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 Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education

The Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education provides educational programs for individuals concerned with the development and delivery of curriculum and instruction in schools and specialized educational institutions, for all learners, including those with special needs. The department provides leadership within the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation in areas related to curriculum, instruction, and special education. Programs housed in the department include: curriculum and instruction; elementary education; reading education; secondary education (English, foreign languages, math, science, social studies); special education (mental retardation, behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and severe disabilities and the training program for early childhood special education).

Most program areas in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education offer degrees at three levels: masterís (M.Ed. or M.T.), education specialist (Ed.S.), and doctoral (Ed.D. or Ph.D.).

Curriculum and Instruction   Offered for experienced teachers, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program is designed to provide each participant with an individually tailored set of experiences for in-depth professional study consistent with his or her professional goals. Beyond a limited core of required courses, there is ample flexibility for the student and advisor to plan an appropriate course study.

Doctoral-level (Ph.D. and Ed.D.) graduates typically assume positions as faculty in colleges and universities, as leaders of curriculum and instruction improvement in school divisions, or as program specialists in human service agencies. Specialized study in curriculum and instruction, instructional use of computers, and research is required with additional work selected from program areas across the Curry School. Emphasis is on analysis and evaluation of teaching, design and evaluation of educational programs, processes of change, and practical strategies for inquiry.

Elementary Education   Graduate programs in elementary education (NK-8) are designed to assist those individuals seeking to advance their professional knowledge (P.D., M.Ed., Ed.S., Ed.D., Ph.D.) or to obtain initial certification (M.T.). The elementary education programs can also assist individuals in meeting re-certification requirements and/or in adding additional endorsements to existing certificates. The elementary education program area covers both early childhood education and elementary education.

Students completing graduate programs in elementary education typically find themselves advancing their careers as classroom teachers, elementary supervisors, subject area curriculum coordinators, training materials specialists, or personnel training and staff development professionals in both public and private schools. They may choose education-related professions such as teacher educators at either graduate or undergraduate levels as well.

The elementary education graduate degree program includes on-Grounds, practicum, and internship experiences. Programs of study at all levels are determined by the student and an assigned advisor or advisory committee working within established program area guidelines. Every effort is made to develop a program of study that is designed to achieve each studentís personal and professional goals.

English Education   The post-baccalaureate Master of Teaching degree program prepares prospective teachers of English. Building on the studentsí undergraduate English studies, students investigate the social and psychological context for teaching English at the secondary level, explore concepts of curriculum and instructional models, and pursue in-depth study of effective methodologies for teaching language, literature, and writing. The program of study involves practicum experience, emphasizes an integrated conceptualization of secondary English curriculum, and stresses the importance of multicultural awareness in all aspects of planning and instruction. Opportunities exist for individual direction, both within course parameters and in independent study. Study also includes graduate courses in English. The prerequisite for admission is a B.A. in English or the equivalent.

The Master of Education degree program extends the preparation of experienced teachers of English or language arts. With the teacherís experience as the point of departure, the M.Ed. candidate deepens pedagogical inquiry and extends existing background in English studies through graduate-level English and English education courses. The program explores current methodologies and research-based practice, and emphasizes the multicultural dimension of literature, composition, and language study. Opportunities exist for researching individual interests both within existing course parameters and in independent study. Prerequisites for admission are two years of teaching experience, or satisfactory completion of student teaching or an equivalent classroom internship, along with an undergraduate major in English or its equivalent.

The Education Specialist degree program trains teachers, teacher educators, and researchers as active creators of language and literature, moving beyond the role of critical consumer and cultural transmitter of language and literature. Course work includes specified courses in English education, English, and in the supporting areas of curriculum, supervision, reading, and evaluation. Study includes a field project combining curriculum planning, instructional implementation, and evaluation in English Education. Prerequisites for admission are a masterís degree or its equivalent, preferably in English or English education, and the successful completion of at least two years of full-time teaching, preferably at the secondary school level.

The Doctorate in English Education (Ed.D. and Ph.D.) prepares candidates for a variety of leadership positions in public schools, government agencies, corporations, community colleges, and universities, e.g.: university administrators, professors, and researchers; community college instructors and administrators; writers; high school English department chairs; corporate specialists in technical writing and instructional design; language arts supervisors and consultants; and officers in state or national educational agencies. The program design is flexible, including courses in English education, combined with courses in English and other supporting areas. Also required are practicums in conducting college classes and/or supervising student teachers, a dissertation, and a written comprehensive examination in English education designed in consultation with the degree candidate and faculty advisor. For admission, in addition to the requisite application, recommendations, GRE scores, and transcripts, the candidate must have completed a master's degree or its equivalent, preferably in English or English education, and must have completed at least two years of full-time successful teaching, preferably at the secondary school level.

Foreign Language Education   The Master of Teaching (M.T.) program in foreign language education prepares prospective teachers of foreign languages by building on the studentsí undergraduate foreign language major. The M.T. program follows the model of the secondary programs, and includes preparation in pedagogy as well as advanced course work in one or more languages and practical teaching experiences in schools under the supervision of University personnel. Students applying to the MT program in foreign languages may be required to take speaking and writing proficiency tests in their target language, and final admission to the program may be contingent upon the results of these tests. An exit proficiency test in both skills may be required for graduation and licensure.

