GSEHD provides an online Master’s, Education Specialist, and Certificate Student Handbook and a Doctoral Student Handbook. These online handbooks contain additional updated information on policies, regulations, and other matters of concern to enrolled and admitted students. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the information contained in both this Bulletin and the appropriate Student Handbook. Students should also consult departmental/program handbooks and guidelines.

Admission Requirements

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 coursework, and acceptable test scores on either the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test in some programs. These tests are waived in some master's and doctoral programs. All doctoral applicants must have a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Additional requirements vary by program.

A minimum of two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are required. Most programs also require an interview with program faculty. For those living outside the Washington metropolitan area the interview may be conducted virtually with permission of lead faculty of the desired program. 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.

English Language Requirements for International Students

Applicants who are not citizens of countries where English is the official language or who do not hold a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher learning are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English–Academic (PTE). English language scores are valid for two years.  The most recent test scores are used for applicants who submit multiple scores.  Specified possible exemptions from this policy can be found on the Graduate Admissions website. The required minimum score for admission to a program is 80 on the Internet-based or 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, or an overall band score of 6.0 on the IELTS (with no individual band score below 5.0), or a score of 53 on the PTE. Some programs have higher minimum scores. Applicants who have a TOEFL score of at least 70 (but less than 80), or an IELTS overall band score of 5.0 (but less than 6.0) may be considered for admission on the condition that they successfully complete the Applied English Studies program prior to beginning their graduate studies.

Students with the following English language test scores are exempt from taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses: TOEFL, 600 paper-based or 100 Internet-based; IELTS, overall band score of 7.0 with no individual band score below 6.0; PTE, 68. Students with test scores below these minimums must register for an EAP course during their first semester. Students assigned EAP courses should anticipate additional tuition expenses as well as a possible extended period of time required to complete their degree program. EAP courses do not count toward degree requirements.

Students required to take an EAP course must earn a minimum grade of B- in the course. Students who do not earn a B- or above in their first course must take an additional EAP course in the subsequent semester. Students who earn an F in an EAP course must repeat the course and are subject to the process described in the Scholarship section.

Academic Policies

 Information on grades, the graduate student grading system, assignment of credits, Incompletes,  the grade-point average, and eligibility for graduation is found under University Regulations.

The symbol I (Incomplete) indicates that a satisfactory explanation of extenuating circumstances has been given to 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. 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.

Academic Standing

An overall grade-point average of 3.0 is required for graduation. Students who have a cumulative GPA below 3.0, or receive a grade of C or below in more than 6 credits, or receive a grade of F will have an academic hold placed on their account and may be subject to program removal. Students must meet with a representative of the Dean's Office before enrollment in further coursework is allowed. More detailed information can be found in the GSEHD student handbooks.

Comprehensive Examination

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

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 fall and spring semester 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 coursework, they may prepare for and sit for the exam in continuous enrollment status. If not enrolled in other coursework, doctoral and education specialist students are required to enroll in the examination preparation course, which carries a fee equivalent to 1 credit of tuition. See Comprehensive Examination policy in the appropriate student handbook.

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.

Master's Degree Programs

See list of programs, below.

Admission Requirements

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 coursework, and acceptable test scores on either the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test in some programs. These tests are waived in several master's programs.

Two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are required. Most programs also require an interview with program faculty. The interview may be conducted virtually with permission of 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.

Plan of Study

The plan of study leading to a masters degree varies by program, but all require a minimum of 30 graduate credits including a program-approved 3-credit research methods course to satisfy the research requirements. At least 24 credits of this work must be taken in residence at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Several programs have additional credit and/or capstone requirements.

All degree requirements must be completed within six years, whether study is full- or part-time.  More detailed information can be found in the GSEHD Master’s, Education Specialist, and Certificate Student Handbook.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is granted for approved courses taken at other regionally accredited institutions, but a minimum of 24 credits must be completed in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development as a master’s candidate. One semester (and a maximum of 12 credits) taken in non-degree status may be credited toward the master’s degree. Transfer credit is not granted for work completed five or more years before application for admission or readmission to master’s candidacy. Courses used to fulfill the requirements of another degree program are ineligible for transfer. All work accepted for transfer must have been earned with a minimum grade of B and must be approved for acceptance by both the advisor and the dean. Credit, Satisfactory, Audit, or other non-letter grades are not acceptable.

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 the field of education and human development and master of education 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. Visit the GSEHD website for additional information.

PRAXIS® Teacher Licensure 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 (OSSE) of the District of Columbia.

