MEd Advanced Studies in Diversity and Exceptionality in PK–12 Schools
Mason’s Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) diversity and exceptionality in PK–12 schools concentration joins graduate courses in special education, gifted education, and additional language learning.
This concentration is designed for general education teachers who seek to enhance their professional knowledge and skills in relation to students with disabilities, students who demonstrate advanced capabilities in various domains, and English learners.
What are the Benefits of this Concentration?
Classrooms are locations of great diversity in terms of student abilities, perspectives, languages, cultural identifications, and creativities (among many others). Understanding how to recognize and build on the strengths and opportunities present in today’s classrooms is paramount. The ASTL concentration in diversity and exceptionality in PK–12 schools focuses on three of these opportunities present in almost every classroom by aiding teachers in strengthening their knowledge, understandings, and skills around students with dis/abilities, gifted students, and English learners (as well as those who represent two or more of these distinctions). The concentration provides teachers the opportunity to examine their schools and classrooms as sites of diverse and exceptional learning to ensure stronger educational experiences for all students in the general education setting.
Where Will This Concentration Take You?
- The broad, research-based knowledge students acquire through the concentration positions them to become leaders in instruction development for all students.
- Graduates grow their careers with the advantages of a master’s degree, including the possibility of increased pay and opportunities to be curriculum leaders at their schools.
- Aligned with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the courses help teachers think and practice with the same level of reflection and skill as Board-certified educators (a great next step after graduating!).
Who Should Apply?
Educators holding a bachelor's degree with or without a master's degree may apply for the full master's degree program, which includes 12 credits of core education courses and 18 credits of courses chosen with support from a Mason advisor. The diversity and exceptionality concentration is especially suited for general education teachers whose classrooms are diverse learning spaces. This is not an initial licensure program.
Can I Use Graduate Credits from Other Universities to Reduce my Course Load?
Possibly! University policy allows for up to 12 credits (depending on the program) that have not been previously used to complete a degree to be transferred from another accredited graduate program. Consultation with an ASTL advisor is necessary to determine if and which courses may be acceptable to a specific concentration. The literacy: K-12 reading specialist concentration does not allow for substitutions. Substitutions cannot be made for the five core courses of the ASTL program (EDUC 612, EDUC 613, EDUC 614, EDUC 606, EDUC 615). Course work that is older than six years will not be accepted, even if the courses were taken at Mason.
Core Courses (12 credits)
- EDUC 606: Education and Culture (3 credits)
- EDUC 612: Inquiry into Practice (2 credits)
- EDUC 613: How Students Learn (3 credits)
- EDUC 614: Designing and Assessing Teaching and Learning (2 credits)
- EDUC 615: Educational Change (2 credits)
Concentration Courses (18 credits)
In consultation with advisor, choose 6 courses (18 credits) from among the following, with the goal of selecting at least one course from each area.
Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum
- EDAT 524: Universal Design for Learning (3 credits)
- EDSE 501: Introduction to Special Education (3 credits)
- EDSE 502: Classroom Management and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
- EDSE 503: Language Development and Reading (3 credits)
- EDSE 540: Characteristics of Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum (3 credits)
- EDSE 662: Consultation and Collaboration (3 credits)
- EDCI 621: Introduction to Gifted and Talented Learners (3 credits)
- EDCI 622: Curriculum and Instructional Strategies for Gifted Learners (3 credits)
- EDCI 624: Advanced Assessment and Evaluation of Gifted Learners (3 credits)
English for Speakers of Other Languages
Total: 30 credits
Program Exit Requirement
Professional Development Portfolio: A performance-based assessment that provides concrete evidence of teacher professional development throughout the ASTL program. Students finalize and present their portfolios in their final spring semester.
- Includes both online and on-campus courses, with a 100% online option available Dependent on course selection
- On-campus courses are held in the evenings at Mason’s Fairfax campus
- Designed to be completed in approximately two years while working full time as a teacher
- New students begin classes in May, August, and January (Summer, Fall, and Spring admissions)
(classes starting in August)
(classes starting in January)
(classes starting in May, June, or July)
Priority*: April 1
Space Available: August 1
Priority*: November 1
Space Available: January 4
Priority*: February 1
Space Available: May 1
For more information and to apply, visit the admissions website.
* Priority deadline ensures consideration for the intended semester as well as financial aid options for students. Programs will continue to review applications until at capacity. Some programs do not review applications past the priority deadline.
All application materials must be submitted through Mason’s online graduate application. In addition to meeting general university admissions requirements, applicants will need to provide the requirements below. Please review the FAQ page for more information.
To be considered for graduate studies, the following items are evaluated during the admission review process:
- Graduate application and fee
- 750- to 1,000-word written statement of your goals and interest in the program
- Current resume
- Two letters of recommendation: Applicants should follow the instructions included in the online application to submit the recommendation forms directly to their recommenders. Mason does not accept paper recommendations. Recommendations should be professional or academic in nature.
- Transcripts from all previous institutions attended in the United States. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions information page for specific requirements regarding uploading unofficial transcripts.
- Applicants with transcripts from institutions outside of the United States could have additional requirements. Please refer to the How To Apply page for specific requirements about submitting international transcripts, evaluations, and English language proficiency.
Admission to graduate programs at George Mason University is competitive. Applicants are evaluated on the strength of their academic backgrounds, results of standardized exams (if required by the program), work experience, and any additional evidence of potential success in the program. Faculty admissions review is a holistic review of requirements as well as the applicant’s potential academic and professional success upon completion of the program.
At a minimum all admitted students must have:
- An earned baccalaureate from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or international equivalent, verified from official transcripts. Expectation of an earned baccalaureate prior to the first day of classes for the term for which the student is applying will also meet this requirement. See the graduate admissions policy for more information.
- A minimum 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale in baccalaureate study. The GPA requirement may be higher for some graduate programs. The university, at its discretion, may additionally consider the difficulty of the baccalaureate degree, relevant work experience, and/or other evidence of ability to succeed in graduate study when evaluating the GPA requirement.
- International students should reference Admission of International Students for additional requirements.
|TUITION CLASSIFICATION||COST PER CREDIT|
(includes MSF*; discounted from $1,431.00)
|VA Resident and PreK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program**||$589.26
|CEHD Course Fee||$25.00 - $84.00|
|Total Cost for Virginia Residents per Credit||$718.25 - $777.25|
|Total Cost for Non-Virginia Residents per Credit||$918.25 - $977.25|
|Total cost for VA Resident and PreK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program*||$614.26 - $673.26|
|Graduate New Student Fee
(non-refundable, one-time fee)
Please Note: Refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees. Internship courses will incur a higher course fee to fund on-site assistance involving intensive clinical training/supervision.
*Mandatory Student Fee (MSF): $150.25
**VA state residents who are eligible must apply for the 15% PreK-16 VA Educators Discount in order to take advantage of the lower tuition. Eligible students receive 15% off the total tuition and mandatory student fee.
For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers, and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Also, many school districts offer tuition reimbursement options. Speak to your employer for more information.
Diversity and Exceptionality in PK–12 Schools (DES) Concentration: Academic Advisor
ASTL Academic Advisors guide students through their program of study. After admission, reach out to your advisor to plan your program of study and plan for your first course! Stay in touch with your advisor each semester to consult on your course selection and program progress.