Learn how to teach and reach ALL students

Ready to add one of the most sought-after minors at University of Northern Iowa? Are you a practicing teacher set to continue your growth and advancement for generalists and specialists alike? 

Department of Special Education programs and faculty ensure you have the foundation to support diverse learners in the inclusive classrooms of today and tomorrow. You’ll gain the specialized knowledge to work with students who have a wide range of learning, behavioral, intellectual and/or physical disabilities. You’ll learn from renowned faculty who bring their insight and expertise to your classes as educators, researchers and advocates in the field. 

Our goal is simple: to help you help children who learn differently. To eliminate barriers to help your students reach their full potential. And to become an effective teacher of all students.

I chose special education because I want to help those who are socially different to feel 'normal' while in school. I want them to know that they have a space in school where a teacher will see them for them and not their disability.

McCayla Dahlberg
Class of 2023

Leading minor 

A major choice among minors, second-most selected by all UNI students. 




High demand promises ongoing high placement 

Dedicated time in field

Enriching hands-on experience specific to special education


Undergraduate Minors

A minor in demand

As the second-most popular minor at UNI, and with 99 percent placement at the undergrad level, the minor in special education fits the definition of “in demand.” With your choice of courses, you’ll be ready to seek endorsements known as:

  • Instructional Strategist I, for teaching students K-8 or 5-1 with mild or moderate disabilities.
  • Instructional Strategist II, for teaching students with intellectual disabilities, K-12 

Pair this minor with an early childhood, elementary or secondary teaching major. 


strategist I in special education

Special education for Pre-K through K 

With additional classes, this minor prepares you to seek an endorsement in early childhood special education teaching (pre-K through kindergarten). As with the special education minor, you benefit from field experience required of both your major and minor. 


inclusion in special education

Master's Programs

Developing Professional Leaders

MAE: Consultant Emphasis

Currently not accepting applications.

Building on Experience

MAE: Instructional Emphasis

Currently not accepting applications. 

Broadening the Definition of Inclusion 

The Department of Special Education is all about continuing to respond to an ever-widening understanding and definition of inclusion — and capability. Our focus encompasses inclusive classrooms of regular and special education students. No two classrooms are alike, but all have a diverse blend of students. Our philosophy? By having the knowledge, skills and experience of working with students with unique needs, you will be a much more understanding and effective teacher for all students.