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Special Education

Students with Disabilities who Access the Adapted Curriculum Certificate (SDAC)

This certificate offers the required coursework for K-12 teacher licensure in Teaching Students with Disabilities who Access the Adapted Curriculum. There are no pre-requisites in the coursework, but students are strongly encouraged to completed EDSE 501 Introduction to Special Education in their first semester.

15-36 credits — Students who have completed graduate or undergraduate coursework in a university program prior to admission to the certificate, may request that courses in the certificate program be waived based on completion of the content in prior coursework. Students waiving coursework must complete a minimum of 15 credits to be eligible for the certificate.

Courses offered in fall, spring and summer:

Fall course offerings:

Spring course offerings:

Summer course offerings:


Non-course Requirements

*Students completing Virginia licensure programs are eligible for an exemption from VCLA if the Special Education licensure area they are pursuing will not be their initial teacher licensure in Virginia. Students exempt for this reason must provide documentation of this exemption. (Holding a VA License is not an approved exemption for meeting the Praxis II requirement or the VDOE Required Entry Assessment.)

Masters 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. The courses can be taken at any point in a student's program. Click here for a chart showing overlap in coursework of the licensure and MEd. The MEd courses can be taken at any point in a student's program.

Tuition Assistance and Grant Funding

Severe Disabilities Consortium: The Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Severe Disabilities is comprised of five state approved teacher preparation programs for endorsement in teaching students with disabilities who access an adapted curriculum. The consortium's primary goal is to prepare teachers across the state to be highly skilled at working with learners with severe disabilities. The consortium is supported by grants from the Virginia Department of Education and the US Department of Education. Every semester, a limited number of tuition stipends are awarded to qualified applicants.

LIFE Graduate Assistantships: The Learning Into Future Environments (LIFE) Program is an innovative post-secondary program at Mason for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who desire a university experience in a supportive academic environment. Graduate students with a major in special education have an opportunity to work as instructors in the LIFE program which provides them with field experience in a supportive, supervised setting.

Cohort program: The Special Education program works collaboratively with a number of Northern Virginia school divisions to offer special education certificates and degree programs to school employees using a cohort model. This model provides convenience to the students and forms a better link between academia and school realities. Additional benefits of the cohort model include tuition discounts, classes located in the students' school divisions and course scheduling in alignment with school division calendars.

Graduate Research Assistantships: Part time positions are available for students interested in providing research support to faculty.


George Mason University College of Education and Human Development is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). All licensure programs are approved by the Virginia Department of Education. George Mason University will verify completion of the requirements of a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state-approved preparation program at the graduate or undergraduate level. Such verification does not guarantee the issuance of Virginia Collegiate Professional, Postgraduate Professional, or Pupil Personnel license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is solely the student’s responsibility to comply with all requirements for licensure by the Commonwealth. Under Virginia law a social security number is required for licensure.

Gainful Employment Disclosure