Our College is a Top 25 college of education and many of our programs are in the top 10 according to the just released 2016 Graduate College rankings in U.S. News and World Report. The Special Education Department went up in ranking this year. We offer a high quality research-oriented doctoral program that prepares leaders in special education policy, research, teaching, and service.
Our undergraduates complete a rigorous teacher preparation program designed to prepare certified special education teachers who use evidence-based instructional strategies to teach students with a variety of disabilities ages kindergarten to 21 years old.
Students interested in pursuing a masters degree have several options depending on area of interest. All masters degree students are required to plan and complete a capstone research project as part of their graduate education.
Graduates of the doctoral program are highly sought after in higher education institutions, school districts, public policy initiatives, and agencies. What is unique about our program at Illinois is that students tailor their doctoral program through the classes they take, the research methodology they specialize in, and the research they conduct. Generally, a doctoral candidate completes a minimum of 32 graduate hours of coursework in the major subject area and at least 4 hours, but no more than 32 hours of thesis research credit.
On average, our doctoral students complete the program in four to five years of full-time study.
Where do our graduates go?
The majority of our graduates continue their careers in academia. Many take faculty and other key positions at various universities and colleges. Several others hold key positions in public and private agencies and organizations all over the world. Our graduates are leaders in the field through their research, teaching, advocacy and service. We are very proud of our graduates as they contribute to the growth of the field, ultimately helping realize the vision we hold for children, youth, and adults with disabilities, their families, and professionals who work with them.
Who are our students?
In Fall 2016, the department had an on campus graduate student enrollment of 26 doctoral and 33 masters students. Many graduate students are enrolled full time, but some choose to pursue their degree on a part-time basis. Graduate students in the Department of Special Education come from throughout the U.S. and the world (e.g., Korea, Turkey, Jordan, Taiwan). The Champaign-Urbana area has been a welcoming community to international students and their families for several years.
The undergraduate program is a selective teacher education program housed within a large university. Undergraduate students are officially admitted to the Department of Special Education during the spring semester of their freshman year. All undergraduates are pursuing their degrees as full time students. Currently there are 90 students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) enrolled in the undergraduate program. All undergraduate students are pursuing a bachelors degree in Special Education and the State of Illinois Learning and Behavior Specialist-I (LBS-I) initial teacher licensure. Upon the completion of their degree most graduates are employed as special education teachers in public school settings throughout Illinois and in other parts of the U.S.
What is the community like?
The UIUC campus is located in the middle of the two cities of Urbana and Champaign, about 130 miles south of Chicago and 170 miles northeast of St. Louis. The combined population of Champaign and Urbana is just over 100,000. The community is in the midst of a rich farming area and has a suburban like environment. Public transportation is excellent, housing is plentiful, and the cost of living very reasonable. The university has a student population of over 40,000, with over 10,000 of these graduate and professional students. The university has one of the finest performing arts centers in the nation, with extensive programming in music, dance, and drama. There are extensive facilities for physical activities, fitness, and recreation, and exciting college athletic events in several sports (Big Ten football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, soccer, baseball, golf, etc.). For those who enjoy more urban environments, the opportunities and activities of Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis are all within easy reach.