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Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual)

Our dual elementary and special education majors gain the knowledge and skills needed to teach ALL children.

All Together, Teaching and Learning

Teaching is one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding professions. Today’s classrooms are truly reflective of the diversity of our modern world.

As a dual major, you are not only a highly qualified elementary educator, but also a special educator with knowledge and skills to meet the learning needs of students with mild/moderate disabilities. This degree gives you the most flexibility in choosing the school and teaching position that is best for you.

The dual major in Elementary and Special Education may be for you if you want to:

  • Have flexibility in your future career;
  • Teach all children in a high-quality manner;
  • Adapt your teaching based on the wide range of needs of students in your class;
  • Help all children reach their potential in an inclusive society.


The dual major in Elementary and Special Education is the best of both majors. Candidates engage in the teaching and learning experiences of both degrees in a well-sequenced plan of study with a cohort of fellow students.

Degree Options

There is one Bachelor of Science (BS) degree plan with this program.

The degree includes:

  • Elementary Education K-6 License (MS #120)
  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities License (MS #221)
  • Remedial Reading Supplemental Endorsement (MS #174)

More about this Major


Our dual majors have the most flexibility in their career path. They can choose to be an elementary school teacher or provide special education services to students with disabilities in K-12 settings.

Dual majors can also teach special subjects at the high school level including Occupational English, Occupational Math, and others. Sample job titles include Elementary Education Teacher, Special Education Teacher, Kindergarten Teacher, Inclusive Education Teacher, Resource Teacher, and Educational Interventionist.

Teachers of all kinds are in high demand across the state and nation. Special education in particular has consistently been identified as a critical shortage area, which means jobs are plentiful.

• Teachers in our dual major are fully prepared to meet the educational needs of all learners.
• In Mississippi, the base salary for a beginning educator with a BS degree (an A level license) is $34,390. The actual salary may be higher, however, depending on the local district’s supplement.
The dual major is the only program in Mississippi that provides a full preparation program in both elementary and special education.

Courses You Might Take

SPE 300, 380, & 382: Special Education Practicum (I, II, & III)

A student teacher walks with students outside a classroom.

During the three semesters leading to your teacher candidacy experience (student teaching), you will have extensive opportunities to observe and teach in a wide variety of education settings. You will be mentored by faculty teaching your professional courses to implement the techniques and strategies learned, ensuring you will be well prepared for your first teaching position.

SPE 401: Systematic Interventions for Challenging Behaviors and SPE 451: Classroom and School Management Systems

Students raise their hands in response to a teacher's question.

Many teachers, including new teachers, express frustration when it comes to the behaviors they see in their classrooms. These two courses are designed to build your knowledge and skills to have a positive learning environment for all students. Evidence-based strategies for general classroom management, as well as for students who need more extensive support, are taught.

SPE 402: Teaching Diverse Learners

A student gets one-on-one attention from a student teacher.

There is great diversity in today’s classrooms, and we want you to be prepared to teach all students in high-quality, inclusive settings. This course focuses on the breadth of student strengths and needs and teaches evidence-based practices for meeting the needs of all learners.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Audra I. Classen, PhD

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: Reading and Writing for Students with Disabilities

Expertise: Supporting young children's emotional literacy development, developing social-emotional curriculum and interventions, and teaching practitioners to utilize assessment techniques

Hollie Gabler Filce, PhD


Favorite Course: Systematic Interventions for Challenging Behaviors

Expertise: Individuals with significant disabilities, family systems and supports, children with special healthcare needs, and positive behavioral interventions and supports.

Joy T. Hines, PhD

Visiting Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: Mathematics Instruction for Students with Disabilities

Expertise: Special education law, grief management in schools, classroom management, and bullying

Alisa Lowrey, PhD

Associate Professor

Favorite Course: Introduction to Disability

Expertise: Teacher education, training and evaluation; inclusive educational practices including postsecondary practices for students with developmental disabilities including autism; and designing quality, individualized curricula to include the application of Universal Design for Learning

Gregory W. Smith, PhD

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children

Expertise: High-incidence disabilities, cognition, memory, and lived experiences

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