Department of Special Education

Our department prepares educators and other professionals to work with people with exceptionalities and their families. The majority of our programs prepare special education teachers to work with children with disabilities and their families from birth through young adulthood. There are also programs for those interested in working with gifted and talented students.

Department Chair: Laura Hall, Ph.D.
Department Coordinator: Luz Torres
Department Office Location & Contact Info

Contact a Program Advisor




Fall 2025 Admissions

SDSU will begin accepting applications for fall 2025 on October 1, 2024. Deadlines differ by program. Please see individual academic program information for details.

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Scholarship for Aspiring Early Childhood Special Education Teacher Candidates!

Project PERSPECTIVES will prepare you to educate young children with disabilities with evidence-based practices and engage our diverse community, while supporting you with funding for in-state tuition and fees. San Diego State University offers two pathways to your dream career: Earn your bachelor's degree and preliminary teaching credential in just four years through the Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP), or complete a one- or two-year post-bachelor credential program. 

Learn more about Project PERSPECTIVES and join the next generation of exceptional educators!


New Funding for Special Education Candidates

Residency Grants

The Department of Special Education currently has two Residency Grants. One with the Sweetwater Union High School District and one with the Cajon Valley Union School District. These are wonderful opportunities to receive $35,000 while you are earning your special education credential under the guidance and mentorship of a Master Teacher in the district. See below for additional information.

Cajon Valley Residency Application

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For more information please contact Bonnie Kraemer [email protected].

Department of Special Education Diversity Statement

The Department of Special Education (COE) at San Diego State University recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion as fundamental values of all department programs and the communities we serve. Accordingly, the faculty and staff in the department are committed to community partnerships that embrace this mission, and we strive to be a catalyst for change in support of students of all abilities, races, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, ages, social classes, socio-economic statuses, immigration statuses, political views, and veteran statuses. We are dedicated to supporting a safe, responsive, and equitable learning environment.



Lauren Collins

Collins elected VP of Council for Exceptional Children's Division of Emotional and Behavioral Health

A former special education teacher, Collins is passionate about empowering educators to improve outcomes for students with emotional or behavioral disorders.

Melina Melgarejo

COE Connections Episode 9: Melina Melgarejo

Assistant professor works at the intersection of two departments, seeking to better serve dual-language learners with disabilities.

Jessica Suhrheinrich

Faculty Q&A: Suhrheinrich discusses the power of mentorship

COE’s Faculty Mentoring Coordinator discusses those who guided her and how she hopes to pay that forward.


You Can Make a Difference!

These SPED programs and initiatives need your support:

  • Education Specialist Scholarship Fund
  • Keeping on the Cutting Edge Fund
  • SDSU Center for Autism and Development Disorders
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Give today to help make a powerful difference to students and the community.