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Gain the skills to become a teacher, therapist, or specialist for people with visual impairment.

Program Type

Master's

Semester Start

Fall, Summer

Study Options

Online

Minimum Duration

2 Years

UMass Boston’s Vision Studies MEd focuses on training professionals to assist people with visual impairment to achieve their goals, including high-quality education, fulfilling employment, and safe, independent travel. It’s designed for teachers and other professionals who want to work with people with visual impairment and help them lead safe, productive, and independent lives. Explore cutting-edge learning technologies and gain practical hands-on experience through fieldwork. Apply these skills to assist people of all ages in different settings — school districts; veterans rehabilitation hospitals; nonprofits; state, federal, and private agencies; and more. This program prepares you to receive initial licensure to teach in Massachusetts and prepares you to sit for national professional exams through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals.

The program consists of four tracks: Orientation & Mobility (O&M), Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT), and Assistive Technology for Individuals with Visual Impairment (AT). 

The O&M track teaches you how to evaluate needs of adults and children with visual impairments. You’ll learn how to teach them how to use equipment, such as the long cane, and low vision aids, as well as the integration of a professionally trained dog guide so they may orient themselves and travel safely with confidence. The program prepares you to sit for the national professional examination in O&M offered by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

The TVI track trains you to work with students who are blind or have low vision, as well as their families. TVI students include general education leaders, special educators, and other specialists in related fields. The program also includes a practicum that partially fulfills the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requirements for initial licensure.

The VRT track teaches professionals how to enhance the vocational opportunities, independent living, and educational development of people with vision loss. You’ll learn how to evaluate and teach daily living skills and strategies for safe, independent living for those with visual impairment. This program fulfills the eligibility requirements of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and prepares you to sit for the national certification exam from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP).

The AT track is designed for professionals who want to work in areas that enhance technological skills to enhance opportunities in various settings, including vocational, educational, independent living, and avocational settings. This program prepares you to sit for the national certification exam from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP).

Tuition

  • The TVI, VRT, and AT tracks consist of seven 3-credit courses and four 4-credit courses, or 37 credits.
  • The O&M track consists of eight 3-credit courses, three 4-credit courses, and one 1-credit course, or 37 credits.
  • Online tuition is $575 per credit.
  • Total estimated cost to complete this program is:
    • $15,400 for the TVI, VRT, and At tracks
    • $16,800 for the O&M track
  • Estimate is based on completing program by minimum duration. Other fees may apply. Request Info to connect with a program representative for further details.   

Deadlines

  • Applicants are accepted into the TVI program once a year, for the summer semester only. Application deadline is March 1.
  • Applicants are accepted into the O&M program once a year, for the summer semester only. Application deadline is March 1.
  • Applicants are accepted into the AT program once a year, for the fall semester only. Application deadline is June 1.
  • Applicants are accepted into the VRT program once a year, for the fall semester only. Application deadline is June 1.

Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Application Checklist

  • Online Application — Applicants are accepted into the VRT program once a year, for the fall semester only. Application deadline is June 1. Specify that you are applying to the MEd in Vision Studies, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) track. Apply here: https://globalinclusion.umb.edu/apply/vision-studies-med#vrt
  • Transcripts — Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation — Use the forms provided by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Emphasis should be on academic and professional references.
  • Test Scores: GRE, MAT, or MTEL — If you do not have a master’s degree, you will be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL). Please contact sgisd@umb.edu with questions regarding eligibility to waive scores.
  • Statement of Interest and Intent (Required Writing Sample) — Submit a two-part essay:
    • Explain your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies (approximately 300 words).
    • Indicate your specific interest in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy and discuss the type of work you would like to do in this field (at least 1,200 words).
    • This statement will be reviewed for both your overall message and your ability to write at the graduate level. Proofread your writing carefully; it is ranked according to its clarity, grammar, and syntax.
  • Personal Interview with Faculty Member — When the Office of Graduate Admissions has notified us of your completed application, we will contact qualified candidates to arrange an interview (either in person or via teleconference).
  • International Applicants Only — TOEFL Test Scores

Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) Application Checklist

  • Online Application — Applicants are accepted into the TVI program once a year, for the summer semester only. Application deadline is March 1. Specify that you are applying to the MEd in Vision Studies, Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) track. Apply here: https://globalinclusion.umb.edu/apply/vision-studies-med#tvi
  • Transcripts — Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation — Use the forms provided by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Emphasis should be on academic and professional references.
  • Test Scores: MTEL: Communication and Literacy; Foundations of Reading; General Curriculum — You will be required to pass the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Communication and Literacy exam for admission. This is one of three tests that are eventually required for TVI licensure. The other two must be completed as soon as possible after admission into the program.
  • Statement of Interest and Intent (Required Writing Sample) — Submit a two-part essay:
    • Explain your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies (approximately 300 words).
    • Indicate your specific interest in Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and discuss the type of work you would like to do in this field (at least 1,200 words).
    • This statement will be reviewed for both your overall message and your ability to write at the graduate level. Proofread your writing carefully; it is ranked according to its clarity, grammar, and syntax.
  • Personal Interview with Faculty Member — When the Office of Graduate Admissions has notified us of your completed application, we will contact qualified candidates to arrange an interview (either in person or via teleconference).
  • International Applicants Only — TOEFL Test Scores

Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Application Checklist

  • Online Application — Applicants are accepted into the O&M program once a year, for the summer semester only. Application deadline is March 1. Specify that you are applying to the MEd in Vision Studies, Orientation & Mobility (O&M) track. Apply here: https://globalinclusion.umb.edu/apply/vision-studies-med#o&m
  • Transcripts — Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation — Use the forms provided by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Emphasis should be on academic and professional references.
  • Test Scores: GRE, MAT, or MTEL — Complete all testing required by the university. If you do not have a master’s degree, you will be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL). 
  • Statement of Interest and Intent (Required Writing Sample) — Submit a two-part essay:
    • Explain your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies (approximately 300 words).
    • Indicate your specific interest in Orientation & Mobility and discuss the type of work you would like to do in this field (at least 1,200 words).
    • This statement will be reviewed for both your overall message and your ability to write at the graduate level. Proofread your writing carefully; it is ranked according to its clarity, grammar, and syntax.
  • Personal Interview with Faculty Member — When the Office of Graduate Admissions has notified us of your completed application, we will contact qualified candidates to arrange an interview (either in person or via teleconference).
  • International Applicants Only — TOEFL Test Scores

Assistive Technology for Individuals with Visual Impairments (AT) Application Checklist

  • Online Application — Applicants are accepted into the AT program once a year, for the fall semester only. Application deadline is June 1. Specify that you are applying to the MEd in Assistive Technology for Individuals with Visual Impairments (AT) track. Apply here: https://globalinclusion.umb.edu/apply/vision-studies-med#at
  • Transcripts — Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation — Use the forms provided by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Emphasis should be on academic and professional references.
  • Test Scores: GRE, MAT, or MTEL — Complete all testing required by the university. If you do not have a master’s degree, you will be required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL).
  • Statement of Interest and Intent (Required Writing Sample) — Submit a two-part essay:
    • Explain your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies (approximately 300 words).
    • Indicate your specific interest in Assistive Technology and discuss the type of work you would like to do in this field (at least 1,200 words).
    • This statement will be reviewed for both your overall message and your ability to write at the graduate level. Proofread your writing carefully; it is ranked according to its clarity, grammar, and syntax.
  • Personal Interview with Faculty Member — When the Office of Graduate Admissions has notified us of your completed application, we will contact qualified candidates to arrange an interview (either in person or via teleconference).
  • International Applicants Only — TOEFL Test Scores

Required Courses, all tracks:

  • Braille I (VISN 603)
    Become prepared to teach the reading and writing of Grade 2 Braille. You’ll learn how to write literary Braille using both a Perkins Brailler and a slate and stylus. You’ll explore topics including reading-readiness, tracking, tactile discrimination, and reading methods.
  • Visual Functioning (VISN 604)
    Get a practical look at the functional impact of visual impairment through the use of simulated exercises. The course includes a series of medically related lectures by affiliated ophthalmologists covering various topics, including the structure of the eye, the assessment of normal and abnormal vision, optics, and the functional implications of common pathologies. You and your fellow students will discuss low-vision services and participate in ''hands-on'' training within a low-vision clinic.
  • Implications of Low Vision (VISN 605)
    This course goes beyond the physical aspects of vision loss to look at functional and psychological aspects. You’ll review clinical procedures and the interpretation of clinical reports with an emphasis on conducting individualized functional vision assessments. You’ll apply previous study of optics to optical low-vision devices. In this course, you’ll get a practical, hands-on approach to learning through vision-simulation activities and the development of a functional vision-assessment kit.

Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) Track Required Courses:

  • Education of Students with Visual Impairments (VISN 602)
    Examine the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education services to students with visual impairments. You’ll study the wide array of services and resources available to support students with visual impairments. You’ll explore various topics, including legislation, service systems, roles and responsibilities of specialized service providers, and the impact of visual impairments on child development. In addition to the class assignments, you’re required to observe and assist with a student who is visually impaired, one day per week for five weeks.
  • Braille II (VISN 610)
    This course is designed for vision teachers to expand their current level of Braille competency. You’ll study tools used in mathematics, including Nemeth Code, Scientific Notebook software, and the abacus, as well as Braille formats typical of educational materials. You’ll review the Literary Braille code with a focus on memorization while investigating the national literacy issues that are driving public policy.
  • Technology and Visual Impairments (VISN 611)
    Gain an understanding of assistive technology to meet the educational needs of children who are blind and visually impaired. The goal of the course is to educate you about assessment, acquisition, and implementation of assistive technology to foster academic independence in your students who are blind or visually impaired. In addition, you’ll identify the latest and most appropriate technology for the needs of the Pre-K-12 child with visual impairments. You’ll also examine legal issues, funding, inclusion of technology on the IEP, and resources for support and training.
  • Orientation & Mobility and Independent Living (VISN 612)
    Examine the functional implications of vision loss on primary activities of daily living, with an emphasis in basic methodologies of Orientation and Mobility and Rehabilitation Teaching. You’ll explore life skills essential to independence, with attention to a diverse population of children with a variety of visual capabilities. Weekly lecture content will be enhanced by functional lab activities designed to give you the opportunity to experience and critically assess the effectiveness of current methodology.
  • Assessment for Students with Visual Impairments Including and Multiple Disabilities (VISN 613)
    Examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with visual impairments and children with visual and multiple impairments, as well as techniques for assessment related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings from ages 3-22. You’ll study various topics, including assessment specifically designed for students with visual impairments and those in the expanded core curriculum, issues related to team approaches to assessment, and evaluations. This course requires a field-based placement/pre-practicum requirement of a minimum of 30 hours.
  • Instructional Strategies Teaching Students with Visual Impairments Including Multiple Disabilities (VISN 614)
    Examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with visual impairments and children with visual and multiple impairments, as well as techniques for instruction related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings from ages 3-22. You’ll study topics, including program planning for core and expanded core curriculum, adaptive techniques, and diverse communication systems. This course requires a field-based placement/pre-practicum requirement of a minimum of 30 hours and the necessity for a transdisciplinary approach will be stressed. In this course, you’ll participate in (a) classroom lectures, discussions and group work, (b) reading and video assignments, (c) research assignments, (d) varying field-based experiences, and (e) completion of several case studies.
  • Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment (VISN 648)
    Conduct an in-depth study of Cerebral/Core Visual Impairment (CVI) and resources available for assessment and instructional strategies. You’ll further examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with CVI and the skills related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings, including Pre-K through grade 12. You’ll explore teaching strategies in the core and expanded core curriculums, such as literacy, career-vocational skills, visual efficiency, and compensatory auditory strategies. The course will also address material modifications and accommodations.
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired Practicum (VISN 619)
    This Practicum encompasses a supervised practicum, a practicum seminar, and capstone portfolio. The Practicum provides 300 hours working with students who are visually impaired, ranging from Pre-K through Grade 12. The Practicum Seminar consists of 6 modules dealing with professional issues related to the field of TVI. The seminar is designed to inform and support you as you complete your Practicum experiences.

Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Required Courses:

