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 Special Education Middle Childhood Early Adolescence 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 6-13 (grades 1-8).

Why Choose Our Program?

  • Multiple Pathways. The MCEA program offers multiple pathways to Wisconsin certification in special education: undergraduate, post baccalaureate career changers, UWM MCEA 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

Special Education Program Handbook (PDF)

Contact Us

Contact a Special Education Middle Childhood – Early Adolescence Program Academic Advisor

Office of Student Services Advising
(414) 229-4721

(Last names A – L) – Tammy Badura

(Last names M – Z) – Kristin Roosevelt

Dr.Sara Jozwik
Special Education Middle Childhood – Early Adolescence Faculty Coordinator


Undergraduate Pathway

The MCEA Special Education major leads to a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Education and recommendation for Wisconsin special education certification (Grades 1-8). 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.

Undergraduate MCEA Program Sheet (PDF)

Professional Sequence Admission

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.

MCEA Undergraduate Professional Sequence Admission Application (PDF)

Post Baccalaureate 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 MCEA 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.

Students with prior certification in regular education (One Year Program Plan (PDF) )

Students with a bachelor’s degree that is not in education (Two Year Program Plan (PDF) )

Admission To the Post Baccalaureate Program

The MCEA 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.

Additional Opportunities for Learning

UWM-MPS Internship Program

The Internship Program, an option for students in the post-baccalaureate program, provides an opportunity to work as a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools while earning certification. Those in the two-year program interested in an internship spend their first year as a pre-intern/paraprofessional, planning and teaching alongside and under the supervision of an experienced MPS special education teacher. If successful, they spend their second year as a special education teacher-of-record (intern). To learn more about the UWM-MPS internship program, visit the UWM/MPS Special Education Internship Program webpage.

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.

Gainful Employment

Due to new federal financial aid regulations, beginning with the summer 2017 term, students who had not previously been awarded federal financial aid at UWM and are enrolled in a stand-alone certificate program will no longer be eligible for federal Title IV aid. Students in a stand-alone certificate who are seeking financial assistance maybe eligible for private loans. Private loans are not guaranteed as they are subject to lender approval including a credit check.

Below is a link to a tool that will help you learn what to look for when shopping for a private loan. At the end of the short tutorial, it will provide a comparison shopping tool allowing you to sort, filter, and compare up to five lenders at one time.


Upon applying for the loan of your choice and being approved, the UWM Financial Aid Office will be notified by the lender to provide enrollment information. At such time the loan will be added to your financial aid award.