Degree: Master of the Arts in Teaching (MAT), Virginia Teaching License: Kindergarten-12th grade Special Education, Accessing the General Education Curriculum
Anyone who already holds a bachelor’s degree or anticipates receiving his or her degree within the year and is interested in a career as a special educator is eligible.
The program begins in the summer. Full-time students can complete the program in three semesters and two summers. Part-time students are subject to varying timelines.
Each semester teacher candidates participate in area schools to complete course requirements. Prior to student teaching, students also have a formal field experience when they take EXED 610. Permission is required for candidates who work as para-professionals and would like to use their work placement to meet practicum requirements. Students who work are encouraged to seek employment that enriches their teacher education studies.
Classes in this program, except summer classes and practicum, are held late afternoon and evening to allow candidates to work as graduate assistants, substitute teachers, or para-professionals. The final fall semester includes two 8 week full day student teaching internships. In order to get the most out of the whole graduate school experience, part-time work is appropriate except during student teaching when students are expected to be FULLY available to the demands of that experience. Good financial planning will enable students to take full advantage of the opportunities within the program and the university.
Each summer approximately 5-12 candidates enter the program. If you are a full-time student, you can expect to have the same group of classmates for many of your classes if they are full-time students as well. Some courses are open to students in other programs and, consequently, may be larger.
Because this program is designed for candidates who already hold a bachelor’s degree, the range of students’ backgrounds is diverse. Bachelor’s degrees include business, education, foreign language, the arts, social sciences, sciences, technological careers, and the like. Some students enter the program directly from having received their undergraduate degrees, but many students return for their Master’s degrees years after having received their bachelors.
At this time student teaching placements are limited to school districts in and around James Madison University.
Careful planning will help you come prepared to get the most of this experience. A loan can help you achieve your goal sooner. For some, working and saving for another year may allow you to fully engage in classes without worrying about finances. The financial aid office is available to assist you. In addition to graduate tuition (see specifics on JMU web site), there are textbooks, miscellaneous fees, and various tests required by the State of Virginia (see details under the “tests and fees” section).
Departmental and College-wide scholarship applications are usually available during the January/February timeframe for currently enrolled students and students who have accepted admission into the graduate program. Please be watchful for notices of their availability. Students are encouraged to apply for as many scholarships for which they are eligible. http://welcome.coe.jmu.edu/scholarships/.