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Education - Special Education Grades PreK-12, Bachelor's


The DeSales Special Education PreK-12 program prepares you teachers to meet the needs of students with exceptionalities in the modern classroom.

As a graduate, you'll be certified Special Education PreK-12 and qualified to teach in multiple settings, including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary classrooms.

From specialized course instruction and unique field experiences, you'll become well-versed in theory and practice. 

You'll be taught by dedicated faculty with years of experience in the field of Special Education. They'll guide and supervise you in your field and student teaching placements.

University clubs like Best Buddies and campus-wide events like the Special Olympics support the passion our students have for the field of Special Education.


The DeSales Special Education PreK-12 certification program is one of the first in the state to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education! 

Admissions Requirements

At DeSales, we not only look at your past academic achievement but also your potential for future growth to determine your admission.

We find that students who have demonstrated significant achievement within a demanding curriculum are best suited for academic life at DeSales. Quality of academic performance plays a critical role in the admissions decision making process. This helps indicate a student's potential for academic growth going forward. We welcome applications from all qualified students regardless of race, religion, sex, national, or ethnic origin.

Application Checklist

  • Application Fee: None
  • Transcripts: Official High School Transcript
  • Standardized Tests: Test-optional, however, an Admissions Interview may be requested
  • Recommendations: Completed Guidance Counselor Form and Teacher Recommendation Form
  • Please refer to the Program Specific Requirements section for any requirements specific to this program

All materials can be mailed to:
DeSales University Admissions Office
2755 Station Ave.
Center Valley, PA 

* SAT scores are highly recommended for students applying for the Nursing and Health Science programs. Please refer to the Program Specific Requirements section for any requirements specific to this program.

Additional recommendations

High School Academics - Remember, there is no single preferred high school academic program, but a college preparatory course of study is highly recommended. Here's an example:

  • Four years of English
  • Three or four years of college preparatory mathematics
  • A minimum of two years of modern, foreign, or classical language
  • At least two laboratory science courses

Visiting DeSales - A personal, on-campus interview is strongly recommended, but is not required. We encourage you to visit so that you'll have a chance to learn more about DeSales, and we'll have the opportunity to learn more about you, too.

Learn more about Undergraduate Admissions & Aid 

When to Apply

We encourage you to apply early in your senior year. We use a rolling admissions system, which means you will be notified promptly about your admissions status—usually within four weeks of our receipt of your completed application.

Priority deadline for scholarship consideration is December 1 of your senior year.


The comprehensive program includes specialized coursework in the field of Special Education, school-based field experiences in diverse settings, and full-time student teaching during the final semester.

Major Program Coursework:

SE304: Curricula and Strategies for Moderate to Severe

SE306: Transition

SE308: Collaboration and Consultation

SE312: Technology in Special Education

SE316: Curricula and Strategies for Mild Disabilities

SE318: Positive Behavior Management

SE323: Assessment and IEP Development

Accommodations and Adaptations:

ED218: Introduction to Exceptionality

ED364: The Inclusive Classroom

ED366: Literacy for Content Learning

ED373: Teaching English Learners

Successful completion of the clinical field experience components of the special education program are necessary for admittance to student teaching and/or certification. A minimum of 170 hours of clinical field experiences are required prior to student teaching per the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Once candidates have completed all courses within the professional sequence, they are ready to student teach. Student teaching is offered in four separate courses during the final semester of senior year within a public school. No other course work is permitted during student teaching and candidates may not enroll in SE 430, SE 432, SE 434, or SE 436 unless they have fulfilled all the requirements mentioned above and have been formally accepted into the Professional Educator Program.

Candidates for the Special Education Certification are placed in two seven-week, settings during this 14-week full-time experience.


Value-Added Teacher Education

Enriching Field Experience: Students begin field experiences in the first semester of sophomore year, always under the guidance of a university professor. To arrange placements, we employ a former principal with important contacts in local districts. Students benefit from excellent field placements with great local teachers.

Study Abroad: Our Teacher Education students gain global perspectives, studying in Rome, London, and Limerick, Ireland with Spain and other destinations on the horizon.

Teach Abroad: Education students can take their global perspectives even further. In recent years, they have taught in primary and secondary schools in Capetown, South Africa and India through DeSales-sponsored faculty-led trips. Recent graduates are teaching throughout Asia and other countries in full time positions.

