Online Special Education, Specialization in Visual Impairment, MA or M Ed | University of Nebraska

Special Education, Specialization in Visual Impairment, MA or M Ed

M.A., M. Ed.

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Course Delivery
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Get the same diploma as on campus students

The online Special Education MA or M Ed with Specialization in Visual Impairment program prepares students with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively address the specific educational needs of students with visual impairment or blindness.

Student’s choose this program because:

  • It is one of the only teacher preparation programs in the Midwest offering high-quality distance education in visual impairment.
  • The small, supportive learning community introduces students from across the country who are working in the same field.
  • The flexible nature of online learning allows students to complete the program when it fits into their schedule which is a benefit to busy, working professionals.
  • The hands-on summer courses allow students to put coursework into practice in real-life situations.

Note: This unique visual impairment graduate-level program is offered online during the academic year with a few weeks of skill-based courses for two summers. Summer courses have a hands-on component that requires students to attend in-person. Summer locations vary.

Career Outlook: Special education teachers engage with children and youth that have a wide variety of disabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for Special Education Teachers will grow by about 8% from 2016-2026. Although most special education teachers work in public schools, some find jobs in the private sector taking care of special needs children in childcare services and other institutions.

More about the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (UNL) Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders:

The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders (SECD) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs, their families, schools, and communities.

The vision is that every individual with special needs will:

  • Achieve maximum potential for learning.
  • Communicate autonomously.
  • Enjoy optimum health and well-being throughout the lifespan.

Student’s have the ability to choose to:

  • Take one or a few classes of interest
  • Pursue the teaching endorsement or graduate certificate
  • Complete a graduate degree.

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (a merger of TEAC and NCATE).
Mackenzie Savaiano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice

Mackenzie Savaiano coordinates the graduate program in Visual Impairments and her courses focus on assessment, educational planning and instructional methods for teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs). Savaiano's primary interest is braille literacy.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

  2. 2.50 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. Taken the GRE

  4. Taken the TOEFL or IELTS

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  5. A written personal statement

  6. 3 letters of recommendation

  7. Official transcripts from all previous schools

NOTE: If you reside in state(s) KY, please contact a program adviser before applying.

To apply to this program:

  • Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  • Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
  • Apply and be admitted to the department
Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
January 15

In addition to the required courses listed here students will also choose, in consultation with their adviser:

  • Three credit hours elective
  • One research course

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SPED 846Foundations of Visual Impairments3

Course Number: SPED 846

Prereq: Admission to visually impaired program; hold or concurrently earn subject/field endorsement Current educational programs and services for children with visual impairments, as well as children with multiple disabilities. History of educational services, developmental characteristics, psycho-social aspects, history of legislation, and grade I Braille.

SPED 847Introduction to Eye Anatomy of Students3

Course Number: SPED 847

Prereq: SPED *846 or permission Structure and function of the visual system, conditions that effect visual ability, and the functional and environmental implications of low vision. Strategies for enhancing visual ability in children with visual impairments and children who have additional disabilities.

SPED 849Braille Codes and Material Adaptations3

Course Number: SPED 849

Prereq: SPED *846 and *847, or permission Basic skills in literary Braille transcription and codes. Acquire competence in reading and writing Braille and using the Perkins braillewriter and slate/stylus.

SPED 851Intermediate Braille Codes and Instructional Material Adaptations (Summer)3

Course Number: SPED 851

Prereq: SPED *846, *847, and *849 Advanced skills in Nemeth (mathematics code) and/or Literary code. Basic activities in braille formatting, foreign language, music and identification of braille technology devices and resources.

SPED 852Instructional Methods for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments3

Course Number: SPED 852

Prereq: SPED *846, *847, *849, and *851 Methods and materials for educating children who are totally blind or have low vision, including students with multiple impairments. Practical skills in selecting, designing, and/or modifying materials for content area subjects: mathematics, science, social studies, creative arts, foreign language, and other subjects.

SPED 852AApplied Technology Methods (Summer)1

Course Number: SPED 852A

Prereq: SPED 846 and 847, or equivalents This course provides theory and practical experience in the selection and use of technology for persons with visual impairments. Key knowledge and skills covered include: technology assessments, data collection, equipment features, sources of equipment, funding sources, write technology instructional plans, and demonstrate skills to use equipment. Course sessions include lecture and practice of adapted equipment. (distance and on-site )

SPED 852BApplied Instructional Methods (Summer)2

Course Number: SPED 852B

Prereq: SPED *846, *847, *849, *851, and *852; or equivalents This course provides the student with basic skills in selecting, designing and/or modifying materials for content area subjects, including, but not limited to: mathematics, science, social studies, creative arts and foreign language (distance and on-site).

SPED 853Orientation & Mobility Skills (Summer)3

Course Number: SPED 853

Prereq: SPED *846, *847, *849, *851, and *852 Theory and applied practice in basic orientation and mobility techniques for use with students with visual impairments. Practical methods for work in concept development, orientation skills, travel skills and techniques, personal safety and independent travel. Needs of specific populations such as people with low vision and individuals with additional disabilities. Vision simulators and occluders. An introduction to the history and development of the profession.

SPED 872Psychology and Sociology of Deafness3

Course Number: SPED 872

Education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, including history, definitions, etiology, identification, assessment, professional roles and educational programming. Examine attitudes, assumptions and stereotypes of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

SPED 882Instruction for Students with Severe Disabilities3

Course Number: SPED 882

Lec 3. Prereq: SPED *881 for the Severely/Multihandicapped endorsement program or SPED *862 for Preschool Handicapped endorsement program; and permission. Majors in severe disabilities must parallel with SPED 896P (1 cr). SPED *882 requires observations in schools and applied assignments. Selection, design, and implementation of best practice instruction for students with severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, or deaf-blindness.

SPED 897VStudent Teaching: VI, P-6 & 7-12 (Summer)1-9

Course Number: SPED 897V

Prereq: Permission Laboratory and teaching experience in visual impairments.

SPED 960Family and School Collaboration in Special Education3

Course Number: SPED 960

Principles and practices for effective partnerships among schools, families and the community. Cultural reciprocity and family systems theory are emphasized. Spend time with a family with a child with special needs, in order to gain firsthand knowledge of the family experience. Reflect upon these experiences in relationship to readings and discussions.

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $356.50
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $408.75
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1069.50
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $1226.25

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $652.00
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $704.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1956.00
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $2112.75

Questions about tuition? We can help.

What's it like to take a program online?

  • Quality learning experience

    The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.

  • Flexibility

    Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.

  • Service you expect from a leading University

    Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.

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