Gifted Education

All students have gifts, but some have exceptional strengths. However, gifted students aren’t always identified and their abilities understood. As a Gifted Education teacher, you choose to become the person who elevates those strengths and helps these students reach their full potential. At the School of Education and Human Development, your studies will focus on ways to recognize these students and develop strategies for working productively with them in a variety of settings. Also in this program, you will evaluate existing and new gifted education methodologies and services, as well as analyze and contribute to research in the field.

The School of Education and Human Development Impact

At the School of Education and Human Development, we believe a strong foundational knowledge of the theories of learning, principles of development (human, child, and adolescent) and concepts from the fields of assessment and research form the basis for understanding exceptional learners. While the majority of our students in Master’s and Doctoral programs pursue a degree full time, many others working full time as teachers, counselors, administrators or specialists pursue their M.Ed. on a part-time basis either online or in-person. Others earn the online Gifted Education endorsement and add it to their teaching licenses.

The Gifted Education program at School of Education and Human Development has four key objectives:

  • Help students develop a deep understanding of the field of gifted education and gain competency in the techniques to advance the knowledge base of gifted education.
  • Enhance opportunities for students to develop their own strengths and pursue their specific career goals.
  • Strengthen and enhance students' leadership abilities in the field of gifted education.
  • Strengthen the program for all by admitting and graduating students from all racial, ethnic, gender and cultural backgrounds.

Our current research and service work is making a deep impact in the study of exceptional learners. These efforts focus on a broad spectrum of giftedness and talent, including investigation of specialized programming for gifted students in pull-out programming, as well as identifying and developing potential giftedness and talent in students from underrepresented groups.


Graduates with a degree or endorsement specializing in Gifted Education find meaningful, impactful employment as teachers of gifted students, gifted education coordinators, curriculum developers, textbook contributors and researchers in university-level Gifted Education programs.

Explore Our Degrees

Choosing the right degree within our program is important to ensuring that you achieve an outcome that supports your career goals. Let us help guide you through your choices.

  • Gifted Education Online Course Series Leading to VDOE Add-on Gifted Endorsement

    The non-degree Gifted Education Online Course Series prepares you to better address the characteristics and needs of gifted children. Topics covered in these courses include an overview of issues in the definition of giftedness, identification, curriculum, instructional strategies, program options, special populations, and evaluation. Courses can be used for professional development or applied toward an add-on endorsement in gifted education for licensed teachers in Virginia.

    Please note that those seeking the add-on endorsement from VDOE will also need to complete a supervised practicum experience under the mentorship of a teacher who currently holds a valid gifted endorsement. In many cases, a year of full time teaching can fulfill this requirement. UVA typically does not oversee this requirement for practicing educators. Instead, most non-degree students who are practicing teachers coordinate with their schools/divisions to make these arrangements.

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  • Gifted Learners in PreK-12 Education Certificate

    This graduate certificate prepares teachers and administrators to lead the development, implementation, and supervision of gifted education curriculum and programming that equitably serves talented learners. Candidates will build specialized knowledge, from shaping instructional strategies to creating research-based program options, that encourages gifted learners to reach their full potential.

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  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Online

    With an M. Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction – Gifted Education Focus, you will have strong foundational knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment principles, as well as in-depth understanding of gifted, talented, and high-ability learners. Through the courses in the Gifted Education focus area, you will learn about the characteristics, needs, and behaviors of gifted learners, including those who are twice-exceptional, English Learners, culturally diverse, or from historically underrepresented populations; how to assess and identify gifted learners; models and strategies for meeting gifted education needs in a variety of contexts; and specific techniques for aligning curriculum and instruction with the needs of gifted learners.

    For M.Ed. students who hold a valid Virginia teaching license, the gifted education courses included in this degree also fulfill partial requirements toward an add-on endorsement in Gifted Education.

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  • M.Ed. in Educational Psychology: Social Foundations

    This master’s degree provides a broad understanding of the complexities and processes of today's education environment, while also providing the focused knowledge and skill development that are directly applied to helping students in the classroom. Individuals with a M.Ed. in Ed Psych – Social Foundations (often called the “humanities of education”) find that the solid foundation of broad educational knowledge allows them to more effectively teach a more diverse student body. Courses such as History of Education, Philosophy of Education, Anthropology of Education, Sociology of Education, and Comparative Education provide insight into our educational system and how it effectively, or ineffectively, supports various student populations.

    In addition, elective courses in the Gifted Education focus area provide the knowledge required to address specific needs in the classroom and offer our students the opportunity to build the necessary skills to be more effective educators to gifted and talented learners. While earning this M.Ed., you can simultaneously work toward an Endorsement in Gifted Education.

    The program is offered full-time or part-time, and the core courses and electives are provided online. 

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  • Ed.S. in Curriculum & Instruction - Gifted Focus

    The Ed.S. degree focuses on courses work in Curriculum & Instruction and gives applicants the opportunity to take electives in an area of interest.  The EdS. is a 30 credit hour graduate degree designed for the professional educator. Applicants must have already earned a master's degree. The Ed.S. degree is for educators who seek to influence positive educational change and improve student achievement through effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Employment options include curriculum specialist positions within preK-12 schools, university settings, adjunct faculty, government and military, and more.

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  • Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction - Gifted Education

    The Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) is a terminal graduate degree for devoted practitioners committed to promoting quality and equity in classrooms, school systems, and communities. The program offers an area of emphasis in Gifted Education. Graduates are uniquely prepared for practice-based research and leadership positions in a variety of K-16 settings, including, national nonprofits and philanthropies, as well as state and federal departments of education. We now offer this program part-time and online.

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  • Ph.D. in Education - Gifted Education

    The primary purpose of the Ph.D. in Education program is to prepare you to take a variety of positions in higher education settings, where you will produce scholarly works on Gifted Education as a research scholar, policy analyst or faculty member.

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Curriculum & Instruction Program by the Numbers

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