Ready to Apply?
Why Major in Special Education?
Belmont University’s undergraduate program in Special Education, grades Kindergarten through 8th grade, combines rigorous coursework with the most innovative, evidenced-based practices and mentorship from faculty members and experts. This program provides in-depth, hands-on field and clinical experiences to help individuals become the very best teachers possible.
Each undergraduate student pursuing this special education degree builds a repertoire of evidence based instructional practices, learns to leverage key partnerships needed to support all students and develops vital leadership attributes to impact the lives of all of the students that they encounter.
Belmont’s program in special education offers the opportunity to craft a program of study that builds in an additional specialized concentration for their degree. Undergraduate students are frequently also interested in coursework that leads to additional licensure in Elementary Education, English as a Second Language or Secondary Education. Or, students may craft a program of study that positions them for both licensure in the classroom as well as extended graduate study after completion of their undergraduate degree.
What You'll Learn
- Gain an understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments enable each learner to meet high standards.
- Create learning experiences that make the central concepts, tool of inquiry and structures of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
- Develop multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
- Plan instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
“Belmont College of Education prepared me academically and equipped me with the skills necessary to thrive in the professional world of education. The commitment to students is truly extraordinary.”
The special education major prepares candidates to meet the performance standards of the Special Education Interventionist (K-8) endorsement. The program requires 128 hours of coursework.
- BELL Core: 53 hours
- Major technical requirements: 21 hours
- Education Core requirements: 12 hours
- Professional coursework: 36 hours
- Minor requirements: 18 hours
- General electives: 9 hours
Courses You'll Take
- EDU 2100 Foundations of Education
This course provides an overview of the historical and sociological development of the American education systems and instructs candidates to use advocacy for children, families and the profession to uncover unconscious bias and to critically analyze the myths that exist about American education.
- EDU 2110 Educational Psychology
A study is made of the processes of education, including such topics as learning, motivation, human growth and development, individual differences, evaluation of achievement, personality and techniques of studying education.
- EDU 2221 Child Development, Education, and Guidance
This course emphasizes the social, emotional, physical and intellectual development of children; the responsibilities of parents; and guidance of children through age eight. Field experience is required.
- EDU 3800 Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners in the Classroom
Overview of exceptionalities; introduction to pedagogical, curricular and social considerations involved in educating diverse learners in the classroom. The course has a practicum component.
- EDU 3660 Instructional Practices in Special Education
This method’s course focuses on learning principles and high-leverage instructional practices corresponding to the academic success of students with mild/moderate disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Course content addresses Universal Design, explicit instruction, differentiation, accommodations and other best practices to support access to the general curriculum in a variety of educational settings. This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 1160 The Practice of Education Seminar I
A discussion of topics related to the practice of teaching. This seminar will prepare future teachers to complete work necessary to complete the Gateway 2 Interview in the School of Education to earn teacher certification in the state of Tennessee.
- EDU 2160 The Practice of Education Seminar II
A discussion of topics related to the practice of teaching. This seminar will prepare future teachers to complete work necessary to complete the Gateway 3 Interview in the School of Education to earn teacher certification in the state of Tennessee.
- EDU 3735 Specially Designed Instruction in Literacy
This course prepares teacher candidates to improve the literacy achievement of students with and at-risk for reading difficulties or disabilities. Content focuses on theory, all components of effective reading instruction and evidenced-based intervention within a tiered, data-based decision-making framework. This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 3745 Specially Designed Instruction in Mathematics
This course focuses on the application and assessment of evidenced-based practices for the instruction of diverse students with mild/moderate disabilities in the area of mathematics. Candidates will advance their professional knowledge, skills and practice for effectively teaching mathematics within a response to intervention model that targets specific math difficulties.This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 3160 The Practice of Education Seminar III
A discussion of topics related to the practice of teaching. This last seminar will prepare future teachers to complete final requirements for earning teacher certification in the state of Tennessee and in preparation for the School of Education’s Gateway 4 Interview.
- EDU 3530 Assessment for Decision Making
Collection and use of educational data to assess and teach students with diverse learning needs. Educational planning, material adaptation and curriculum development will also be addressed.
