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School of Education - George Mason University

Add-on Endorsement in Special Education: General Curriculum, Graduate Certificate with MEd Option

This graduate certificate is designed for licensed preK-6 elementary, or secondary education teachers to support students with disabilities who access the general curriculum. Completing this coursework will lead to an add-on endorsement in special education—general curriculum.

The 16-credit certificate provides knowledge and skills for working with students with disabilities accessing the general curriculum, and meets Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) requirements for teachers endorsed in elementary education (such as early/primary education preK-3 or elementary education preK-6) or in English, history and social sciences, mathematics, biology, chemistry, Earth science, or physics to add a grade level endorsement in special education—general curriculum.

The certificate coursework can also be applied to a Master's in Special Education, or a Master's in Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) with a concentration in Special Education. Due to overlapping coursework, students can earn their MEd with an additional 15 credits.

Additional Information

  • The graduate certificate includes a mix of online and face-to-face coursework. The majority of coursework is offered in a face-to-face format at the Fairfax campus, or in cohorts with local school divisions. Courses are offered in late afternoons and evenings to accommodate daytime work schedules.
  • The 1-credit internship is a required component of the graduate certificate and allows students to receive feedback from experienced faculty on teaching practices. With an appropriate classroom, students can use their employment setting for the internship site and complete the internship on-the-job.
  • Students wishing to pursue one of the master's degree options should apply to the relevant master's program and consult an advisor.

Tuition Assistance

Virginia Educator Discount: A 15% discount off the university’s approved tuition rate is available for qualifying in-state graduate students who are educators in Virginia.

Cohort program: The Special Education program works collaboratively with a number of Northern Virginia school divisions to offer special education certificates and degree programs to school employees using a cohort model. Benefits include tuition discounts, convenient class locations, and modified schedules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are students with disabilities who access the general education curriculum?

Students with disabilities who access the general education curriculum are those students with disabilities who are working towards the same standards as students without disabilities. These students may have a specific learning disability, other health impairment, autism spectrum disorder, emotional disturbance, speech or language impairment, hearing impairment, and/or a traumatic brain injury. In order to access the general education curriculum, students with disabilities require specialized instruction and/or behavioral supports. Needs of the student can vary from mild to more intense.

What kind of information would I learn with the MEd in Special Education with concentration in K-12 General Curriculum Licensure?

Look under the Courses tab for the specific knowledge and skills you will learn in each of the required classes. In general, you will learn the historical factors and legal aspects of special education, the characteristics of individuals with disabilities, and the support services for individuals with mild to more intense needs. Also, you will learn to:

  • Collaborate with other professionals and family members,
  • Collect, interpret, and use assessment data and the individualized education program (IEP) to provide research-based literacy and math instruction,
  • Collect, interpret, and use assessment data and the individualized education program (IEP) to plan for postsecondary transitions,
  • Design lessons that include appropriate accommodations and/or modifications, as needed, and
  • Monitor student progress.

After I complete the coursework, how does VDOE recognize my add-on endorsement?

The process can begin once final grades have been posted and the endorsement is recorded on the academic transcript. Since the 1-credit internship will likely be your final course in the graduate certificate, check with your university supervisor of the internship to be sure of the process for verifying your completion of the graduate certificate. Generally, the licensure specialist in the School of Education can help you with the final steps.

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.