Elementary and Special Education at Providence College

students in class outside with teacher

Elementary and Special Education at Providence College

Our program is one of the few in New England that provides dual certification in elementary (grades 1 – 6) and special (grades 1 – 6) education. All classes address the content knowledge, pedagogy, and professional practice standards for general and special educators. We value diversity — dis/ability, gender, learning style, religion, language, race, class/socio-economic — and work together with our candidates to implement inclusive practices.

All of our teacher education programs have been approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education — a member of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification — so our students are eligible for licensure upon successful completion of the program and graduation in more than 45 states.


Department of Elementary/Special Education
Harkins Hall 328
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

401.865.2121 additional contacts
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B.A. Elementary/Special Education

Our program trains students to approach the field of elementary-level education with an appreciation of individual differences and an understanding of ways to meet those differences. Our central focus is to prepare — in an inclusive and diverse setting — future teachers to educate all children. The elementary/special education major is a merged program that emphasizes preparation in both areas.

Throughout this program, elementary/special education majors develop an understanding of effective elementary curriculum and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of individual differences and strategies to differentiate instruction, implement specialized supports to meet students’ academic and behavioral needs, and affirm students’ backgrounds. Upon completion of the program, elementary/special education majors are eligible for certification in both elementary education and special education in Rhode Island and a number of other states.

View Course Requirements >

more information about elementary and special education


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Become a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education

Join the Education Club to tutor at local schools and engage in peer mentorship

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Engage in partnerships with local organizations like the Providence Community Library and the Providence Children & Youth Cabinet

Experiential Learning


Beginning in freshman year and continuing through a year-long student teaching experience, candidates complete more than 750 hours of teaching in a variety of placements in the greater Providence area (RI and Southeastern Mass.). This provides candidates and faculty the opportunity to develop their professional practices in diverse settings with students who come from a variety of backgrounds, speak multiple languages, and approach school with many unique gifts. In addition, each of our methods classes has a field experience in which candidates teach weekly lessons and are provided formative feedback on their professional practice from both practicum teachers and faculty.

Study Abroad

Students in the Elementary/Special Education program also have the opportunity to see the world as they put what they have learned into practice. The ESE department offers two semester-long study abroad programs:


Our faculty work with teachers and principals to improve education in the classrooms for all children, conduct research in the field to inform and improve teaching methods and environments for students of all abilities and offer personalized advising and counseling regarding teaching requirements

MEET THE Elementary and special education faculty

in the news


Beginning in the first year, students complete more than 750 hours of teaching in a variety of placements in greater Providence R.I., and Southeastern Massachusetts. This provides an opportunity to develop professional practices in diverse settings with students who come from a variety of backgrounds, speak multiple languages, and approach school with many unique gifts, which positions our students for post-graduate success.


2018-2022 education graduates are employed and/or attending graduate school


are employed only


are attending school only


are employed and attending school

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond with the sum of the separate figures.

Selected Places of Employment/Service

Bright Horizons Family Solutions
Teach for America
UP Education Network
… and elementary schools throughout the U.S.

Selected Graduate Schools

Boston College
Boston University
Columbia University
Endicott College
Fordham University
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University
Lesley University
Manhattanville College
Mercy College

Merrimack College
Michigan State University
Northeastern University
St. Joseph’s University
University of Connecticut
University of Dayton
University of Massachusetts Boston
University of Pennsylvania
Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College


Dr. Laura Hauerwas 

Department Co-Chair
Harkins Hall 318

Dr. Lin Zhang

Department Co-Chair
Harkins Hall 324