The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Elementary Special Education, BS/MAT

The Special Education Program at TCNJ for undergraduates is a five-year program that prepares students to be teachers of students with disabilities. It culminates in a master’s degree and New Jersey certification in Special Education and Elementary Education. Preparation includes theory and practice in teaching students with diverse learning abilities, including students with learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, and severe and multiple disabilities. New Jersey certification does not distinguish between these diagnostic labels; the certificate establishes qualification to teach individuals with any one or combination of the above disabling conditions.

» Advisement and Resources for Current TCNJ Students

Additional Program Information

Graduates of the program meet the state’s current requirements for being “highly qualified” teachers and are therefore eligible for employment in New Jersey school districts. Students in the five-year program must also complete a liberal arts major in one of 11 state-approved disciplines. At the end of their fourth year, students earn a bachelor’s degree. The Special Education course of study continues the following academic year and culminates in a full-time student teaching experience and a master’s degree in Special Education.

Frequently Asked Questions for Future Students

When I graduate, what will I be qualified to teach?

Special education P-5 and middle school, elementary education K-5, high school in-class support, and grades 6-12 after certification testing in a specific content area.

I am currently enrolled in another program at TCNJ; how can I transfer?

Complete a transfer application

Please note. An interview with the undergraduate coordinator is also required.

Why should I choose a five-year program rather than graduating in four?

You will graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. You will also hold two NJ teaching certifications. Separately, such achievement would take almost 7 years. Furthermore, spreading coursework over 5 years allows more flexibility in scheduling and permits enrollment in elective courses.

What is the job market like for special education teachers?

Highly qualified Teachers of Individuals with Disabilities are in high demand. The department boasts a 100% placement rate for those seeking employment in special education.

What is your average class size?

22 students.

How do I arrange a visit?

Visit the College’s website for prospective students.

Who should apply?

The five-year program in Special Education is designed for students who have completed high school and are first-time students and for transfer students from community colleges or other four-year programs who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.

Does this program enable me to teach students who are deaf/hard-of-hearing?

No, if you are interested in teaching students who are deaf/HOH, the department offers another five-year integrated bachelor’s and master’s of arts program which culminates in two certifications: one in Education of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing and one in Elementary Education. Visit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education site.

Can I study abroad?

Yes, the department supports the College’s International Student Teaching program. There is room in the five-year program to study abroad. Visit for details.

I am excited about student teaching. When will I have experience in the classroom?

You will have part-time field experience in your junior and senior years. You will teach full-time during your fifth year.

School of Education Conceptual Framework

The program is consistent with the five themes of the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework, Creating Agents of Change:

  • Demonstrating Subject Matter Expertise
  • Demonstrating Excellence in Planning and Practice
  • Demonstrating a Commitment to All Learners
  • Demonstrating a Strong, Positive Effect on Student Growth
  • Demonstrating Professionalism, Advocacy, and Leadership

Special Education Program Standards

The program meets the standards and requirements of:

  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • State of New Jersey Teacher Education Standards
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

The coursework to qualify for education certification consists of:

Professional Education (12 course units)

  • SPE 099: College Seminar
  • MAT 105: Structures and Algorithms for Education
  • SLP 102: Language, Speech, and Communication Development
  • SPE 103: Social and Legal Foundations of Special Education
  • MST 202: Methods of Teaching Science, Health, and Technology
  • MTT 202: Methods of Teaching Mathematics
  • RAL 220: Literacy, Strategies, Assessment & Instruction
  • RAL 225: Children’s Literature
  • SPE 203: Psychology Development of Children and Adolescence
  • SPE 214: Exploring Classroom Communities
  • RAL 320: Literacy Learning Across the Curriculum
  • SPE 324: Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities
  • SPE 490: Practicum


SPE 099 College Seminar introduces the requirements for the teaching profession and education program. This pass/fail seminar has no course units.

Graduate Education (10 course units)

  • EDUC 513: Collaboration, Consultation, and Partnership
  • SPED 515: Multicultural Social Studies Instruction for Students with Disabilities
  • SPED 521: Assistive Technology
  • SPED 522: Remedial Instruction
  • SPED 597: Special Topics: Seminar
  • SPED 664: Research in Special Education
  • SPED 695: Internship II
  • SPED 700: Comprehensive Examination

Electives Track I BVI Specialty

  • SPED 675: Research on Implications of Blindness and Visual Impairment
  • SPED 673: Literary Braille and Methods for Instruction
  • SPED 672: Strategies for Teaching Students Who are B/VI

Electives Track II Literacy Specialty

  • SPED 609: Assessment and Remediation of Severe Reading Disabilities
  • RDLG 571: Language and Teaching
  • RDLG 673: The Writing Process in Literacy Development Reading

Electives Track III Complex Disabilities Specialty

  • SPED 648: Positive Behavior Supports for Extreme Behaviors
  • SPED 647: Communication Development for Students with Significant Disabilities
  • SPED 631: Transition and Community-Based Instruction

Electives Track IV Behavior Specialty

  • SPED 648: Positive Behavior Supports for Extreme Behaviors
  • SPED 655: Advanced Topics: Social and Cultural Constructions of Behavior
  • ESLM 555: Culture, Language and Disabilities