Special Education Program

Degree Type: Endorsement - Instructional Strategist I
Program(s) Offered: For Elementary & Secondary Education Majors

Do you enjoy working one-on-one with kids? Do you like the idea of helping children or youth with special needs? If so, then getting a special education endorsement might be right for you!

Program Description

Briar Cliff offers a “Special Education Instructional Strategist I” endorsement for elementary education and secondary education majors. The program will prepare you to teach students with special needs or disabilities, and serve as an instructional strategist in both public and private school settings.

Why study special education at Briar Cliff?


Iowa Dept. of Ed

Briar Cliff is known for producing caring, distinguished teachers, and is fully accredited by the Iowa State Board of Education and Iowa Department of Education. Any student who successfully completes the program and meets the state testing requirements is eligible to apply for teacher licensure in the state.


From the moment you start as a teacher candidate at Briar Cliff, you’ll be active in actual classrooms: observing teachers, working with small groups and joining practicums at neighboring schools. Before your senior year begins, you’ll already have 120-235 hours of real classroom experience — a unique approach that prepares you for your final semester of student teaching.

Depending on the age range you plan to teach (elementary, middle school or high school), we’ll tailor your special education courses to match your career goals.


The special education program culminates in a 15-week, on-site student teaching experience in regular education and special education. Working under the guidance of veteran teachers in the Sioux City community, along with our experienced Department of Education faculty, you’ll assist with developing individualized education programs (IEP’s) for students with specialized needs.


You have the option to complete a certificate program that qualifies you to teach in any Catholic school in the state of Iowa. This certificate program is a partnership between the four Iowa Catholic Dioceses and BCU’s education and theology departments. Although not a full teaching endorsement, this certificate better prepares you to teach religion courses and gives you preferential hiring status in Diocesan schools.

Special Education Program Courses

EDEL 464 - Reading Assessment, Diagnosis and Evaluation

This course emphasizes the teaching of language development, corrective and remedial reading problems and strategies. Informal and formal assessment measures are studied. Read more »

EDEL 465 - Reading Practicum

This course has students apply the knowledge and skills from EDEL 464. Students will study the causes of reading difficulties, instruction in the administration and interpretation of tests, and use case histories in the analysis of data. Small group and individual student diagnosis and remediation are employed through a 30 hr. practicum. Prerequisite: taken concurrently with EDEL 464 Read more »

EDUC 270 - Exceptional Learners

The intent of the course is to examine education of persons with learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, other health impairments, and gifted and talented children. The special traits of each group will be studied as well as the relationships of their traits and abilities to their education, social and psychological needs. Stress will be placed on practical applications of theory (e.g. remediation techniques, etc.) as well as the theories regarding etiological factors. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

 All special education students seeking licensure must first be admitted into the Teacher Preparation Program, and enlisted as either an elementary or secondary education major.

 The Federal Department of Education states that all K-12 education majors must take the Praxis II Testing for Licensure in pedagogy and the content area prior to applying for their teaching license.

 For additional requirements and curriculum information, download the latest University academic catalog.

Emma Bruns

I knew I wanted to attend BCU as soon as I visited the campus. The scholarship I received made my dream possible.

Emma Bruns

Art & Elementary Education ('17)