Program Overview

Are you passionate about making quality education accessible to a wide range of diverse learners and setting children up for success in the classroom? As a Special Education major at UNE, you will not only learn evidence-based strategies to meet these goals, but you will also discover how to put your knowledge into practice in a successful career as a special education teacher. Through our flexible curriculum, the development of critical thinking skills, and an abundance of real-world experience with students in a broad array of educational settings, you’ll graduate with a Special Education teaching certification in hand, plenty of experience under your belt, and a desire to make a difference in your heart.

A U N E student works with a special education student
Bri Walker

Thanks to the UNE Education Department, I had ample opportunities to implement and observe the impact of effective, research-based strategies with special education students in local schools. Engaging in special education coursework at UNE is immensely rewarding.

Elementary Education, Special Education

Why UNE for Special Education

UNE’s Special Education curriculum is designed for maximum flexibility, allowing for double majors, minors, and study abroad experiences. You’ll have regular field experience, beginning your very first semester, and UNE’s strong, collaborative relationships and excellent reputation with local schools give you a leg up on career opportunities after graduation.

  • Special Education majors who agree to intern as educational technicians in the Maine public school system may apply for a scholarship ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per semester.
  • Early and regular fieldwork in classrooms for maximum experience
  • Ability to double major and earn dual certifications
  • Close working relationships with faculty
  • Exceptional post-graduation employment rate
A U N E students reads to two elementary school special education students


Our Special Education major is designed to be flexible, allowing you, if you wish, to double major with a variety of our other degree programs, including Psychology; Social Work; Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies; and more. You may even double major in Elementary/Middle Education to earn dual certifications.

Examples of Available Courses

The following are just some examples of the exciting courses that the Special Education major offers:

  • Special Education Methods
  • Inclusive Classroom Management
  • Supporting Individuals With Autism and Significant Disabilities
  • Assessing and Remediating Challenging Behavior

Special Education Teaching Certificate

Successful completion of the major meets all requirements of the Maine State Special Education Teacher Certification Program.


CAS Core Requirements Credits
Total 42–46
Required Courses Credits
EDU 105 – Exploring Teaching 3
SPE 220 – Exceptionality in the Classroom 3
SPE 350 – Special Education Law 3
SPE 300 – Special Education Methods or SPE 315 – Supporting Students with Autism 3
EDU 206 – Foundations of Lit/Lang Dev 3
EDU 373 – Teaching Mathematics, K-8 3
SPE 301 – Inclusive Classroom Management 3
SPE 410 – Assessing and Remediating Challenging Behavior 3
EDU 385 – Diversity Issues in Schools 3
SPE 486 – Special Education Practicum 3
SPE 405 – Inclusive Methods and Data-Based Decision Making 3
SPE 490 – Spec Edu Internship/Seminar 12
Total  45
Open elective courses (needed to reach 120 credits) Variable
Minimum Required Total Credits 120

To learn more about the program see the Academic Catalog.

Changes were made to this program in an addendum to the 2022/23 academic calendar. Please see the 2022–2023 Catalog Addendum (PDF) for the most recent information. As always, it is recommended that students seek the guidance of Academic Advisors for course and program planning. In this way, you will be able to access all the most up-to-date information available.

Student Success by The Numbers


of graduates employed or enrolled in grad school within one year of graduation

per 2016-2020 graduate surveys

in Maine for getting a job


Zippia, 2021

Experiential Education

Turn theory into practice. Take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to real-world situations. Every semester, you’ll gain the skills and confidence needed to thrive as a professional in the field of special education by getting hands-on experience working with students who have a wide range of disabilities, including learning/intellectual/emotional-behavioral disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Fieldwork in Schools

  • Work with students in resource rooms or general education classes
  • Conduct assessments
  • Observe and collect data for behavior plan development
  • Work in specialized classes for students with high support needs or behavior challenges
  • Attend IEP meetings
  • Collaborate with occupational therapists and social workers


Your hands-on learning culminates with a 15-week student teaching internship, during which you’ll strengthen school relationships and networking connections. Local opportunities exist at:

  • Local public school systems
  • Special purpose schools
  • Pre-school sites

Educational Technicians Internship Scholarship

UNE Special Education majors who agree to intern as educational technicians in the Maine public school system — in either part-time or full-time capacity — may apply for a scholarship ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per semester.

Successful applicants will earn $1,000 per every recurring school day of the week that they work during a semester. For example, if you are able to work on Mondays, you will earn $1,000 for the semester. If you are able to work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you will earn $3,000 for the semester.

You will receive the scholarship money in addition to the regular wage that you are paid directly by the school district in which you work. Even the cost of your educational technician state certification will be covered.

The Special Education Internship Program will run from fall semester of 2022 through fall semester of 2024 (five total semesters).

Program Benefits

  • Scholarship money in addition to wages earned
  • Full-time or part-time positions (job sharing is encouraged among part-timers)
  • Semester-by-semester commitment
  • Assistance from UNE’s Education Department in finding a position
  • Covered cost of Maine state educational technician certification
  • Hours worked count toward the major’s fieldwork requirement
  • Opportunity to build relationships in school districts that may lead to jobs after graduation


For more information or to apply, contact Audrey Bartholomew, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Coordinator of Special Education Programs at or (207) 602-2685.

Priority will be given to candidates from underrepresented groups and/or rural areas.

Meet Kaylee, Education ‘22

During your first semester in one of our teacher preparation programs, you work with children in school settings. Watch what UNE student Kaylee Blake has to say about her time as an education student at UNE.


As a Special Education teacher, you will be qualified for a variety of positions, including:

  • Resource Room Teacher
  • Life Skills Teacher
  • Emotional Support Teacher
  • Autism support Teacher

You will possess excellent employability amid a national special education teacher shortage. Within the Northeast, special education has been identified as a “hotspot” (Emsi Occupation Snapshot Report, 2019), offering higher than average median salary, number of job postings, and rate of employment.

Career Advising

Whether you have a specific career goal in mind or a vague idea of the field that interests you, Career Advising is here to help you plan your next step.

Global Education

In addition to opportunities to spend a semester abroad, you may choose to enroll in our education-related or another short-term travel course


EDU 242: Comparative Education in a Global Context

Dr. Lane Clarke

This course investigates comparative education theories and philosophy to examine education in different contexts and includes spending eight days in Ireland in mid-May following final exams. You extend your knowledge of society and how this is enacted through the institution of its schools. In Ireland, you visit schools and learn about Irish culture and history by touring castles, the famous Cliffs of Moher, and the Aran Islands. Other highlights may include exploring the Ring of Kerry and spending time in Galway, Cork, Kinsale, and Killarney.