Make a difference for students with special needs

Inclusion. That’s the focus of the two minors in special education at UNI. 

  • Early childhood special education teaching
  • Special education teaching: Instructional strategist (I or II) 

With a great need in school districts everywhere, these special education minors, together, are among the most sought after at UNI. You’ll discover how to help children who learn differently. Kids with special needs, learning disabilities or behavioral difficulties within a range of ages, cultures and language. 

Learn alongside exemplary UNI faculty and teachers within local schools. Gain the specialized knowledge to help eliminate barriers. Get prepared to lead diverse classrooms and help your future students reach their full potential. 

Special education minor student in practicum

Extensive co-teaching opportunities

8% job growth projected in next decade

Nearly 100% placement of recent grads

Interested in a Special Education Minor?

Fill out your information here and we'll be in touch!

Contact us directly at:

Department of Special Education
SEC 613
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0606

Phone: (319) 273-6061

Undergraduate Majors RFI Form

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I chose early childhood special education because I have a passion for working with young children, especially those with special needs. UNI prepared me to be a teacher through the field experiences we complete.

Shannon Stolen (‘21, BA)
Special education teacher, Spirit Lake, IA

Courses & Endorsements


Whatever your choice, coursework for each minor includes an introduction to legal, advocacy and assistive technology practices as well as field experiences that match the age level of your focus. A sampling of courses among the two minors include:

  • Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners
  • Services to Families with Infants and/or Toddlers with Developmental Delays or Disabilities 
  • Including Young Children with Special Needs into the General Education Programs
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Construction and Behavior of Humanistic Supports
  • Specialized Assessment and Instruction for Students with Disabilities
  • Creating and Sustaining Positive Inclusive Learning Environments 
  • Method courses in literacy and mathematics (K-8)  or inclusive learning (5-12) 
Course Catalog


In Iowa, the special education minor leads to an endorsement that pre-service teachers can add to a major in teaching at the early childhood, elementary or secondary level. 

Early childhood education teaching minor: 

  • Endorsement 262: PreK-K Early Childhood Special Education 
  • Endorsement 1001: Birth-Grade 3 Inclusive Settings

Special education teaching: instructional strategist minor: 

  • Endorsement 260: Instructional Strategist I: Mild/Moderate Disabilities K-8
  • Endorsement 261: Instructional Strategist I: Mild/Moderate Disabilities 5-12
  • Endorsement 264: Instructional Strategist II: Intellectual Disabilities K-12 

You will apply for your teacher licensure and endorsement approval upon completion of your degree.

Beyond the Classroom

Let’s Get Real 

The high quality of UNI’s special education minors is anchored in field experiences to help you meet the needs of all students from various cultural and language backgrounds and/or with disabilities. Unsurpassed hands-on experience includes two full semesters of half-day, week-long co-teaching experiences — specific to your special education minor — that build upon and enrich your other classroom experiences leading up to and including student teaching.

Undergraduate student, Shannon Stolen, works with children in the early childhood model classroom setting in Schindler Education

Finding Support

You’ll find several special education-focused scholarships available — in addition to general scholarships for UNI or College of Education students. Most offer up to $1,000 a year and are renewable. Just fill out the University Scholarship Application for Undergraduate Students. And be sure to check out other loan and student employment opportunities.

Honors cords, medallion and mortar board