative Religion 3 hrs.


Select 1 course:

  • ART 130 – Art Appreciation 3 hrs.
  • DAN 130 – Dance Appreciation 3 hrs.
  • MUS 165 – The Enjoyment of Music 3 hrs.


Select 2 courses:

  • ANT 101 – The Human Experience: A Global Perspective on Human Diversity 3 hrs.
  • ECO 101 – Basic Economics 3 hrs.
  • GHY 101 – World Geography: Dynamics of a Changing Earth 3 hrs. *
  • PS 101 – American Government 3 hrs.
  • PSY 110 – General Psychology 3 hrs. *
  • SOC 101 – Understanding Society: Principles of Sociology 3 hrs.


IT 365 – Computer Applications in Education 3 hrs.



  • SPE 442 – Transition/Life Skills: Individuals with Disabilities 3 hrs. (WI) AND
  • SPE 442L – Practicum: Transition/Life Skills 1hr. (WI)
  • ENG 101 & ENG 102 prerequisites


Select 1 course:

  • CMS 111 – Oral Communication 3 hrs. (SI)


  • SPE 480 – Student Teaching: Mild/Moderate Disabilities/Lower Grades 6 hrs. (Capstone)
  • SPE 482 – Student Teaching Mild/Moderate Disabilities: Upper Grades 6 hrs. (Capstone)
  • Must be taken Senior Year; ENG 101 & ENG 102 prerequisites

Note:


*This course satisfies both the GEC requirement and a program requirement for this major.

**This particular GEC course is recommended by this major.

***This course does not satisfy prerequisites for any other math course.

◊ GEC restrictions apply; see here.

GEC 06 – GEC 09 courses are specific to this major.

For full description of the GEC, see here.



 

Must earn a minimum grade of “C” Certain courses are restricted. Gold Card required.

  • IT 365 – Computer Applications in Education 3 hrs.
  • SPE 121 – Introduction to Field Experience in SPE 3 hrs.
  • SPE 400 – Psychology & Education of Exceptional Children 3 hrs.
  • SPE 402 – General Teaching Methods in Special Education 3 hrs.
  • SPE 430 – Introduction to High-Incidence Disabilities 3 hrs.
  • SPE 498 – Families of Individuals with Disabilities 3 hrs.
  • SPE 404 – Language and Literacy: Students with Disabilities 3 hrs.
  • SPE 470 – Legal Aspects of Special Education 3 hrs.
  • CISE 403 – Educational Evaluation of Exceptional Children 3 hrs.
Co-requisite Clinical Experience

  • SPE 401 – Systematic Interventions for Challenging Behaviors 3 hrs. AND
  • SPE 401L – Practicum Interventions for Challenging Behaviors 1 hr.
  • SPE 410 – Reading and Writing for Students with Disabilities 3 hrs. AND
  • SPE 410L – Practicum: Reading & Writing for Students w/Disabilities 1 hr.
  • SPE 411 – Mathematics for Students with Disabilities 3 hrs. AND
  • SPE 411L – Practicum: Math for Students with Disabilities 1 hr.
  • SPE 431 – Teaching Academics to Students with Disabilities 3 hrs. AND
  • SPE 431L – Practicum: Teaching Academics 1 hr.
  • SPE 442 – Transition/Life Skills: Individuals with Disabilities 3 hrs. AND (WI)
  • SPE 442L – Practicum: Transition/Life Skills 1hr. (WI)
  • SPE 451 – Classroom and School Management Systems/Strategies 3 hrs. AND
  • SPE 451L – Practicum for Classroom Management 1 hr.
Student Teaching

  • SPE 480 – Student Teaching: Mild/Moderate Disabilities/Lower Grades 6 hrs. (Capstone)
  • SPE 482 – Student Teaching Mild/Moderate Disabilities: Upper Grades 6 hrs. (Capstone)


  • GHY 101 – World Geography: Dynamics of a Changing Earth 3 hrs. *
  • HIS 101 – World Civilizations: Beginnings to 1500 C.E. 3 hrs. *
  • HIS 102 – World Civilizations: 1500 to the present 3 hrs. *
  • MAT 101 – College Algebra 3 hrs. *
  • PSY 110 – General Psychology 3 hrs. *
    Select 1 course:

    • CD 350 – Child Development 3 hrs.
    • PSY 270 – Child Psychology 3 hrs.
    Select 1 course:

    • ENG 330 – Writing and Education 3 hrs.
    • ENG 333 – Technical Writing 3 hrs.
    • Approved ENG elective


Choose electives as needed with advisor’s approval. It is highly recommended that candidates select electives that will lead towards subject-area supplemental endorsements. The total number of elective hours for awarding the degree is 12.

