Teacher working with a young student.

Special Education

Make a difference in the lives of students with special needs by adding a second major in special education.

Why Study Special Education?

Every person has a story, and every teacher has the opportunity to make a difference in that story. By studying special education at USD, you will gain the skills and experiences you need to be a change-maker as you work with and teach students with special needs. You will pair this major with an elementary education or secondary education major, preparing you to be a leader in a variety of classroom types. This four-year program includes a full year of residency, meaning you will graduate with a wealth of hands-on experiences that will set you apart after graduation.

Follow your passion for working with students with special needs as a special education major.                   

Degrees & Offerings

Elementary Education & Special Education (B.S.Ed.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

As an elementary education major, you can add a major in special education and still graduate in four years. This double major option prepares you to work with and teach student with special needs, and it also provides you with experience in a high-needs area, which will make you an ideal candidate for teaching positions.

Secondary Education & Special Education (B.S.Ed.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

As a secondary education major, you can add a major in special education and still graduate in four years. This double major option prepares you to work with and teach student with special needs, and it also provides you with experience in a high-needs area, which will make you an ideal candidate for teaching positions.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

There are plenty of ways you can get involved as a student in the School of Education at USD. Whether you want to serve the community of Vermillion, work with children who have special needs, promote literacy or explore another interest related to education, you'll be able to find the right organization for you.

Explore Student Organizations

The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Education Association are professional organizations for educators. Connect with a wide network of teachers and be an advocate for students in one of these organizations.

Explore Student Organizations

Enrich your education and see the world by participating in one of our many study abroad experiences. Here are a few benefits of studying abroad during your time at USD.

  • Gain a new perspective on your academic field of study
  • Improve your language skills
  • Explore a new culture
  • Gain independence and increase self-reliance
  • Become more prepared to work in a global economy
  • Set yourself apart from other job and graduate school applicants
  • Learn more about yourself and your own culture

Learn More

A unique part of your USD education is access to undergraduate research opportunities. As an education student at USD, you will have the chance to explore your interests and conduct innovative research with the support of professors who care about your success. Grants and travel funding are available through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Learn More


Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in special education.

Teacher Sitting at a Table with Students.

Teacher Residency & Education

The Division of Teacher Residency & Education is focused on preparing effective, responsive teachers who can meet the needs of all students in today's schools. Through unique features such as a robust yearlong residency, an emphasis on technology and curriculum that recognizes a variety of learners, our division offers an enriching education for the next generation of educators.

Faculty & staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Division of Teacher Residency & Education. Our faculty's K-12 experience informs their teaching; they know what it's like to manage a classroom, plan curriculum and teach a wide variety of learners, so they have the expertise necessary to prepare you for your future classroom.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Amy Schweinle

Amy Schweinle

Dean, School of Ed
Bio Image for Faculty Member Nicki Carr

Nicki Carr

Bio Image for Faculty Member Kristen DeMuth

Kristen DeMuth

Faculty Default

Jolinda Gray

Program Assistant II
Bio Image for Faculty Member Branden Hoefert

Branden Hoefert

Academic Advisor
Faculty Default

Chelle Kirkpatrick

Program Assistant I
Faculty Default

April Lee

SOE Recruiter
Bio Image for Faculty Member Daniel Mourlam

Daniel Mourlam

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kristi OskarGroen

Kristi OskarGroen

Adjunct Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jill Paulson

Jill Paulson

Academic Advisor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jerry Rasmussen

Jerry Rasmussen

Adjunct Instructor
Faculty Default

Penny Reifenrath

Acctng Asst/Dean's Office Sup
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kali Sloup

Kali Sloup

Faculty Default

Lisa Utech

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jing Williams

Jing Williams

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Robin Wiebers

Robin Wiebers

Assoc Dean, School of Educ
Bio Image for Faculty Member Garreth Zalud

Garreth Zalud Ph.D.

Chair, Curr & Instruct
Teacher Reading a Story to an Elementary Class

Gain Real-World Experience

At USD, you will gain the real-world experience and skills schools are looking for.

Our graduates are highly sought-after because they bring such a wealth of experiences to the classroom; by the time you graduate, you will have experience in at least three schools and at two or more grade levels – including a full year of teaching experience incorporated into your four-year program. These hands-on experiences prepare you to graduate as a highly-effective teacher with a wealth of knowledge and a variety of marketable skills.

Tuition & Costs

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.
SD Residents, SD Advantage* & Child of Alumni
MN Residents
Tuition (30 cr.)
Fees (30 cr.)
Books (estimate)
Food Service

* SD Advantage: The in-state rate is available to residents of South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and children of alumni of USD.

More About Tuition & Costs

This is an estimated annual cost. Other factors may change the cost of tuition.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

Alum success story

Success story Mason Rogers smiling.
My yearlong residency was extremely beneficial when working towards my ELED/SPED double major. It gave me the opportunity to be in an Elementary Resource Special Ed classroom, a High School Low Functioning Special Ed classroom, and a Middle School General Ed classroom. This let me look at every level of a K-12 education before I chose what level I wanted to teach.

Mason Rogers

B.S.Ed. Elementary and Special Education '19
6th Grade Math and Science Teacher

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