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.

Special Education Graduate Certificate: Visual Impairments Licensure (PK-12) with MEd Option

This certificate offers the required coursework for Virginia PK-12 teacher licensure in Teaching Students with Visual Impairments.

Master's Option

Students who are completing the Master's in Special Education in conjunction with their licensure program will need to complete the following courses to meet the MEd course requirements. Click here for a chart showing overlap in coursework of the licensure certificate and MEd.

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.

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)

Concentration in Blindness and Visual Impairments PK-12 Licensure (BVI) (38 credits)

Electives (12 credits)

Select an additional 12 credits from any course.

Non-course Requirements

Total credits: 120

Minor Requirements

Course Requirements Prior to Fall 2020

Total: 17 credits

Students may request permission to take additional Special Education graduate courses for undergraduate credit or for reserve graduate credit.

Course Requiremenst Beginning Fall 2020

Total: 15 credits

Students may request permission to take additional Special Education graduate courses for undergraduate credit or for reserve graduate credit.

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.

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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.