Master's in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services

Empowering Youth. Collaborating for Change.

Become an advocate for at-risk youth and youth with disabilities, inspiring and empowering them to make successful life transitions through high school to post-secondary education, employment, and independent adulthood. With a Master's in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services from GW, you will become a data-driven change agent in youth engagement in learning, leadership, and advocacy to improve life outcomes.

In this program, you will engage in interactive learning where you apply what you know to design strategies for development programs that inspire youth to envision, own and lead their own futures—including careers, education, and living a happy and fulfilling life. With a strong focus on social justice, you will gain critical knowledge of legislative requirements and research, as well evidence-based practices and experience gained through a hands-on internship.

 

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Accessible + Flexible
Complete the program fully online, wherever you are in the world. Voluntary synchronous sessions are scheduled 4 times throughout the semester in the evenings to accommodate working professionals, which are recorded for those who are unable to participate.

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Professional Leadership Development
Using a “train-the-trainers” leadership component enables you to be recognized by your organization as a “transition leader” with respect to best practices, programming and service standards within the industry.

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Scholar-Practitioner Faculty
Receive 1:1 mentorship and course delivery from leading faculty in the field that bring diverse professional experiences in the K-12 and adult service systems.


 

 

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Exciting News! We’re thrilled to announce that the Master's in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services and the Graduate Certificate in Transition Special Education at GW have received accreditation from the prestigious Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Career Development and Transition (CEC/DCDT)! This achievement places GW in an elite league, as we become only the fifth program in the entire country to offer students this National Certification.

What does this mean for you?

Graduates are now eligible for the highly coveted DCDT Transition Specialist Certificate, opening doors to incredible career opportunities in special education and transition services.

Our program stood out among the rest! Reviewers couldn’t help but praise our exceptional curriculum and syllabi. They said, “It was a pure pleasure reviewing your staff’s curriculum vita and your 10 syllabi for your most impressive secondary transition program. You did an excellent job of demonstrating how the various CEC/DCDT Transition Standards were met in each of your syllabi, as well as how clearly the assessments for each course related to those standards!”

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to advance your career and make a real difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities. Join us at GW and be part of a transformative journey in the field of secondary transition services!

 

 

The GW Advantage

Through its affiliation with the Transition Discoveries Initiative, GW’s ISTS program is a leader in bridging the gap between research and practice through local, state and national partnerships. Unique among online programs, our program leverages its robust network of nation-wide partnerships to provide all students with a field-based internship. In these experiences, students work 1:1 with a faculty mentor to identify and solve complex problems in the field by collaborating with youth, their families, and a range of transition stakeholders.

Students also collaborate with fellow peers from across the country, faculty, and industry experts to take on new frontiers in transition services through project-based learning experiences.

 

 

 

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 Program at a Glance

Degree Awarded:

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in the Field of Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services

Department:

Special Education and Disability Studies

Course Delivery:

Online

Program Entry:

Fall

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower dedicated individuals with the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to transform the lives of transitioning youth and their families. Through our applied curriculum, we are committed to fostering the next generation of professionals who will champion systems change, promote youth success, and drive impactful transitions to adulthood. Our mission is to equip our students with the tools to empower youth, engage families, and collaborate with stakeholders, all while staying at the forefront of evidence-based practices. Together, we aim to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve and inspire positive change in our communities.

Curriculum
The following requirements must be fulfilled: 30 credits in required courses and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.
Required
SPED 6210 Universal Design for Learning and Assessment
SPED 6214 Applied Research in Secondary Transition Practices
SPED 6222 Leadership in Disability Public Policy
SPED 6230 Person-Centered Assessment Practices (taken for 3 credits)
SPED 6231 Evidence-Based Instructional Practices in Secondary Transition
SPED 6233 Culturally Responsive Curriculum in Special Education
SPED 6235 Person-Centered Career Development Practices and Outcomes
SPED 6236 Foundations of Transition Discoveries Youth Driven Practice
SPED 6255 Collaboration with Diverse Youth, Families, and Stakeholders
SPED 6995 Secondary Transition Leadership Internship
Comprehensive examination
Successful completion of a comprehensive examination is required of all students.
Program Outcomes
ISTS program graduates in regalia pose at graduation

Join our program and be the driving force behind positive change in the lives of transitioning youth, their families, and the broader community.

  • Champion Systems Change: Equip yourself with the skills to drive systems change through meaningful engagement with youth, families, and stakeholders. Be a catalyst for positive transformation in the field.
  • Empower Youth Success: Enhance your knowledge in career development, youth leadership, and self-determination to empower young individuals to achieve post-school success.
  • Drive Transition Excellence: Develop competencies in transition and career assessment practices, leading to more effective transition planning, increased employment rates, and success in post-secondary education for youth.
  • Harness Family Engagement: Discover the power of family engagement and collaboration across systems to support transitioning youth and their families as they prepare for adult life. Build the capacity needed to make a real difference.
  • Master Curriculum Design: Enrich your expertise in curriculum design using evidence-based practices, ensuring you’re equipped with the best tools for effective education.
  • Stay Ahead of Trends: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends in promoting employment for transitioning youth with disabilities. Your knowledge will be at the forefront of industry advancements.
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 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 education@gwu.edu 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 Summer and Fall 2024. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

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

 

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

 

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 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 online Master's in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services program is $975 per credit hour. This program requires 30 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 >

 

 

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The ISTS program’s tools, resources, coursework, and connections have been invaluable to my career. The program has prepared me to lead a team of Secondary Transition Specialists who provide professional development and technical assistance with the goal of impacting postschool outcomes of students with disabilities.”

SAMANTHA KLEIN
Director of Special Projects within Exceptional Student Services, Arizona Dept. of Education

 

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GSEHD'S ISTS program is the reason I have a holistic approach to Transition services. It helped me to feel empowered as a change agent in Denver Public Schools to take concrete steps to develop Special Education Transition programming, services, activities and case management approaches that put young adults and families first in everything. I feel proud to be part of the 18-21 transition services staff for the Contemporary Learning Academy Self-Determination Center at the Village.

COURTNEY KALLAS
Master's in ISTS

 

 

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 Career Outlook


Prepare to move ahead in your career as a transition specialist with the qualifications to work across multiple disciplines. This program will help open you up to a wide variety of positions in the field. Within special education, transition services is a widely growing area. Public vocational rehabilitation professionals and Centers for Independent Living are now mandated under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 to provide extensive transition services. Earning your master's degree in ISTS from GW prepares you to meet these legislative changes by expanding your knowledge and skills to provide youth with disabilities services that improve their post-school outcomes.

ISTS Career Opportunities
principal sits behind desk, student writes on paper on desk
  • Career assessment specialists
  • Career counselors
  • Case managers
  • Job development specialists
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Secondary special educators
  • Supported employment specialists
  • Transition specialists
  • Vocational evaluators
Potential Employment Settings
Students participate in panel conversation at conference; one person speaking by podium, others seated behind table; PowerPoint presentation in the background
  • Adult services agencies
  • Career one-stop centers
  • Centers for Independent Living
  • Community providers
  • High schools and technical schools
  • Local and state education agencies
  • Medicare waiver providers
  • Parent/youth advocacy organizations
  • Public and private vocational rehabilitation providers
  • University settings

 

 

Program Faculty

Dr. Joan Kester

Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-1534
Dr. Elisabeth Kutscher

Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

 

 

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