The Master of Education in Foreign Language (M.Ed.) degree is offered for experienced middle or secondary school teachers to provide in-depth preparation in foreign language instruction. The program of study includes at least 12 hours of professional studies distributed in all three categories: curriculum and instruction, foundations of education, and statistics/technology; 12 hours of graduate- level course work in the appropriate foreign language department; and 2 hours of electives approved by the advisor.

Mathematics Education   The Master of Teaching (M.T.) program in mathematics education prepares prospective teachers of mathematics by building on the studentsí undergraduate mathematics studies. The M.T. program in mathematics education includes preparation in pedagogy as well as advanced course work in mathematics and practical teaching experiences in the schools under the supervision of University personnel.

The Master of Education in Mathematics (M.Ed.) degree is offered for in-depth preparation of secondary and/or middle school teachers of mathematics, and a doctoral degree is offered to prepare people to work in mathematics education at the college level, and to prepare professionals to work in supervisory positions in mathematics.

Prospective students in the doctoral-level programs must have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in mathematics, and at least two years of teaching experience. Doctoral programs are tailored to individuals, and generally require course work in mathematics eduction, mathematics, research methodology, and other areas of education.

Reading Education   The masterís-level Reading Education Program prepares specialists to fill the role of reading coordinator in school units of varying size. The programís aim is to produce competent field leaders able to both deal with curriculum theory, and to implement this theory effectively in field settings through work with administrators, teachers, and pupils.

At the doctoral level, the reading program prepares candidates to fill leadership and scholarship positions in their area of specialization.

Science Education   The Science Education Program offers graduate-level programs in science education including the masterís (M.Ed. or M.T.), education specialist (Ed.S.) and doctoral (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) degrees. The program also provides preparation in science and science teaching methods for students in the Master of Teaching Program.

The Master of Teaching Program   The purpose of the masterís-level program is to prepare teachers and/or supervisors of science education. The purposes of the doctoral program are threefold: (1) to prepare college and/or university science educators to teach science methods courses, to perform a variety of professional functions related to preservice and inservice education of teachers, and to perform the function of directing graduate study in science education; (2) to prepare supervisors and coordinators to direct the program of science instruction in a school system at the local, county, or state level; and (3) to prepare research specialists for programs of science instruction at all educational levels.

Applicants for admission to the doctoral program in science education must present a strong background in one field of science, with sufficient breadth in related fields to assure that they can pursue graduate study effectively. The candidate must also present evidence of two years of effective work experience related directly to the field of science education.

Applicants for masterís-level study must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, have a B average or better for the last two years of undergraduate study, and meet other requirements for admission to the degree program. In addition to the admission requirements applicable to the masterís program, an applicant to the doctoral program must hold a masterís degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university; must have an outstanding record as a student; and should have previous professional experience in an area related to science education.

Course Requirements   Candidates for the doctoral degree in science education must complete a minimum of 36 credits in science, 12 credits in science education, and 24 credits in two supporting fields, plus elective courses as determined by their advisory committee to give a minimum total of 72 credits beyond the bachelorís degree. The supporting fields would normally be: (1) research and statistics, 12 credits; (2) curriculum, l2 credits; (3) supervision and administration, 12 credits; (4) instructional technology, 12 credits; and (5) instruction, 12 credits. Regardless of the supporting fields, each student must have nine credits of research and statistics, including intermediate statistics and research design. The dissertation relates to learning theories or instructional practices in science education.

Social Studies Education   The purpose of the masterís-level Social Studies Education Program is twofold: to prepare social studies teachers (M.T.) in secondary education with particular endorsements in history, political science, sociology, geography, economics, anthropology, and/or psychology; and to provide for professional growth of social studies teachers (M.Ed.) in secondary education with particular academic backgrounds as mentioned above.

The purpose of the doctoral-level program is (1) to prepare social studies educators for teacher education centers, (2) to prepare social studies educators in academic fields in secondary and higher education, (3) to prepare social studies educators for supervisory positions, and (4) to prepare educators who act as curriculum developers for social studies education.

Special Education   The graduate programs in special education include a choice of emphasis in the areas of mental retardation, behavior disorders (emotional disturbance), learning disabilities, severe disabilities and the training program for early childhood and special education.

Students completing specially approved programs may obtain certification in more than one area of emphasis (e.g., learning disabilities, mental retardation, behavior disorders, and severe disabilities and early childhood education). All programs include a component on the inclusion of learners with special needs in general education programs.

Graduate study at the masterís level provides a program for those persons whose professional aspirations are oriented toward the instruction of exceptional children. It also provides preparation for students wanting to pursue a post-masterís program at the education specialist or doctoral levels. All students in the masterís program participate in practicum experiences selected according to their needs and interests.

The purpose of the doctoral program is to provide experiences which require the highest order of scholarship, research ability, creativity, and initiative. It is designed to prepare leadership personnel to function as highly professional special educators in more than one of the following roles: university or college instructors, researchers, administrators, and supervisors of programs for children with disabilities.


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