Group of smiling elementary students and teacher in the hallway of a school
  • Program Type
    Major, Minor
  • Degrees Offered
  • School
    Liffrig Family School of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Enhance the lives of people with varying abilities. Exhibit true servant leadership that makes a difference.

What You’ll Learn

Colleges of Distinction Education Seal

You'll be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and instructional strategies necessary to work successfully with people with varying abilities. Through the program, you'll learn best practices for classroom management and develop the personal attributes necessary to serve a population with diverse needs.

Gain hands-on experience.

Participate in supervised teaching situations in local schools from sophomore year through graduation. Work with practicing special educators in schools, community activities, committee work, and through professional organizations.

Enhance your leadership skills.

Participate in an educational leadership conference and the Emerging Leaders Academy, a four-year program in educational leadership.


Earn a second major in elementary education or early childhood education. Qualified students may also take up to nine credit hours of graduate courses.

Elevate your career profile.

You’ll have the opportunity to become 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.

Become eligible for professional endorsement.

The special education program 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.

Program Information

Please visit our catalog for admission requirements and a full list of our courses.


Careers & Outcomes

Employment Trends

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects steady demand for special education teachers through 2029. Demand may increase as disabilities are identified earlier and as children with disabilities are enrolled into special education programs. 

Career Paths

  • Special education teacher
  • Human service agency director
  • Community center director
  • Policy advocate
  • Home support provider
  • Researcher
Halli Ackerman

The Liffrig Family School of Education and Behavioral Sciences provided one-on-one faculty guidance, countless hours of meaningful classroom experience, a variety of courses that stimulated personal and professional growth, and a comprehensive understanding of how to be an outstanding educator. I truly believe I am prepared for a lifetime of leadership in and out of the classroom.

Halli Ackerman, ’20

Featured Faculty

Jaylia Prussing EdD

Assistant Professor of Education, Director of Special Education Program

I serve as the Special Education Program Director and as an assistant professor within the Department of Education. I am a licensed teacher in elementary education and special education. As a teacher, I served preschool through adult students in a variety of settings and across a wide spectrum of disability categories. My interest in student behavior led to obtaining certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. To stay current in the field of special education and our community, I enjoy serving as a consultant with school districts and community agencies.

Kimberly Marman, PhD

Chair of Education, Associate Professor of Education

I began my educational journey teaching students with special needs in a preschool for students with severe disabilities. Since then, I have worked in elementary, middle, and high school settings with students with varying disabilities. I began working at the University of Mary as an adjunct instructor in 2011 and began full time work at Mary in 2014. When not at work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, finding new adventures through travel, skiing, and whatever else comes my way.

Take Your Next Step in Special Education