  • Physical/Functional Aspects of Visual Impairments (VISN 601)
    Get an introduction to the structure and function of the main systems of the human body and to those chronic conditions which may affect these systems. Emphasis is placed on disabilities most frequently seen in conjunction with visual impairments and how the combined impact will affect instruction for individuals with vision impairment. Having covered these areas, you’ll explore each of the sensory systems with the mechanics of locomotion and psychomotor factors influencing mobility.
  • Education of Students with Visual Impairments (VISN 602)
    Examine the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education services to students with visual impairments. You’ll study the wide array of services and resources available to support students with visual impairments. You’ll explore various topics, including legislation, service systems, roles and responsibilities of specialized service providers, and the impact of visual impairments on child development. In addition to the class assignments, you’re required to observe and assist with a student who is visually impaired, one day per week for five weeks.
  • Orientation & Mobility Assessment Strategies: Children (VISN 621)
    This course is the first of two instructional strategy courses. You’ll apply foundations and methods to the specific populations of preschool, elementary, and transition-age visually impaired children, including those with additional disabilities. Assessment tools are introduced and applied with an emphasis on developing your skills in observation, information gathering, and task analysis. You’ll develop specific objectives and design lessons for instructing children. This course requires an additional minimum daytime participation of six to eight hours per week to acquire 80 hours of instructional experience.
  • Orientation & Mobility Assessment: Adults (VISN 622)
    This is an instructional strategies course which applies foundations and methods to the specific populations of visually impaired adults, including persons over age sixty-five, those with additional disabilities, and persons of diverse cultural backgrounds. Case studies provide you with the basis for discussion and foundation to the practical experience provided in the O&M Internship. Assessment, observation, information gathering, and task analysis through lesson design are critical elements of this course, while the advanced systems of O&M are addressed in greater depth.
  • Methods of Orientation & Mobility (VISN 625)
    Examine the foundations of learning and teaching orientation and mobility. The weekly lectures provide you with an introduction to the principles of concept development, spatial orientation, and environmental analysis as these topics relate to independent travel by visually impaired individuals. In addition, a teacher-guided practicum lab meets for weekly sessions, totaling 120 hours throughout the semester.
  • Orientation & Mobility Praxis Lab (VISN 628)
    In this lab, you’ll learn techniques and training approaches that will enable you to teach people who are blind and visually impaired to travel safely and efficiently. Through use of blindfold and low vision simulators, you’ll have the opportunity to learn, experience, and teach orientation and mobility skills and techniques. Emphasis will be placed on knowledge of skills and techniques, ability to communicate while teaching, ability to safely and effectively monitor others whole teaching and class participation. Students are required to take this course concurrently or before Methods of Orientation and Mobility (VISN 620).
  • Practicum in Orientation & Mobility (VISN 629)
    You’ll participate in a full-time or part-time internship. As part of your internship, you are required to keep an on-going diary of your experiences along with a capstone portfolio. You must complete the clinical requirements set by AERAC and ACVREP, totaling a minimum of 350 hours. You’ll also prepare for the International ACVREP application and examination for certification. This course is for students who have completed course work and all pre-practicum hours with both children and adults.
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Visual Impairment (VISN 640)
    In this course, you’ll investigate the psychosocial aspects of vision loss. Coping techniques and issues of self-esteem will be explored along with principles of self-determination. You’ll also study other topics, including the psychosocial aspects of personal life management such as orientation and mobility, use of volunteers, sexuality, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychosocial issues specific to people from diverse cultures will also be addressed.
  • Introduction to Audiology and the Human Auditory System (VISN 646)
    Study the nature of sound and how humans perceive it. You’ll explore sound in the environment and how sound is used by humans to move through their environment. Topics include the basics of sound, anatomy and physiology of the auditory system with an emphasis on function, and common disorders of the auditory system and how these disorders are manifested. The principles of basic audiology and how to understand and relate to the audiologist provide a foundation for hearing both clinically and functionally. You’ll learn hearing aid technology and the application of that technology to various auditory disorders in a functional sense.

Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Required Courses:

