Master's in Special Education for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Become an Advocate for Positive Change

Graduate students in the Special Education for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (EBD) program gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become highly qualified special educators working with a diverse population of students with learning, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

Graduates of the program will be eligible for teacher licensure in Special Education - Emotional Disturbance (ED), Learning Disability (LD), and Intellectual Disabilities (ID).

A Professional Development School (PDS) model is emphasized in the program, blending theory and practice of learning to teach, so that concepts learned in a university classroom can be applied the next day to work with students with challenging behaviors in their full-time, clinical internship in a therapeutic school setting. Read more about the role of a special education professional in meeting the needs of every learner >






Nationally Recognized & Accredited
With 20+ years of experience training exemplary educators, the EBD program is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children and accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


Classes are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals and for internship experiences. Program can be completed as a part-time or full-time student.


Leading Faculty
Faculty are experts in developmental and educational psychology, behavioral interventions, and special education. They are nationally recognized educators and clinicians with experience leading innovative work in research and practice across education and health sectors.




The GW Advantage

Unique to the the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area, our location gives students access to urban or suburban; public, charter, or private schools. This allows students to examine, compare, and contrast schools with widely different student populations, structures, and demographics.

Students complete a two-semester clinical internship at a regional partner school or at their place of employment. University faculty and staff provide supervision and individualized feedback on the teaching process as well as weekly seminars that provide a forum for professional growth and peer-driven emotional support.





 Program at a Glance

Degree Awarded:

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in the Field of Special Education for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities


Special Education and Disability Studies

Course Delivery:

Main Campus

Program Entry:

Spring, Summer, Fall

Our Mission

The mission of the Programs for Teaching Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (EBD) is first and foremost to prepare psychoeducators of the highest caliber. While this may seem to be a simplistic and generic training statement, we are committed to an organized framework of beliefs that we feel exemplify best practice.

The mission is a difficult one in the face of the challenges in today’s schools. The continuum of behaviors that students present can range from externalized explosions to internalized silence. Our program emphasizes a therapeutic approach to develop sensitivity to the complex issues concerning students who present many conflicts within themselves, their families, and society.

Our mission also guides our dedication to embracing diversity among our graduate student population. We believe that age, gender, culture, race, sexual orientation, and ethnic differences among our graduate students enhance learning.

Finally, our mission encourages research, scholarship, and leadership activities so that graduates become advocates for this population beyond the school.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 34 credits in required courses, successful completion of the master of arts in education and human development comprehensive examination, and completion of the relevant teacher licensure assessments (see below).
CPED 6224 Diagnostic Teaching of Reading: K–6
CPED 6412 Elementary School Curriculum and Methods (taken for 4 credits)
SPED 6201 Overview of Legal Issues in Educating Students with Disabilities
SPED 6202 Researching Current Trends in Special Education
SPED 6238 Issues in Educating Individuals with Learning, Emotional, and Intellectual Disabilities
SPED 6239 Teaching and Collaboration for Professionals Working with Students with Disabilities
SPED 6260 Developmental Assessment in Special Education
SPED 6288 Understanding the Characteristics and Needs of Students with Disabilities
SPED 6290 Affective Development and Behavior Management for Teaching Students with Disabilities
SPED 6990 Practicum in Teaching Students with Disabilities
SPED 6991 Internship in Teaching Students with Disabilities
Master of Arts in Education and Human Development comprehensive exam
Completion of the relevant teacher licensure assessments (i.e., PRAXIS) required by the District of Columbia Educator Licensure Services Office
Program Outcomes

Graduates of the program will be eligible for teacher licensure in Special Education - Noncategorical, Emotional Disturbance (ED), Learning Disabilities (LD), and Intellectual Disabilities (ID).

Students will learn to:

  • Provide focused strength-based instruction and individualized interventions to support students' learning and behavioral challenges.
  • Use research-based strategies to support students’ academic and socio-emotional growth.
  • Be strong advocates for the students and families they serve.

 Apply Now

GSEHD’s Office of Admissions invites you to apply for a spot in our program. Please review the following admission and financial information.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Review our step-by-step guide to applying to GSEHD >

To learn more about the program, admission process, and upcoming events, please connect with the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now    Schedule Consultation with Admissions Coach   

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.

  • Prerequisite: Bachelor's Degree

  • Resume

  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities

  • Statement of Purpose

  • One Letter of Recommendation

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

View more details about requirements   

Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2024. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Application Timeline Spring Summer Fall
Priority Deadline Aug 1 Nov 1 Nov 1
Round 1 Deadline Sept 15 Dec 15 Dec 15
Round 2 Deadline Nov 1 Jan 16 Jan 16
Round 3 Deadline Dec 15 March 1 March 1
Round 4 Deadline N/A May 1 May 1
Round 5 Deadline N/A N/A June 15
Round 6 Deadline N/A N/A Aug 1


For more information or to inquire about the next admissions cycle, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.



 Tuition & Financial Aid

We know embarking upon graduate school is a big decision - due in part to the costs of attending. At GW, we understand the time and thought behind making graduate school work for you. Please take a moment to learn more about the options and opportunities available to help fund your graduate education.

Learn more about scholarships, grants & financial aid  

Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour, unless otherwise noted. Rates vary by program and location.

The tuition rate* for the Master's in Special Education EBD program is $1,235 per credit hour.

This program requires 34 credits.

Please note: Additional fees may apply for international students, late fees, etc. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

*Summer 2024, Fall 2024 and Spring 2025

View the current fee chart   

Scholarships are available to eligible admitted students. Review eligibility requirements and learn more about funding your education >



Beneka Megginson headshot
quotation mark

My experience at GSEHD has deepened my understanding of how to teach the whole child. I can immediately apply strategies from my professors in my current classroom of 9th and 11th graders. Our professors are kind, loving, and understanding.

Master's in Special Education for Children with EBD




 Career Outlook

Graduates of this program are highly sought after for post-program employment, as well as demonstrate teacher-retention rates many times higher than the national average.

Within this field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job growth of 4% over the next ten years1 with better screening and identification of various disabilities in children increasing the demand for special education services. In addition, children with disabilities are being identified earlier and enrolled into special education programs.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Special Education Teachers, at (visited September 08, 2022).

Special Education Career Opportunities
young tutor assists middle school student on computer - Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

In addition to becoming highly effective Special Education Teachers, our graduates are prepared to take on other critical roles in the education of students with disabilities, including:

  • K-12 Special Education Teachers
  • IEP Team Leaders/Coordinators
  • Behavior Specialists
  • Educational Consultants
Potential Employment Settings
counselor works with elementary student - photo credit: Freepik

Graduates are prepared to work with children in multiple K-12 settings including:

  • Inclusive Classrooms in Public, Charter, and Private Schools
  • Self- Contained Classrooms
  • Alternative or Nonpublic Schools
  • Tutoring Companies
  • Educational Consulting Companies



Program Faculty

Dr. Doran Gresham

Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-1509
Dr. Karen Ihrig

Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-5986
Dr. Elisabeth Rice

Associate Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-1535
Dr. Beth Tuckwiller

Department Chair and Associate Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-9860



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