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.

Read More

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 program offers you the confidence, tools, and skills essential to educate students of every ability. As this 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.

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.

As part of our commitment to providing affordable options for all DSU students, we offer scholarships and grants, especially for elementary and special education majors.


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 that’s built right 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.

A BSE in K-8 Elementary Education/K-12 Special Education is a versatile degree, giving you a number of options for teaching upon graduation.

Amanda Hargreaves, Elementary Education (BSE) '10

“Teaching is the most rewarding profession in the world. Even on my most challenging days, I can’t wait to go back the next day.”

Amanda Hargreaves, Elementary Education (BSE) '10

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the BSEd degree in K-8 Elementary Education/K-12 Special Education, students will:

  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of content and pedagogy knowledge
  • Demonstrate instructional design principles by planning and preparing effective lessons and learning activities for all learners
  • Engage students by delivery of effective lessons and learning activities, and ensure assessment is fully aligned with the instructional outcomes in both content and process
  • Create a safe and respectful learning environment with an awareness of developmental levels and needs of learners
  • Integrate technology into lessons to create interest and communicate knowledge
  • Demonstrate professional dispositions of effective teachers to positively impact student learning while contributing to the well-being of their district
  • Apply instructional competencies that ensure a working knowledge of special education law, which includes but not limited to, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Individual Education Plans (IEPs), cognitive and physical disabilities, modifications, accommodations, assessment, and family/cultural contexts which impact development.

Related Programs