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Academic Program Guide

Visual Disabilities Education

College: Education, Health, and Human Sciences
Degree: Combined BS/MS
Specialized Admission: Yes

Contact: Robert Birken or Frank Amidon
Address: 2301 Stone Bldg., FSU Tallahassee, FL 32306-4460
Phone: (850) 644-3760

Description of Major

*Please Note: Face-to-face/in-person instruction of this program is available ONLY at the main campus in Tallahassee, FL. This program is NOT available via Online/Distance Learning.*

The Visual Disabilities Education BS/MS pathway will prepare you to work with individuals who are blind or have low vision. Visual Disability teachers are employed in a variety of settings, such as a resource room or as an itinerant teacher in a public school, at a school for the blind, or at an agency serving children who have visual impairments. Most graduates find immediate employment in this field and lead satisfying professional lives facilitating the development of skills of children and adults with visual impairments.

Combined BS/MS Degree Pathway
The Visual Disabilities Education program is a combined BS/MS degree pathway. The BS/MS pathway requires two years of upper-division undergraduate coursework plus one additional year of graduate coursework. Admission to the graduate portion of the combined degree pathway requires a 3.00 upper-division undergraduate GPA.

Upon completion of the undergraduate program you will earn a bachelor’s degree in Visual Disabilities Education. Your bachelor's degree will be awarded at the end of the Spring semester of your senior year. Upon completion of the graduate program you will earn a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a major in Visual Disabilities.

Professional Educator’s Certificate
Upon awarding of the Master’s degree you will have satisfied all the requirements for a state-approved teacher preparation program in Florida. You will be eligible for a Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate in Visual Impairment (K - 12).

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Coursework: (3 hours)

Pre-Education Coursework: (3 Credit Hours)
The following coursework must be completed with a final grade of C minus or better:

EDF 1005 (3) Introduction to Education or an equivalent course offering a broad view of education from a historical, cultural, psychological, political, social, and philosophical perspectives. Course must include a field experience.

Specialized Admission/Limited Enrollment
Visual Disabilities Education is a 'Specialized Admission' program that utilizes selective admission to limit program enrollment.

*Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee admission to the program.*

Admission to Educator Preparation
Admission to Educator Preparation is separate and distinct from admission to upper-division from lower-division or admission to the university as a transfer student. All prospective students for Visual Disabilities Education must apply for formal admission to Educator Preparation through the College of Education.

Educator Preparation Application
The Educator Preparation application is available online at

Application Deadline
The Visual Disabilities Education program only accepts applications for the Fall semester. Educator Preparation applications are due June 1. All application materials including official transcripts must be received by application deadline.

The college reserves the right to deny any application that is not complete by the application deadline.

Common Admission Requirements
All prospective students to Educator Preparation must meet the following minimum requirements for admission:

1. Complete 60 credit hours of college-level coursework.
2. Earn a 2.50 cumulative GPA in all attempted college coursework. In calculating your GPA, we use all attempted courses (including D's, F's, and WF's) from every college you have attended. If a course is repeated, we will use both grades.
3. Complete FSU General Education curriculum or earn AA degree from a Florida public institution.
4. Complete a Natural Science Lab course with a C minus or better.
5. Complete Oral Communication Competency (Speech) requirement with a C minus or better.
6. Complete Digital Literacy requirement with a C minus or better (EME 2040 recommended).
7. Complete Diversity requirement with a C minus or better (EDF 2085 recommended).
8. Complete Civic Literacy requirement with a C minus or better (AMH 2020 or POS 1041)
9. Complete EDF 1005 - Introduction to Education with a C minus or better.

See for Liberal Studies curriculum.

See for a list of approved Liberal Studies courses.

Additional Requirements for Transfer Students
Transfer students must satisfy the university’s minimum requirements for admission including demonstration of satisfactory academic progress, college-level English and mathematics proficiency, and world language proficiency. Applicants who will have attempted 90+ semester hours of college credit (including withdrawals and repeated courses) before enrolling at Florida State University must submit a personal statement to the Office of Admissions. The statement must address the reason(s) for transferring to FSU this late in the academic program and should also include a plan for a timely graduation. See for details.

FTCE General Knowledge Exam
Effective July 1, 2021, the FTCE General Knowledge Exam is no longer a requirement for BS/MS programs within the College of Education.


Major Program of Study at FSU: (84 hours)

Undergraduate Coursework: (48 hours)
EEX 4012 (3) Foundations of Special Education
EVI 4011 (3) Introduction to Visual Disabilities
EVI 4121 (3) Anatomy and Diseases of the Eye for Blindness Professionals
EVI 4211 (3) Literary Braille
EVI 4212 (3) Nemeth Code and Supporting Math Instruction for Students with Visual Impairments
EVI 4220 (3) Introduction to Orientation and Mobility
EVI 4230 (3) Educational Management of Students with Visual Impairments
EVI 4250 (3) Teaching Social and Career Skills to Students with Visual Impairments
EVI 4254 (3) Teaching Independent Living Skills to Students with Visual Impairments
EVI 4311 (3) Teaching Reading and Writing to Students with Visual Impairments
EVI 4312 (3) Classroom Accommodations for Students with Visual Impairments
EVI 4314 (3) Low Vision
EVI 4324 (3) Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments in the Schools
EVI 4330 (3) Methods for Learners with Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities I
EVI 4331 (3) Methods for Learners with Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities II
RED 4335 (3) Literacy Across the Content Areas

Graduate Coursework: (30 hours)

Twelve (12) of the thirty (30) graduate credit hours required for the Master’s degree are completed as part of the undergraduate program during the senior year study. These courses will be charged at the graduate tuition rate.

