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Academic Program Guide

Special Education

College: Education, Health, and Human Sciences
Degree: Combined BS/MS
Specialized Admission: No

Contact: Robert Birken or Frank Amidon
Address: 2301 Stone Bldg., FSU Tallahassee, FL 32306-4460
Phone: (850) 644-3760

Description of Major

*Please Note: Face-to-face/in-person instruction of this program is available ONLY at the main campus in Tallahassee, FL. This program is NOT available via Online/Distance Learning.*

The Special Education BS/MS pathway is designed to prepare students to work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, and intellectual disabilities.

Combined BS/MS Degree Pathway
The Special Education program is a combined BS/MS degree pathway. The BS/MS pathway requires two years of upper-division undergraduate coursework plus one additional year of graduate coursework. Admission to the graduate portion of the combined degree pathway requires a 3.00 upper-division undergraduate GPA.

Professional Educator’s Certificate
Upon awarding of the Master’s degree you will have satisfied all the requirements for a state-approved teacher preparation program in Florida. You will be eligible for a Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate in Exceptional Student Education (K - 12) with endorsements in ESOL, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Reading.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Coursework: (3 hours)

Pre-Education Coursework: (3 Credit Hours)
The following coursework must be completed with a grade of C minus or better:

EDF 1005 (3) Introduction to Education; or an equivalent course offering a broad view of education from a historical, cultural, psychological, political, social, and philosophical perspectives. Course must include a field experience.

Admission to Educator Preparation
Admission to Educator Preparation is separate and distinct from admission to upper-division from lower-division or admission to the university as a transfer student. All prospective students for Special Education must apply for formal admission to Educator Preparation through the College of Education.

Admissions Timeline

The BS/MS pathways utilize a cohort model with courses offered in a specific sequence over a three-year period. Students cannot progress through the BS/MS pathway at a faster or slower pace than specified by the program curriculum. Students are formally admitted to Educator Preparation in the Fall term regardless of the term they are admitted to the university and/or upper-division. We strongly encourage all prospective students (including transfer students) to plan their lower-division coursework so that they will be eligible for admission to the university and/or upper-division in the Fall term.

Students that apply and are admitted for the Spring term will be formally admitted to Educator Preparation the following Fall. They will join the next admitted Fall cohort and will follow that cohort’s curriculum map until graduation. Please note that this adds one additional term of enrollment to the student’s program of study. Spring admits will receive a custom course schedule for the spring term. Spring term coursework may include a mix of major courses, university-wide graduation requirements and/or content courses for English Education and Social Science Education majors. Priority will be given to completing university-wide graduation requirements and content course requirements.

Educator Preparation Application
The Educator Preparation application is available online at

Application Deadline
The application deadline for all BS/MS Educator Preparation programs is June 1 for Fall and November 1 for Spring. The first available spring term for admission is Spring 2025.

The college reserves the right to deny any application that is not complete by the application deadline.

Common Admission Requirements
All prospective students to Educator Preparation must meet the following minimum requirements for admission:

1. Complete 60 credit hours of college-level coursework.
2. Earn a 2.50 cumulative GPA in all attempted college coursework. In calculating your GPA, we use all attempted courses (including D's, F's, and WF's) from every college you have attended. If a course is repeated, we will use both grades.
3. Complete FSU General Education curriculum or earn AA degree from a Florida public institution.
4. Complete EDF 1005 - Introduction to Education with a C minus or better.

See for Liberal Studies curriculum.

See for a list of approved Liberal Studies courses.

Additional Requirements for Transfer Students
Transfer students must satisfy the university’s minimum requirements for admission including demonstration of satisfactory academic progress, college-level English and mathematics proficiency, and world language proficiency. Applicants who will have attempted 90+ semester hours of college credit (including withdrawals and repeated courses) before enrolling at Florida State University must submit a personal statement to the Office of Admissions. The statement must address the reason(s) for transferring to FSU this late in the academic program and should also include a plan for a timely graduation. See for details.

FTCE General Knowledge Exam
Effective July 1, 2021, the FTCE General Knowledge Exam is no longer a requirement for BS/MS programs within the College of Education.


Major Program of Study at FSU: (84 hours)

Undergraduate Coursework: (48 hours)
EEX 3601 (3) Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Educators
EEX 3831 (1) Practicum in Direct Observation
EEX 4012 (3) Foundations of Special Education
EEX 4251 (3) Teaching Mathematics to Learners with Disabilities
EEX 4253 (3) Access to the General Curriculum for Individuals with Moderate/Severe Disabilities
EEX 4291 (3) Characteristics and Education of Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder
EEX 4486 (3) Differentiating Instruction for Students with Exceptionalities
EEX 4613 (3) Positive Behavior Support
EEX 4751 (3) Collaboration with Families, Schools, and the Community
EEX 4842 (1) Practicum in Severe Cognitive Disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder
EEX 4941 (1) Practicum with Students with High Incidence Disabilities
RED 4241 (3) Differentiating Reading Instruction
RED 4310 (3) Foundations of Reading
RED 4510 (3) Teaching Reading for Understanding
RED 4551 (3) Literacy Assessment
RED 4941 (3) Reading and ESOL Practicum
TSL 4251 (3) Applied Linguistics for Second Language Learning
TSL 4520 (3) Cross Cultural Communication for Foreign/Second Language Teachers

