8: Curry School of Graduate Education

General Information | Categories of Graduate Degree Status and Program/Degree Requirements
Program Descriptions | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special education
Department of Human Services | Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services provides educational experiences and training for individuals preparing for professional careers in areas related to human development and clinical services in both the physical and psychological domain. Graduate degree programs sponsored by this department are in four program areas: Communication Disorders, Counselor Education, Health and Physical Education, and the Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology. The faculty of the Department of Human Services are involved in training, research, and scholarship, and provide professional leadership to the Commonwealth and the nation on issues related to assisting individuals in the development of their full physical and psychological potential for productive and satisfying learning, leisure, and work.

The specializations within each program area are laboratory and/or clinically oriented. Each of the programs within this department seeks to apply knowledge from its disciplinary base to settings which enhance individual development, both physically and psychologically. For example, programs in counseling, sport psychology, and clinical psychology all require extensive clinical/psychological experiences. Similarly, communication disorders, clinical psychology, motor learning, athletic training, and exercise physiology each have strong clinical/medical aspects and involve extensive interactions with the Medical School and other units of the University of Virginia.

The options and specializations within each program area are described in the following sections:

Clinical and School Psychology

Clinical Psychology
School Psychology
Communication Disorders (Audiology and Speech/Language Pathology)
Counselor Education
School Counseling (Elementary, Middle/ Secondary)
Counseling and Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education
Community and Human Service Agency Counseling
Physical Education (Adapted, Athletic Training, Exercise
Physiology, Motor Learning, Pedagogy, Sports Medicine, Sport Psychology)

To obtain application materials contact the Curry School of Education Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. To obtain more specific information about any program in the Department of Human Services contact the appropriate program area director.

Communication Disorders   The Graduate Communication Disorders Program at the University of Virginia offers Master's (M.Ed.) and Doctoral (Ph.D. or Ed.D.) degrees. The degree programs fulfill academic and clinical requirements for endorsement in speech, language and hearing by the Virginia State Board of Education, Virginia State Medical Licensing Board, and certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The graduate audiology and speech-language pathology programs are accredited by the Educational Standards Board of the American Board of Examiners in Speech Pathology and Audiology of ASHA.

Students entering the master's program with a bachelor's degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences may complete the graduate academic and clinical training in 5-6 semesters. Students entering with no undergraduate training in Communication Disorders and Sciences need 8-9 semesters to complete the requirements.

Specialization in the areas of audiology, speech-language pathology, speech and hearing sciences and aural rehabilitation are available. Graduates are prepared to function in a wide variety of professional settings including public and residential schools, medical settings, rehabilitation centers, community clinics, university training centers, research laboratories, federal, state and local government service programs, private health care agencies, industry and private practice. Graduates are prepared to work with a variety of communicative disorders across the life span from birth through senescence.

The Speech-Language-Hearing Center is accredited under full standards by ASHA for full clinical services in speech, language and hearing. In addition, a full range of clinical training experiences are provided with the graduate student participating in clinical practicum under the supervision of University of Virginia clinical staff. Advanced clinical training is provided by externships in which the graduate student is placed in clinical settings in the central Virginia region. Finally, an internship semester provides the capstone of clinical training. The graduate student is placed in a clinical setting for professional experience prior to graduating. The internship site is chosen in concert with the clinical advisor and the graduate student's choice of geographical and professional preference.

The doctoral studies are supported by the excellent research libraries at the University of Virginia. The Communication Disorders Program faculty specialize in the areas of: auditory evoked potentials, central auditory processing, the function of the auditory system, hearing amplification aural rehabilitation, application of microcomputer technology to clinical practice, speech science and speech perception, evaluating effective and efficient diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the areas of aphasia, traumatic brain injury, dysphagia, child language and child phonology, language-based reading problems (e.g., dyslexia), dysfluency and voice disorders. Students admitted to the program will undergo a screening of their own speech and hearing and will follow-up on any recommendations which are made based on the screening test results.

Additional information about the Communication Disorders program area is available from the Communication Disorders Program Director, 2205 Fontaine Avenue, Suite 202, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

Counselor Education   Counseling is a unique helping profession based on the social and behavioral sciences. Counselors draw from a variety of disciplines to help individuals develop toward their full potential and solve problems which are typical for their age and stage of development. The degree programs in Counselor Education are the Master's (M.Ed.), Education Specialist (Ed.S.), and Doctorate (Ed.D. and Ph.D.). Graduate study in Counselor Education provides opportunities to acquire a depth of knowledge in theories of counseling, group dynamics, interpersonal relations, human behavior dynamics, and research procedures. During the academic year, most counselor education courses are available only to counselor education majors. During the summer, others may take EDHS 721, 722 and 723 if space is available.

