BEd, Exceptional Students & Elementary Education



Do I have to take the Praxis CORE test before applying?

No. Beginning in Fall 2018, the basic skills requirement can now be verified through being accepted into our bachelor of education program. You no longer need to have submitted ACT/SAT/Praxis Core exam results in order to apply and begin our programs.

What if I live on an island outside of Oahu? Can I still do the ESEE program?

This program is available face-to-face on Oahu only. However, teacher candidates who want to go home to do their final semester of student teaching on another island may request this option through the program coordinator and department chair. Approvals are given on a case-by-case basis. Placements depend on availability of classrooms, mentor teachers, and field supervisors.

Do I need experience in special education in order to apply?

No, all of our BEd Elementary programs require 40 hours of documented leadership experience. While we encourage applicants to seek out opportunities in gaining experience in special education, it is not mandatory. The program will provide field experience in both general education, special education settings, and/or inclusive settings so that you would be able to determine which teaching placement you would prefer to seek out upon graduation.

What if I already have a degree?

If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, then you can pursue this program as a second Bachelor’s degree. It will still take 2 years to complete and would be considered a full-time program. Another option would be to pursue our Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education that is designed specifically for those who already have a degree. If you would be interested in teaching at the middle and high school level, we have an additional program option called our Master of Education in Teaching, Dual Secondary & Special Education program.

What if I don’t have a laptop computer?

Students are required to have a laptop to successfully participate in this program. The laptop requirement provides students the option of using financial aid to purchase one. Students need a laptop that runs a full operating system (i.e., Windows 10 or Mac OSX 10.11 and above). For example, Chromebooks or mobile tablets like an iPad or Android mobile device are NOT sufficient to run the required software for our program. If you need help determining which computer to purchase, please refer to and contact:

Which community colleges have articulated course agreements with the College of Education?

Candidates who have completed an articulated A.A. degree from a UH Community College are considered to have met the UH-Mānoa General Education Core Requirements with possible exceptions (see an academic advisor).

Articulated programs include:

  • AAT from Leeward Community College
  • AS in Human Services w/Early Childhood Specialization from Maui College
  • AA in Liberal Arts, Concentration in Education from Kapiolani Community College
  • AS in Early Childhood Education, Preschool Option from Honolulu Community College
  • AS in Early Childhood Education from Kauai Community College
  • AS in Early Childhood Education from Hawaii Community College

Please contact our Office of Student Academic Services ( for more detailed information.


Will I have to teach special education if I complete this program?

No, graduates of our dual certification programs are hired into both general education positions and special education positions. In fact, because of their diverse training, they are highly recruited by principals for both types of positions. However, if you choose to take the funding associated with becoming a special education teacher, then you will need to spend your initial 3-5 years of teaching in a special education position (number of years depend on which funding opportunities you take). However, because you would be licensed in two fields, you would be able to change or move positions if desired.

What is the advantage to doing the dual licensure program?

Dual licensure programs prepare teacher candidates to enter the career field with the mindset and commitment in working with all students in their classrooms. Education is changing and teachers are having to learn strategies and provide interventions for a wide range of students, including those with and without disabilities. Therefore, general education teachers and special education teachers alike benefit from the strategies and evidence based practices designed for students with special needs. By doing this dual licensure program you would be better prepared to teach and you will be more marketable in the hiring process across both settings. Especially with the movement towards inclusive practices in all DOE schools, administrators appreciate having general education teachers and special education teachers with both sets of skills and knowledge.

What is a cohort?

Our programs are cohorted, which means we admit people in groups and they complete the entire program together from beginning to end. Our cohorts typically have between 15-25 people, although some programs run more than one cohort at a time. Having the same people in your classes every semester helps to build community and we have found our cohorts come to support each other like family. Another benefit of this cohort model is the fixed course schedule. All the programs courses are pre-designed and taken in a specific semester. Our faculty intentionally build on the coursework so what you learn in the second semester will build on the first and so on. This provides the opportunity to have much richer and deeper learning experiences since everyone has the same prerequisite knowledge as you progress through the program. The courses are open to only those in your cohort, so you don’t have to worry about waking up early to be the first to register or courses filling up and not being able to register. The classes are also guaranteed to run so you don’t have to wonder whether what you need to graduate will be available.

One downside of the cohorted model, is that we lose some flexibility. If a program is part-time, you can’t finish in half the time by taking double the classes; if a program is full-time, you can’t just take half the classes. And if something comes up and you need to take a semester off, you might need to wait a year in order to jump back in with the next cohort. However, we feel the benefits of the cohorted model outweigh the limited flexibility it brings. As a result of the cohort model, our programs are much more successful, as we have higher retention and graduation rates.


