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School of Education - George Mason University

MEd Special Education, K-12 General Curriculum Licensure Concentration

Our highly regarded master’s program with a concentration in general curriculum licensure provides the skills and knowledge to become a professional special educator of students with disabilities who access the general curriculum.

The 39-credit MEd in Special Education with concentration in K-12 General Curriculum Licensure is designed to prepare educators to provide direct instruction to individuals with disabilities who access the general academic curriculum. Individuals will be prepared to do so in inclusive settings and special education settings as needed.

Twelve classes include a variety of clinical experiences in addition to a clinical teaching internship. Coursework includes some online work, but the majority of courses are delivered face-to-face. Clinical field experiences and internships are arranged in the Northern Virginia area. Courses are offered at the Fairfax campus, and cohort options are also available.

Why Choose Mason's Special Education Program?

  • The special education program was ranked fifteenth nationally (and fourteenth among public institutions) in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate School rankings.
  • Our online special education graduate program was ranked nineteenth in the country by U.S. News & World Report for 2021. It’s our third straight year in the top twenty and highlights our program’s flexibility.
  • 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 graduate students can often be found working on projects done by these leading organizations, giving them valuable real-world experience.
  • Mason’s special education program provides a responsive and convenient preparation program for those individuals who have a provisional special education license – meaning those individuals have a Bachelor’s degree and are employed in Virginia public schools as special educators of children with disabilities (accessing the general curriculum) with a provisional license. Mason’s program is referred to as the Cohort model.

Program Format

The program is a hybrid of face-to-face and online coursework. Field experiences and internships are arranged in the Northern Virginia area. Cohort options are also available.

Tuition Assistance

Cohort program: Our 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.

Graduate Research Assistantships: Part time positions are available for students interested in providing research support to faculty.

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.

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) grant support: Since 2011, faculty in the special education division have received funding from VDOE to support teachers who currently have a provisional license to teach students with disabilities who access the general education curriculum. The VDOE grant funds provide teachers with a high-quality preparation program to complete requirements they need to become eligible for a five-year, renewable special education teaching license. The tuition support is distributed to qualified individuals who are a part of the cohort program.

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,
  • Collect, interpret, and use reading and writing assessment data to provide research-based instruction,
  • Design literacy and math lessons that include appropriate accommodations and/or modifications, as needed,
  • Design and implement classroom and behavior management systems,
  • Design and implement individualized behavior management plans, and
  • Monitor student progress.

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.