Special Education (B.A.)


A major in special education prepares you to be a professional who works with students with mild-to-moderate disabilities in grades pre-K through 12. Our program focuses on research-validated instructional and assessment practices. You’ll have field-based experiences from your first classes through your senior year. Field experiences will provide you with opportunities to work with children and adolescents who have learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, and autism and developmental disabilities. These experiences occur across various placement settings, including both elementary and middle/high school levels, which allow you to apply your knowledge and skills in real-life situations. In the last year of the program, the practical experiences culminate in a two-semester sequence of field-based training under the mentorship of school and University supervisors.


  • Our program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the International Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
  • Our program ranked 12th in CollegeChoice’s list of Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Special Education.
  • Our students exceed the state's minimum requirement for field experience hours before student teaching.
  • Our student teaching internship exceeds the state's certification requirements for student teaching.
  • Our students meet requirements for highly qualified status as a special educator as defined under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • Our program includes coursework that enables students who pass the required PRAXIS tests to add elementary education certification to their initial special education licensure.
  • Our program offers service and leadership opportunities for our students through the Student Council for Exceptional Children, Special Olympics, TOPSoccer, Challenger Baseball and ClemsonLIFE.


You’ll learn about formal and informal assessment strategies, IEP planning and implementation, and principles of effective lesson design and delivery across content areas. During the third year of the program, your courses will focus on characteristics/procedures for learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, intellectual disabilities and autism, as well as early intervention and educational assessment. You’ll also take general education methods courses in teaching reading, science and social studies.

During the final year of the program, your special education courses will focus on teaching reading and mathematics to students with disabilities, managing behavior and addressing the needs of students at the secondary level. Our program emphasizes carefully sequenced and supervised field experiences, which address students with disabilities at different ages and abilities and within numerous public school educational settings.

You’ll spend 10 hours in the field in early intervention as a sophomore and approximately 30 hours in conjunction with courses offered during the third year of the program. More than 160 hours are associated with the senior-year field experience. The spring semester of the final year in the program includes a full-time, 12-week student teaching placement in a public school. You’ll also present an electronic portfolio highlighting major performance assessments across the program and your accomplishments in clinical teaching during the field experiences and student teaching. 


The College of Education is committed to providing all students with purposeful, challenging and diverse experiences. It is through a range of carefully constructed, challenging and classroom-based instruction and field-based experiences that students recognize the inherent dignity and value of all individuals, promote equity in education and advocate on behalf of children, families and communities.

 Clemson's Creative Inquiry program provides you a chance to participate in undergraduate research projects with our special education faculty.
 The ClemsonLIFE Program provides a college-campus postsecondary experience for students with intellectual disabilities. Clemson students serve as mentors who assist the program's students in reaching their potential.
 This student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, affiliated with the International CEC, promotes positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities and organizes an annual Special Olympics for local Oconee and Pickens counties.
 The community-based Clemson Challenger League Baseball program serves children with physical and/or mental disabilities. Player participation and development are key elements, as well as improving fitness, self-esteem and social skills.
 Become a buddy for the community-based TOPSoccer program, which serves children with physical and/or mental disabilities.
 Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society dedicated to scholarship and excellence in education. Clemson's Mu Upsilon chapter is the oldest chapter in the state and fosters mutual cooperation and professional growth.
 Rebecca Leary talks about what she's learning in her special education classes.



Your college decision isn't really about the next four years. We get it. It's about what doors are opened by your degree and whether those opportunities are what you had envisioned for yourself. Here's a snapshot of what life after graduation looks like for some of our most recent students.


  • Special Education Teacher

    Greenville County Schools, S.C.

  • Special Education Teacher

    Anderson School District One, S.C.

  • Special Education Teacher

    Pickens County School District, S.C.

  • Special Education Teacher

    School District of Oconee County, S.C.

  • Resource Teacher

    Charleston County School District, S.C.


  • M.Ed. Special Education

    University of Tennessee

  • M.A. International Educational Development

    Columbia University

  • M.Ed. Special Education

    Vanderbilt University

  • M.S. Speech Language Pathology

    Vanderbilt University


    • Pre-K through 12th grade
    • Teaching
    • Administration
    • Special Services
      • Reading
      • Title 1
      • Guidance Counseling
      • School Psychology
      • School Social Work
      • Occupational and Physical Therapy
      • Audiology and Speech Pathology
      • Library and Information Services
      • Curriculum Supervision
      • Subject Area Supervision


Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.

Jamie Garland

Academic Adviser