Eastern Michigan University
College of Education at Eastern Michigan University
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Department of Special Education

The Department of Special Education is one of the largest and most comprehensive special education units in the country. Graduates from the department at Eastern Michigan University have been recognized for their work in the field locally and nationally. They have distinguished themselves as program directors, school superintendents and college instructors. Several of the department's graduates have been named Teacher of the Year in their respective communities.

The Department of Special Education has one of only two Physical and otherwise Health Impaired (POHI) teacher preparation programs in the state; and is one of very few such programs in the nation. The department's faculty and staff are involved in related professional and community endeavors at local, state and national levels.

Program Areas

Undergraduate Programs*

  • Cognitive Impairments
  • Emotional Impairments
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Physical and Other Health Impairments
  • Speech and Language Impairments
  • Visual Impairments
* Special Education majors cannot be combined with minors in economics, geography, political science, or psychology.

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders**
  • Master of Arts in Learning Disabilities (LD)
  • Master of Arts in Special Education with emphasis in:
    • Cognitive Impairment
    • Emotional Impairment
    • Hearing Impairment
    • Physical/Other Health Impairment
    • Visual Impairment
  • Master of Arts in Special Education with Teacher Certification (SEM-T)
  • Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)
  • Specialist of Arts in Special Education (Supervision/Administration; Curriculum)
** The Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders program was added in January 2008.


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EMU teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and approved by the Michigan Department of Education. All special education programs are approved by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Additionally, the Hearing Impairment program is accredited by the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) and the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

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Employment Opportunities

Students completing the programs of the Department of Special Education are prepared to work with children and youth with special needs. They are employed as teachers in:

  • Community Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Public and Private Schools
  • Residential Institutions

One of the best things graduates from the Department of Special Education enjoy is its top-notch reputation. Employers often call the department to ask for names of candidates when vacancies open up within their organization.

Whether you want to work in Michigan or another state, if you are competent in your program of study, you will be highly competitive in the job market. Eastern Michigan University programs are respected nationwide.

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Department Faculty

The Department of Special Education boasts an acclaimed faculty made up of teachers who have distinguished themselves in each specific program area. They are widely regarded as experts in teaching children and youths with special needs. They have received advanced degrees and have published extensively; in fact, 89 percent of the special education faculty hold doctoral degrees. Many have presented at state, national, and international conferences, and have won awards for their teaching.

All academic and practicum course work is taught by full-time professors or visiting lecturers. No teaching assistants are employed as instructors. Full-time faculty personally advise special education majors during their program of study. At EMU you will get to know your professors and they will know you by name. This is true, in part, because class size generally range from 15 to 25 students.

At EMU full-time faculty members work directly with the schools and other practicum settings in arranging appropriate learning opportunities for you. Faculty are involved in research and development activities in such areas as: "best practices" in education, augmentative and alternative communication systems, service-learning opportunities, programs and course development, learning through case-study management, interdisciplinary early intervention programming, transition from school to work, special education outcomes, collaborative learning, substance exposed children, traumatic brain injury, occupational stress in special education, learning strategies, and higher education and K-12 partnerships.

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Continuing Education

When you complete your bachelor's degree with a teaching certificate and a special education program endorsement, you will need to think about your next career planning step. All teachers are required to complete course work to maintain their teaching credentials. You may want to add new endorsements to improve your employment options. The Master's Degree and Endorsement in Learning Disabilities is one good choice. You may also want to pursue a master's degree in another area within the department.

In looking ahead you may also consider graduate programs leading to credentials as a Director of Special Education.

College of Education