The master’s degree program preparing students for licensure in school counseling requires completion of the Educational Testing Service PRAXIS® assessment as specified by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) of the District of Columbia.

The master’s degree program, the post-master’s certificate, and the education specialist degree preparing students for licensure in educational administration follow the state-approved program, PRAXIS® test requirements put forth by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) of the District of Columbia.

Master's Thesis Option

Students in select programs may elect a thesis option. The choice of the thesis subject must be approved in writing by the student’s advisor. Students should consult program faculty for more information.

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 credits. Students seeking a second master’s degree must follow the application procedures described on the GSEHD website.

Master of Arts in Teaching 

Master of Education

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development

Combined programs

Education Specialist Programs

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development program of advanced study leading to the degree of education specialist (EdS) is for students with a master’s degree who seek further professional preparation. The program is primarily available in the field of educational leadership and administration, but is also available in the fields of counseling, curriculum and instruction, education policy, higher education administration, human and organizational learning, and special education on an individualized basis.

Education Specialist Programs

Admission Requirements

The following are required for entrance to the education specialist program in educational leadership and administration: an undergraduate degree and a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution, and one year of teaching experience. 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.

Programs of Study and Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 credits beyond the requirements for a master's degree is required. At least 21 credits of this work must be taken in residence at GSEHD. A maximum of five calendar years is allowed for completion of the program.  More detailed information can be found in the GSEHD Master’s, Education Specialist, and Certificate Student Handbook.

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination may be required, depending on field of study.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctoral Programs

Plan of Study

All doctoral students must complete at least 36 credits of coursework and at least 12 credits of dissertation research at GSEHD while enrolled in their doctoral program. Individual doctoral programs usually have additional requirements.

For doctoral students, all degree requirements must be completed within eight (8) years from the time of admission to the doctoral program. Any leaves of absence do not count against this time limit. More detailed information can be found in the GSEHD Doctoral Student Handbook.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the field of counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the field of education degree program is designed to create opportunities for cross-disciplinary research by concentrating on critical national and global problems in which education and human development play a significant role. To adequately address issues, scholars require both a strong foundation in education as well as theoretical and disciplinary grounding in multiple disciplines. The PhD program is distinguished by four characteristics: candidates apply to a cross-disciplinary research team that is focused on a critical problem related to education and human development; approaches to the research problems require a cross-disciplinary lens; students engage in individual and collaborative research throughout their program; and candidates aspire to careers in which the production of research is paramount. Current cross-disciplinary teams are organized around themes of: education and inequality, human-technology collaboration, curriculum and instruction, education policy, comparative and international education, and human and organizational learning.

Admission Requirements, PhD

A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. Materials to be submitted include: official transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (for international applicants), three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Each program has more specific details about these materials and additional requirements. Selection is competitive and is based on the applicant’s past achievements, perceived potential, and fit to the goals and mission of the program.

Doctor of Education Degree

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, educational leadership and administration, higher education administration, human and organizational learning, and special education. With the approval of a student’s advisor, coursework may be taken in or from other departments of the University and through the Consortium.

Admission Requirements, EdD

A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. Materials to be submitted include: official transcripts; GRE, or Miller Analogy Test scores (options vary by program); TOEFL scores (for international applicants); two letters of recommendation; and a statement of purpose. Each program has more specific details about these materials and additional requirements. Selection is competitive and is based on the applicant’s past achievements, perceived potential, and fit to the goals and mission of the program.

Pre-Candidacy and Candidacy

The Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education programs are divided into two stages: pre-candidacy and candidacy. In general, the degree program requires two or more years of full-time study beyond the master’s degree or the equivalent in part-time study. Coursework 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 doctorate is 36 credits of coursework in the pre-candidacy stage and 12 to 24 credits of dissertation research in the candidacy stage. In most cases, coursework beyond the minimum is required.

In the pre-candidacy stage, all coursework in the program must be completed and the comprehensive examination passed. Coursework 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. In addition, the PhD in Education requires successful completion of the second-year project.

The comprehensive examination is taken upon completion of all pre-candidacy coursework. 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 Office of Student Life of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development by the published deadline.

The candidacy stage of doctoral study begins after successful completion of the content coursework 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 coursework 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.

Detailed information on the doctoral programs and their 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.

Doctoral Dissertation

All doctoral students must complete a doctoral dissertation.  This includes the successful completion of an oral defense of the proposal and then of the completed dissertation. Additional information is available in the GSEHD Doctoral Student Handbook.

Certificate 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.

Graduate certificate programs

Post-master's certificate programs

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000s to 4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that also may be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work assigned
  • 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