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Frequently Asked Questions

What programs are offered by the School of Education at VIU?

There are three programs of study offered within the School of Education, including master’s degrees (education, applied linguistics, and TESOL) as well as a graduate certificate in TESOL.

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What is it like to study at VIU’s School of Education?

The School of Education offers a dynamic and interactive learning experience both in-class and out of the classroom.  Students studying in the School of Education find that they are given the opportunity to interact with students from other programs and schools as well as meet and network with outside community members through a variety of special events and programs offered on campus.

The School of Education offers three major categories of events including Voices from the Field, the Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture, and the annual Education Summit.  Many of these events are recorded for those who are unable to attend.

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What is the best program for me?

The education program is designed for professionals who wish to work in K-12 settings, post-secondary educational settings, businesses, and non-profit organizations. The program is designed around teaching and learning requirements in the United States education system. Key specializations are offered in the areas of secondary science, secondary math, and secondary instruction for English to speakers of other languages.

The applied linguistics program offers graduates the opportunity to lead in public or private institutions offering language courses. The program affords graduates with the ability to serve as language program administrators, language teachers, or educational technology specialists. Graduates can be professors in secondary education, post-secondary education, business and non-profit organizations, and many other types or organizations at home or abroad.

The TESOL programs are designed for professionals who wish to work in public or private institutions offering courses in English as a second language (ESL or ESOL) or English as a foreign language (EFL). The TESOL programs offer specialized instruction in the principles and practices centered on how people acquire and study another language. Graduates can be professors in secondary education, post-secondary education, business and non-profit organizations, and many other types of organizations at home or abroad.

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What are the admission requirements for programs offered by the School of Education?

Information on admission requirements can be found through VIU’s Office of Admissions.  Please note that the School of Education requirements may differ from other programs.  Therefore, be sure to note the appropriate requirements for the program for which you are applying.

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When are the application deadlines for new students?

Information on application deadlines can be found through the Office of Admissions.

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What would make me a successful applicant to the program?

Completed applications are reviewed by School of Education personnel to ensure that students meet the high requirements of admission to the school.  Successful candidates would demonstrate short- and long-term goals that relate to the content of the program for which they are applying. They would also demonstrate that the program would benefit them in their future career and how previous experience (work or school, for example) might be improved by studying in the program. The most successful candidates to the School of Education make it clear that they have researched the program and the university and are able to articulate why VIU would be a good fit for them.

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May I join the program at any time?

VIU’s on-ground courses are offered on a semester system which means that classes start four times a year: in the fall, in the winter, and twice in the summer. Enrollment is limited through the add/drop period for a given semester as specified in the academic calendar. International students must complete all application processes and paperwork at least one month earlier than the program's starting date.

VIU’s online courses are offered on a term system which means that classes start every eight weeks. Enrollment is limited through the add/drop period for a given semester as specified in the academic calendar.

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Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in English in order to be accepted into the TESOL or applied linguistics programs?

No. Because of the inter-disciplinary nature of this program, prior coursework in English, TESOL, or linguistics is not required.  Your undergraduate degree can be in any subject. You must, however, provide evidence of sufficient proficiency in English in order to be accepted into the program.

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How many courses must I take to be considered full-time in a graduate program?

For on-ground courses, students taking three courses (nine credits) are considered full-time. Students taking less than three courses in a graduate program are generally considered to be part-time.

For online students, taking two courses (six credits) per term is considered full-time. Students taking less than two courses in an online graduate program are considered to be part-time.

All international students must be enrolled full-time.

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How long does it take to complete the master’s programs?

It takes four semesters of full-time study to complete the program. All international students must be enrolled full-time.

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How long does it take to complete the graduate certificate programs?

It takes two semesters of full-time study to complete the program. All international students must be enrolled full-time.

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What are the graduation requirements?

In order to graduate, students must complete all coursework and submit a summative portfolio.  The summative portfolio is a culmination of work done throughout the program and serves as a tool for students in their eventual job searches.  The portfolio will be compiled and reviewed in the practicum or internship course.  The final portfolio must be submitted for review to the school dean in the final week of the program.  Failure to submit the portfolio will result in not completing the program.

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Will graduation from VIU’s School of Education provide me with licensure for the Commonwealth of Virginia?

Graduation from the school does not immediately provide the requisite licensure for teaching in Virginia. In order to obtain certification, students would be required to take requisite licensure exams and achieve sufficient standards in the area of specialization.

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What is a typical schedule in the School of Education?

Courses are offered throughout the day. Courses maybe offered in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Consult the Registrar’s Office for specific days and times of courses being offered. 

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Are summer classes offered?

Summer classes are offered and provide the ability for students to work to complete their degrees in a shorter period of time.  Please note that students are generally not required to take summer classes unless their first semester of study is in the summer.

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Who studies at VIU?

Students studying at VIU come from many different cultures, countries, and backgrounds and represent nearly every continent. Studying at VIU provides students with an exposure to multiple world views in Fairfax's backyard.   VIU’s School of Education is truly a workspace and laboratory of learning with a global perspective.

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Can I study online?

All School of Education programs are available in both online and on-ground formats.  The choice of studying online or on-ground depend upon a student’s individual needs and/or requirements.

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Can I study online and on-ground?

Students are able to take a flexible schedule including a mixture of online and on-ground courses.  Discuss your options with your advisor. 

Please note that students on an F-1 Visa may have restrictions on the number of courses that they are permitted to take online and it is the responsibility of the student to maintain their own visa status. 

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Do you accept international students?

VIU has a long history of welcoming international students to study in the United States.  Because of VIU’s background with international students, you will find support and resources on campus to help make your learning experience successful. Please note that students on an F-1 Visa are responsible for maintaining their own visa status. 

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I am an F-1 student.  Am I eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Students with an F-1 visa must meet all requirements in terms of CPT and/or OPT as established by the International Student Services (ISS) Office.  Further information on requirements for students holding an F-1 Visa can be found through the International Student Services Office.

If a program has a required internship or practicum experience, CPT is required (with the exception of the Master of Arts in TESOL or Graduate Certificate in TESOL programs).  All students on an F-1 Visa are required to take their practicum or internship course with at least one other on-ground course in order to remain in-status. 

CPT may be taken for other courses that specify “CPT eligible” in their course description.  Please consult your advisor and/or the International Student Services office for more details. 

OPT may be a viable option for those who meet all eligibility requirements.  Please consult your advisor and/or the International Student Services office for more details. 

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Can F-1 students study online?

Students on an F-1 Visa are permitted to take online classes; however, more than 50% of their courses must be on-ground.  Therefore, F-1 students must take a minimum of two on-ground classes in order to remain in status.

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What accreditations and affiliations does VIU have?

Information on VIU’s accreditations and affiliations can be found here.

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*Additional questions can be directed to the School of Education or an admissions officer at any time.