Degree type(s): Bachelor's; Minor
Degree field(s): Education
Location(s): Blended (Online / On-site); Bismarck, ND
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

Special Education Bachelor’s Degree Program

Four-year degree; Bachelor of Science (BS)

The Special Education bachelor’s degree program at the University of Mary emphasizes the knowledge and skills needed to work with people with intellectual disabilities. In addition to knowledge of general education best practices, special education teachers also possess instructional strategies and methods, making them uniquely adept to fulfill the learning needs of all students.

Graduates of this program are prepared through course content emphasizing current teaching practices, field-based tasks, and hands-on experience. With the high demand for effective special education teachers in the region and in many areas across the United States, completing a degree in Special Education awards graduates more opportunities to become vital team members in the school districts of their choice. Graduates are also prepared for a variety of other career options in human service agencies, adult education, community and home support, and administration.

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.

Our 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 Degree 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, and 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, such as, the North Dakota Council for Early Childhood Education, the North Dakota Education Association, and the Council for Exceptional Children, 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

Career Outlook for Special Education Majors

Employment of special education teachers is expected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026. This is about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations. Overall demand will be driven by enrollment, the need for special education services, and the federal budget situation. Better screening and identification of disabilities in children are expected to increase the demand for special education services, as these children are being identified earlier and enrolled in special education programs.

+ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook HandbookSpecial Education Teachers

For a list of courses for the Loading..., please visit the catalog.

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: