Academic Programs


Tuition & Financial Aid

Student Experience

B.A. in Special EducationSpecialize in Your Passion

Request Information

Explore Undergraduate

Special Education

The educational landscape has significantly changed over the last few years to inclusive classrooms. The comprehensive special education major prepares you to teach all learners, value each individual and empower them to live into God’s plan for their lives.

You have a passion to see students grow. At Cornerstone University, the special education major gives you the tools to help students at the elementary, intermediate and secondary levels.

Degree Type

  • Bachelor of Arts


  • On Campus
  • Residential


  • Grand Rapids

A Commitment to
Every Student

The special education major is a rigorous program for students who are driven by the desire to see others succeed. By learning and understanding the intricacies of neuro-diverse brains, you will be able to equip all learners. On top of that, your courses are taught from a Christ-centered perspective.

When you graduate from this program, you’ll obtain both your general elementary or secondary education certification along with a K-12 Special Education Endorsement. Your courses and field experience in this program will cover a variety of K-12 settings, providing you with flexibility and choice to teach in various settings.


Careers in special education are numerous. Here are some career opportunities for program graduates.


  • Inclusion teacher
  • General education teacher
  • Special education resource teacher
  • Self-contained special education teacher
  • Teacher consultant

Special Education Field Experiences

Each student in the special education major takes part in a student teaching practicum as part of their studies.

Special education majors graduate with a variety of placements in K-12 settings, which include public, charter and private schools in the Grand Rapids area.


Of graduates passed the MTTC LD State Certification test the first time.


Of special education students in 2019 were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.


Dual certification makes you highly marketable.

Course List

Special education students can expect to take well-rounded courses in education with concentrations in learning methods.

Please Note: The name of this major was recently updated from learning disabilities to special education. While the 2020-21 academic catalog refers to this program as learning disabilities, the new name of the program—special education—will be reflected in the 2021-22 academic catalog and on future planning guides based on the new catalog.

Elementary Education: Learning Disabilities Planning Guide (PDF)

Learning Disabilities Four-Year Planning Guide (PDF)

EDU-233 Introduction to Special Education and Field Experience

Students will understand and define the various differences found in learners, including physical disabilities. This course will give an overview of educational service delivery, community programs available to families and the transition from an academic setting to the development of life skills. Students will view special education as a holistic approach in understanding human development through the life span. Students will complete field experience in a local educational environment which will provide them with the opportunity to tutor and work with special education students.

EDU-335 Theories and Methods of Learning Disability and Field Experience

This course will look at various philosophies in the field of learning disabilities. It will review research and interpret its contribution to the field from a Christian worldview. Students will learn teaching strategies and their relationship to cultural and linguistic differences. Students will understand the characteristics of learners with learning differences in relationship to their impact on the learning process. This course includes a 16-hour practicum to be completed at various grade levels with students who have moderate/severe learning disabilities.

Field Experience

Prospective teachers spend a minimum 10 hours in inclusive elementary, middle or secondary classrooms. Emphasis is placed on observation and participation related to the application and content in EDU-335, including examing curricula content, effective teaching strategies, collaboration, accommodations and modifications.

EDU-338 Assessment and Diagnosis for Learning Disabilities

This course will take the student from the beginning stages of the special education referral process through placement qualification. Students will be introduced to a variety of assessment tools, basic interpretation of data and a framework for reporting information. Students will develop an understanding of the team approach to diagnosis and learn the components of collaborative planning. Students will gain knowledge of assessment as it relates to an individual education program.

EDU-346 Reading and Writing in the Content Area (K-8)

Designed for prospective elementary and middle school teachers, this course focuses on principles and practices of effective integrated literacy instruction in the content areas. The course addresses linking students’ reading and writing proficiencies with subject matter study as reading and writing are tools for learning, literacy requirements continually increase in school and society and content area teachers can teach content area reading and writing best. Students will develop an understanding of integrated literacy instruction, learn how to create a classroom environment that promotes it, methods and strategies for
developing it and the role of technology in enhancing it.

EDU-363 Diverse Populations & Differentiated Instruction

This course deals with the reality of diversity in the classroom and provides instructional theories and strategies to help the teacher respond to the challenges that accompany this diversity. Issues relating to diverse populations to be addressed include socioeconomic considerations, at-risk and ethnic and racial groups. Issues related to differentiated instruction include multiple intelligences, brain research and learning styles. These issues will be studied in the context of our Christian world and life view, with special attention given to issues of equity and individual worth.

EDU-381 Educational Psychology

This course is a study of psychology applied to the teaching and learning process. Theories of teaching, learning, thinking, motivation, development, social systems and classroom management will be included in the context of a Christian worldview.

EDU-432 Current Issues in Learning Disabilities Education

This course will be an exploration of issues impacting the field of special education, including an understanding of collaboration; inclusion and the role para-educators play in supporting special needs students.

EDU-434 Practicum in Learning Disabilities

Emphasis on learning practical methods while participating in the special education classroom under the supervision of a practicing professional.

EDU-443 Severe Reading Problems & Field Experience

This class will address intense reading disabilities that require specific methods of instruction to correct. Students will learn how to identify, assess and diagnose reading problems; determine causes of reading problems, such as, environment, physiological or ineffective instruction; learn to develop organized sequential lesson plans that directly teach each of the following phonetic/language concepts: phonological awareness, basic sound/symbol relationships, six syllable patterns, spelling rules, prefixes and suffixes, non-phonetic words and syllable division rules; implement lesson plans using reading, spelling and concept decks simultaneous oral spelling, blending and segmenting; and multisensory activities.

Want to Learn More About CU?

The professors are continually there for me and checking in on me. While at Cornerstone, I have encountered people who support me and help me continue on when the days start to feel challenging.

Nikki Tellkamp (B.A. ’24)


Faculty in the Teacher Education Division have extensive experience in classroom settings and are equipped to help you achieve your goals as a future educator.

Related Programs

The Teacher Education Division at Cornerstone offers several different education programs to help you become a future instructor. Here are some of the other programs we offer.

Admissions Office




MON - FRI: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SAT & SUN: Closed

Want to Learn More About CU?

Connect With CU