Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Dean M.J. Feuer
Senior Associate Dean C.A. Kochhar-Bryant
Associate Dean for Research and External Relations M.B. Freund
Administrative Dean and Chief of Operations P.H. Stevenson
Assistant Dean of Academic Services R. Jakeman

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development is the administrative unit for the departments of Counseling and Human Development, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Educational Leadership, Human and Organizational Learning, and Special Education and Disability Studies. The School offers the Master of Arts in Education and Human Development, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, Education Specialist, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Philosophy in the field of counseling​ degrees. Many of the master's programs are offered in numerous fields of study.

In addition to its degree programs, the School offers graduate certificate programs; credit and noncredit workshops designed to meet the unique needs of metropolitan area school systems and other clientele in industry and government; and a wide range of courses for teachers who wish to pursue advanced studies and additional endorsements and for provisional teachers who wish to prepare for teaching certificates. 

All programs are designed to meet the broad needs of individuals who seek the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective learning and teaching, research, services, and leadership in a variety of settings that cover the entire life span. Special curricula are individually tailored for liberal arts graduates and graduates of other professional schools who are interested in teaching or in other human services areas. 

Clinical facilities are provided by the Community Counseling Service Center, which supports counseling internships as well as outreach services to the community. The Office of Professional Preparation and Accreditation supports liaison with schools for clinical experiences required for educator licensure. Field and internship experiences required in master's and doctoral programs are provided in cooperation with public and private schools, social and health agencies, museums, institutions in the business community, institutions of higher education, nonprofit and professional associations, and the federal government. Some program and courses are also offered at off-campus locations or via distance learning.

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development is accredited by the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (DC–OSSE) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (NCATE/CAEP). Programs that prepare students to become eligible for licensure/certification as teachers and other school personnel are state-approved by the DC–OSSE.

Mission Statement

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development, strategically based in the nation’s capital and serving the global community, develops informed and skilled leaders through innovative teaching and learning. Students engage in scholarly inquiry that links policy, research, and practice across the lifespan and fosters continuous self-examination and critical analysis towards excellence.

Bridging Concepts

The following bridging concepts are central to the unified conceptual framework of the School and weave through the mission, goals, and initiatives of its strategic plan.

  • Research and scholarship are prerequisite to the improvement of educational practice.
  • Leadership is critical in the transformation of education and human service at all levels.
  • Building reflective practitioners through integration of theory and practice must be a focus of all programs.
  • A community of diverse learners is prerequisite to success in the education and human service professions.

Admissions Requirements for the Master of Education, the Master of Arts in Education and Human Development, and the Master of Arts in Teaching

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development seeks applicants with strong academic potential, high motivation, and aptitude to do graduate-level work. Admission decisions are based on an evaluation of all material submitted in support of the application. The School requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work, and acceptable test scores on either the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test in some programs. In the field of education policy studies, only the GRE is acceptable.

Two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are required. Most programs also require an interview with program faculty. The interview may be waived with permission of the lead faculty of the desired program for those living outside the Washington metropolitan area. In addition to these basic requirements, individual programs may require relevant professional experience and other supporting documentation before a final decision on admission is made.

Advanced Standing 

Advanced standing is granted for approved courses taken at other regionally accredited institutions, but a minimum of 24 credit hours must be completed in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development as a master’s candidate. A maximum of 12 credit hours taken in nondegree status may be credited toward the master’s degree.Advanced standing is not granted for work completed five or more years before application for admission or readmission to master’s candidacy. All work accepted for advanced standing must have been earned with a grade of B or better and must be approved for acceptance by both the advisor and the dean. Credit, Satisfactory, Audit, or other nonletter grades are not acceptable.

Plan of Study 

The plan of study leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Education and Human Development varies by degree, but requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit. Programs include EDUC 6114 Introduction to Quantitative Research, or EDUC 6116 Introduction to Educational Statistics, or EDUC 6112 Foundations of Assessment, Testing, and Measurement in Education to satisfy the research requirements. Several programs have additional credit hour requirements.

All degree requirements must be completed within 6 years, whether study is full time or part time. An additional (or 7th) year is allowed in the case of a student who breaks enrollment and is subsequently readmitted.

Thesis Option

Students in select programs may elect a theses option. The choice of the thesis subject must be approved in writing by the student’s advisor and filed in the office of the dean. All theses must be submitted electronically and meet the formatting and other requirements set forth online at Payment of tuition for the thesis course entitles the candidate, during the period of registration, to the advice and direction of the member of the faculty under whom the theses is to be written. In case a thesis is unfinished, additional time may be granted. The student must, however, be enrolled continuously in the program.


Information on grades and computing the grade-point average is found under University Regulations.

