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University Catalog
    Western Washington University
  Jan 21, 2018
2013-2014 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education — P-12, BAE

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Department of Special Education, Woodring College of Education

107-108 credits (major and professional program)

Introduction/What is the Study of Special Education P-12?

Special Educators need to have extensive knowledge in four areas: they need to know about students and how they learn; they need to know about effective instruction; they need to know about the content of the lessons they will teach; and, they need to know about the context (social, legal, and political) in which they will work. Therefore, training to become a Special Educator will include work in each of these areas. The program includes coursework and extensive supervised practicum experiences in the public schools. The program is rigorous and the expectations are high. However, the rewards are also high. This program will prepare you to be an excellent teacher in whatever position you eventually choose. Our graduates are actively recruited by school districts to work in a variety of rewarding special education settings.

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree with recommendation for a Washington State teacher certification and an endorsement in Special Education must complete the Special Education (P-12) major, the Professional Studies Core, and internship. Graduates are not endorsed to be the sole teacher in the general education classroom but may serve as a consultant to the teacher of record. Although graduates are endorsed to teach special education populations in grades P-12, federal Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirements require additional evidence of content knowledge in order to teach core academic subjects.

Why Consider a Special Education P-12 Major? 

There are two definitions of Special Education. One is the education of students with disabilities. The other is the application of exceptional teaching. We in the Special Education Program at Western Washington University believe very strongly in the second definition. We think that it is our mission to prepare exceptional teachers and, while students who have disabilities often require the services of such teachers, we also believe that there are many other students who can benefit from high quality instruction. We also think that there is much satisfaction to be gained from the acquisition of the highest levels of teaching skill and that the teachers trained in our program benefit professionally and personally from the acquisition of these skills. That is why the word “Special” in our title is a source of pride to us and to our graduates.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Gail Coulter
Miller Hall 201E

Department Manager
Pam Clark Hamilton
Miller Hall 201D

Teacher Education Admissions
Miller Hall 150

 Sample Careers

Special Education Resource Room Teacher | Special Education Teacher | Consultant | Inclusive Classroom Teacher

 Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Admission to Western Washington University and admission to the Department of Special Education are required before a student may begin taking courses in education. Requirements include:

  • completion of a minimum of 45 credits (see list of recommended GUR courses),
  • cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher for the last 45 credits,
  • completion of an English composition course, with grade of B- or higher,
  • acceptable WEST-B scores. This test is offered 6-7 times a year at various sites in the State. For details on registration and fees, refer to the WEST-B website at

Enrollment restrictions apply in all teacher education programs. Meeting the above criteria makes the applicant eligible for admission, but does not guarantee admission. Students who meet all criteria are further evaluated by the Department to determine the most qualified applicants. For more information on the application process, contact Teacher Education Admissions in Miller Hall 150, call 360.650.3313, or visit the website at

Retention in the program requires continuous demonstration of competence in standard oral and written English in all coursework. Retention also requires maintenance of a 2.75 quarterly GPA including the quarter in which the application was reviewed by the Department of Special Education. The State of Washington requires students to earn a “C” or better in all major endorsement and education courses.

Certification Advisement

Each student will be assigned an adviser when admitted to the Department of Special Education. Students will be assisted and monitored by their adviser on a regular basis throughout their program.

Grade Requirements

Students must earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in the special education professional program and in all courses required for the endorsement.

Internship — Special Education: 16 credits

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