Special Education

Why study special education?

The special education program prepares caring, qualified teachers to meet the needs of their students.

  • Mentors and professors with K-12 teaching experience guide future special education teachers to become fully-certified in South Dakota by graduation. Teacher candidates may pursue certification in other states, as well.
  • Before the culminating semester of full-time student teaching, education majors spend 100+ hours in a variety of classrooms in area school districts.
  • All programs leading to initial level licensure are accredited and approved by the South Dakota Department of Education (SD DOE).

Special Education at AU

Special Education at AU

Course Descriptions

Major Map


Related Programs of Study

Pre-Professional Program

Graduate Programs



Latest News

Augustana University’s Sharon Lust School of Education is proud to announce that it is offering a new area of specialization within the Master of Education in Special Education program that was launched in 2019. A concentration in applied behavior analysis (M.Ed. SPED — ABA) will be offered online beginning in the fall of 2022.


SPED class


Graduates are highly sought after to fill special education teaching positions and other career opportunities, including principal or superintendent, librarian and camp director.

Hands-On Learning  

In the teacher education program, campus classroom experiences are hands-on, and field experiences start from the first year — working as tutors, mentors and classroom assistants. This program’s renowned experiential learning leads to a semester of full-time student teaching, which often includes multiple placements.

Internship opportunities include:

  • Augustana’s model classroom
  • Camp counselor
  • Surrounding school districts

Education students study away in:

  • Kenya — focusing on the intersection of global food security and education with AU faculty
  • Norway — for the exceptional children and youth practicum
  • China — focusing on human relations in education with AU faculty

Courses & Organizations

Students seeking full special education teaching certification must declare a second major in elementary education, secondary education or all-grades education. Other second majors, such as communication disorders or psychology are unlikely to lead to full special education teacher certification.
Many education majors choose to earn a kindergarten endorsement or a minor in athletic coaching, American Sign Language or Spanish.

Other certified teacher education paths include: 

  • Elementary Education 
  • Secondary Education (paired with a content major) 
  • All-Grades Education (paired with a content major) 

Students may have a declared education major but must meet established program entrance and exit requirements to be considered a teacher candidate. The application to the teacher education program is completed during enrollment in EDUC 275. Students must also fill out an application of intent to student teach and complete the Praxis exam. 
Education students often participate in:

  • Augustana University Education Association (AUEA)
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  • Deaf Awareness
  • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association(NSSLHA)
  • Residence Life
  • Lost & Found
  • Peer Navigator (Augie Access)