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.
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.
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.
George Mason University will verify completion of the 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.
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.
Core Coursework (15 credits)
- EDSE 501: Introduction to Special Education (3 credits)
- EDSE 517: Computer Applications for Special Populations (3 credits)
- EDSE 590: Special Education Research (3 credits)
Language Development and Reading
- EDSE 503: Language Development and Reading (3 credits)
Consultation and Collaboration
- EDSE 662: Consultation and Collaboration (3 credits)
Concentration Coursework (24 credits)
- EDSE 502: Classroom Management and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
- EDSE 540: Characteristics of Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum (3 credits)
- EDSE 544: Adapted Instructional Methods and Transition for Secondary Learners (3 credits)
- EDSE 627: Assessment (3 credits)
- EDSE 641: Instructional Strategies for Reading and Writing (3 credits)
- EDSE 643: Instructional Strategies for Math (3 credits)
- EDSE 783: Internship: Special Education in General Curriculum (3 credits) Students complete two 3-credit internships: one elementary placement and one secondary placement.
(classes starting in August)
(classes starting in January)
(classes starting in May, June, or July)
Priority*: April 1
Space Available: August 15
Priority*: November 1
Space Available: January 5
Priority*: February 1
Space Available: May 15
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.
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 $1,641.50)
|VA Resident and PK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program**||$617.95
|CEHD Course Fee||$25.00 - $84.00|
|Total Cost for Virginia Residents per Credit||$752.00 - $811.00|
|Total Cost for Non-Virginia Residents per Credit||$952.00 - $1,011.00|
|Total cost for VA Resident and PK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program*||$642.95 - $701.95|
|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): $155.00
**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.
To be successful in your program, it is important to remember that each student is responsible for knowing Mason’s rules, regulations, requirements, administrative policies and academic policies. Every student must meet with his advisor upon admission to the program to create a program of study. Even if students know which program/s they will pursue and their sequence of coursework, it is beneficial to discuss plans for internships, testing requirements, transfer options if applicable, etc. It is highly recommended that you meet with your advisor at least once per semester to review degree progress and plan for future semesters. The University Catalog, your program advisors, and the staff in the Student and Academic Affairs Office are key resources to assist you as you work toward completion of your degree requirements.
|Crystal Trebing||Jancy Templeton|
|Undergraduates and Graduate students (non-cohort) with last names A-R
FCPS Special Education-General cohorts
PWCS Special Education-General cohorts
|Undergraduates and Graduate students (non-cohort) with last names S-Z
LCPS & FCPS Adapted cohorts
M, R 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
T 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
W, F 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Appointments available virtually or face-to-face.
M 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
T 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
W, F 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
R 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Appointments available virtually or face-to-face.
|Click HERE to schedule a meeting with Crystal Trebing.||Click HERE to schedule a meeting with Jancy Templeton.|
Schedule an Appointment
Current students may schedule or cancel appointments no less than 24 hours in advance. Advisor calendars are open two weeks in advance. If no appointments show as available with your assigned advisor, please check back in a day or two to see if new times have opened up. You can also e-mail general questions to your advisor.
Drop-in advising hours are available virtually through Blackboard or face-to-face in Finley 102. During these sessions, students receive one-on-one advising on a first-come, first-served basis. To access the virtual advising session please use the links below during the times listed:
Mondays: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Sessions are cancelled when Mason is closed or if otherwise indicated.
Internships provide students with an opportunity to put into practice what they are learning in their courses and to receive coaching and feedback on that practice from school- and university-based experienced professionals. Regardless of whether or not a student has teaching experience, supervised internship experiences are required components for any student completing the state-approved licensure programs. Students complete two internships: one at the elementary level and one at the secondary level.
Arrangement and completion of internship is a multi-step process. Students must make a plan with their advisor for internship, apply in advance, complete test and CPR/First Aid/AED requirements where applicable, register for the internship course and fulfill internship requirements. To ensure college deadlines are met and to confirm eligibility of internship options, each student should review internship options with an advisor early in the program.
There are multiple options for meeting internship requirements:
- Placement internship - Students request a setting in which to complete an internship. Mason places students in internship settings in fall, spring, and summer semesters. Summer placements are often arranged in local private schools. While participating in internship, candidates share their mentor teacher’s daily schedule to have a full-time teaching experience. Interns arrive and end their day based on the school schedule and may also participate in teacher responsibilities outside of typical school hours.