  • English (9 hours beyond program requirements)
  • Social Studies (9 hours beyond program requirements)
  • Foreign Language (21 hours beyond program requirements)
  • Mathematics (19 hours beyond program requirements)
  • General Science (13 hours beyond program requirements)
  • Physical Education (21 hours beyond program requirements)

Hours to Degree


122 hours are needed to graduate with a BS in Special Education (K-12 Licensure). At least 50 percent of the hours applied to a degree at The University of Southern Mississippi must be earned from a senior college, and 45 of these hours must be in courses numbered 300 or above. The student must earn at least 21 of the last 30 hours of course work and at least 12 hours in the major area of study from Southern Miss. See Residence Hour Requirements for more information.

Note:


Praxis II and PLT tests scores must be reported to Southern Miss PRIOR to graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions


Additional course fees may apply.  Fees range between $20 – $60.



Student teaching is divided into 2 sections, upper and lower grade. The first section will be completed in the  special education classroom where you work. The second section will be completed at your same school, but in an upper or lower grade depending on what grade you teach.



The U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program provides grant funds to postsecondary students who are completing or planning to complete coursework that is needed to begin a career in teaching, and who agree to serve for at least four years as a full-time, highly qualified teacher in a high-need field, in a school serving low-income students. Eligible full-time students may receive $4,000 per year in TEACH Grant funds, up to a maximum of $16,000 for undergraduates and post-baccalaureate study, and $8,000 for graduate study.
The first TEACH Grants will be awarded to eligible students at Southern Miss for spring 2009.  The TEACH award amount is prorated based on the number of hours taken.

TEACH semester award amounts based on hours

Semester Award Amounts

Undergraduate Semester Hrs

Graduate Semester Hrs

$ 2,000

>= 12

>= 9

$ 1,000

6 to 11

4 to 8

$ 500

< 6

< 4



Within eight years of finishing your teacher preparation program, you must serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field for at least four years in designated schools that serve low-income students.

 

High-Need Fields:

  • foreign language
  • mathematics
  • reading specialist
  • science
  • special education
  • You must establish and maintain a 3.25 Southern Miss cumulative grade point average.
  • You will be required to complete online counseling through the financial aid office each year that you accept a TEACH Grant. You will also be required to attend exit counseling when you graduate or leave school.
  • Each year that you receive a TEACH grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS).  If you receive the TEACH Grant but do not fulfill the requirements of the program, your grant will convert to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan, which you will have to repay with interest calculated back to the date the funds were disbursed.  Once it converts to a loan it can never go back to a grant.

To apply for the TEACH Grant, go to the Southern Miss Financial Aid website (www.usm.edu/financialaid) and click on TEACH Grant.  Follow the steps on the website.



What is the student teaching packet?

The student teaching packet includes forms that you fill out showing all your coursework, endorsement areas, and educational philosophy. You must fill this out the semester before you plan to student teach: in the spring for fall student teaching, in the fall for spring student teaching. Your senior block instructors will assist you in this process.


When is the graduation application due?

The graduation application must be filled out the semester before you intend to graduate: spring for fall graduation, fall for spring graduation. Your senior block instructors will help you with this process.


Does it matter what type of special education classroom I'm working in?

It does not matter as long as you are working full time as a special education teacher’s assistant.


When I finish, what am I qualified to teach?

Any Special Education Classroom K-12 with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (any other endorsements are up to you to seek).


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What are the costs?

For pricing information, click here.  For financial aid information, click here.  For detailed tuition information, click here.


Do online students pay out-of-state tuition?

No, online students pay resident tuition.


Will other classes besides the ones listed in degree requirements count towards my degree?

Other classes that aren’t listed may count towards your degree once your transcript has been evaluated and posted.


Are you a military veteran or service member?

If yes, visit online.usm.edu/military for more information on how Southern Miss can serve you and your needs.   We will help you with funding and scholarship information, admissions and course enrollment.


Can this degree be completed fully online?

Yes, the program is available totally online.  Students are not required to visit campus for an in-class lecture; however, an online lecture may be required by your instructor.


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What other online degrees are offered by Online at Southern Miss?

Please visit our programs page here: https://online.usm.edu/programs/


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