The symbol I (Incomplete) indicates that a satisfactory explanation has been given the instructor for the student’s inability to complete the required work of the course during the semester of enrollment. The work must be completed within the designated time period agreed upon by the instructor, student, and school, but no more than one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken. All students who receive an Incomplete must maintain active student status during the subsequent semester(s) in which the work of the course is being completed. If not registered in other classes during this period, the student must register for Continuous Enrollment status.

When work for the course is completed, the instructor will complete a grade change form and turn it in to the Office of the Registrar. Beginning with the fall 2014 semester, the final grade will replace the symbol of I. If work for the course is not completed within the designated time, the grade will be converted automatically to a grade of F, Failure, 0 quality points, and the grade-point average and academic standing recalculated. See University Regulations for full details.


A grade-point average of 3.0 is required for graduation. Students who receive a grade of in more than 6 credit hours are subject to suspension. Students who receive a grade of must confer with the academic advisor before enrollment for further course work is allowed. More detailed information for doctoral students can be found in the Doctoral Student Handbook.

Master’s Comprehensive Examination 

A comprehensive examination is required for some programs. Candidates who plan to take the examination must file a written application in the Office of Student Life of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development by the published deadline.

Second Master’s Degree 

Persons seeking a second master’s degree in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development must complete all core and specialization requirements and a minimum residency requirement of 24 credit hours.

Continuous Enrollment and Residency

Students must be continuously enrolled in GSEHD unless the Dean's Office grants a leave of absence. Failure to register each semester of the academic year will result in lapse of candidacy. Subsequent readmission is subject to whatever new conditions and regulations have been established by the School. See Continuous Enrollment Status under University Regulations.

When master’s degree candidates are sitting for a comprehensive examination and are not otherwise enrolled in course work, they may prepare for and sit for the exam in continuous enrollment status. All doctoral and education specialist students and those master’s students who elect to take an additional semester to prepare for the examination or who must retake the examination are required to sign up for the examination preparation course, which carries a fee equivalent to 1 credit hour of tuition. See Master’s Comprehensive Examination, below.

Leave of Absence

Students who, for personal reasons, are temporarily unable to continue their program of studies may request a leave of absence for a specific period of time not to exceed one calendar year during the total period of degree candidacy. If the request is approved, the student must register for leave of absence each semester. If a student fails to register, degree candidacy is terminated. Students who need additional semesters of leave of absence must seek approval from the appropriate appeals committee.

Class Attendance Policy

Attending class and scheduled make-up classes, discussions, and other course meetings is a fundamental student responsibility. Faculty may use class attendance and participation as factors in determining course grades.

PRAXIS® Teacher Assessments

All degree programs preparing students for initial teacher licensure require completion of the Educational Testing Service PRAXIS® teacher assessments as specified by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education of the District of Columbia.

Teacher Certification Preparation Programs

Programs are available to prepare students for teacher licensure in elementary, secondary, and special education through the Master of Arts in Education and Human Development, Master of Education, and Education Specialist degree programs. Students who plan to prepare for licensure must apply to the appropriate degree program. These degree programs are also available to credentialed teachers seeking additional endorsements.

In accordance with the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title II, Section 205, The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development provides required information in response to any request by potential applicants, guidance counselors, and prospective employers. An information sheet can be viewed at the school's website.

Master of Arts in Teaching 

Master of Education

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development

Joint Program

The Degree of Education Specialist

The program of advanced study leading to the degree of Education Specialist is for students with a master’s degree in education who seek further professional preparation for specific objectives. The program is available in the fields of educational leadership and administration, counseling, curriculum and instruction, higher education administration, human and organizational learning, and special education.

Admission Requirements

The following are required for entrance to an Education Specialist program: an undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development or its equivalent from a regionally accredited institution, two years of pertinent experience in an education or human development field, and a graduate scholastic average of at least 3.3 and, in some programs, an acceptable score on either the Graduate Record Examination or Miller Analogies Test. Two letters of recommendation, one from a professional supervisor and one from the most recent graduate faculty advisor, are required, along with a statement of professional goals. Each applicant must be interviewed and recommended by a faculty advisor in the major field.

Programs of Study and Degree Requirements

Individual programs are developed, through a plan of study worked out with a faculty advisor, to fit the candidate’s skills, interests, and career goals. A minimum of 30 credits beyond the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts in Education and Human Development is required. At least 21 credits of this work must be taken in residence at GW. A maximum of five calendar years is allowed for completion of the program.

At least 12 of the required 30 credits must be in appropriate graduate courses in education selected from the following areas: (1) foundations and cognate study, (2) background and general principles of the field of study, and (3) an area of specialization. A graduate-level research methods course must be included in the program if it was not completed in previous graduate work.

The Comprehensive Examination

Successful completion of a six-hour written or oral examination or its equivalent, at the option of the major field advisor, is required. Candidates taking the examination must be registered for at least 1 credit in the semester it is to be taken and submit an online comprehensive examination application by the published deadline.

