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M.S.Ed. in Special Education, Specialization in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy


The NIU M.S.Ed. in Special Education degree with a specialization in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy is a degree for any person who is interested in teaching individuals with visual impairments. You do not need previous experience working with people who are blind or have low vision. The program allows you to obtain national licensure as a rehabilitation teacher from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and features an attractive financial assistance opportunity.

What will I study?

Students will learn methods and strategies to teach independent living skills to individuals with visual impairments.

When/where are classes offered? 

Classes are offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters at our DeKalb campus. Many courses are offered in the evening to accommodate students’ work schedules. Students are usually enrolled in a cohort; however, individuals may take courses at their own pace so long as they complete degree requirements specified in the graduate catalogue. 

Is the program accredited?

The program is nationally accredited by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) which advances excellence in higher education programs by assuring academic quality and supporting continuous improvement. The vision program is led by faculty who are Certified Teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaired (TVI) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) and collectively have 50 years of experience working with individuals with visual impairments.

Where are grads working?

Graduates of the program work at sites nationwide, including public school districts, schools for individuals with blindness and low vision, and hospitals. Ninety percent of our graduates find employment within one year of graduating from the program. 

What about financial assistance?

For more information about the grant funding that is currently available, contact Stacy Kelly at or 815-753-4103. For students studying at the graduate level for their master's degrees, we have very generous financial support, including:

  • ALL tuition (in state or out-of-state)
  • ALL fees
  • FULL health insurance
  • A yearly stipend of $5,244 ($437/month).

In order to be eligible, students must be:

  • Fully admitted to the Northern Illinois University Graduate School;
  • A U.S. citizen;
  • Willing to commit to work with children and/or adults who are blind or visually impaired anywhere in the U.S. for twice as long as they receive financial support; and
  • Willing to work as a half-time graduate assistant while at NIU.

Students in this program are obligated to pay for their books, supplies and living expenses. This is not a loan, but rather a graduate assistantship. The only stipulation is that if students do not fulfill their obligations to work with visually disabled children and/or adults for the amount of time required by the federal government (twice as long as they receive funding), then they are obligated to pay back to the federal government the amount of funds they received in this program. The funds emanate from federal grants H325K090232 and H129P090006.

How do I apply?

Read about admission requirements; then apply!