Counselor Education programs are designed for students preparing to work in educational institutions or for work in other organizations which have client service roles. Master's degree programs in Counselor Education require 48 credits and train students for entry level positions in schools, institutions of higher education, and community and human service agencies. Post-master's degree programs are adapted to student goals and include opportunities for in-depth study in a specific area. The Ed.S. degree requires a minimum of 66 credits, including 48 credits from the master's program. Admission to doctoral study in Counselor Education requires a minimum of one year post-master's degree professional experience.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA), has conferred accreditation to the degree programs in Counselor Education at the University of Virginia.

Brief descriptions of each Counselor Education program options are below; additional information about Counselor Education programs is available from the Counselor Education Program Director, Ruffner Hall.

School Counseling   The Elementary School Counseling track has a focus on school counseling kindergarten through grade five with a developmental emphasis on childhood. The track focuses on planning, implementing and evaluating counseling programs to meet the unique social, physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of students in elementary school. Unique to this track is the student's opportunity to gain an understanding of child growth and development, learning theories, community, and culture. Special emphasis is placed on counseling and consultation skills. Field experience in elementary schools is an important aspect of this track.

The Middle/Secondary School Counseling track has a focus on school counseling in grades six through twelve with a developmental emphasis on both pre-adolescence and adolescence. For those interested in working with early adolescents, this track has a focus on planning, implementing, and evaluating counseling programs to meet the unique social, physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of students in middle and junior high schools. For those interested in working with young people in later adolescence, this track also has a focus on the characteristic needs of high school students, developing skills in individual and group counseling, conducting career planning and placement, and program implementation. Field experience in middle or secondary schools is designed on the basis of past experiences and the needs of the counselor-in-training.

Counseling and Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education   The higher education program option in Counseling Education prepares counselors or student personnel workers for post-secondary educational institutions. This program option includes field experience appropriate for the higher education specialization and supporting course work offered by the Center for the Study of Higher Education. The program is based on the concept that counseling and student services are basic components of the total program for student development in post-secondary schools.

Community and Human Service Agency Counseling   The program option in Community and Human Service Agency Counseling is designed for students who plan to work outside traditional educational settings. Students will have field experiences in diverse settings to gain specific knowledge and skills necessary to work in community and human service agencies. Students have taken coursework related to and have secured field placements in adult counseling centers, business and industry, correctional facilities, geriatric counseling and service agencies, mental health clinics, and health counseling facilities.

Health and Physical Education   Graduate degree programs offered in Health and Physical Education are available at the Master's (M.Ed. and M.T.) and Doctoral (Ed.D. and Ph.D.) levels.

Detailed descriptions of Health and Physical Education programs and program specializations are below. For additional information please write Health and Physical Education Program Director, Ruffner Hall, University of Virginia, 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2495, (804) 924-6207.

The health and physical education program area offers specializations in Adapted Physical Education, Athletic Training, Exercise Physiology, Motor Learning, Sports Medicine, Sport Psychology and Pedagogy. Requirements within each option are distributed among: (1) a core of related courses usually taken within the department; (2) a supporting area suitable to the student's specialty; (3) research projects, independent study, thesis, and/or practicum experiences as recommended by the advisor; and (4) electives.

The master's degree (M.Ed.) program is designed to develop an understanding of major factors affecting specific aspects of physical education, sport, and exercise. Graduates are prepared to work in educational settings such as schools, hospitals, athletic organizations and private industry. The program also provides opportunities for the development of research skills and preparation for advanced graduate study. A minimum of 36 graduate credits must be earned for the M.Ed. degree, including the successful completion of a comprehensive examination or 30 credits and a thesis.

The master of teaching (M.T.) degree program culminates in the M.T. degree and Teacher Certification for Physical Education (grades K-12). Students interested in this program should contact the Director of Physical Education Teacher Education for details regarding this two-year program.

