Dakota State University students walking around campus

Preparation + opportunity = success

That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

Elementary Education/Special Education (BSE)

Celebrate student achievements

There’s a huge demand – and a lifetime of rewards – for talented, empathetic, specialized teachers of students with special needs.

At DSU, we know that special needs educators do more than develop detailed, individualized plans and track the progress of each student. They understand children and understand how a disability can affect cognitive, social, and emotional function; they are able to employ strategies to help children manage their behavior and gain social skills. Special education teachers celebrate successes small and large - and those moments are etched in a teacher's heart.

Our dual degree in elementary and special education offers you the confidence, tools, and skills essential to educate students of every ability. As this dual degree prepares you to be an elementary classroom teacher and a special education teacher, the techniques you learn will help all learners in your care within a regular education classroom or special education setting.

Online or on-campus courses

The elementary special education bachelor’s program is offered 100% online or on campus. Whether you are a traditional student or a working professional aspiring to become a teacher, this flexible program allows you to complete your degree how it works best for you – remote, in-person, or hybrid, and as a full-time or part-time student.

Curriculum and experience highlights

DSU's heritage means teacher training is in our DNA

Our close-knit, hands-on courses are led by faculty with years of classroom experience. You'll get real-world advice and plenty of support as you find yourself on the “other side of the desk” for the first time.

Outstanding field experiences are a hallmark of our program. Prior to your student teaching residency, you'll get plenty of practicum experience. After, you'll undertake a year-long student teaching residency in public schools as your capstone experience.

To give you greater breadth in teaching, special education student teaching takes place at two different levels (elementary, middle, and/or high school). The elementary education portion of student teaching is at the elementary or middle school level.

Placement Rates

DSU’s programs in the College of Education & Human Performance have 100% placement rates. While many of our graduates are employed in the state of South Dakota, there are graduates working across the U.S.

Smart classrooms, smart kids

DSU’s focus on tech is a game-changer in the classroom.

Our graduates know how and when to use tech to enhance learning. The schools who employ them know DSU-trained first-year teachers are prepared for anything.

All education graduates earn a K-12 educational technology endorsement built into their degree. It’s another DSU advantage: not only can you seamlessly integrate technology into any classroom, but you’re also qualified to teach computer classes at elementary, middle, and high school levels.

An online elementary special education degree is versatile, giving you a number of options for teaching upon graduation.

Commencement hat of Elementary Education Special Education degree student

“The relationships that DSU staff have built with me have encouraged me to go out and build those types of relationships with my own students. ”

Madeline Hegg, Elementary Education (BSE) ’24


Related Programs