Exceptional Student Education

Assist Children with Special Needs

The Exceptional Student Education major prepares you to educate children with special learning needs and/or disabilities as a special education teacher (K-12).

After completing Union Institute & University’s online Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Exceptional Student Education, you will be qualified to teach and serve children and their families in diverse and inclusive environments. Our distance learning program includes multiple field experiences to get you ready for work in private, school, and institutional settings.

Union’s programs are designed for working professionals like you balancing multiple obligations. Continue your education in a flexible environment without changing your life.


Note: This major is designed for individuals seeking to teach in the state of Florida. The program does not grant certification, but provides a sound pedagogical foundation for those who wish to apply for teacher certification in their respective states. Students residing in other states may enroll, but Union cannot guarantee that this program will result in eligibility for teacher licensure in states other than Florida.

Careers for B.S. Graduates with an Exceptional Student Education Major

  • Behavioral disorders special education teacher
  • Reading specialist
  • Resource teacher
  • Specific learning disability teacher
  • Braille teacher
  • Functional mental disability teacher


  • Create a set of modifications to help students with disabilities learn and participate in a wide range of functional activities at home, school, work, and in the community.
  • Identify, assess, and prescribe programs for students with disabilities.

Core Curriculum

General Education Courses

View a complete list of curriculum requirements.

Note: All education courses are variable credit and may be taken for three or four credits. A modified syllabus reflecting the three-credit amount of work will be approved by the chair and provided to the student in the online degree program.

Professional Preparation Courses in Education

3-4 credits each

  • EDU 317 Psychological and Sociological Foundations of Education
  • EDU 330 Classroom Management
  • EDU 331 Foundations and Practices in Teaching Reading (also serves as the reading requirement for ESE majors)
  • EDU 334 Educational Assessment
  • EDU 335 Effective Instructional Practices

Major Core Courses in the Major

The Exceptional Student Education program requires a minimum of 48 credits in the major.

3-4 credits each

  • ESE 321 Foundations of Exceptional Student Education (Prerequisite for all other ESE courses)
  • ESE 322 Assessment of Exceptional Students
  • ESE 327 Language Development and Learning
  • ESE 331 Educational Management of Exceptional Students
  • ESE 333 Teaching Personal and Social Skills to ESE
  • ESE 336 Individualized Education Plans: Planning and Implementing
  • ESE 337 Transition Planning
  • ESE 338 Family, School, and Community Collaboration
  • ESE 339 Instructional Practices in Special Education

View core course descriptions.


3-4 credits each unless otherwise noted

  • EDU 336 Integrating Educational Technology Across the Curriculum
  • EDU/ECS 450 Practicum in an Early Childhood Setting (1-4 cr.)
  • ESOL 321 Cross-Cultural Communication
  • ESOL 322 Applied Linguistics
  • ESE 100/200/300/400 Independent Studies (1-4 cr.) – May be taken two times
  • ESE 190/290/390/490 Special Topics (1-4 cr.) – May be taken two times

View electives descriptions.

Additional elective learning may be accepted when appropriate to the major. Acceptable elective learning may include prior learning that meets program criteria for acceptance; general education courses (beyond those required by the program) and courses offered through other majors, following published syllabi. All additional electives must be endorsed by the program chair and documented in the approved degree plan prior to registration.

Culminating Graduation Requirement

As part of coursework in the distance education major, every student will complete a culminating graduation requirement (CGR). Students meet the capstone requirement for the Bachelor of Science major in Exceptional Student Education by satisfactorily completing one of the following:

Student Teaching (12 cr. total):

  • EDU 496 Capstone Workshop: Student Teaching Seminar (3 cr.)
  • EDU 499 Capstone (CGR) Learning Experience: Student Teaching (9 cr.)


Capstone Course (3-4 cr.):

  • EDU 497 Contemporary Perspectives on Classroom Organization

Note: Upper-level prior learning examinations and certified learning credits are accepted toward education major course requirements.