Exceptional Student and Elementary Education

Degree:Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Major:Exceptional Student and Elementary Education
Department:School of Education
Building 85, Room 196
(850) 857-6306
College:Education and Professional Studies
CIP Code:13.1001
Semester Hours Required For Degree: 132

The B.A. degree program in Exceptional Student Education is designed to prepare students who plan to teach in classrooms that include children and youth with exceptionalities. The Exceptional Student and Elementary Certification Specialization is a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredited and Florida Department of Education (FDOE) approved specialization that leads directly to FDOE certification in Exceptional Student Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-6) with ESOL and Reading Endorsements. A grade below "C-" in any major course cannot be used to satisfy a program requirement.

Students interested in teaching at the elementary level without certification for exceptional student education should review the Elementary Education Major section of this catalog.

Students interested in teaching at the middle or secondary level will complete their baccalaureate degrees in the discipline and are encouraged to earn the Professional Education Minor. The Professional Education Minor is designed for content majors to complete the requirements for a temporary middle or secondary certification in Florida. Coursework meets the requirement of the Professional Training Option (PTO) and is consistent with the program requirements of Florida Department of Education. For additional information review the Professional Education Minor section of this catalog

Students interested in teaching Science or Math at the middle or secondary level will complete one of 5 UWF-Teach programs (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Mathematics, or Physics). For additional information review the undergraduate degrees in the catalog.

Responsibility for the teacher education programs at The University rests with the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, who is the head of the Professional Education Unit.

Requirements for teacher education programs may change due to legislative mandates. Therefore, the actual program requirements may differ from those listed in the catalog. Candidates must inquire with the Director or an advisor in the School of Education (SOE) to obtain the most current program requirements.  Students seeking initial certification must be degree-seeking.

Fingerprinting may be required for any placement in a school (including the field experience associated with EDF 1005 Introduction to Education). The Student Affidavit and Fingerprinting Application may be required before any student can be placed in a school for Field Experiences or Student Teaching. Forms are available from the local school districts.

Admission to Teacher Education

Students entering UWF or declaring a major in Teacher Education will automatically be placed in a pending status until they are fully admitted to the Teacher Education program. 

Students must be admitted to the Exceptional Student Education program prior to enrolling in higher-level education coursework. While in the pending status, students may take a limited number of 3000/4000 level education courses, including EDF 3234 Applied Foundations of Education, LAE 3314 Literacy for the Emergent Learner, EEX 3070 Methods in Inclusion and Collaboration, TSL 4080 ESOL Principles and Practices, EDG 4442 Effective Learning Environments, EDG 4373 Integrated Arts and Contemporary Educational Tools, EDG 4351 Educational Assessment, and RED 3310 Literacy Instruction for the Elementary Learner.

To be admitted, students must meet the following requirements: 

  • A cumulative GPA of 2.50 in all previously attempted college work;
  • A passing score on the General Knowledge Test of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam;
  • Completion of EDF 1005 Introduction to Education with a grade of "C-" or higher.

The admission process requires students to complete the Application for Admission to Teacher Education and complete the orientation requirement.

Prospective teachers are expected to adhere to the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida and national standards of conduct associated with professional, accreditation, and state agencies. Teacher candidates who are struggling to meet content and/or disposition standards and/or competencies may be referred to the Teacher Education Remediation Process and Navigate, the University support system. If a student who is referred to the remediation process, and does not successfully complete the support/intervention process, they may not be allowed to continue to enroll in any professional education program. 

All approvals for admission to teacher candidacy are provisional and subject to reevaluation as students progress through the program.  Students denied admission or removed from the program may appeal the decision to the Dean, College of Education Professional Studies

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Readmission to Teacher Education

Readmission into a teacher education program requires the student to meet standards for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and the University. Readmitted students will be required to complete the degree plan in effect at the time of readmission and to meet the requirements for admission to teacher education in effect at the time of readmission.

Course work completed prior to readmission will be reviewed for compliance with current CAEP, FDOE, and University requirements. Students will be required to retake courses that are not in compliance with these requirements.

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Admission to Student Teaching

The student teaching program, administered through the School of Education, consists of one semester of student teaching or two semesters of internship supervised by a highly qualified teacher who has completed Clinical Educator Training. The student teaching/internship experience is scheduled during the student’s senior year.

Requirements for admission to student teaching/internship include the following:

  • Full admission to teacher education;
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 in teacher education (major) courses. A grade below "C-" cannot be used to satisfy a program requirement;
  • Completion of specialization courses required in the major, if applicable, (see the section of this catalog related to the appropriate specialization for specific course requirements);
  • Passing results on the general knowledge, professional, and subject area tests of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination;
  • Recommendation of the student’s academic advisor and approval of the Director of the Department of the School of Education. 

