Want to make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities in elementary and middle schools? Special education teachers can do that!

Upon successful completion of the K4-12 Special Education program, you will be eligible to apply to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for a Wisconsin teaching license in cross categorical special education, ages 4-21 (grades K4-12).

Why Choose Our Program?

  • Multiple Pathways. The K4-12 program offers multiple pathways to Wisconsin certification in special education: undergraduate, post baccalaureate career changers, UWM K4-12 fifth year dual certification, add-on certification, para-professional to teacher.
  • Urban Focus. The program has an urban focus including culturally responsive teaching of students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Content. You will learn evidence-based teaching strategies and practices that can accelerate the progress of students with disabilities.
  • Evening classes. We offer flexible class schedules, including evening classes, to meet the needs of working professionals.
  • Field-based. You will be in schools for most semesters, putting into practice what you are learning in your classes.
  • Experienced Faculty. Our faculty members have extensive classroom experience and are recognized leaders in the field of special education.
  • Master’s Degree Option. Post baccalaureate students can combine certification with a Master’s Degree in Exceptional Education.
  • Standards-based. This program is aligned with the WI Teacher Standards (PDF), which UWM has contextualized with an urban education framework.

Special Education Program Handbook

K4-12 Special Education Program Handbook (PDF)


Undergraduate Program Pathway

The K4-12 Special Education major leads to a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Education and recommendation for Wisconsin special education certification (Grades K4-12). The professional sequence, taken after all/most of the liberal arts required courses are taken, is a cohort program that begins a two-year course sequence each fall semester.


K4-12 Special Education Academic Catalog Undergraduate Requirements

Academic Catalog Requirements Sheet

  • Visit the Academic Catalog webpage linked above, then click on the Print Options link in the lower right hand column
  • Click the Download Page (PDF) link
  • Print or save the condensed program requirements document

Post Baccalaureate Program Pathways

The post baccalaureate program is a cohort program that is two years for those entering without certification and one year for those entering with prior teaching certification in another area. Students include those earning K4-12 certification in regular education who remain at UWM for a fifth year to earn dual certification, certified teachers returning to add on a special education certification, and those beginning new careers. Career changes have the option of working as a paraprofessional and then teaching under a permit while earning certification.

Requirements for Students With Prior Certification in Regular Education

K4-12 Special Education One Year Post-Baccalaureate Requirements (PDF)

Requirements for Students With a Bachelor’s Degree That Is Not in Education

K4-12 Special Education Two Year Post-Baccalaureate Requirements (PDF)

Master’s Degree Option

You have the option of combining the certification program with a master’s degree, taking up to 18 credits of your certification program at the graduate level. The remaining credits, including an action research project, can be completed after certification. Your advisor will help you determine the best time tin your program apply to the graduate school.


Application Process

Undergraduate Program Pathway

Applications are due April 1 of the year you wish to begin. Generally, students apply to the professional sequence in the final semester of their sophomore year. Application to the professional sequence does not guarantee admission.

Students must meet all application requirements listed in the application packet. If you have not officially completed all coursework required to apply at the time of application but will do so before the beginning of the fall semester, we encourage you to submit a program application. We recommend you meet with a School of Education advisor to determine the best time to apply.

K4-12 Undergraduate Professional Sequence Admission Application (PDF)

Post Baccalaureate Program Pathway

The K4-12 post baccalaureate program has rolling admissions. Once your materials are in and all criteria met, you will be contacted for an interview. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for admission consideration.

You can find more information on our Post-Baccalaureate Special Education Teacher Certification Admissions page, which also includes the program application packet, information session dates, and additional admissions information.


profile photoElizabeth DrameProfessorTeaching and Learningerdrame@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 397
profile photoSara JozwikAssociate ProfessorTeaching and Learningjozwik@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 319
profile photoLaura OwensProfessorTeaching and Learninglowens@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 361


Program Information

For general information or questions about the program, contact:

Dr. Sara Jozwik
K4-12 Special Education Faculty Coordinator


To discuss your academic plan and coursework, contact an academic advisor:

Office of Student Services Advising
(414) 229-4721

Academic Advising
(Last names A-L) – Kristin Roosevelt
(Last names M-Z) – Tyree Bolden

NOTE: If you are completing a previous program at UWM and have questions please use this contact information:

  • MC-EA Cross Categorical Special Education – Kristin Roosevelt
  • EAA Cross Categorical Special Education – Tyree Bolden