- EDU 4765 Behavioral Interventions for Data-Based Decision Making
This course prepares practitioners in special education or general education settings to improve outcomes for students with high rates of challenging behavior within multi-tiered systems of support. Course content addresses legal requirements, behavioral theory, critical features of intensive interventions, data collection and ethical, data-based decision-making aligned with functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plans. This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 4150 Fundamentals of Instructional and Assistive Technology
This course addresses the use of adaptive/assistive technologies to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Content focuses on legal requirements and the integration of a variety of low and high-tech tools and supports for teaching and learning. Teacher candidates will learn to apply a process of assessment-based decision making for the selection of appropriate technologies to support improved outcomes for students with mild/moderate disabilities. This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 3630 Communication and Collaboration in Special Education
This course provides content and practice in the skills required to effectively engage as a professional member of a multidisciplinary educational team. Course topics address theory, research and high leverage practices to support culturally-appropriate family/professional partnerships to maximize beneficial outcomes for students with disabilities. This course also focuses on ethics, equity and family and professional rights and responsibilities grounded in family-centered, culturally responsive, advocacy and strength-based perspectives. This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 3670 Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support
This course focuses on the application of behavioral and social emotional supports for students with disabilities. Content covers behavioral theories, research and high-leverage strategies within a culturally-responsive, multi-tiered systems framework aligned with trauma-informed and restorative practices. This course also contains approximately 20 hours of field experience.
- EDU 4416 Student Teaching SPED Interventionist, K-8
This practicum course gives the teacher candidate experience in two special education classroom settings with one of the placements serving students with diverse backgrounds. Teacher candidates will have the opportunity to observe and use appropriate classroom instructional methods and procedures under the direct supervision of an experienced mentor teacher.
- EDU 4110 Reflective Teaching
This reflective or inquiry-oriented course looks at the complicated activity of teaching and the conceptual schemata teachers must acquire. Emphasis is placed on developing teaching habits that are consciously informed actions. The course will also require candidates to complete an Action research project to demonstrate their impact on student learning.
Belmont Teacher Education candidates have many opportunities to practice their advocacy, leadership and teaching skills through participation in Belmont’s service-learning and volunteer opportunities as well as education department-specific opportunities.
Candidates should explore coaching, teaching and tutoring opportunities, as well as create their own opportunities as they engage in service in their new home community of Nashville.
Our community partners include area charter, independent and public schools, as well as nonprofit and for profit community agencies serving Nashville’s families. Belmont University requires all students to be engaged in community and service-learning opportunities but it is not uncommon for teacher education candidates to go beyond the required hours and in a number of opportunities take leadership roles.
Below are some of the opportunities in which our candidates engage:
Belmont’s Service-Learning and Volunteer Opportunities
Through Get Connected, Belmont’s online volunteer service directory, our candidates can connect with more than 70 area organizations where they can connect and serve. Our teacher candidates take seriously the opportunity to serve the greater-Nashville community and volunteer in programs such as: English Language Tutors with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, athletic coaches with area middle schools, tutoring programs with the YMCA, Martha O’Bryan Center and area faith-based programs.
BESTBUDDIES® builds one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), through school and community friendship programs that provide socialization opportunities to help erase the invisible line that often separates students or adults with and without IDD. Best Buddies at Belmont is an active student organization where Belmont students and community members with IDD become friends and hang out together with the focus on reducing barriers and building inclusive communities focused on strengths and relationships.
Homework Hotline is the largest provider of tutoring in Tennessee, the only service available by phone and the only program that provides tutoring in six languages. Belmont University candidates serve as a volunteer satellite of Homework Hotline, housed on the Belmont campus. In this way, Belmont University students practice teaching techniques while providing one-on-one tutoring to at-risk children.
Kappa Delta Pi National Education Society
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, fosters excellence in education and promotes fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. Belmont’s Nu Phi Chapter is additionally, concerned with assisting the community and has been involved with food drives, raising funds for local literacy programs, as well as helping with Homework Hotline.
Student Teacher Education Association
Through its affiliation with the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), our student program leads tomorrow's teachers to a bright professional future. STEA exists to help our members move smoothly from student on campus to beginning teacher. This is achieved through a variety of avenues including organization meetings with speakers who highlight opportunities at Belmont and beyond to broaden understanding of what it means to be an educator, discussion of issues and trends in education, conference attendance for members to network and develop professionally and a focus on service to communities and families.
STEA is proud to work with Belmont University for Annual Family Literacy Day each spring by forming a reading circle where we read aloud books around a theme with children from the community. We also collect canned goods for local food banks as well as school supplies for teachers and children in Nashville Public Schools. Each spring we also host a campus-wide Valentine’s Day Card-Making event for the children and families of the Ronald McDonald House and residents of local nursing homes.
Create a BU4U account to apply, request information, and more! To apply for admission as a traditional freshman, traditional transfer, undergraduate non-degree seeking or undergraduate Re-enroll student, please choose the Traditional Undergraduate Application.
Belmont University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Belmont University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).
Belmont’s Teacher Education Program is approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) legacy site visit of 2021.
The Belmont University School of Music is a fully-accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
The Watkins College of Art at Belmont University is an Accredited Institutional Member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)