The Master of Arts Program in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) prepares individuals to provide instruction related to knowledge and skills for independent travel for children and adults with visual impairments. These learning and instructional topics include:
- Use of canes, dog guides, and adaptive mobility devices
- Instructional and assessment techniques regarding independent and assisted travel
- Sensory and motor development and environmental concepts
- Advanced travel for intersections, bus travel, and other complex environments
For candidates who have not already completed prerequisite courses in visual impairments in another program at the University of Kentucky or another university, such as in a Teacher of the Visually Impaired program, these three courses can be taken concurrently in addition to O&M coursework.
The Master of Arts Program in Orientation and Mobility program is approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The curriculum for this program is aligned to ACVREP standards and competency requirements and will begin pursing AER accreditation.
Why You Should Enroll
The University of Kentucky has the distinction of offering the only O&M program in Kentucky.
Support for Students
The program is funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department of Education. When face-to-face classes are held in Louisville, free housing is available through the Kentucky School for the Blind.
Courses are offered via Zoom in the evenings, face-to-face weekends in the fall and/or spring, and intensive face-to-face summer courses. This allows individuals who work full time during the day, such as teachers, to still participate in the program.
The graduate program addresses a critical shortage of qualified and certified O&M specialists throughout Kentucky and nationally. There continues to be unfilled positions to provide services to children and/or adults who are blind and visually impaired. Professionals in O&M are often employed in school districts, rehabilitation agencies, VA Hospitals, and as independent contractors.
Nationally Recognized Faculty
The Visual Impairment Program Faculty are recognized by national and state agencies and educational systems for commitment to preparing O&M and VI professionals to teach individuals with visual impairments.Visual Impairment Program Faculty Check out our other Visual Impairment Program: Teacher Preparation Program
Delivery Method: Hybrid
Credit Hours: 30
Tuition Cost: Refer to Credit Hour Rates for Graduate Students on the UK Tuition and Mandatory Fees page.
Refund Policies: You can find tuition refund policies, deadlines, amounts, and other important information on the UK Student Account Services website.
The O&M master’s program uses a model with synchronous classes offered via Zoom in the evenings and 1-2 face-to-face weekends in the fall and/or spring. BVI 621 and 622 are blindfold classes that require extensive face-to-face sessions in the spring and summer near the University of Kentucky in Lexington and Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville. The O&M master’s program consists of a total of 30-graduate credit hours.
All candidates start the program in the fall and will take the O&M courses over a two-year time span. The degree program may take longer to complete if the candidate takes more than a semester to finish the internship requirements.
|Total Credit Hours: 30|
* fall, spring, or summer
**Course is a prerequisite.
How to Apply
Applications are only accepted on even years. The Fall 2022 deadline for admission is March 10, 2022.
Attendance of face-to-face meetings is mandatory for all candidates! This includes 1-2 weekends a semester, several additional weekends for spring (Year 1), and approximately 12-15 days in June and July (Year 1). In Year 2, candidates complete a 30-hour practicum requirement. After finishing the other coursework, candidates will complete a 350-hour internship placement to fulfill the requirements for eligibility for certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.
Lodging is available for free at KSB, as well as at many internship placement sites. Candidates are responsible for their own transportation to and from classes, as well as lodging when meetings are not at the Kentucky School for the Blind.
Program Materials/Technology Requirements
- PC or Mac computer with Technical Requirements as recommended by the UK Online Technology
- Headphones or earbuds
- Webcam, microphone, and access to high speed internet
Go to the Orientation and Mobility – Graduate page and follow the “Apply Now” link. In the “Plan of Study” the Admission Category should read “Masters degree”, then “Orientation and Mobility” for the Program.
All candidates must have a minimum 2.75 overall or 3.0 GPA in the last 30 credit hours to apply and include the following in their application:
- Personal/Biographical Statement
- 1-2 pages on why you want to be an O&M Specialist
- Double spaced, 12 point, Arial or similar font
- Official transcripts from all previous universities or colleges
- Three (3) references
Under the Supplemental Materials section, upload the required documents as follows:
- Resume: Upload your resume/CV
- Personal Statement: Upload your personal/biographical statement
- Writing Sample: Leave empty
- Additional Information: Leave empty
- Assistantship Application: Leave empty
- Portfolio: Leave empty
- Alternative Score Upload: Leave empty
You are not required to report GRE scores for admission, thus you may leave this section empty.
If you do not have a written letter of recommendation when applying, a reference form will be sent via email for your reference to complete. It is often helpful to let the person know it is coming and to check their spam/junk folder if they do not receive it.
Official transcripts must be sent to the Graduate School.
If sending electronically, email to email@example.com
You can direct hard copy transcripts mailings to:
202 Gillis Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0033
You may also choose to use the National Student Clearinghouse, which most institutions send transcripts securely through.
If you have ever submitted an application through UK’s “ApplyYourself” system before, please follow these directions:
- When you get to the ApplyYourself Login page, click the “CREATE ACCOUNT” tab.
- You will need to CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT by using a different EMAIL address, username and password than you used on your first application. The process will be the same for each subsequent application.
- You will need to complete all the necessary uploads, however if you have sent official transcripts and test scores in the recent past, then you do not have to send them again. If you get an error message that says your information matches an account already in the system, then enter a Date of Birth that is different from your own. Once the account has been created, you can edit your profile and change this to your actual birth date.
Each candidate will complete a formal curriculum contract once admitted to the program. This contract will clearly outline all expectations throughout the program and requirements for ACVREP and Kentucky teacher certification. The Visual Impairment Program Faculty Chair will contact each candidate after admission to arrange a time to review and complete this contract.
I'm Ready to Apply
Want to Learn more about the O&M program? Feel free to contact Donna Lee with any questions you might have regarding this program. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Tuition and Fees
Questions about tuition should be directed to the Registrar’s Office. More information about tuition and cost to attend can be found on the Registrar’s website.
There are occasional opportunities for students to receive funding as Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, or via Scholarship funding. These announcements will be posted to the Student Advising Center on Canvas regularly. Students who are interested in more information about Financial Aid should contact the University of Kentucky’s Financial Aid Office at (859) 562-CATS (2287) or 128 Funkhouser Building, Lexington KY 40506.
State Authorization and Licensure
If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.