At the heart of GW's mission of advancing the public good, GSEHD applies research, policy, and practice to society's toughest challenges. Education is the principal determinant of economic prosperity and freedom and key to fulfilling America's promise of equity and justice. We are making a difference by advancing opportunity for personal, social, and economic progress.

Dean Michael Feuer

Dean Feuer speaks to GSEHD faculty and student in lobby

At the heart of GW's mission of advancing the public good, GSEHD applies research, policy, and practice to society's toughest challenges. Education is the principal determinant of economic prosperity and freedom and key to fulfilling America's promise of equity and justice. We are making a difference by advancing opportunity for personal, social, and economic progress.

Dr. Michael Feuer
Dean, Graduate School of Education and Human Development



Our Vision

Education is the greatest determinant of improved quality of life for individuals and society. GSEHD prepares leaders for the many professions that advance teaching, learning, and human development as essential ingredients in the recipe for expanded opportunity and social and economic progress.


GSEHD's Driving Mission

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 that: Engages in scholarly inquiry that raises the level of academic excellence by enriching theory, policy, and practice across the life-span; Promotes leadership, diversity, learning, and human development reflective of changing global societies; Creates public and private partnerships; and Advocates continuous self-examination and critical analysis towards excellence.


Our Core Values

Today’s political climate has created new uncertainties, tensions, and anxieties for our students, faculty, and staff. As we go about our work in this stressful environment, I believe it is helpful to keep GSEHD’s and GW’s core values and principles in mind ... It is my hope that in GSEHD we will:

  • Reinforce our commitment to civility and respect;
  • encourage our learning community to promote social progress through education;
  • double-down on our insistence that factual knowledge and credible research evidence are needed inputs to improved education policy and practice; and
  • protect all our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, assumed or known political leaning, citizenship status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity—as members of the GSEHD family.

- Dean Michael Feuer

Read Dr. Feuer's full statement regarding our values >




Small School. Major Research University.

GSEHD offers a small school experience with intimate classes—often with 10 or fewer students— easy access to faculty, and a strong sense of community. Our size only enhances the amount and quality of research being conducted by our faculty and students.

Students also have access to the resources of a Carnegie R1 research university, including diverse research labs, student groups, libraries, and cross-collaborative initiatives between schools.

GW's membership in Association of American Universities (AAU) recognizes its commitment to research, quality education, and innovation.

Research Highlights




Partnering to Achieve Shared Purposes

Our mission to prepare informed leaders is supported by partnerships with more than 150 public and private K-12 schools, early childhood centers, higher education institutions, hospitals, mental health clinics, and museums and cultural organizations, not only in the D.C. metro area, but across the country and around the world. Some examples include the Smithsonian Institution, National Institutes of Health, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, UNESCO, Peace Corps, Catholic Charities, New York State Education Department, Northern Virginia Family Service, and Western Galilee College in Israel.

Alumna Shareen Dash in front of Smithsonian Institution sign

Creating Engaging Museum Spaces

GSEHD’s Museum Education program prepares graduates to advance the missions of museums and mold them into places for lifelong learning. Through longstanding partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution and other museums, students complete internships that give them opportunities to apply educational, administrative, and leadership skills.

Alumnus standing in front of elementary class smiling down at student

Career Pathway for Alexandria City Public Schools

Our Early Childhood Special Education program is honored to partner with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) to provide a pathway from degree to career for special educators. Participants will work as ACPS instructional assistants, with an opportunity to advance to special education teacher roles in the second year, while completing the master's program. Read more >


Influencing Policy and Practice

Social progress depends undoubtedly upon education. But what do we mean by "education"? At GSEHD, we examine all the ways humans learn, from early childhood through professional development. Then we search for ways to translate our research into policy and practice that move society forward—from teacher preparation to classroom instruction to administrative strategy. We strive to maximize human potential, inside the classroom and beyond. Yes, it's an ambitious endeavor. But when you're situated in the midst of the nation's key policymakers, it's an obligation that comes with the territory.





A Passion for Changing the World

GW attracts people who want to make a difference in the world. At GSEHD, we leave our mark by forming partnerships and community relationships, by strengthening ties to underserved communities, by tackling critical issues in our society, and by promoting education as the key to economic prosperity, personal dignity, mental health, and well-being. Our commitment to giving back to local and global communities means that students have unique "only at GW" opportunities to interact with and learn from the most influential leaders of our time.

Maha Malik smiles for camera with ocean in the background in Paris during UNESCO fellowship

Global Knowledge

Our UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development—one of just 21 Chairs in the US and one of three in schools of education—brings exciting opportunities for research, outreach, teaching, and international collaboration. The UNESCO Fellows program provides internships at UNESCO field offices, most recently in Bangkok, Jakarta, Paris, and Hamburg.

Dr. Natalie Milman speaks to student seated at table

Community Mental Health Outreach

GSEHD’s Community Counseling Services Centers, located on the Foggy Bottom and Alexandria campuses, provide low-cost counseling services to children, adults, couples, and families in the D.C. area. The centers are clinical training facilities for graduate-level students, working under faculty supervision.

Hispanic male teacher leans on doorway with class in the background

Improving Azerbaijan’s Education Systems

GSEHD partnered with the Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University (ASPU) to offer a master's program to the country's top aspiring education leaders. Students will learn skills in research and policy to improve local school systems. The program focuses on leadership and change management, international education, and policy analysis and development.



From Classroom to Workplace

Our practical, real-world curriculum is designed to empower students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom into the workplace—often the very next day. GSEHD students work or intern in some of Washington, D.C.’s most influential and prestigious organizations, as well as in research labs across GW, and in local school districts and organizations. For example:



History of GSEHD  |  120 Years of Education Excellence

Since 1904, GW has offered coursework in the field of education. With fewer than a dozen faculty at first, the education division became the Teachers' College in 1909, and then eventually the School of Education in 1928, with departments of education, educational psychology and home economics. In 1933, the School of Education started to offer doctoral programs.

After World War II, many returning G.I.’s and retired military officers, some of whom were already trained in mathematics and science, attended GW to earn degrees in education, giving them entry to second careers. Many of these graduates quickly rose to become principals and superintendents to the generation of baby-boomers, thus providing a ready-made network for placing subsequent generations of GW teacher-trainees.

In the late '60s the school sought and received government funding for its new special education program, and later reached out to the community by training counselors as well as teachers. In 1977 the name was again changed to the School of Education and Human Development.

In 1994, the school became Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) when it transitioned to a more focused mission on graduate education. Today, GSEHD’s programs are organized within five departments: Counseling and Human Development, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Educational Leadership, Human and Organizational Learning, and Special Education and Disability Studies. These departments house master's, education specialist, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs.



Take the Next Step In Your Career

There's so much more to learn about what awaits you at GSEHD. Learn more about why our graduate programs are a great value and a good fit to help you meet your career goals.

Learn More about GSEHD and the Admissions Process