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School of Education - George Mason University
Being a special education teacher is an opportunity to have a positive, lasting impact on the lives of children and youth with special needs.

Mason’s bachelor's degree in special education with an adapted concentration equips those who wish to work as special education teachers with the skills and content knowledge necessary to support the needs of individuals with severe disabilities and autism. Graduates are eligible for Virginia's initial teaching license in special education—adapted curriculum K–12.

Why Choose Mason?

  • Students have multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experiences in a variety of K-12 school settings with support from both school- and university-based special education professionals. Experiences are embedded throughout coursework to ensure students are prepared to be an effective special education teacher, including field experience assignments aligned with coursework, supervised clinical practice placements and seminars, and culminating full-time student teaching internships. Students have opportunities to not only connect coursework to authentic school settings with feedback and coaching from experts, but they have opportunities to build a professional network in a variety of school settings in Northern Virginia.
  • Our Special Education Program is nationally recognized.
  • Mason is the alma mater of one-third of the teachers and one-half of the administrators in Northern Virginia’s world-class school systems.
  • Experiences are embedded throughout coursework to ensure students are prepared to lead a classroom.
  • Mason houses both Mason LIFE, a program providing a supportive academic environment for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities. Our undergraduates can often be found working on projects done by these leading organizations, giving them valuable real-world experience.

Program Format

Courses are offered in a primarily face-to-face format during the day at the Fairfax campus with some online and evening course options. Students spend their final semester in a full-day internship applying the knowledge and skills learned through their coursework to the classroom.

Tuition Assistance and Experience

Mason LIFE: The Learning Into Future Environments (LIFE) Program is an innovative post-secondary program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who desire a university experience in a supportive academic environment. Students focusing on special education have an opportunity to work as instructors, resident advisors and mentors in the LIFE program which provides them with experience in a supervised setting.

Accelerated Master’s

The Accelerated Master’s pathway allows students to apply up to twelve credits, taken while an undergraduate, toward both their Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Additionally, students can take an additional six credits as reserve graduate credit. Students planning to pursue Virginia teacher licensure can declare a concentration in K-12 Adapted Curriculum, K-12 Special Education-General Curriculum or PK-12 Blindness and Visual Impairments and maximize their program by taking Accelerated Master’s courses that will also apply towards teacher licensure.

Licensure Disclosure

This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.

George Mason University will verify completion of the requirements of a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state-approved preparation program at the graduate or undergraduate level. Such verification does not guarantee the issuance of a Virginia Collegiate Professional, Postgraduate Professional, or Pupil Personnel license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is solely the student's responsibility to comply with all requirements for licensure by the Commonwealth. Under Virginia law, a social security number is required for licensure.