EEX 8966 (0) Master's Comprehensive Exam
EVI 5018 (3) PK-12 Students with Visual Impairments: Assessment Strategies
EVI 5226 (3) Developmentally Appropriate Orientation and Mobility
EVI 5355 (3) Issues of Blindness in Society
EVI 5374 (3) Advanced Methods in Visual Impairment
EVI 5942 (12) Student Teaching in Visual Disabilities
TSL 5325 (3) English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Instruction in the Content Areas

Graduate Elective
Select one of the following courses:

EDG 5709 (3) Culturally Responsive Teaching
EVI 5221 (3) Applied Methods in Orientation and Mobility

University Wide Graduation Requirements:

Digital Literacy: (3 hours)
EME2040 recommended, but can be completed by other University approved coursework

Oral Communication Competency: (3 hours)
Completed within General Education/elective coursework

Natural Science Lab: (1 hour) Completed within General Education/elective coursework

Scholarship-In-Practice: (3 hours)
Completed within major coursework (EVI 4250)

Upper-Division Writing: (3 hours)
Completed within major coursework (RED 4335)

A VIA membership is required for all Educator Preparation candidates. The membership costs $139 and must be purchased within the first 30 days of your first semester in the program. Throughout your program, courses will include Signature Assessments that must be completed and uploaded into VIA for evaluation by your instructors. Your membership is good for five years and allows you to retain evidence of your demonstration of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPS).

Required Examinations
Two exams are required before student teaching and graduation:

1. FTCE Professional Education Exam (PE) - $150
2. FTCE Subject Area Exam - $150

The FTCE Professional Education Exam and Subject Area Exam are state-mandated requirements and cannot be waived. Both FTCE exams must be completed before a candidate can participate in Student Teaching.

Criminal Background Screening
To comply with the Jessica Lunsford Act, All teacher candidates must complete a Level II background screening for Leon County. The background screening ($95) must be completed in the first semester of enrollment and no later than the end of the second week of classes. Under no circumstance may a teacher candidate enter a public school for the purposes of completing an early field experience without a completed background screening.

Field Experiences
Field Experiences are a required component of all educator preparation programs at Florida State University. They provide students an opportunity to participate in teaching activities in a classroom setting with a certified teacher. The location, duration and frequency of field experiences vary by semester and program. Prospective students should think carefully about their transportation needs, work schedule, extracurricular activities and time management.

Student Teaching
Student Teaching is the culminating experience in Florida State University’s Educator Preparation Program. During this semester-long experience, you will be given an opportunity to demonstrate the various skills that you have learned throughout your program.

Professional Behaviors and Dispositions
While enrolled in an Educator Preparation program, candidates are expected to demonstrate positive behaviors and dispositions that conform to the "Code of Ethics" (State Board of Education Rule 6A10.080 FAC) and the "Principles of Professional Conduct in Florida" (State Board of Education Rule 6A10.081 FAC). Each program reserves the right to refuse or discontinue enrollment of any student who violates these expectations or in the judgment of a majority of the program faculty does not meet the program standards.

Program Completion
All Educator Preparation candidates must demonstrate mastery of the Florida Department of Education Uniform Core Curriculum and positive dispositions prior to graduation. Upon admission to the program, students will receive a cohort specific Educator Preparation Handbook that outlines these requirements in detail. A copy of the current Educator Preparation Handbook is available online at .

Minimum Program Requirements – Summary

Total Hours Required (BS): 120
General Education: 36
Lower Division Elective Coursework: 15
Digital Literacy: 3
Oral Communication Competency: 3
Natural Science Lab: 1
Pre-Education Coursework: 3
Undergraduate Major Coursework: 48
Graduate Major Coursework: 30


Mapping is FSU’s academic advising and monitoring system. Academic progress is monitored each Fall and Spring semester to ensure that students are on course to earn their degree in a timely fashion. Transfer students must meet mapping guidelines to be accepted into their majors. You may view the map for this major at


1. A minimum of 45 hours at the 3000 level or above, 30 of which must be taken at this University.
2. All of the major course semester hours must be completed in residence at this University.
3. The final 30 hours must be completed in residence at this University.

Employment Information

Salary Information: National Association of Colleges and Employers, Occupational Outlook Handbook

Representative Job Titles: Resource Room Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Transition Specialist for students with Visual Impairments, Preschool Specialist for Young Children with Visual Impairments, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Program Specialist, ESE Administrator, Agency Director, Principal, Superintendent of School for the Blind, Educational Diagnostician, Educational Consultant.

Representative Employers: School Boards, Rehabilitation Centers, Community Agencies, Governmental Agency Schools, Division of Blind Services, Private Residential Schools.

View Visual Disabilities Education Academic Map