The Certificate in Special Education K-12 Teaching will prepare provisionally licensed special education teachers to become fully licensed special education teachers who work with children with learning disabilities, emotional disturbance and mild to moderate intellectual disability. Students will be prepared to recognize a child’s educational and social problems, to formulate effective individualized instruction, and to consult with parents, teachers and administrators to incorporate accommodations and transitions into the child’s educational program. Graduates will be prepared to teach reading and language, behavior management, and social skills to students.

Student learning outcomes

Upon program completion, graduates will demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Apply evidence-based practices, professional knowledge and skills in inclusive classrooms with students with high-incidence disabilities
  2. Design individualized assessments, unit and lesson plans, and make data-based decisions that will support the development of students with high-incidence disabilities
  3. Integrate reading and language, behavior management, and the use of interactive strategies that teach social skills to students with high-incidence disabilities
  4. Report and use formal and informal assessments techniques to deliver opportunities for students to transition into schools, programs and communities 

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Certificate Fall Aug 1
Spring Nov 1
Summer Mar 1

Students applying for the special education K-12 teaching certificate must:

  • Be employed by a Virginia public or nonpublic school as a special educator in special education-general curriculum K-12 and have the recommendation of the employing educational agency

Degree requirements

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete all required course work.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students are required to complete a minimum of 27 credit hours.
  2. Grade requirements: Courses that have not earned a minimum grade of C cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in order to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements and be eligible for financial aid.
  3. Student teaching requirements: Students must successfully complete an approved student teaching experience.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
SEDP 501Characteristics of Individuals with Disabilities 3
SEDP 502Supervision Seminar I1
SEDP 503Supervision Seminar II1
SEDP 531Educational Foundations for Collaboration and Universally Designed Learning3
SEDP 533Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities3
SEDP 601Instructional Methods and Programming for Individuals with Disabilities3
SEDP 602Methods II: Teaching Students in Special Education - General Education2
SEDP 603Theories, Assessment and Practices in Literacy Development for Individuals with Exceptionalities3
SEDP 611Secondary Education and Transition Planning2
SEDP 631Behavior Support of Individuals with Disabilities 3
TEDU 561Reading Foundations: Sociological/Psychological Perspectives3
Total Hours27

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 27.

Program contact
Communications and Enrollment Management
Phone: (804) 827-2670

Coordinator contact
LaRon Scott, Ed.D.
Associate professor, Department of Counseling and Special Education
Phone: (804) 828-1332

Program website: