Stephen F. Austin State University

Special Education

Special Education

The mission of SFA's special education program is to prepare knowledgeable, caring educators equipped with valuable tools for classrooms that serve students with exceptionalities. To meet this mission, the program embraces cultural and linguistic diversity and emphasizes the importance of evidence-based practice, critical thinking skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, ethical principles and continued professional development throughout one's career.

The special education program is housed in the Human Services/Telecommunications Building (HSTC). Faculty offices are located on the second and third floors. Classrooms are located on the third floor. Undergraduate special education programs are offered online and face-to-face.

Numerous school districts in the area cooperate with the program in placing special education teaching candidates for field experiences. A Special Education Advisory Board provides input and feedback to the faculty from practitioners in the field including special education directors, educational diagnosticians and teachers.

Special education programs at SFA are aligned with national standards for special educators and state standards for special education teachers. A performance-based assessment system is used to rate candidate performance on key assessments in various classes in order to provide data for accreditation and program improvement.

The undergraduate program in EC-12 special education is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children.

For more information about the program contact the appropriate program coordinator or a faculty member.

Undergraduate Program

Students who want to teach special education major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in special education. The degree awarded upon completion of the program is a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS). The undergraduate program is designed to prepare students for certification as an EC-12 special education teacher and an EC-6 generalist teacher. Consideration will be given to students who desire a different content area certification rather than the EC-6 generalist. Students must be advised each semester through the College of Education Student Services and Advising Center.

SFA's Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) is a way for interested students to become more involved in serving and learning about individuals with exceptionalities as well as the professional field of special education. Students in SCEC engage in a variety of social and professional activities, but most of all they have fun! SCEC is a division of the international organization of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). CEC, a nonprofit association, accomplishes its mission, which is carried out in support of special education professionals and others working on behalf of individuals with exceptionalities, by advocating for appropriate governmental policies; by setting professional standards; by providing continuing professional development; by advocating for newly and historically under- served individuals with exceptionalities; and by helping professionals achieve the conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

The Online Special Education Degree Completion Program is an innovative program that allows paraprofessionals (instructional aides) working in Texas public schools and other qualified individuals who have completed at least 45 hours at community colleges to seamlessly transfer to SFA and complete online a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS) degree with a concentration in special education and EC-12 special education teacher certification. Paraprofessionals can earn a Texas teaching certificate while remaining in the schools and classrooms where they work, with the addition of one semester of full-time student teaching.

Degree Map for Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: All-Level Special Education

Undergraduate Optimal Course Sequence

Undergraduate Special Education Handbook


Minor in Special Education

A minor in special education is available to students with a major leading to teacher certification at the EC-6, 4-8 or 8-12 level. Required courses include SPED 3329, 4332, 4339, 4338, 4334 and 4361 (formerly SPE 329, 432, 439, 438, 434 and 461) (TExES 163 required).

The minor available for students seeking EC-12 certification includes SPED 3329, 4332, 4339, 4338, 4334 and 4361 (formerly SPE 329, 432, 439, 438, 434 and 461); READ 3310 and 3320 (formerly RDG 318 and 320); and ELED 4320 (formerly ELE 303) (TExES 161 required). Admission to the Educator Certification Program is required and students must work with a special education advisor for course sequence and additional requirements.

Minor in Early Intervention

An 18-hour minor is available for students majoring in rehabilitation, speech-language pathology, psychology or other related fields and who are interested in becoming an early intervention specialist (EIS) working with infants and toddlers with special needs and their families. Required courses are SPED 3329, 4364 and 4363 (formerly SPE 329, 464 and 463); TECA 1354 (formerly HMS 236); and HDFS 3343 and 4315 (formerly HMS 443 and 459).

Non-Teaching Minor

An 18-hour minor is available for those seeking additional training in working with special populations but are not seeking teacher certification. This minor is appropriate for students in programs such as psychology, orientation and mobility, kinesiology, rehabilitation and social work, and for those seeking the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS). Required courses are HSRV 1320 (formerly HSR 120) and SPED 3329, 4332, 4360, 4363 and 4364 (formerly SPE 329, 432, 460, 463 and 464). For information on SFA's

Financial Aid

To receive federal, state, or institutional funds you must:
• Complete the Federal Application for Student Aid (FASFA) by visiting:
• Be enrolled in an eligible degree-seeking or certificate programs at least half-time (six credit hours).
• Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
• Have a valid Social Security Number
• Be in good academic standing and maintain satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a degree or certificate
• Not owe a refund on a Federal grant or be in Default on a Federal educational loan
• Demonstrate a financial need, except for some loan programs *

For more information on Financial Aid at SFA visit orContact the SFA Financial Aid Office at (936) 468-2403

Teach Grant

A TEACH Grant can help you pay for college if you plan to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area. The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. For more information please visit the following site:


Community College Transfer Scholarship Program

This award opportunity is for students who transfer to SFA from a community college during the fall or the spring. The award is $1,000 for the year if the recipient's transferable GPA is 3.0 to 3.49, and the award is $2,000 per year for students with a transferable GPA of 3.50 or higher. You do not have to apply for this scholarship. We consider all students for it when they're admitted to SFA.

SFA has hundreds of scholarships available to new and returning students. Some scholarships are based on merit, while others have a need-based, as well as merit, criteria. Scholarships requiring audition(s) or tryout(s) are also available. Criteria which may be used to determine recipients include class rank, high school or college GPA, scores on the ACT or SAT, leadership activities, and performance. Scholarship amounts range from $100 to $8,000. Some are renewable based upon academic performance, while others are one-time awards.

For more information on SFA scholarships, please visit

Prospective Student Letter

Download the letter here.