Academics

Vision Studies, MEd

The Vision Studies program in the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development is New England's only academic center for preparing teachers of students with visual impairment, orientation and mobility specialists, and visual rehabilitation therapists. These are three key specialties that assist people with visual impairment to achieve their goals of high-quality education, fulfilling employment, and safe independent travel.

The Vision Studies program is closely linked to the Northeast Regional Center for Vision Education (NERCVE). NERCVE is an established center within the Institute for Community Inclusion, a research and training institute housed within SGISD.

NERCVE, in partnership with the Vision Studies program, is committed to improving education for individuals with visual impairments through personnel preparation, professional development, and technology and research.

Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment

The teacher of students with visual impairment (TVI) program trains participants to work with students who are blind or have low vision, as well as with their families. Through courses, field-based experiences, and practica, learners focus on designing, implementing, and advocating for inclusive learning settings for children with visual impairment, who may also have additional disabilities. The program also covers assessment and instruction in the expanded core curriculum for students with visual impairment.

Participants in the TVI program include general education teachers, special educators, and other specialists in related fields.

The program offers matriculated students a 37-credit sequence of course work, including 100 hours of monitored pre-practicum field-based experience. It also includes a practicum (300 clock hours minimum) that partially fulfills the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requirements for initial licensure. This license is valid for five years.

For further information, please contact Dr. Laura Bozeman, the director of the Vision Studies program, at laura.bozeman@umb.edu or 617-287-4385.

Orientation and Mobility Specialist

The discipline of orientation and mobility (O&M) teaches people with visual impairments to orient themselves and travel safely with confidence. Participants in our O&M program learn to evaluate needs and to teach the use of equipment as the long cane and low vision aids, as well as the integration of a professionally trained dog guide.

Students learn how to teach travel skills in a variety of environments, including indoor, residential, business, rural, and urban areas. The curriculum addresses the art of teaching such skills across the lifespan to both children and adults, as well as those with additional disabilities.

The MEd in O&M leads to specialized work with people who are blind or visually impaired. Candidates are provided a sequence of course work, field-based experiences, and practica that fulfill requirements prescribed by the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired

Successful completion of the curriculum, along with faculty recommendation, qualifies the student to sit for the national professional examination in O&M offered by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). Completing the curriculum and passing this examination leads to national professional certification in orientation and mobility.

The program offers matriculated students a 37-credit sequence of course work, including 100 hours of monitored pre-practicum field-based experience. It also includes a practicum (350 hours minimum) that partially fulfills the ACVREP requirements for professional certification. This certification is valid for five years.

For further information, please contact Dr. Laura Bozeman, the director of the Vision Studies program, at laura.bozeman@umb.edu or 617-287-4385.

Vision Rehabilitation Therapist

Professionals in vision rehabilitation therapy (VRT) enhance the vocational opportunities, independent living, and educational development of people with vision loss. This may include working in center-based or itinerant settings. Participants in our VRT program learn to evaluate and teach daily living skills and strategies for safe, independent living for those with visual impairment.

Candidates for the MEd proceed through a sequence of course work, field-based experiences, and practica to fulfill eligibility requirements as prescribed by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP). Successful completion of the curriculum, along with faculty recommendation, qualifies the student to sit for the national examination in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy offered by ACVREP.

The program offers matriculated students a 37-credit sequence of courses, including 100 hours of monitored, community-engaged pre-practicum. It also includes a practicum (350 hours minimum) that partially fulfills the ACVREP requirements for professional certification and is valid for five years.

For further information, please contact Dr. Laura Bozeman, the director of the Vision Studies program, at laura.bozeman@umb.edu or 617-287-4385.

Please see www.nercve.org for more details about the academic components of these areas of study.


State Eligibility

UMass Boston is not currently accepting students for online study who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, or Minnesota, due to regulations in those states. Please contact your state's board of education for details.