Degree type(s): Bachelor's; Minor
Degree field(s): Education
Location(s): Blended (Online / On-site); Bismarck, ND

Special Education Bachelor’s Degree Program

Four year degree; Bachelor of Science (BS)

Based on the U.S. Department of Education statistics, approximately 3 out of every 25 students have been identified as having disabilities. In today’s schools, students with special needs are the responsibility of all school personnel, including the regular classroom teacher and the special education teacher. Serving as both an educator and an advocate, the special education teacher must be competent in: federal and state special education law, collaboration and consultation, general education curriculum, positive behavior support, assessment, family-school collaboration, and the characteristics and needs of students with disabilities.

The Special Education bachelor’s degree program prepares students with the diverse knowledge and skills needed to teach students with special needs. Graduates of the Special Education program will be prepared for a variety of career options in education and to support people with disabilities in schools, human service agencies, adult education, community and home support, and administration.

The special education course of study is based on the Common Core of Knowledge and Skills of the Council for Exceptional Children and the Endorsement Standards of the North Dakota Educational Standards and Practices Board. Graduates are eligible for an endorsement in the area of intellectual disabilities. This endorsement meets or exceeds the requirements of most other states.

The undergraduate special education program is offered as a four-year Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Mary’s main campus in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Special Education Program Highlights

Earn your bachelor’s degree in special education in an accredited program at one of the most affordable private universities in the nation. In the Special Education bachelor’s degree program at the University of Mary, you will gain real-world professional experience in the area of special education while developing personal and professional skills that enhance the lives of people with disabilities:

  • Gain hands-on experience and develop professional networks working with practicing special educators in schools, community activities, committee work, and through professional organizations.
  • Participate in supervised teaching situations in local schools from sophomore year through graduation.
  • Per North Dakota state guidelines for special education teachers, earn a second major in elementary or early childhood education through coordinated course offerings at the University of Mary. Qualified students may also take up to nine credit hours of graduate level classes.
  • Develop leadership, decision-making, and ethical skills in a bachelor’s degree program grounded in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values.
  • Participate in an educational leadership conference and the Emerging Leaders Academy, a four-year program in educational leadership.
  • Take part in mentoring and collaborative research activities with full-time faculty with K-12 teaching experience.
  • Get involved in local and regional professional organizations as either a participant or presenter.


"I love being able to do my special education practicums in the classroom. It is such a valuable tool for me, and the education department has a lot of resources and connections to the schools in Bismarck. "

Bailey Wenz, Special Education and Elementary Education major, 2017

The Special Education Bachelor of Science program curriculum prepares students with the diverse skills to support students with special needs, including federal and state special education law, collaboration and consultation, general education curriculum, positive behavior support, and family-school collaboration.

PED 313; PSY 406; EDU 332, 383, 388, 392, 409 or 656, 410, 412 or 595, 413 or 645, 415 or 657, 423, 426, 429, and two semester credits of special education electives. (For course descriptions of EDU 595, 645, 656, and 657, see the Graduate Education section.)


EDU 295, 383; at least four semester credits from the following: PED 313; EDU 332, 388, 392, 410, 429, 670, 576; and at least five semester credits from the following: EDU 409 or 656, 412 or 595, 413 or 645.

Note: A minor in Special Education does not lead to a North Dakota endorsement; however, the content and practices involved in a Special Education minor will be valuable to general education teachers and may be valuable to other human service majors such as occupational therapy and/or social work.

Even as one of the most affordable private universities in the nation, the University of Mary does offer a variety of scholarships. In fact, 99% of main campus undergraduate students receive some form of scholarship! 

Some scholarships are available for specific academic programs, such as nursing, while other scholarships are available for certain student populations, such as military and veteran students

We strongly encourage you to contact your personal admissions representative to discover all of the options that might be available to you. In many cases, a program specific scholarship is just one component of a complete financial aid package. 

Our admissions professionals will work together with our Office of Financial Assistance to ensure that you get the best financial aid package possible to finance your education. 

Acceptance at the University of Mary does not automatically qualify you to pursue a program in one of the academic programs of study. Application requirements are specific to each major or academic program.

We recommend consulting your advisor for details. Applications are reviewed by the faculty members of the program. You will be notified that you have been admitted, admitted provisionally, or denied admission to the program.


If you are considering a bachelor’s degree in special education, you might also be interested in the following undergraduate programs offered at the University of Mary: