Undergraduate Special Education

Welcome to the Special Education Adapted Curriculum program in the Watson College of Education! Teaching students with special needs is a challenging and rewarding profession that allows you to have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The Special Education Adapted Curriculum program will prepare you to provide instruction to assist students with moderate to severe disabilities who are not enrolled in the general education curriculum. Students supported have moderate to severe physical and/or intellectual disabilities, including such diagnoses as Down syndrome, moderate to severe autism, Fragile X syndrome, multiple disabilities and medically fragile students. Training includes instructional practices to teach functional skills, as well as functional academics, in a small controlled setting (self-contained classroom). These classrooms provide highly individualized instruction for students whose needs cannot be met in the general education classroom.

The program leads to a B.A. degree and initial North Carolina licensure in Adapted Special Education (K-12).

You may also be interested in the Special Education General Curriculum program offered by the Watson College.

Distinctive Features of the Program

  • Small class sizes with personal attention and guidance
  • Faculty with extensive experience working with individuals with moderate to severe disabilities
  • A collaborative learning environment
  • Training in the use of assistive technology, sign language and how to assist with the medical needs of students
  • A minor is offered in Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities
  • MindSet crisis prevention training is provided for all interns
  • Extensive field and classroom experiences prior to internship
  • A full-time internship during the final semester
  • Opportunities for international experiences
  • High job placement rates
  • Strong preparation for effective teaching of students with a wide range of disabilities


Admissions: Steps to Becoming a Teacher

Admission to UNCW and the Watson College of Education is a two-step process. The first step is admission to the university. The second step is admission to the Watson College of Education (WCE). Students typically apply to WCE during their sophomore or junior year at UNCW. Transfer students typically apply during their first or second semester at UNCW.


High School Seniors and Transfer Students

  • Apply for admission to UNCW
  • Visit the Watson College!
  • Consider applying for the Education Living Learning Community to meet other pre-education majors and get a jump-start on field placements and enrichment experiences

Freshman or Sophomore Year
Before you declare your major

  • Create goals and make course selections that compliment your major/licensure
  • Arrange for experiences that will help you confirm your goals and interests. These could include meeting with faculty and students in the Watson College, attending events at the college, joining student organizations, studying abroad or volunteering

Sophomore Year
Pre-major status

  • Collaborate with your Watson College Advisor to ensure success
  • Review course requirements, sequence and pre-requisites to revise course map
  • Continue to arrange experiences that will help you confirm your goals and interests
  • Apply for admission to Watson College

Junior Year
Admitted to the Watson College

  • Begin education coursework
  • Tutor students in the Ed Lab and begin classroom field placements
  • Continue assessing your skills, strengths and interests
  • Network with professors, students and teachers who work in your field

Senior or Final Year

  • Complete a semester-long internship
  • Apply for graduation, pass licensing tests and apply for licensure
  • Attend job fairs, seek Career Center support to perfect your resume and interviewing skills and apply for jobs