Combine your passion for helping children with your interest in education—discover a career in special education.
Special education teachers are in demand, with teacher shortages reported nationwide. Our Master of Science program leads to licensure in Special Education-General Curriculum, K-12 endorsement in Virginia. Most states will honor a Virginia teaching certificate so you can apply for a teaching license out-of-state by reciprocal agreement.
A special education teacher is part of a team that plans, delivers and evaluates specifically designed individual plans of instruction (IEPs) to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities.
Beyond learning academics, the focus on socio-emotional and functional skills helps students with disabilities in their daily living, employment and social relationships. In addition, working in the field of special education offers you opportunities to specialize in a variety of K-12 academic settings as well as transitional services that prepare special needs students for post-high school endeavors.
Learn More About This Program
The program incorporates newest instructional technologies, experiential learning and exposure to information related to classroom management, individual education planning and instructional delivery for students with disabilities in K-12 school population.
Learn through 30 hours of special education and university supervised teaching coursework. An addition 3-9 credits may be required depending upon prior completion of initial foundation education courses.
Students will create a project that develops better home-school connections.
Shenandoah University’s Division of Education & Human Development prepares practitioner-leaders by offering programs of study that conform to the following principles: practicing in a spirit of collaboration; thoughtful examination of the foundations, current contexts and future possibilities of the fields of study; encouraging proactive, problem-centered philosophies of educational and professional practice; producing graduates who will be knowledge-driven, competent decision-makers whose thinking is informed by reflective practice; and preparing caring, capable and reflective teachers, administrators, human services and public sectors practitioners.
Our master’s and doctoral programs are unique in their emphasis on the application of theory to real-world problems and lived experiences. Administration and Supervision Licensure and Teacher Education Licensure programs have each earned accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
The program works in partnership with local public and private schools that offer special education programs so you complete real-world field experience practicums and student teaching internships within accredited schools. We give individualized attention to provisionally licensed special education teachers who are admitted to the MSE program so they can complete their coursework within the timeframe of their licensure requirements.
You’ll have opportunities to participate in numerous conferences and professional organizations, including the Fairfax County Public Schools RATE (Real Assistive Technology for Everyone) and SUCCESS conferences each year. Shenandoah also has its own student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC Chapter 1216), where members participate in CEC state and national conferences, as well as service learning activities with various organizations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Association and the ARC of Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Shenandoah’s Computer-Based Writing Project is supported by the Claude Moore Foundation, and serves local students in grades 4-8 who struggle with writing. During the summer program, students enrolled in SHED 533: Language Acquisition and Reading Methods either help struggling writers learn keyboarding and writing process skills in the Bowman computer lab in downtown Winchester through the computer-based writing program, or they individually tutor students to develop and improve literacy skills.
For the past four years, students enrolled in SHED 573: Curriculum, Instruction and Service Delivery, partnered with Shenandoah’s occupational therapy students in order to learn how to collaborate with a related-service provider for instructional planning and intervention strategies purposes.
For the past two summers, the program head for MSE and PSC Special Education programs co-planned a joint SU-VSTE (Virginia Society for Technology in Education) one-day conference held at our Northern Virginia campus. The 2013 conference focused on differentiating instruction with the use of mobile devices.
You will learn to work in public and private schools with K-12 students who receive special education services, but who also access the general curriculum.
Our program blends distance learning with onsite classes, providing flexibility for working adults. Onsite classes meet only once a week in Winchester or Northern Virginia. All our faculty members have doctorates and classes are taught by those endorsed in special education. All special education adjunct faculty members are in teaching or administrative leadership positions in Virginia K-12 school systems so their knowledge of the field of special education is current and practical.
Learn how to:
- assess academic, socio-emotional and functional skills of K-12 students
- plan for instruction and develop Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
- carry out instruction as specified on students’ IEPs
- monitor student progress toward meeting IEP goals and objectives, and local and state curriculum standards
- learn collaborative and consultative strategies to employ when working with related-service providers such as speech and language clinicians, occupational and physical therapists, and school psychologists; school officials; students and parents/family members
- work within a response-to-intervention model to monitor at-risk students
- plan for co-teaching experiences in general education classrooms when working with a content teaching partner such as a math, science, English, or social studies teacher
- effectively use educational and assistive technology in assessing, planning and delivering instruction
|Education foundation courses required for initial licensure:|
|EDU510/EDUC510||Foundations of Education||3|
|RDG523/EDU523||Foundations of Reading||3|
|PSYC510||Advanced Human Growth & Development||3|
|Masters Degree Requirements|
|SED/SEDC565||Foundations Legal and Medical Aspects of Special Education||3|
|SED/SEDC571||Characteristics Student Disabilities||3|
|SED 533||Language Acquisition/Reading Methods||3|
|SED 569||Collaborative/Consultative Strategies||3|
|SED 575||Transitions for Students w/Disabilities||3|
|SED 567||Special Education Instruction, Behavior Management & Assessment||3|
|SED 573||Curriculum, Instruction, Service Delivery||3|
|EDU 647||Projects in Curriculum & Instruction||3|
|EDU 661||Internship in Student Teaching K-12||6|
|or Seminar course designed for provisionally licensed teachers:|
|EDU 613||Management & Mentorship I||3|
|EDU 614||Management & Mentorship II||3|
|Passing score on VCLA & VRA or RVE|
Upon completion of course and internship requirements, candidates must obtain passing scores on VCLA & the RVE to qualify for an initial teaching license in Special Education-General Curriculum, K-12.
Virginia requires students in a licensure program to complete student teaching when completing licensure requirements. Provisionally licensed teachers in our MSE program who are employed as full-time provisionally licensed special education teachers and cannot complete student teaching are mentored for a full year by university supervisors who were K-12 school principals with experience in special education and other content endorsement areas.
Provisionally licensed teachers enroll in seminar courses EDU 613: Management and Mentorship I and EDU 614: Management and Mentorship II. These courses replace traditional student teaching. When completing these seminar courses, our students are supported in their own classrooms by field supervisors, and this allows students in our MSE program to complete all program requirements in terms of coursework and supervised teaching experiences.
Our accomplished and caring faculty serve as mentors beyond the classroom. As a team, they prepare you to serve as a compassionate educator, critical thinker and ethical leader. You’ll benefit from small class sizes that enable faculty members to provide individualized attention and nurture your academic and professional development.
Dr. Mary Bowser
Director of Professional Licensure, Professor of Curriculum & InstructionFull Biography
Dr. Karen Huff
Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction; Program Head, PSC-ITL and MSEd-Emphasis in TeachingFull Biography
Shenandoah University’s Division Of Education & Leadership provides inquiry-driven, problem-oriented examinations of public education and organizations.
View application deadlines and submit your Shenandoah Application.
State Reciprocity – SARA
Shenandoah University is a member of NC-SARA, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. View the licensure requirements for out-of-state students enrolling in Shenandoah programs leading to licensure. Click on the tab at the bottom of the screen to locate your program. Note that these requirements are subject to change. Please contact your program with questions.