Does it cost more to do a dual licensure program?

No, UH has a "tuition cap" of 12 credits for students who are full-time. Therefore, any additional credits after 12 are free. This makes it even more appealing for those that would be interested in taking the Hawaii DOE stipend for special education, if offered, because currently it would cover between 31-33 credits of tuition, which ends up paying for more than half of the program (about two and a half semesters of full-time enrollment).

Will the DOE pay for this program?

Due to the need for special education teachers, there is a year-to-year contract agreement between the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) and UH that provides tuition stipends for 31-36 credits of our teacher licensure programs in special education. To be eligible for the stipend, students must agree to teach special education in a HIDOE school for a minimum of 3 years after completing the program. Stipends are contingent upon yearly renewal of the DOE-UH contract and will be automatically offered to all students who were admitted that enrollment year. Students are responsible for securing their own funding for prerequisites, additional program credits, and/or any additional program costs such as travel, books, and testing/licensure fees.

The following programs are eligible for the DOE tuition stipends, with stipend amounts shown:

  1. BEd, Early Childhood & Early Childhood Special Education (36 credits, $16,920)
  2. BEd, Exceptional Students and Elementary Education (33 credits; $15,543)
  3. Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education (33 credits; $15,543)
  4. Master of Education in Teaching, Dual Secondary & Special Education (31 credits (graduate tuition rate); $20,150)


Can I choose my own field placement?

The field placement or program coordinator has the responsibility to find and coordinate student field placements. Candidates are not allowed to make their own field arrangements. For candidates already working in school settings, the field placement coordinator will conduct a review for approval and determine whether a paid position meets the field/student teaching requirements.

Can I take courses at my own pace?

Our licensure programs are designed in a cohorted format. Candidates are enrolled as a group and they matriculate through the entire program together. The benefit of participating in a cohorted program is that it provides a strong support system, as you would bond with your fellow cohort members throughout the two years in the program and beyond. This cohorted model also allows for us to systematically design the coursework to build off one another each semester, allowing for a more rich and comprehensive learning experience. We have higher retention and graduation rates using this model, however the one downside is that these programs then do not have the flexibility to allow candidates to pick and choose the courses they take each semester. Candidates will progress through the program as designed. However, in the rare occasion requiring students to either stop or retake courses, the program advisor would work with the candidate to develop an alternative plan.

How are the field placements for this program different from all the other programs?

This program has been completely redesigned with support from a federal grant. The program offers both unique field experiences and course offerings. Traditional programs require that students spend 2 days a week in a classroom for field each semester and then a final semester of student teachers that is full time. However, this program has different types of field experiences each semester, ranging from working one-on-one with students identified as at-risk for reading failure. There are also opportunities for purposeful observations at different types of schools (e.g. public, private, charter, and Hawaiian immersion) and spending significant time co-teaching with a mentor teacher in classrooms. These opportunities provide a unique opportunity for the teacher candidates to gain experience and a deeper insight into education, especially here in Hawaii.


When will I hear if I’ve been accepted?

For applicants who meet the priority deadline (Feb. 1), decisions are typically mailed out in late March or early April. For regular deadline applicants (Mar. 1), decisions are typically mailed out in late April or early May.

One of the primary reasons for delays in admission decisions is due to transcripts. Candidates who do not send all official transcripts early or have missing transcripts will experience delays in admissions decisions. It's always best to follow up on the status of the UH application and transcripts to ensure everything is complete.

Will I need to complete an interview for the BEd program?

Yes. All applicants will be interviewed by UH College of Education faculty in a group format. If you do not live on Oahu, you may be interviewed using a conference call (telephone or web-based). You will be able to schedule your interview at the time you apply to the program. Information will be shared within the Makalei application. There will be an designated day with various time slots available for candidates who meet the priority deadline and then another day with various time slots for candidates who meet the final deadline.

How much does it cost to apply?

If you are not already a UH student prior to applying for this program, then you must complete a UH System Application Form and submit a $70 application fee. This would be common for transfer students or students coming back for a second Bachelor’s degree.

However, if you are transferring from a local community college, then you should look into the Ka‘ie‘ie program, and if eligible you can have your application fee waived. To learn more, please visit:

All students, including students who are already at UH, would also need to complete the College of Education Makalei application (, which is a free application.