Welcome to the Education Policy Program at The George Washington University!
The program is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from the White House and the World Bank and within three miles of the U.S. Congress and most federal agencies. Within the DC area there are also more than 100 professional associations involved with education and training policies.
The emphasis of the program is on preparing analysts with solid research and evaluation skills who advance knowledge and improve practice for the purposes of promoting excellence, equity, and efficiency in educational systems and organizations. Although the program's curriculum and skill-development rely on theories of education policy, much of the emphasis is on applied research where students are introduced to lessons of the past, guided through the complexities of the present and encouraged to identify the potential of the future.
Unique features of the program include:
- The program is nationally recognized and has been ranked among the top Education Policy programs in the US. It is part of the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development which has been ranked among the premier schools of education in the US.
- The faculty have extensive practical experience in major education policy areas that they employ in their instructional and guidance practices.
- The program's classes are small and conducted seminar style with considerable discussion.
- The program is designed to allow students to work while pursuing their degree.
- The program has helped place and allowed students and recent graduates to work in full-time, part-time and internship positions at several major governmental and non-governmental education policy organizations in the DC area.
- Due to the competitive qualifications of admitted students into the program, the majority of the those students have received competitive fellowships or graduate assistantships in recent years.
- The unique location of the program affords students to earn their degree credentials while developing experience in the policy field working for numerous policy organizations in the greater DC area. By the time many of the program's students complete their degrees, they would have earned considerable work experience.
The master's and doctoral programs provide preparation in the following areas:
- Applied analysis of contemporary education policies and policy proposals, for example: school reform, high stakes accountability, teacher quality and market-based reforms and their effects and consequences;
- Phases of the policy cycle, including problem identification, policy development, policy analysis, political decision making, policy implementation and policy evaluation;
- Analysis of the social, political, and economic contexts that influence education policies and shape their effectiveness, equity and their limitations.
- Quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation methods which are important tools for discovering what works, what doesn't, and why; and
- A substantive area of education or training chosen by each student.
Faculty are nationally recognized in their respective areas of expertise. They have many years of extensive experience working in key policy organizations including the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, National Education Association, American Council on Education, National Science Foundation, National Research Council, the World Bank, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) and other organizations that play key roles in education policy. The faculty draw on their own research and policy experience when teaching and supervising graduate students' study and research. They are committed to challenging and mentoring students to prepare them for the improvement of education in this country and abroad.
The diverse students come from across the country and around the globe, bringing a wide range of professional experience, skills, and contacts. Most students work while they are enrolled in the program, and many have secured entry-level professional jobs in major education policy organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education, the College Board, National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, American Institutes for Research (AIR), The Urban Institute, the Center on Education Policy, The U.S. Government Accountability Office, as well as several offices of the U.S. Senate and House Representatives. Those not working full-time usually elect to take an internship in an organization engaged in education policy research/evaluation.
The classes are scheduled in the late afternoons and evenings, on Monday through Thursday, to accommodate students who are working or engaged in internships during the day. Each course meets just once a week for two hours. Master's level classes average about 10 -20 students. Doctoral level classes average 8-12. The classes focus on both understanding essential knowledge and developing policy skills. There is considerable discussion in the classes.
Recent graduates have accepted positions at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, Congressional Research Services, National Governors Association, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Center on Education Policy, Council of Great City Schools, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, Maryland Department of Education, New York City Department of Education, The World Bank, The U.S. Congress, The American Council on Education, The Aspen Institute, the Brazilian Ministry of Education, Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. They are involved in developing, analyzing, implementing and evaluating new education policies.