During the time a student is engaged in student teaching, any outside employment or additional academic work except senior seminar must be approved by the Director of the Department of the School of Education.

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Title II Reports

In compliance with the Higher Education Act, annual reports about teacher preparation in the state are available online. Select the appropriate year from the left column of the webpage and then click on Florida.

Program Requirements

Candidates for admission to the CAEP/FDOE approved teacher education specialization must meet and complete admission requirements detailed above. In addition to general University requirements, students seeking the B.A. in Exceptional Student Education/Elementary Education must meet the following requirements.  

The Exceptional Student/Elementary Education Certification program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and is a Florida DOE (FDOE) approved program that leads directly to certification in Exceptional Student Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-6) with ESOL and Reading Endorsements. Students must successfully complete the Florida Teacher Certification Exam in Exceptional Student Education, Elementary Education, General Knowledge, and Professional Education. 

General Education

In addition to the General Education requirements listed on this page, students must satisfy all additional University requirements, including the Gordon Rule, multicultural, and foreign language requirements. With appropriate planning and coordination with an academic advisor, students may satisfy some of the general University requirements through the General Education curriculum. For a complete listing of general degree requirements, refer to the "University Requirements" section of this catalog.

General Education Curriculum:

Multicultural Requirement

Civic Literacy Requirement

The 2017 Florida Legislature amended Section 1007.25, Florida Statutes, to require students initially entering a State University System (SUS) and/or Florida College System (FCS) institution in 2018-2019 and thereafter to demonstrate competency in civic literacy.  The 2021 Legislature further amended Florida Statutes, requiring students to complete both a civic literacy course and exam. As a result, there are three cohorts of students currently matriculating at Florida public institutions subject to varying requirements. As demonstrated in the table below, the exact civic literacy requirements are based on the academic term in which a student first enrolled in a Florida public institution.

Students Included in Cohort Civic Literacy Competency Requirement
Cohort 1: Students first entering the SUS or FCS prior to fall 2018 None
Cohort 2: Students first entering the SUS or FCS in fall 2018 – summer A 2021 Complete a course or exam
Cohort 3: Students first entering the SUS or FCS in summer B 2021 (on or after July 1, 2021) and thereafter Complete both a course and exam

Additionally, the 2021 Legislature made two additional exceptions: approving the use of accelerated mechanisms for meeting the course competency requirement and exempting high school students who pass the Florida Civic Literacy Exam in high school from the postsecondary exam requirement. These two changes are in effect for Cohort 3.

There are multiple ways to satisfy this requirement. Students should work with their academic advisor to determine which option is best for their degree requirements/degree plan. 

Additional information can be found on our Civic Literacy website.

*BOG 8.006s.1007.25(4,a-b) 

Common Prerequisites

State-mandated common prerequisites must be completed prior to admission to the Exceptional Student/Elementary Education program. See the Common Prerequisite Manual for course substitutions from Florida colleges and universities.

EDF 1005Introduction to Education3

Lower Division Recommended Electives

Students must complete sufficient 1000/2000 level advisor-approved electives to satisfy at least 60 sh in the lower division. Current UWF students may substitute courses at other levels (3000-4000) with permission. The following are recommended courses for aspiring teachers:15
MAC 1105College Algebra3
PHI 2103Critical Thinking3
SPC 2608Public Speaking3
STA 2023Elements of Statistics3
Choose one of the following:3
Human Development Across the Lifespan
General Psychology
Total Hours30


EDF 3234Applied Foundations of Education +3
EDG 3945Field Experience 1 +3
EDG 4351Educational Assessment +3
EDG 4373Integrated Arts and Contemporary Educational Tools +3
EDG 4442Effective Learning Environments +3
EDG 4949Field Experience 2 +3
EEX 3070Methods in Inclusion and Collaboration +3
EEX 4141Teaching Students with Language and Communication Disorders +3
EEX 4254Instructional Strategies for Teaching Students with Exceptionalities +3
EEX 4255Curriculum for Teaching Students with Exceptionalities +3
EEX 4474Curricula for Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities +3
EEX 4772Personal, Social and Employment Skills for Exceptional Students +3
LAE 3314Literacy for the Emergent Learner +3
MAE 4310Teaching Mathematics in Elementary Schools +3
RED 3310Literacy Instruction for the Elementary Learner +3
RED 4542Assessment and Differentiated Instruction in Reading +3
SCE 4310Teaching Science in Elementary Schools +3
SSE 4113Social Studies for Elementary Teachers +3
TSL 4080ESOL Principles and Practices +3
TSL 4081Teaching English to ESOL Students +3
Student Teaching (choose one of the following options):12
Option 1
Senior Seminar and Reading Practicum +
Student Teaching +
Option 2
Senior Seminar and Reading Practicum +
Teaching Internship I +
Teaching Internship II +
Total Hours72