Bachelor of Science / Master of Education in Exceptional Student Education (4+1 Program)


Autism. Emotional and behavioral disorders. Learning disabilities. Intellectual disabilities. Such conditions challenge large numbers of schoolchildren in all educational environments.

For many teachers, working with these students becomes a calling. For Christian educators, serving children whom many might consider “the least of these” can be the fulfillment of that calling and the perfect field in which to serve.

In the state of Florida, and in the majority of the country and even the world, exceptional student education (ESE) teachers are in critical shortage. Southeastern’s ESE degree trains teachers who can meet that need. What’s more, this valuable Florida state-approved 4+1 degree also carries special perks. Not only will you graduate with an undergraduate and a graduate degree in ESE but you will also receive certification in multiple areas and acquire endorsements in several specialty areas, making you a highly qualified and sought-after teacher. Because this is a high-needs area, sources of financial aid are also available, and graduates are eligible to apply for state and federal loan forgiveness programs.

The Degree: A Rare Combination

Very few state or Christian institutions offer a degree with this highly marketable set of specializations. Southeastern, in fact, is one of the first institutions in Florida to do so. To help fill the critical shortage of ESE teachers, we offer this bachelor’s/master’s program that enables graduates to earn a rare and valuable combination of credentials:

  1. K-12 certification in Exceptional Student Education
  2. K-6 certification in Elementary Education
  3. 6-12 certification in a Secondary Education Content Area (of your choice)
  4. Plus three “add-on” specializations (endorsements) that enable you to teach reading, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and autism.

Preparing to Serve

Southeastern’s exceptional student education program begins with our Christ-centered liberal arts (general education) core curriculum, through which you will develop an understanding and appreciation of God and His creation, human creativity and reason, and our place of responsibility as stewards in the world God has made. As you forge links between what you’ve learned in the core and the more specialized courses in your major, our hope is that you will also begin to relate all that you ‘velearned to your life and your faith.

Your ESE classes hone your gifts for servant leadership as you study with Christian professors who bring years of experience and expertise in special-needs teaching, both at the K-12 and at the college level. They are scholars, researchers, and seasoned supervisors, as well.

From your special education course work, expect to learn research-based classroom techniques, with a strong emphasis on best practices and plenty of immediate application. You’ll learn how to teach special-needs children with the most prevalent disabling conditions. Four of your semesters include increasingly extensive field experiences in our local partner schools, giving you real-life experience in the major ESE populations, each level of education (from elementary through center schools), and the variety of delivery methods for ESE students. Full-time student teaching takes place in the final semester of your graduate year.

Throughout your program, through interaction with your professors, other students at SEU, ministry opportunities, and the special-needs students you will meet in your field experiences, you will continually be reminded of the words of Jesus Christ: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

The Exceptional Student Education Minor

If you are majoring in a field other than education, then you might consider taking classes in exceptional student education for your minor. Because this field currently has such a shortage of teachers, school districts that cannot find certified special-needs teachers sometimes hire teachers holding degrees in other fields. Your Southeastern minor in exceptional student education can make you a natural candidate.


Want to Learn More?

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