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M.Ed. in Special Education

*Note:  This program is not designed for initial licensure in special education.

A 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 will be prepared for advanced positions in exceptional education, such as department chair, program specialist, RTI specialist, behavior specialist, or instructional coach.  Candidates may choose to pursue a certificate in autism or an endorsement in Gifted Education.

The MEd. is, at minimum, a 30 credit hour program with 13-16 core credit hours.  College of Education and Exceptional Education courses comprise the core courses.  The remaining credits are split between a selected concentration and electives that meet specific individual needs and career objectives. 

The MEd. includes field experiences integrated into courses, which may occur as a formal placement by the university or as a result of supervised employment. All candidates complete a final portfolio OR an action research project, which serves as their comprehensive assessment.

This program is not designed to meet Virginia requirements for initial teacher licensure or endorsement. However, depending on the concentration selected, the M.Ed. can lead to an endorsement in gifted education provided the individual already holds a valid Virginia teaching license or a certificate in autism.  The final portfolio option has been designed to support candidates who wish to apply for National Board Certification for teaching; however, application for National Board Certification is not a requirement of the program.

Students select one of the following and must complete all required courses.



Candidates may choose to pursue a certificate in autism or an endorsement in gifted education.

K-12 Gifted Education Concentration

The gifted education concentration is designed to prepare educators who skillfully contribute to the common good of society through competence in teaching and educational leadership in gifted education. The program enables candidates to complete the approved Virginia Add-on K-12 Gifted Education Endorsement.  For candidates selecting the gifted education concentration, 100% of the program coursework is online. 

For more information on this concentration, click HERE.


Autism Concentration

The autism concentration is designed to enable candidates to increase their knowledge and understanding of individuals with a disability on the autism spectrum, including those with Asperger Syndrome, and to engage in the practice of assessing, planning and implementing programming for this population. The content of this program is suitable for those working with this population anytime along the entire lifespan. Upon completion of the coursework, candidates earn a certificate in autism. For candidates selecting the autism concentration, 90% of the program coursework is online. 

For more information on this concentration, click HERE.


Behavior Specialist Concentration

This represents the collaborative, interdisciplinary program, between Graduate Psychology and Exceptional Education.  Students who are admitted to an approved special education program have the option to also apply to complete the Behavior Specialist Concentration.  

Admittance to one of the M.Ed. or M.A.T. programs alone does not guarantee admittance to the BCBA course sequence, which must be applied to separately.  Students are admitted after completing an interview process. 

For more information on this concentration, click HERE.

Dr. Dani Allen-Bronaugh
Dr. John Almarode
Dr. Keri Bethune