Graduate Snapshot - Exceptional Education

Description of Program:

Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education (M.A.T.)

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree program is designed to lead to initial licensure in special education with specific concentrations in Special Education-General Curriculum K-12 or Special Education-Early Childhood (birth-age 5). Candidates completing the program are prepared to serve as teachers of individuals with disabilities in a variety of educational placements. There are two programs of study for students wishing to pursue an M.A.T. in Special Education. The first (the fifth-year program) is a continuation of the undergraduate, pre-professional program in Special Education-General Curriculum K-12 and Special Education-Early Childhood (birth-age 5). The second (initial licensure program) is designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree and are interested in pursuing initial licensure to teach Special Education-General Curriculum K-12 or Special Education-Early Childhood (birth-age 5).

Master of Arts in Teaching:Fifth-Year Programs (M.A.T.)

The undergraduate, special education pre-professional program at JMU complements this professionally oriented master's degree program by providing the requisite course offerings and experiences that form an appropriate foundation for admission to the fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree program. Candidates must have successfully completed the special education undergraduate pre-professional program and meet all graduate admission requirements including satisfactory scores on the Praxis 1 and an undergraduate GPA of 2.75. Candidates must also be admitted to teacher education at JMU.

Fifth Year General Curriculum K-12 Program (M.A.T.)

Completion of this concentration is required for licensure in Special Education-General Curriculum K-12. Candidates completing this professional licensure program must meet a set of content and endorsement-specific criteria that have been established by the Commonwealth of Virginia. In order to meet these requirements, candidates at the undergraduate level will have completed the Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies major or an approved alternative major concurrently with the pre-professional program. Candidates must meet the requirements for a baccalaureate degree and successfully complete all undergraduate pre-professional courses and experiences prior to being fully admitted to this M.A.T. initial licensure program. Candidates must be fully admitted into the Teacher Education Unit (including passing scores on PRAXIS I) and demonstrate satisfactory performance at each program evaluation point.

Master of Arts in Teaching Fifth-Year Program: Inclusive Early Childhood Education (M.A.T.)

The inclusive early childhood program draws heavily from research and theories in child development, family systems, special education, differentiated teaching and learning. Through course work and extensive field experiences, the teacher candidate is prepared to design activities that have an interdisciplinary focus, reflect an understanding of the individual child's development and learning, recognize the importance of family and developmental influences, support the young child in constructing knowledge about self and the world, and involve parents in supporting the child's growth and development. The Master of Arts in teaching (M.A.T.) program in inclusive early childhood education is a continuation of the undergraduate IECE program.

Master of Arts in Teaching Post-Baccalaureate Program: Initial Licensure Program (M.A.T.)

Candidates admitted to this program must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates who have not completed the JMU undergraduate pre-professional program are required to provide transcript evidence that they have completed liberal studies and specified subject matter courses deemed necessary for pursuing licensure in special education. Those candidates not having such course work will be required to complete undergraduate-level, general education and/or subject matter content courses under the terms of provisional admission to graduate study as a degree-seeking candidate.

M.A.T. Program: Visual Impairments Concentration (M.A.T.)

Courses in the visual impairments concentration are offered through the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairments. In addition to the aforementioned application criteria, students must be accepted into the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairments ( All courses specific to vision impairments are offered in a distance education format.

Master of Education in Special Education (M.Ed.)

The M.Ed. in Special Education offers a non-teaching program of study for individuals who already hold a professional teaching license or those wishing to work with individuals with exceptionalities in areas other than teaching. Candidates who pursue the M.Ed. program typically do so to advance their knowledge of particular exceptionalities and further develop specific areas of interest. Graduates of this program often find employment in administrative or consultative roles, vocational programs, residential programs, or other alternative service settings.

Although the program is not designed to meet Virginia requirements for teacher licensure or endorsement, one's program of study may include courses that could subsequently qualify the graduate for additional endorsements in gifted education or ESL provided the individual already holds a valid Virginia teaching license. Certificate programs may be completed in various areas such as autism, gifted education and behavior management.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)
Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Fifth Year General Curriculum K-12 Program (M.A.T.)
Visual Impairments Concentration (M.A.T.)

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