School of Education - George Mason University

This program provides teacher candidates with the tools they need to work with students who are blind and visually impaired, including those who have multiple disabilities and diverse learner characteristics. Candidates will gain skills and knowledge to support students in a variety of settings, including general and special education, and in the core content and Expanded Core Curriculum.

Graduate Studies

The 47-credit MEd in Special Education with concentration in PK-12 Blindness and Visual Impairments Licensure prepares students to work with blind and visually impaired individuals, including those who have multiple disabilities. Students learn to support individuals in both general and special education settings.

Certificate Requirements

The 26-credit Graduate Certificate in Blindness and Visual Impairments PK-12 Licensure is intended for students who already hold a teaching license in the state of Virginia in either special education or general education, and may have already satisfied professional studies requirements. Students must meet the following pre-requisites prior to admission or upon admission:

Certificate Requirements

Total: 26 credits

Non-course Requirements

Delivery Format

Coursework is offered primarily online with a face-to-face weekend for hands-on training in orientation and mobility. Internships and field placements occur in the Northern Virginia area.

Tuition Assistance and Grant Funding

Visual Impairments Consortium: The Virginia Consortium prepares teachers to be highly skilled at working with students with visual impairment and blindness. The consortium is supported by a grant from the Virginia Department of Education. Every semester, a limited number of tuition stipends are awarded to qualified applicants.

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.

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.

Undergraduate Studies

The Visual Impairments coursework offers the skills and knowledge to teach students with blindness and visual impairments. The Bachelor’s in Special Education, PK-12 Blindness and Visual Impairments concentration, is a state-approved Virginia teacher licensure program and provides students with the coursework needed to submit for a full teaching Virginia license. Completing the minor partially fulfills requirements for teacher licensure in Virginia. Students can complete a minor in Visual Impairments, start their graduate program as a student in the Accelerated Master’s program, or just take a few classes to begin to explore the field as a career option.

Bachelor’s Requirements

Mason Core (37 credits)

Foundation Requirements:

  • Written Communication - ENGH 101 Composition is recommended course (3)
  • Oral Communication (3)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (3)
  • Information Technology and Computing (3)
    Exploration Requirements:
  • Arts (3)
  • Global Understanding (3)
  • Literature (3)
  • Natural Science (7)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (3)
  • Western Civilization/World History (3)
    Integration Requirement:
  • Written Communication - ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (3)
  • Writing Intensive (fulfilled by major requirements)
  • Synthesis/Capstone (fulfilled by major requirements)

Special Education Core Requirements (45 credits)

Accelerated Master’s

Qualified undergraduates may be admitted to a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's program and obtain either a BA or BS in any degree area and an MEd in Special Education within an accelerated time frame. The Accelerated Master’s program allows students to apply six 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 in order to start their MEd program with twelve graduate credits already completed.


A Critical Need for Teachers of Students who are Blind and Visually Impaired

There is currently a nationwide shortage of trained professionals qualified to work with students who are blind and visually impaired. The Mason program prepares teachers to be highly skilled at working with students with visual impairment and blindness, including those who have multiple disabilities. Completion of the program meets Virginia Department of Education’s required competencies for teachers of students who are blind and visually impaired.