- On-the-job internship - Students use their employment setting for the internship site. The on-the-job option allows interns to complete the internship experience while they work. To be eligible for an on-the-job internship, students must be in a position approved by the school division for an on-the-job internship, be working in a public or VDOE-approved private school as an internship site, be working in a setting appropriate for their program, and have permission and support of the building administrator. Students must be able to accumulate sufficient direct and indirect teaching hours with students under the licensure area they seek. On-the-job interns identify a qualified mentor teacher from their school to support them during the internship, and a university supervisor is assigned to the intern by the university.
- Internship waiver - Students in graduate K-12 Special Education licensure programs may waive one of the two internship requirements providing they document two full academic or calendar years of successful, full-time teaching in a public or accredited private school working with students who fall under the licensure category they are pursuing. Experience must be as the teacher of record in the classroom; experience as a substitute teacher, instructional assistant or intern does not qualify. Students should refer to the internship waiver checklist to ensure they can provide the required documentation and complete the required waiver observations.
Internship application deadlines, instructions for applying and internship manuals with details of internship responsibilities and requirements are available at Student Internship. Students wishing to complete internship outside of the Northern Virginia area should review the Distance Placement Guidelines.
Submitting for Virginia Licensure
Students who have completed the university VDOE-approved program must meet all requirements for their licensure program, including internships and test requirements, prior to submitting for teacher licensure in Virginia. Once requirements for licensure have been met (e.g., grades posted for all classes, waivers submitted if applicable, tests completed, etc.), students may apply. Graduate students do not have to wait until conferral of their degree. Students seeking VDOE licensure may submit for licensure either by submitting all VDOE required documentation through Mason or by obtaining a college verification form from Mason and submitting through their school division.
Students are encouraged to check their records when they are approximately 6 weeks away from completion of their final coursework to avoid delays in processing licensure paperwork. Because your job or a job offer may depend on your ability to provide a signed college verification form for licensure, all paperwork (including internship waiver) should be submitted to the Special Education Advising Office at least six weeks prior to submission for licensure. This provides the necessary time for adjustments to be entered on your record before the licensure specialist completes your paperwork.
College Verification Form:
There are 3 options that the Mason licensure specialist can check on the college verification form:
- Option 1: Completed state approved program — This is the ideal route to licensure and the only route recommended by Mason. Program requirements are pre-approved by VDOE to cover licensure competencies. This option is available to students who complete either the undergraduate BSEd in Special Education with a licensure concentration or who complete a graduate licensure certificate. All program requirements including internships and program test requirements (e.g, VCLA) must be met.
- Option 2: "No – all but internships" — Graduate students with teaching experience in the public schools, for example in teaching general education or teaching as a provisionally licensed special education teacher, who complete all components of the licensure certificate program including program test requirements (e.g, VCLA) can receive a college verification form stating that while the program was not complete, all requirements for the licensure program other than internship were met. School divisions must verify teaching experience. Transcripts are then reviewed by VDOE to determine if the licensure requirements, including the requirement for supervised classroom experience, have been met. This option does NOT guarantee licensure and it is possible students will need coursework outside of their program to meet state licensure requirements. This route is not recommended by Mason.
- Option 3: No, has not completed a state approved program — Students who do not complete a licensure program at the university can submit transcripts to VDOE and request a review to determine which licensure competencies were met with the courses completed. This option does NOT guarantee licensure and it is likely students will need coursework outside of their program to meet state licensure requirements. Mason recommends all students pursuing licensure do so by completion of a pre-approved university program as noted in Option 1.
Licensure Outside of Virginia
Licensure requirements are state-specific. If you intend to seek licensure outside of Virginia, begin by consulting with the Department of Education of the state. You may also want to review the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Facilitating Mobility of Educational Personnel. If a form is required by the state indicating your completion of a licensure program, or status in a licensure program, submit the form to the CEHD Licensure Specialist.
Award Winners for Outstanding Graduate Student in Special Education, K-12 General Curriculum:
Elizabeth Jarrett Poston, 2022
Mary (Kristy) McGehee, 2021
Mervette Rhodes, 2020
Virginia Council for Learning Disabilities
Alumni, Mr. Rory Duffield, received the 2020 Virginia Council for Learning Disabilities, Teacher of the Year award
Current students should visit MyMason for important forms and documents.