  • Physical/Functional Aspects of Visual Impairments (VISN 601)
    Get an introduction to the structure and function of the main systems of the human body and to those chronic conditions which may affect these systems. Emphasis is placed on disabilities most frequently seen in conjunction with visual impairments and how the combined impact will affect instruction for individuals with vision impairment. Having covered these areas, you’ll explore each of the sensory systems with the mechanics of locomotion and psychomotor factors influencing mobility.
  • Introduction to Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VISN 630)
    In this course, you’ll get hands-on instruction, independent learning, and laboratory practice in the methodologies and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. You’ll examine the functional implications of vision loss on primary activities of daily living, with an emphasis in basic methodologies of Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Teaching. Exploration of life skills essential to independence will be addressed with consideration to student and adult populations. Weekly lecture content will be enhanced by functional lab activities designed to give you the opportunity to experience and critically assess the effectiveness of current methodology.
  • Methods of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy I (VISN 631)
    This course provides you with hands-on instruction, independent learning, and laboratory practice in the methodologies and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional Vision Rehabilitation Therapist in the personal management, recreation, and leisure areas of Independent Living Skills. This course emphasizes the utilization of adaptive techniques and resources gathering and will address skills that are applicable for adults and older adults, as well as children and adolescents. Laboratory experience with blindfolds and low vision simulators will provide you with the opportunity to practice recommended techniques and adaptations that will facilitate the teaching of selected independent Living Skills to students, clients, and consumers who are blind or who have low vision.
  • Methods of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy II (VISN 632) 
    In this course, you’ll get hands-on instruction, independent learning, and laboratory practice in the methodologies and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional vision rehabilitation therapist in the Communications/Technology areas of Independent Living Skills. This course emphasizes the utilization of adaptive techniques and resources gathering and will address skills that are applicable for adults and older adults, as well as children and adolescents. Laboratory experiences with blindfolds and low vision simulators will provide you with the opportunity to practice recommended techniques and adaptations that will facilitate the teaching of selected Independent Living Skills to students, clients, and consumers who are blind or who have low vision.
  • Practicum in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VISN 639)
    In this practicum, you gain experience in a full-time or part-time internship and must complete your hours in two semesters. As an intern, you are required to keep an ongoing diary of your experiences along with a capstone portfolio documenting clinical requirements set by ACVREP, totaling a minimum of 350 hours. This course and its associated advanced seminar series are for students who have completed coursework pre-practicum hours.
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Visual Impairment (VISN 640)
    In this course, you’ll investigate the psychosocial aspects of vision loss. Coping techniques and issues of self-esteem will be explored along with principles of self-determination. You’ll also study other topics, including the psychosocial aspects of personal life management such as orientation and mobility, use of volunteers, sexuality, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychosocial issues specific to people from diverse cultures will also be addressed.
  • Introduction to Audiology and the Human Auditory System (VISN 646)
    Study the nature of sound and how humans perceive it. You’ll explore sound in the environment and how sound is used by humans to move through their environment. Topics include the basics of sound, anatomy and physiology of the auditory system with an emphasis on function, and common disorders of the auditory system and how these disorders are manifested. The principles of basic audiology and how to understand and relate to the audiologist provide a foundation for hearing both clinically and functionally. You’ll learn hearing aid technology and the application of that technology to various auditory disorders in a functional sense.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation & Placement (REHAB 612)
    This course provides you with information about the total vocational rehabilitation process, including follow-up services. You’ll cover various topics, including the referral process, eligibility criteria, comprehensive (medical, psychological, vocational) assessment, vocational training, and placement.

Assistive Technology for Individuals with Visual Impairments (AT) Required Courses:

