Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs | Special Education | Kent State University

Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs

The Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs concentration is designed to provide coursework and field experiences necessary to become licensed through the State of Ohio to teach students who require intensive and ongoing special education support. Most often, these will be students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), multiple disabilities and complex health impairments.

Students with moderate/intensive (MI) educational needs generally do not fully participate in the general education curriculum and instead require access to a modified curriculum and/or other extensive special education (SPED) supports. Although MI students may participate in general education classrooms for parts of their day, they are more likely to receive their special education supports within small groups or individually in settings such as resource rooms, or classrooms or programs developed specifically for students with disabilities. Moderate/intensive special educators teach a broad range of skills including academics, adaptive and life skills, self-regulation, and leisure and social skills. To ensure generalization of skills learned in the classroom, MI teachers also focus on community based instruction, especially during the middle and high school years.  

The Moderate/Intensive concentration prepares you to meet highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements for all core academic subject areas (grades K-6), as well as Reading and English/Language Arts (grades 7-12).

In addition to working in schools or educational settings, some M/I graduates secure employment in center-based or community employment or residential agencies, providing services to individuals with disabilities.


Students interested in this concentration will select Special Education as their major and Moderate/Intensive Educational Needs as their concentration. To be admitted directly into the Special Education program, a 2.75 GPA is required. For new freshman, their high school GPA will be used to make this determination and for  students transferring into SPED from another University or Program, their transfer GPA will be used to make this determination. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement may enroll into “EHHS General” until they have established a Kent State GPA of 2.75 (which must include 12 or more KSU credit hours).

Program Requirements

Through participation in this program, students will learn about evidence-based strategies to work with individuals with moderate/intensive disabilities in diverse educational settings (general education classrooms; resource or pull-out classrooms; self-contained classrooms; special/alternative schools; hospital and residential settings). Coursework includes content specific to teaching and adapting academic content for students with disabilities, assessment and the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), classroom behavior management strategies, family and professional collaboration, managing medical aspects of disability, and assistive technology.

The moderate/intensive concentration coursework prepares you to meet highly qualified teachers (HQT) requirements for all core academic subject areas (grades K-6), as well as Reading and English/Language Arts (grades K-12).

In addition to completing academic coursework, students will also be required to student teach and complete Education License Exams for Initial Licensure as outlined by the Ohio Department of Education. Students will be eligible for Advanced Study once they have: (a) completed Kent State Core and introductory education coursework with a 2.75 or greater GPA and (b) passed required Praxis Core Examinations (Reading, Writing, and Math).  Praxis Core Examinations are required for all students except those who earned the following ACT or SAT Scores:

  • Reading ACT 26 or SAT Verbal 620
  • Writing ACT English 25
  • Mathematics ACT Math 25 or SAT Math 620

Students typically complete the Praxis Core Examinations during the spring of their freshman year or summer between their freshman and sophomore years. Additionally students will complete licensure exams during their senior year or shortly thereafter. Students will work with their professional advisor in the Vacca Office of Student Services to determine the appropriate exams to complete.

Moderate/Intensive Program Highlights

  • Excellent program reputation; graduates are highly sought after
  • Only 120 credit hours to degree. Very doable in a four-year period
  • SPED specific coursework begins freshman year
  • Multiple field experiences beginning in sophomore year (so students can determine whether this is the right major for them)
  • Field experiences in rural, urban and small town schools (so students can determine what type of setting they like best)
  • Option to add on SPED minors in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Early Intervention, and/or Mild to Moderate Special Education
  • Interdisciplinary coursework (e.g. general education, nursing, and speech pathology)
  • Continuous support from professional and academic advisors to ensure smooth progression through the program

For more information, please contact SPED Moderate/Intensive faculty advisor Dr. Sloane Burgess.

Undergraduate Application