The doctoral program (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) in physical education is organized to provide an in-depth analysis of specializations in physical education through a course of study shaped by a faculty advisor, doctoral program committee, and the student. Graduates are able to initiate, conduct, and evaluate research related to specific aspects of motor behavior or physical education, and to demonstrate teaching behavior appropriate for college-university faculty. Course work is individually prescribed to meet the requirements of the selected specialization and the skills and qualifications of the student. Areas of specialization within Physical Education may be selected from the following options:

Adapted Physical Education   Specialty provides graduates with the competencies needed to develop functional physical, motor, and leisure skills for individuals with mild, moderate, or severe disabilities. This program is offered in cooperation with Special Education, the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center, and the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school systems. The program is based on an achievement-based curriculum model. Inherent in the program design are the following principles: (1) the core of the program is an integrated sequence of course work in physical education and special education; (2) "hands on" applications are emphasized; (3) students complete extensive, well supervised practicum experiences as one-half time adapted physical education teachers in local schools; (4) students are trained to use a variety of assessment tools and techniques; and (5) students use computer and video technology to analyze and improve teaching effectiveness. The doctoral program in Adapted Physical Education prepares researchers and teacher trainers.

Athletic Training Specialization provides M.Ed. graduates with competence and knowledge in the area of athletic medicine, including an understanding of the physiological, biomechanical, and psychological implications of training as well as the principles, procedures, and techniques of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. Students gain practical experience by working with men's and women's intercollegiate and/or inter-scholastic athletic teams and sports clubs. The athletic training program is one of a select group of NATA accredited graduate programs, has a prerequisite of NATA certification (or certification eligibility) prior to admission.

Exercise Physiology Specialization acquaints graduate students with physiological concepts related to the acute and chronic effects of exercise on human subjects. Special areas of emphasis include interactions between exercise and health status, adult fitness, human performance, aging, environmental conditions, and nutrition. Graduates will have completed practical laboratory training which can lead to certification by the American College of Sports Medicine as either an exercise technologist or exercise specialist.

Graduates in Exercise Physiology will have (a) a thorough knowledge of exercise and applied physiology with an emphasis on metabolism and cardio-respiratory function; (b) an ability to provide leadership for exercise classes involving healthy and high-risk patients; (c) a thorough knowledge of, and practical experience in, procedures for exercise testing; (d) strength and conditioning; and (e) a working knowledge of research design, research methods and basic statistics. This course of study can lead to employment in community, corporate, and university exercise programs, or to advanced study and research in the field of applied physiology. The doctoral degree in exercise physiology is designed to prepare students to conduct research in human exercise physiology. Program content includes extensive work in physiology, computer applications, and research procedures, as well as interdisciplinary experiences in the School of Medicine.

Motor Learning   The Motor Learning specialization prepares students to design and implement optimal learning environments for both the acquisition and performance of motor skills. The foundation of this specialization is based on the psychology of motor skill learning. The process of motor skill acquisition is explored by analyzing the early perceptual-motor development of children and the problems of motor skill acquisition and retention for individuals of all ages.

Graduates will be able to identify factors which effect motor skill acquisition and performance. Specific emphasis is placed on understanding the theoretical basis of motor learning, and investigating practical questions related to stimulus input, integration and output. Research is conducted to determine optimal learning environments, practice strategies and elements which effect the performance of skills. The program is closely related to sport psychology, with the emphasis on the acquisition of motor skills as compared to sport psychology which focuses on the performance of well-learned skills. At the doctoral level, emphasis is placed on developing research skills and applying them to current problems in motor skill acquisition and retention. Doctoral students participate in either the ongoing research projects of the laboratory or in their own research inquiry during each semester of study. Current research interests include the effectiveness of mental practice and cognitive/psychological skills training on motor skill acquisition, the impact of knowledge of results and augmented information feedback on motor skill acquisition, parameters affecting the use of models and visualization. Future lines of research are planned in the area of interactive videodisc applications to the acquisition and performance of motor skills.

Pedagogy Within Physical Education   Students may also specialize in pedagogy within physical education if they already possess master's and undergraduate degrees in teaching physical education. This specialization prepares individuals to assume positions of leadership in teacher education training institutions at university/college levels. Academic experiences include preparation in (a) the pedagogical knowledge base related to effective teaching; (b) the utilization of both classroom and field experiences to train future physical education teachers; and (c) research skills for investigating questions about effective teaching practices. Doctoral students will participate in both ongoing research (focused on goal setting and case study teaching methods) and original research, as well as to demonstrate mastery of supervisory techniques in field-based practicum experiences.

Sports Medicine   The doctoral degree option in Sports Medicine is designed to prepare candidates to conduct research within athletic medicine and sports science. Program content includes extensive work in physiology, anatomy, athletic training, biomechanics, computer applications, instrumentation, and research procedures.

