Did you know? In the 2015 U.S. News and World Report rankings, Curry's Special Education program was ranked #4 in the nation.
Special education provides services for individuals with disabilities and the gifted, based on their unique educational needs, so they can make progress in educational environments where they would otherwise be likely to have limited success. To succeed, individuals with disabilities and the gifted need educational environments that incorporate one or more of several features. Environments must adjust and adapt flexibly to accommodate the learning characteristics of students who differ from typical or usual learners in ways relevant to mastery and acceleration.
Curry's special education program is aimed at advancing special education by preparing teachers, consultants, and other clinicians as well as teacher educators and researchers who can promote the application of evidence-based practices to the service of children and youths with special education needs. We offer degree programs for students who are just beginning their careers as special educators as well as advanced graduate programs for those who have extensive experience and are seeking to help others by discovering and disseminating new evidence about effective practices.
Special Education at U.Va.’s Curry School of Education includes the following areas of emphasis: Learning Disabilities (LD); Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD); and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). At the master's level, the purpose of these programs is to prepare professionals to provide exemplary, evidence-based services for individuals with disabilities. At the doctoral level, the purpose is to prepare professionals who can contribute to the advancement of scholarly knowledge about disabilities and special education, prepare future professionals, and contribute to the common wealth of the discipline.
Teacher preparation. Individuals who complete U.Va.'s teacher preparation programs work in a diverse array of school settings, depending on their area of specialization. Those who study in ECSE focus on children from ages birth through 5 and the primary mission of the program is to produce high-quality graduates to staff and lead educational programs that serve infants, toddlers, and preschool children with mild to severe disabilities or developmental delays and their families in home, community, and preschool settings. Those who complete the high-incidence programs (i.e., focus on LD, EBD, and ID) usually focus on preschool through secondary-aged students (i.e., prek-12th grade) in school settings; although some may teach in special schools or self-contained special education classrooms, they usually find employment in collaborative or inclusion settings where they work as members of teams with regular or general educators in meeting the unique needs of students with disabilities in typical school situations.
Doctoral preparation. Graduates of Curry's special education doctoral program have regularly taken positions in schools and colleges of education (as well as other situations such as research organizations) where they have taught and conducted research. Many of them have become noted scholars who have contributed to the discipline of special education not just by teaching but also by publishing texts and research papers as well as by serving as officers in national and international organizations. (You can learn about a few of our grads' accomplishments in the notes that follow.)
Please review the list of degree programs we offer, as shown in the accompanying table, and learn about the faculty members in special education by clicking on the names under the heading "associated faculty."
- Master of Teaching—Special Education - Elementary Education
- Master of Teaching—Special Education - Secondary Education
- Master of Teaching—Special Education - Early Childhood Development
- Ph.D. in Education—Special Education
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction
- M.Ed. in Special Education—Early Childhood Development
- M.Ed. in Special Education
- Special Education Certificate