  • Introduction to Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments (VISN 660)
    Get an introduction to the profession of Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments. Learn through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and independent learning exercises about a variety of assistive technology solutions for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired, including screen magnification software, screen reading software, OCR software, braille technologies, low vision devices, smart phone and tablet accessibility features, as well as other specialized devices designed for people with visual impairments. You’ll discuss the benefits and limitations of accessibility features that are built-in to mainstream technologies compared to specialized assistive technology devices and software, as well as techniques for determining the most appropriate assistive technology solutions. You’ll also explore strategies for integrating assistive technology in different settings, such as in schools, homes, colleges/universities, job sites, and avocational settings.
  • Assistive Technology Assessment and Instruction for People with Visual Impairments (VISN 661)
    Gain a thorough overview of assessment and instruction techniques for teaching assistive technology to people with visual impairments of all ages. You’ll cover various topics, including task analysis; lesson and training plan development; learning development and evolution of assistive technology skills during instruction; learning theories as applied to children and adults; instructional strategies for assistive technology; conduction assistive technology assessments; making decisions regarding appropriate devices; choosing appropriate learning modalities; justifying recommendations; applying different AT assessment techniques, such as HAAT, WATI, and SETT; ethical issues related to AT assessment and services; and writing AT assessment reports. You’ll explore ethical issues at AT, evaluating the effectiveness at AT services, using AT with productivity platforms on different operating systems, developing curriculum for teaching screen magnification and screen reading software on different operating systems, developing curriculum for teaching accessible apps on mobile devices, as well as developing curriculum for teaching accessible stand-alone devices, accessible third-party applications, and built-in accessibility features.
  • Configuration and Exploration of Assistive Technology Solutions for Visual Impairment (VISN 662)
    In this course, you’ll learn and apply configuration and exploration strategies for mainstream and assistive technologies. You’ll explore a variety of topics, including operating systems and computing devices, various PC components, operational procedures for professionalism and effective communication, technical support resources for accessibility for major operating systems, tools used for computer maintenance and repair, installing software and operating system updates, setting up and using built-in accessibility features in different operating systems, operating system maintenance procedures, setup and configuration of systems and devices for remote training, determining if remote training and support is appropriate, conferences and educational opportunities to keep up to date with various technologies, computer maintenance tools and procedures, disabling and removing of unnecessary or inaccessible third-party software, troubleshooting computing technology, virtualized operating systems, display technologies, options for self-teaching and continuing education to remain current with various technologies, local networking, wireless networking, wireless communications technologies, connecting to the internet, configuring email, troubleshooting internet issues, portable and mobile computing technology, and security measures for computing technology.
  • Technological Methods of Accessibility and Accommodations for People with Visual Impairments (VISN 663)
    Get an overview of best practices for providing assistive technology services to people with visual impairments, as well as digital accessibility and usability, accommodations, and universal design in educational, vocational, avocational, and home environments. You’ll learn through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and independent learning exercises about strategies for creating accessible instructional materials in a variety of formats and learning modalities, customizing screen readers on various operation systems for compatibility with third-party applications, and personalizing assistive technology options. You’ll explore a variety of assistive technologies, techniques, and strategies for working with people who have visual impairments, as well as additional disabilities.
  • Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments Practicum (VISN 669)
    Participate in a supervised practicum within the Assistive Technology Program working with students who are visually impaired, ranging from school aged students to adult vocational and geriatric populations. Pre-registration for the Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments Practicum is required one semester prior to enrollment, along with documentation of completion of all required courses and successful completion of a minimum of 25 integrated field hours for assistive technology experiences. The practicum site must be approved by the Program Coordinator. In addition to the field-based experience, you’re expected to obtain a passing score on the national professional certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments examination through the Academy for Certification for Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professional (ACVREP).
  • Physical/Functional Aspects of Visual Impairments (VISN 601)
    Get an introduction to the structure and function of the main systems of the human body and to those chronic conditions which may affect these systems. Emphasis is placed on disabilities most frequently seen in conjunction with visual impairments and how the combined impact will affect instruction for individuals with vision impairment. Having covered these areas, you’ll explore each of the sensory systems with the mechanics of locomotion and psychomotor factors influencing mobility.
  • Education of Students with Visual Impairments (VISN 602)
    Examine the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education services to students with visual impairments. You’ll study the wide array of services and resources available to support students with visual impairments. You’ll explore various topics, including legislation, service systems, roles and responsibilities of specialized service providers, and the impact of visual impairments on child development. In addition to the class assignments, you’re required to observe and assist with a student who is visually impaired, one day per week for five weeks.
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Visual Impairment (VISN 640)
    In this course, you’ll investigate the psychosocial aspects of vision loss. Coping techniques and issues of self-esteem will be explored along with principles of self-determination. You’ll also study other topics, including the psychosocial aspects of personal life management such as orientation and mobility, use of volunteers, sexuality, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychosocial issues specific to people from diverse cultures will also be addressed.

At the end of this two-year program, you’ll be awarded a Master of Education in Vision Studies. The degree will demonstrate your expertise in the field on your résumé, as well as in interviews and workplace evaluations. Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to receive initial licensure to teach in Massachusetts and to sit for national professional exams through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals. 

Teachers of students with visual impairments are in great demand throughout the United States. There are jobs available at local school districts, regional collaborative districts, state agencies, and schools for the blind.

Orientation and mobility graduates may work in school districts, collaboratives, adult rehabilitation programs, and the Veterans Administration.

Vision rehabilitation therapists work in state vocational services for the blind, rehabilitation units of Veterans Administration hospitals, programs for elders with visual impairments, private nonprofit organizations, rehabilitation agencies, low vision clinics, or in private practice. 

Students completing the Assistive Technology track work in areas that enhance technological skills to enhance opportunities in a variety of settings, such as vocational, educational, independent living, and avocational settings.

Recent Graduates

UMass Boston's Vision Studies MEd has a 97% employment rate. Employers include:

Perkins School for the Blind        The Carroll Center for the Blind          MCB Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

Future in Sight          Connecticut State Department of Aging and Disability Services     

  Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College         The Iris Network: Vision with no limits         

 SERESC                     Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired


Why UMass Boston Online?

Value

Among the lowest online tuition rates of an accredited, public research university.

Flexibility

Study full-time to finish fast, or part-time to suit your schedule. Live sessions scheduled with the working professional in mind.

Authenticity

The same courses taught by the same academic departments as on campus. No third-party providers.

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Vision Studies MEd

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