The Special Education program is designed to provide you with exemplary, evidence-based training in K-12 special education teaching, behavior analysis, leadership, and research. We strive to cultivate highly-competent professionals who are committed to the education, rights, and well-being of individuals with or at risk for disabilities.


Programs with Teacher Licensure

BA Elementary Education to MA Special Education U2G

Earn a graduate degree to teach special education (Instructional Strategist I: K-8) in approximately one year for current elementary education majors

MA Special Education

Graduate degree with endorsements in Instructional Strategist I (K-8 or 5-12) and Instructional Strategist II (K-12, LD/BD) for current educators and those new to the field.

Are you an undergraduate interested in special education? Earn an additional endorsement to teach special education (Instructional Strategist I: K-8) with the BA Endorsement in Special Education. Contact your advisor to learn more!

Special Education at Iowa


Shawn Datchuk stands in front of a bookcase

Iowa Department of Education, University of Iowa announce new Iowa Reading Research Center director

Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow and University of Iowa College of Education Dean Dan Clay today announced Shawn Datchuk as the next director of the Iowa Reading Research Center. 

Three men talking in class

COE faculty awarded grant to improve disability services for Iowa students

Three UI College of Education faculty were recently awarded a five-year, $800,000 grant that will fund the Interdisciplinary Counseling, Rehabilitation, and Special Education Service Training project, a collaboration between faculty in the college’s Rehabilitation Counseling and Special Education programs.

Faculty working with grade school students in classroom.

Education faculty receive grant to address shortages of special education leaders

A team of College of Education faculty are utilizing a new training grant to improve access to special educators in Iowa and across the country. 

Programs (Non-licensure)

PhD Special Education

Terminal graduate degree with a focus on innovative research for those interested in faculty, research, and/or leadership positions.

Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Course sequence verified by the Association of Behavior Analysis International, gain expertise in intensive intervention and become eligible for board certification in ABA.

Teacher Education

Our Teacher Education Program provides diverse experiences with supportive mentors to effectively prepare you for your future classroom.

To learn more about classroom experiences and the Teacher Education program, please:


Teacher in middle school classroom with students raising hands.

Classroom Experience and Student Teaching

We believe you shouldn’t have to wait until your final semester of college to work with students and make sure teaching is right for you. In your program you will be given opportunities to work in real classrooms with students from the moment you are admitted to the program. 

Student teacher writing with elementary student.

Teacher Leader Certificate

The certificate encourages strong classroom leadership skills, helps you better understand the context in which our schools operate, and enables you to better innovate, improve, develop and discover your identity as an emerging teacher leader. Prepare to support your students’ social emotional learning needs and become a stand-out hire after graduation.

Faculty and Research

Special Education faculty are nationally and internationally recognized in the field and are active in a wide range of research areas.

To see associated faculty, please visit: Faculty Listing.

Areas of expertise:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Behavioral Intervention
  • Dyslexia
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
  • Intensive Intervention
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Literacy Instruction and Assessment
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
  • Self-Determination
  • Single-Case Design
  • Written Expression
Students studying outdoors at Iowa Memorial Union


UI REACH (Realizing Educational and Career Hopes) is a comprehensive transition program for students ages 18-25 years old with intellectual, cognitive and learning disabilities. UI REACH offers an integrated college experience in a caring and structured environment.

Old capitol building with flowers

SP2 Grant

The Interdisciplinary Training Project in Special Education and School Psychology (SP2) addresses national, regional, and state shortages of special education and school psychologists by preparing them in intensive intervention and assessment for school-aged children with disabilities who have high-intensity needs.

Old Capitol on a sunny afternoon

Project THRIVE

Project THRIVE (Training Special Education Leaders in Mental Health and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practices) will provide a cohort of five scholars with a comprehensive training curriculum encompassing (a) culturally and linguistically responsive instruction and (b) intensive preparation in evidence-based school mental health services (i.e., social, emotional, behavioral supports) for students with disabilities, including those with mental health needs. Scholars will earn a PhD in Special Education.

Note on Disability Language

The description of the programs offered at the University of Iowa features “person-first” language conventions commonly observed in education, such as those recommended by the Council for Exceptional Children and other professional organizations (e.g., “students with learning disabilities” rather than “learning-disabled students”). We nonetheless recommend using the terms preferred by specific individuals with disabilities and their stakeholders on a case-by-case basis. For instance, some individuals prefer identify-first language (e.g., “deaf” or “autistic”). The University of Iowa supports the autonomy, self-determination, and independence of individuals with disabilities in regards to personal identifiers and all other concerns.

Admissions and Application

Apply Now

Please review the requirements and supplemental documents for your degree option before starting.

Program Resources

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

Seth King
N248 Lindquist Center

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