VCU Bulletins

Severe disabilities

Thoma, Dr. Colleen
Chair, Department of Special Education and Disability Policy
(804) 827-2651

Admission requirements summary

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

Indicate specialization: severe disabilities

of entry:


Mar 15


The Master of Education in Special Education severe disabilities track is designed to prepare teachers to work with students in grades K-12 in public school settings. Throughout the program, emphasis is placed on person-centered planning, school and community inclusion, transdisciplinary teamwork and the role of the family. Courses address physical and medical management issues, functional assessment strategies, longitudinal curriculum planning, systematic instruction, augmentative and alternative communication systems, assistive technology, transition from school to adulthood, positive behavioral supports and the special needs of students with autism or physical, sensory and health-related disabilities.

All core courses are offered through the Virginia Severe Disabilities Consortium, but are accessed through VCU. Students enrolled in the program complete a field-based externship in their school (if they currently serve students with severe disabilities) or in one of the many public schools in the Richmond area. Six 1-credit-hour externship experiences are spread throughout the course of study and are designed to meet the students needs for professional development.

All candidates are required to submit a final portfolio as the capstone requirement of the program. Successful completion of the 42-credit-hour program results in eligibility for Virginia endorsement in special education, adapted curriculum in addition to the Master of Education degree.

Applicants who do not have a provisional or professional collegiate teaching license in special education must take SEDP 630 Trends in Special Education as a prerequisite course.

  Choose one of the following:
  EDUS 603 Seminar in Child Growth and Development
  EDUS 605 Child and Adolescent Development
  EDUS 607/PSYC 607 Advanced Educational Psychology
  EDUS 673 Seminar on Educational Issues, Ethics and Policy
  EDUS 660 Research Methods in Education
  IDDS 600 Interdisciplinary Studies in Developmental Disabilities: Teamwork in Serving Persons With Developmental Disabilities (3)
  SEDP 531 Educational Foundations for Collaboration and Universally Designed Learning (3)
  SEDP 600 Language/Communication Intervention for Young Children and Individuals with Severe Disabilities (3)
  SEDP 610 Teaching Strategies for Students With Severe Disabilities (3)
  SEDP 612 Assessment and Curriculum for Students With Severe Disabilities (3)
  SEDP 631 Classroom Management and Behavior Support for Students With Disabilities (3)
  SEDP 632 Transition Strategies for Students With Disabilities (3)
  SEDP 651 Topics in Education (characteristics of students with severe disabilities) (3)
  SEDP 658 Educating Students with Physical and Sensory Disabilities (3)
  TEDU 561 Reading Foundations: Sociological/ Psychological Perspectives (3)
  TEDU 700 Externship (in severe disabilities) (6 hours total)
  Successful completion of SEDP 630 Trends in Special Education if candidate does not hold eligibility for a Virginia provisional special education teaching license
  Successful completion of portfolio requirement



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Last update: 12/10/2013

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