Research experiences are gained by assisting with on-going projects in the Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Research Laboratory, by developing one's own research projects, and by assisting with master's theses in the athletic training specialization. Examples of current areas of research include isokinetic assessment of human muscle performance, postural sway (balance), and knee laxity. Collaborative research is also available through the School of Medicine, and in particular with the Departments of Orthopaedics and Radiology.

Teaching assistant opportunities are also available in the undergraduate specialization in sports medicine and the NATA approved graduate program in athletic training. Clinical work in athletic training and/or physical therapy is available through the on-grounds training room, as well as through several local private schools.

Sport Psychology   Specialization prepares students to deal with psychological principles related to sport and exercise. Consideration is given to individuals of all ages and with varying degrees of skill. Graduates are able to (a) identify desired psychological attributes, (b) plan for the development of these attributes, (c) understand the conditions that will affect this development, (d) structure the most desirable learning and training environment for the progression of athletes as quickly as possible from performance potential to performance realization, (e) maximize healthy personality and self-concept development, (f) understand the psychological problems of individual athletes, (g) facilitate the motivation of athletes during the pre-season, pre-event, and event, and (h) foster the development of effective competition and cooperation situations, and understanding of group dynamics and leadership. Advanced graduates are skilled in conducting and interpreting research in the area of Exercise and Sport Psychology.

Physical Education Teacher Education (M.T.) Specialization is for the individual who is interested in the study of physical education teaching at the elementary and secondary level. The individual is prepared to assume a position as a physical education teacher (grades K-12) or at a major university which requires the development of a research program in teacher education.

Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology   There are two programs offered in Clinical and School Psychology: Ed.D. in School Psychology and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The Ed.D. program in School Psychology is for experienced school psychologists who wish to broaden their expertise in this area. The program requires a prerequisite of two years of successful experience as a school psychologist, and the completion of a minimum of 24 months of study. Included will be two summers and one academic year of full-time study on-grounds in Charlottesville. The dissertation will be completed during the second academic year. Students select two "supporting" areas (minors) to enhance their preparation in school psychology.

The Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology within the Curry School of Education is designed to train clinical psychologists with potential to make outstanding contributions to the profession in a variety of roles. The majority of graduates seek careers in settings such as hospitals, mental health centers, schools, etc. A smaller percentage choose purely academic and research careers. The program uses an integrated systems orientation, with training offered in individual, group, family, and consultative intervention from several theoretical perspectives.

A thorough grounding in the basic science of psychology is provided for all students. Two research products are required: a pre-dissertation study, leading to a journal-article length thesis, and a doctoral dissertation. Specialized training in clinical work with children, families, and adults is available. Supervised clinical practicum is required, including summers, in all but the first semester of the four years of study. During the first year, students participate in a clinical practicum in a local school system, and in the second year pursue training in the program's clinic, the Center for Clinical Psychology Services. Of the remaining two years, one typically is spent working as a staff member in the Center, and one year is spent in an area mental health agency or hospital.

Recognizing the major role that schools play in the lives of children and adolescents, experience in schools is encouraged. In addition to preparation for licensure as a clinical psychologist, the program offers the option of becoming licensable and/or certifiable as a school psychologist. The program culminates in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree and is fully approved by APA (American Psychological Association).

Admissions Procedure   Students wishing to apply should write the Chair of Admissions, Curry School Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, Ruffner Hall, University of Virginia, 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2495, for a copy of the descriptive brochure and instructions. The application deadline is January 15. Admissions decisions are made once per year during the months of February and March.

Professional Development Students   Selected students may be accepted into professional development status if they currently hold a degree in psychology or are practicing in a position which is predominantly a psychological service. Examples of such students are: the holder of a Ph.D. in psychology in a non-clinical research area, a practicing school psychologist, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist desiring to continue his or her education, or a student in a closely related area to psychology (e.g., social work) who is seeking a special course. Professional Development status is not a stepping stone for admission into the Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology.

Students seeking admission to Professional Development status in Clinical Psychology must submit, along with the application, the following information:

  1. A statement of the reason for applying for Professional Development status and the goals they are seeking to achieve.
  2. A list of the courses (not to exceed 12 credits) which are desired.

The following courses are only available to applicants who are practicing psychologists or who hold at least a master's degree in psychology. Admission to these courses is on a space available basis and requires permission from the instructor -- EDHS 763, EDHS 764, EDHS 768, EDHS 863-864, EDHS 865, EDHS 866-867, EDHS 871, EDHS 872, EDHS 873, EDHS 874, and EDHS 875.

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