Special Education (M.S.)


Student Teaching

Several options are available for student teaching, which is the capstone experience for each licensure certificate program.

Students wishing to obtain a K-12 Minnesota special education teaching license in Developmental Disabilities (DD), Learning Disabilities (LD), or Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD) will complete one of the following:  

  • A traditional student teaching experience during fall or spring semester
  • A summer practicum of 120 hours
  • A competency option in their current teaching site

Traditional Student Teaching

Graduate students who do not have a teaching license and who do not have at least one year of contractual teaching experience will student teach for a semester. They will teach in their licensure area in an elementary setting and a secondary setting.

Apply in the Department of Special Education by:

  • March 1 for fall semester
  • Oct. 1 for spring

Apply online in the Office of Clinical Experiences two semesters prior to placement.

Summer Practicum

Graduate students with at least one teaching license and at least one year of contractual teaching experience are eligible for an abbreviated summer practicum of 120 hours. Students pursuing Learning Disabilities licensure will complete the methods and practicum in a summer block; methods will be held on weekends during intersession and the 120-hour half-day practicum will be held over a week-week period at the Reading and Math Camp in the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District.

Developmental Disabilities and Emotional and Behavioral Disorder summer placements will be made in school programs located as close to your place of residence as possible, though this is dependent upon program availability.

Apply in the Department of Special Education by March 1 or by the time indicated in the letter you will receive from the Department of Special Education in early February.

There is a two-part application through the Department of Special Education. Applicants must:

  • Complete the white form indicating your intent to complete summer graduate practicum
  • Complete the yellow form requesting your placement site and describing your teaching experience

Procedures are discussed in detail during the fall and spring methods classes.

Competency Option

Graduate students who have at least one special education teaching license and who are working on a variance in the licensure are they are pursuing may wish to document teaching competencies instead of completing the summer practicum.

Documentation of Minnesota Board of teaching standards may be completed during the fall or spring semester.

Application Dates:

  • March 1 fall semester
  • October 1 spring semester

Students wishing to apply for SPED Practicum Competency Documentation must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a license in another special education category.
  • Have at least three years employment as a special education teacher.
  • Be teaching in the licensure area being pursued and 50 percent of the candidate's caseload must be students identified in that area.
  • Complete all prerequisite coursework.
  • Submit a cover letter with the application documenting former and current contractual teaching experience.
  • Signatures of the applicant’s current supervisor and the district administrator are required on the application form.

Students can apply online two semesters prior to placement through the Office of Clinical Experiences

Alternate Site Student Teaching

Students may also do a portion of their student teaching during fall or spring semester via the Common Market, which allows them to do one of their student teaching experiences at another Minnesota State Colleges and Universities four-year institution.

Students also have the option of teaching in another state or country.

To be eligible for an alternate student teaching site students must have:

  • A minimum GPA of 2.75
  • C’s or better in their major coursework
  • No active professional concerns or Action Plans on file in the Special Education Department or the Office of Clinical Experiences
  • Fewer than four N’s and no U’s on field experience evaluations
  • Successfully completed all other coursework and field experiences, including methods class
  • International student insurance

Students are ineligible to student teach at an alternative site if they have:

  • Completed a previous student teaching experience at an alternate site
  • Been removed from or been required to complete field experience
  • Were asked to repeat, were terminated or did not complete their first student teaching session

To apply for an alternate site:

Students should follow the application procedures of all the entities involved in the alternate site student teaching experience. Depending upon the destination, students will work through:

  • The University of Northern Iowa (UNI)
  • St. Cloud State University’s Office of Clinical Experiences (OCE)
  • St Cloud State University’s Department of Special Education
  • St Cloud State University’s Center for International Studies (CIS)

Students are bound by all St Cloud State University policies, which are described in handbooks and on websites that pertain to student teaching and alternate site student teaching.

Students must obtain appropriate application materials from St. Cloud State University’s Office of Clinical Experience, the Special Education Department office or the Center of International Studies

Students must provide a letter of interest that addresses:

  • Your interest in student teaching in an alternate site.
  • Your ability/inability to speak the language at that site.
  • What you think will be different at that site.
  • How you will prepare.
  • How you think you will cope and adapt in the new environment.
  • An Alternate Site Student Teaching application form from the Department of Special Education.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members.