Technology-Rich Curriculum: DeSales University Teacher Education has received a special designation from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for industry-leading technology integration in our teacher education programs.

Transferable Certification to Other States: Pennsylvania mandates rigorous, clear, teacher certification standards that make Pennsylvania certification easily transferable to other states. For additional detail on individual state certification requirements, refer to the state of choice.

Education Resource Lab

Students of DeSales education programs benefit from having access to the Department of Education's Resource Lab. The Lab is a convenient space where students gather to discuss topics, research, study, and work together on group projects. All the resources needed -- computers, art supplies, research library texts, and more -- are available to assist education students with their academic pursuits

Careers & Internships

Certification in Special Education PreK-12 prepares teachers for careers in Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary classrooms.

Students gain experiences in diverse field settings, including high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities and inclusive and self-contained classrooms.

This undergraduate degree and certification prepares students for careers in:

  • Public School Employment
  • Charter School Employment
  • Private and Parochial School Employment
  • Cyber and Online Teaching

DeSales has Internship opportunities with:

  • CAI Autism2Work
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network
  • Bucks County Intermediate Unit
  • Mercy School for Special Learning
  • Camelot for Children
  • Lehigh County Children and Youth Services

Tuition & Fees

DeSales can help make your college expenses affordable through a combination of grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship resources.

View a comprehensive list of financial aid forms and undergraduate program information sheets

Cost of attendance for undergrads for 2023-2024


Resident Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $43,000
Room and Board - $13,800
Mandatory Fees - $1,800
One-time Orientation Fee for First-Year students and Transfers - $200
Total = $58,800 (including first-year/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,711
Personal Expenses - $4,605
Total cost for resident students: $65,116

Commuter Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $43,000
Mandatory Fees - $1,400
One-time Orientation Fee for First-Year students and Transfers - $200
Total = $44,600 (including first-year/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,711
Personal Expenses - $4,605
Transportation Costs - $1,908
Living Expenses - $2,298
Total cost for commuter students: $55,122


Direct Costs
Tuition - $43,000
Mandatory Fees - $1,400
One-time Orientation Fee for First-Year students and Transfers - $200
Total = $44,600 (including first-year/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,711
Personal Expenses - $4,605
Transportation Costs - $1,908
Living Expenses - $9,192
Total cost for off-campus students: $62,016
*First-year students are required to reside on campus or commute from home.

Parking Fee - $100

View a comprehensive list of financial aid forms and undergraduate program information sheets

Dual Degree Undergraduate-to-Graduate Programs

If you are enrolled in an undergraduate-to-graduate degree program — for example a 5-year, 3+2, 3+3, program — the undergraduate tuition and fees apply only to the undergraduate portion of the program. As you progress into the graduate phase of your program, graduate tuition and fees apply. Please see your respective graduate program for more information. 

The financial aid process may appear overwhelming at first glance, but don't worry, we'll help you through it.

Accepted students are automatically considered for scholarships upon receipt of a completed application and are awarded regardless of financial need. Funds for scholarships are limited, so we do encourage students to apply early.

Our comprehensive financial aid packages carefully explain the types and amounts of assistance —including federal, state, and institutional — that you may be eligible for to help cover education related expenses.

Total cost of attendance includes estimates for tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal, transportation, and living expenses.

You can estimate your total cost of attendance with our Net Price Calculator

Katie Blamey, Ph.D, DeSales University

The DeSales Special Education PreK-12 program is the right choice for students who feel passionate about working with students with exceptionalities.

— Katrin Blamey, Ph.D. , Associate Professor, Department Chair

DeSales Lehigh Valley Campus in the Fall

Get Involved—Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society

Join a global network of education professionals in Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, through DeSales' Alpha Alpha Chi chapter.

learn more about kappa delta pi

DeSales Teachers are in Demand

With the teacher shortage in the United States, our graduates find employment in the Education field with ease. DeSales grads are highly sought after and accept positions in public, private, charter, and parochial schools in Pennsylvania and in other states.  
teacher talking with a student

Want Dual Certification? Add on an Early Childhood and Elementary PreK-4!

Students certified in our PreK-12 Special Education program can easily add an Early Childhood and Elementary Education PreK-4 certification to their degree.

Learn more about our dual certification program