Education Specialist Programs


The Degree of Doctor of Education

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development offers programs of advanced study leading to the degree of Doctor of Education (EdD). These programs provide major fields of study in curriculum and instruction, special education, educational administration and policy studies, human and organizational learning, and higher education administration. Supporting fields are available in educational administration, higher education administration, counseling, curriculum and instruction, education policy, elementary education, human development, human and organizational learning, international education, program evaluation, secondary education, special education, supervision, and teacher education. With the approval of a student’s program planning committee, course work may be taken n other departments of the University and through the Consortium. All programs require study of interrelated areas of education and a doctoral dissertation in the major field of study.

 All doctoral programs are designed to accommodate the needs of full-time students as well as working professionals who must pursue their studies on a part-time basis. Required graduate courses, with few exceptions, are offered in the late afternoon and evening. In some programs, selected courses may be taken at off-campus locations.

Admission Requirements

The applicant must have adequate preparation for advanced study, including the undergraduate degree and graduate work from a regionally accredited institution in the fields prerequisite to his or her objective and comparable to that required for the degree of Master of Arts in Education and Human Development at this University. Students with a master’s degree in a field other than education may be considered for doctoral study provided that the degree and previous experience are judged relevant by the major field program faculty.

For an application to be considered by the major field program faculty, an applicant must have a minimum graduate scholastic average of 3.3 on a scale of 4.0 and an acceptable score on the Miller Analogies Test or Graduate Record Examination. In the field of human organizational learning, the Graduate Management Admissions Test is acceptable as well. Programs often set higher admissions standards, and the number of new doctoral students in each program is limited. All applicants must have an interview with faculty members in the major field. Students receiving favorable recommendations from the major field faculty are admitted to precandidacy for the degree.

Precandidacy and Candidacy

The Doctor of Education program is divided into two states: precandidacy and candidacy. In general, the degree program requires three or more years of full-time study beyond the master’s degree or the equivalent in part-time study. Course work and the comprehensive examination must be completed within five years, and the entire program must be completed within eight years. The minimum residency requirement in degree status for the EdD is 36 credits of course work in the precandidacy stage and 12 to 24 credits of dissertation research in the candidacy stage. In most cases, course work beyond the minimum is required.

In the precandidacy stage, all course work in the program must be completed and the comprehensive examination passed. Course work toward the doctorate is established on the basis of a framework of seven domains: knowledge of foundations; critical literature review; research methods; clarity of thought, as expressed both in speech and in writing; professional development; technological skills; and depth of knowledge of the specialty area. A program plan of study is developed between the doctoral student and a doctoral study advising team, generally consisting of two members of the program faculty.

The comprehensive examination is generally a two-day examination held each semester and taken upon completion of all course work (Pre-Dissertaion Seminar may be excepted). Students taking the examination must be registered for at least 1 credit in the semester it is to be taken and must file an online application in the dean’s office by the published deadline. Programs may have specific comprehensive exam requirements.

The candidacy stage of doctoral study begins after successful completion of the content course work and the comprehensive examination. A doctoral research dissertation committee is established and the candidate develops a dissertation proposal (this may be while registered in Pre-Dissertation Seminar). Upon successful completion of course work listed on the approved program plan of study, students must register for dissertation research at the rate of 3 or 6 credits each fall and spring semester. A minimum of 12 dissertation research credits are required for graduation. Students who have not defended their dissertation after 12 credits continue to register at the rate of 3 or 6 credits until they have reached 24 credits of dissertation research. Once they have reached their 24 credit maximum, they must register each subsequent fall and spring semester for 1 credit of Continuing Research until completion of their degree program with the successful defense of the dissertation to the Dissertation Oral Examination Committee. The accepted dissertation is submitted electronically, with a processing fee paid directly to Proquest/UMI.

Detailed information on the EdD program and its administration is available in the GSEHD Doctoral Student Handbook. Students completing their degree program should refer to the section on Graduation Requirements, Participating in the Commencement Ceremony, under University Regulations.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Field of Counseling

A Ph.D. in the field of counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Doctoral programs

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development offers the following graduate certificate programs. Graduate certificates do not constitute eligibility for an initial license or assure admission to a subsequent degree program. Courses taken as part of a certificate program may be applied toward advanced credentials or endorsements added to an initial license.

  • Assessment,Testing, and Measurement in Education
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Brain Injury: Educational and Transition Services
  • Counseling and Life Transitions
  • Design and Assessment of Adult Learning 
  • Educational Leadership and Administration
  • E-Learning
  • Global Leadership in Teams and Organizations
  • Incorporating International Perspectives in Education
  • Instructional Design
  • Integrating Technology into Education
  • Job Development and Placement 
  • Leadership Development 
  • Leadership in Educational Technology
  • Multimedia Development 
  • Organizational Learning and Change 
  • Professional Teaching Standards 
  • Reading and Literacy
  • Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
  • Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
  • STEM Master Teacher
  • Teaching English Language Learners
  • Training and Educational Technology

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000–4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office