Special Education: Visual Impairment

Program Type: Major
Program Level: Graduate

The School of Education at USC Upstate is proud to offer the only Master of Education in Visual Impairment Program in South Carolina. This program is designed for teachers who are already certified. With 50 percent of current teachers of students with visual impairment expected to retire within the next three to five years, it is a perfect time to consider becoming a teacher of students with visual impairments.

The Master of Education in Visual Impairment Program is shaped and aligned with the School of Education's core values and disposition and the standards set by the Council for Exceptional Children. The SC Department of Education requirements for endorsement in visual impairment have also been embedded into the program. Candidates in the program are typically full-time teachers from across the state. Thus, the two-year program offers live classes at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind in the summer and distance learning classes in the fall and spring.

Program of Study for VI PDF Document

For more information, please contact Dr. Tina Herzberg, 864-503-5572.

" I had always dreamed of getting my master's degree, but I could not figure a way to do it. The visual impairment program at USC Upstate allowed me to achieve my dream . It was a wonderful opportunity. I wanted to make a difference in the someone's life and I feel that being a teacher of the visually impaired gives me the chance to impact a child's life and future. I am so grateful."

- Kathy Goodwin '11, 
Teacher at South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind

For more information, visit the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

  • Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

    1. Graduates understand the philosophies, laws, and issues related to the education of individuals with visual impairment.

    1.1 Graduates have a historical perspective and foundation of educational practices for students with visual impairment.

    1.2 Graduates are familiar with the major components of federal regulations involving the education of students with disabilities.

     2. Graduates understand and apply learner-centered pedagogical techniques and modify instruction to fit students’ emotional, social, and cognitive needs.

    2.1 Graduates demonstrate an understanding of the effects of visual impairment on the motoric, social, cognitive, conceptual, and linguistic development of students.

    2.2 Graduates demonstrate an understanding that learning differences and the possible interactions provides the foundation upon which special educators individualize instruction to provide meaningful and challenging learning with exceptional learning needs.

    3. Graduates possess the knowledge and skills required for the specialized curriculum in teaching students with visual impairment.

    3.1 Graduates are competent in the reading and writing of contracted literary Braille.

    3.2 Graduates are competent in the reading and writing of Nemeth Code Mathematical Braille.

    3.3 Graduates exhibit thorough knowledge and expertise in the specialized curriculum in teaching students with visual impairment.

    4. Graduates possess the knowledge and skills necessary to assess the needs of students with visual impairment.

    4.1 Graduates are competent in conducting a comprehensive Functional Low Vision Assessment.

    4.2 Graduates are competent in conducting a comprehensive Learning Media Assessment.

    4.3 Graduates are able to accurately interpret an ophthalmologic report including acuity, visual fields, etiologies, eyeglass prescriptions, and prognosis.

  • Benefits:

    • Collaborative effort of the SC Vision Education Partnership
    • Offers a variety of clinical experiences at schools to apply learning skills
    • Approved by the SC Department of Education
    • SC School for the Deaf and Blind makes summer housing available at no cost
    • Courses offered through distance delivery and on campus
    • Small class sizes
    • Prepares you to effectively meet the educational needs of students with visual impairments
    • Comprehensive and culturally responsive program of study, including braille, orientation and mobility, and assistive technology

    What Other Students are Saying...
    "The staff at USC Upstate, especially Dr. Tina Herzberg, have gone above and beyond to make my entrance into the program and this career field a smooth transition. From assistance with registering to answering questions about specific eye conditions or evaluations, they have always been hepful, informative, and uplifting.  I have attended two other USC campuses and the folks here at USC Upstate are the best!"  

          Heather Green, Teacher for the Visually Impaired
          Sumter School District 17

    "Dr. Herzberg ensures that the coursework thoroughly prepares you!  It makes me feel confident in my role as a Teacher for the Visually Impaired."

          Denise Cohen '12, Teacher in Charleston

  • Louis Database of Accessible Materials

    The Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired contains information on nearly 200,000 titles in accessible formats including braille, large print, sound recording, and electronic files.

    Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

    AER is an international membership organization dedicated to supporting the professionals who work in all phases of education and rehabilitation of children and adults who are blind and visually impaired. 

    South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB)

    SCSDB provides services statewide for individuals who are deaf, blind or sensory multidisabled, their families and the professionals who work with them.

    Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired  (TSBVI)

    TSBVI’s website offers resource to parents of children with visual impairments and professionals who serve them. The site includes downloadable braille materials, a quarterly newsletter, and tools for teachers.

    Braille Bug Site

    The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) created the Braille Bug® web site to teach sighted children about braille.

    American Printing for the Blind (APH)

    The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.

    American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

    The American Foundation for the Blind is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss.

    American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus


    The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus offers easy-to-understand information about eye conditions for patients, their families, and the professionals that serve them.