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Special Education Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education with a Concentration in Special Education

The doctor of philosophy (PhD) is the degree most often desired for those who wish to become faculty in colleges and universities and those who aspire to senior administrative roles in institutions and agencies.  The ODU PhD in Education with a concentration in special education is intended to prepare individuals for administrative and faculty positions and to provide them with the skills to carry out scholarly research, lead organizations, and create new research.

Master's Degree (MSEd) with Initial Endorsement in Special Education

Special Education: General Curriculum, K-12 (Mild Disabilities): The mild disabilities program is designed to prepare professionals to develop and implement appropriate educational programs for students who manifest mild disabilities and are served in the general curriculum setting. This program is designed for prospective teachers seeking an initial endorsement in special education and a master's degree.

Early Childhood Special Education (birth - 5) and Special Education: Adapted Curriculum K-12 (Severe Disabilities) Endorsement Areas: The early childhood special education program is designed to prepare professionals  to teach children from birth to age six who manifest disabilities or who are at risk of later school failure. The program in special education: adapted curriculum K-12 (severe disabilities) is designed to prepare professionals to to design and implement programs for students with varying significant disabiling conditions. This program is designed for prospective teachers seeking an initial endorsement in special education and a master's degree.

Master's Degree (MS Ed) with a Concentration in Special Education 

Old Dominion University's Master's Degree in Special Education is designed to provide fully licensed special educators with an advanced professional degree and competencies beyond initial endorsement. This online master's degree will include a focus on scholarly research, advanced instructional strategies, and special education leadership.  This program provides graduate coursework aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children Advanced Program Standards. The online program includes synchronous and asynchronous components.  Program graduates will be able to pursue career options as:

  • Master Teachers  
  • Team Leaders
  • Instructional Specialists
  • Special Education Coordinators
  • Professional Development Trainers
  • Educational Consultants
  • Board Certified Behavior Analysts
  • Multiply-Certified Special Educators

Post-Baccalaureate Endorsement Programs

Licensure in Special Education: Many students who already possess an undergraduate degree enter Old Dominion University for the sole purpose of meeting Virginia's teaching licensure standards. When these students apply for admission into an approved teacher education program, they are considered to be post-baccalaureate endorsement program candidates and must meet the college's policy for admitting students into an approved teacher education program. Admission to Old Dominion University does not guarantee admission into degree and/or teacher preparation programs in the Darden College of Education.

Special education teachers who are holding Virginia Special Education Provisional Licenses with an endorsement in special education: general curriculum K-12 may be eligible for the Commonwealth Special Education Endorsement Program, which provides tuition assistance. Individuals who work for school divisions in any non-licensed capacity, including long term substitutes, and wish to become special educators, may be eligible for the Paraprofessional Preparation for Extraordinary Teaching grant. Old Dominion University is proud to be a member of the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Vision Impairment with George Mason University, James Madison University, Norfolk State University, and Radford University.  Beginning in Fall 2015, ODU will join George Mason University, James Madison University, Radford University, Norfolk State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University in the Severe Disabilities Consortium to serve qualified individuals seeking endorsement in special education: adapted curriculum, K-12.

Autism Certificate Program

Old Dominion University is pleased to offer a 12-credit-hour certificate program designed to prepare teachers and related service providers to effectively work with and provide support for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  This coursework can be completed separately from, or integrated into, the masters degree in special education.

Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate Program

As part of the Virginia Applied Behavior Analysis Consortium (VA-ABA) with George Mason University, Lynchburg College and Virginia Commonwealth University, ODU is pleased to offer an 18 credit sequence of courses leading to a post-masters certificate in applied behavior analysis (ABA).  The certificate program is designed to teach participants to develop and implement behavioral programs based on data and assessments that increase positive skills and/or reduce interfering behavior in real life environments while maintaining ethical and responsible programming.  The ODU Post-Masters Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) will provide course work derived from the standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and the Board's Guidelines for Responsible Conduct (www.bacb.com).  Successful completion of the certificate program, in addition to a supervised internship that meets BACB guidelines, will allow the participant to sit for the national Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

Undergraduate Option in Interdisciplinary Studies - Teacher Preparation (IDS-TP) from the College of Arts and Letters

In order to meet the Commonwealth of Virginia's need for well-trained and well-qualified special education teachers, our special education emphasis area has been revised effective fall 2009.  Teacher candidates electing this emphasis area will now be eligible for endorsement in special education: general curriculum K-12 at the time they receive their baccalaureate degrees.  Teacher candidates in the special education emphasis program will also be highly qualified in either elementary education or secondary English. For more information about the undergraduate option in special education please visit http://al.odu.edu/ids/tprep/. Course checklists and curriculum sheets are available on the Interdisciplinary Studies website at http://al.odu.edu/ids/tprep/cs.shtml/.

Minor in Special Education

The special education minor compliments many academic majors, provides a specific course of study in a related professional field, and offers greater job opportunities to the student upon graduation. For completion of a minor, an undergraduate student must have a minimum grade point average of 2.00 in all courses taken toward the academic minor. A minimum of six hours in upper-level courses in the minor must be completed at Old Dominion University.

Specific minor requirements: SPED 313, 400, 402, 411, and 415 OR 417. SPED 430  is recommended. For more information, see the Special Education Minor Requirements Checklist (pdf).

Students must contact the graduate program director (see contact information below) to complete the minor declaration information.

Contact Information

Phone: (757) 683-3226 or  (757) 683-4383          
Fax: (757) 683-4129
Email: essegpd@odu.edu

Special Education Programs at Old Dominion University
Attention: Dr. Sabra Gear
122 Child Study Center
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
Virginia Beach Higher Education Center
1881 University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23453
Phone:  (757)368-4100; Advisor: (757)368-4117
Peninsula Higher Education Center
600 Butler Farms Road, Suite 2200
Hampton, VA 23666
Phone: (7 57)766-5200; Advisor: (757) 766-5217         
Distance Learning Sites Contact Information