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Why choose Special Education at Illinois?

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Why do students choose to study Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

The Department of Special Education is consistently ranked in the top ten programs in the country by US News and World Report. We offer a high quality research-oriented doctoral program that prepares leaders in special education policy, research, teaching, and service. Graduates of the doctoral program are highly sought after in higher education institutions, school districts, public policy initiatives, and agencies. 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.

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.

The Department of Special Education is located in the College of Education. In addition the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is ranked as one of the top 10 public national universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Students from all over the world attend the University of Illinois. It is home to one of the most extensive library collections in the country as well as state of the art technology. For more information about the University of Illinois go to: www.illinois.edu.

Who are our students?

In Fall 2007, the department had an on campus graduate student enrollment of 34 doctoral and 55 masters students. Many graduate students are enrolled full time, but some choose to pursue their degree on a part-time basis. Some graduate students are members participating in a special grant, Project TIES. Project TIES provides teachers employed by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with an opportunity to pursue a graduate degree while working. Many Project TIES students complete their studies while employed in CPS by attending courses taught by Department of Special Education faculty in Chicago as well as through distance education and the Internet. For more information about Project TIES see: http://education.illinois.edu/SPED/ties/index.html. 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 72 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 certification. 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.