Graduate Coursework: (36 hours)
EDG 5365 (3) Practitioner Research in Schools and the Community
EEX 5210 (3) Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability
EEX 5237 (3) Methods for Teaching Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
EEX 5239 (3) Assessment and Methods in Early Childhood Special Education
EEX 5286 (3) Preparing Individuals for Transition
EEX 5456 (3) Program Development for Young Children with Disabilities
EEX 5767 (3) Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder
EEX 5841 (9) Field Lab Internship
EEX 8966 (0) Comprehensive Examination
TSL 5005 (3) Methodologies for Teaching Foreign and Second Languages

Graduate Practicum Coursework: (3 hours)
Select one of the following graduate specialization practicum courses:

EEX 5835 (3) Practicum with Learners with High Incidence Disabilities or
EEX 5836 (3) Practicum in Severe Cognitive Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders

University-Wide Graduation Requirements:

Digital Literacy: (3 hours)
EME2040 recommended, but can be completed by other University approved coursework

Oral Communication Competency: (3 hours)
Completed within General Education/elective coursework

Natural Science Lab: (1 hour)
Completed within General Education/elective coursework

Scholarship-In-Practice: (3 hours)
Completed within major coursework (EEX 4941)

Upper-Division Writing: (3 hours)
Completed within major coursework (RED 4310)

A VIA membership is required for all Educator Preparation candidates. The membership costs $139 and must be purchased within the first 30 days of your first semester in the program. Throughout your program, courses will include Signature Assessments that must be completed and uploaded into VIA for evaluation by your instructors. Your membership is good for five years and allows you to retain evidence of your demonstration of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPS) and Reading Competencies.

Required Examinations
Two exams are required for all Educator Preparation candidates:

1. FTCE Professional Education Exam (Pro Ed) - $150
2. FTCE Subject Area Exam - $150

The FTCE Professional Education Exam and FTCE Subject Area Exam are state-mandated requirements and cannot be waived. Both FTCE exams must be completed before a candidate can participate in Student Teaching.

Criminal Background Screening
School districts have taken precautionary measures to ensure the security and safety of their students. To gain entry into a school and to comply with the Jessica Lunsford Act, all Educator Preparation candidates must complete a Level II background screening (fingerprinting). The cost of the screening and red badge is $95.00. The badge is effective for five years. The background check must be completed within the first 30 days of your first semester in the program.

Field Experiences
Field Experiences are a required component of all educator preparation programs at Florida State University. They provide students an opportunity to participate in teaching activities in a classroom setting with a certified teacher. The location, duration and frequency of field experiences vary by semester and program. Prospective students should think carefully about their transportation needs, work schedule, extracurricular activities and time management.

Student Teaching
Student Teaching is the culminating experience in Florida State University’s Educator Preparation Program. During this semester-long experience, you will be given an opportunity to demonstrate the various skills that you have learned throughout your program.

Professional Behaviors and Dispositions
While enrolled in an Educator Preparation program, candidates are expected to demonstrate positive behaviors and dispositions that conform to the "Code of Ethics" (State Board of Education Rule 6A10.080 FAC) and the "Principles of Professional Conduct in Florida" (State Board of Education Rule 6A10.081 FAC). Each program reserves the right to refuse or discontinue enrollment of any student who violates these expectations or in the judgment of a majority of the program faculty does not meet the program standards.

Program Completion
All Educator Preparation candidates must demonstrate mastery of the Florida Department of Education Uniform Core Curriculum and positive dispositions prior to graduation. Upon admission to the program, students will receive a cohort specific Educator Preparation Handbook that outlines these requirements in detail. A copy of the current Educator Preparation Handbook is available online at .

Minimum Program Requirements – Summary

Total Hours Required (BS): 120
General Education: 36
Lower Division Elective Coursework: 15
Digital Literacy: 3
Oral Communication Competency: 3
Natural Science Lab: 1
Pre-Education Coursework: 3
Undergraduate Major Coursework: 48
Graduate Major Coursework: 36


Mapping is FSU’s academic advising and monitoring system. Academic progress is monitored each Fall and Spring semester to ensure that students are on course to earn their degree in a timely fashion. Transfer students must meet mapping guidelines to be accepted into their majors. You may view the map for this major at


1. A minimum of 45 hours at the 3000 level or above, 30 of which must be taken at this University.
2. All of the major course semester hours must be completed in residence at this University.
3. The final 30 hours must be completed in residence at this University.

Employment Information

Salary Information: National Association of Colleges and Employers, Occupational Outlook Handbook

Representative Job Titles Related to this Major: Special Education Teacher, Teacher of students with exceptionalities, Resource Room Teacher, and Teacher of students with disabilities.

Representative Employers: School Boards, Local Agencies which serve individuals with disabilities, Private Schools.

View Special Education Academic Map