Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

Make a Positive Impact in Diverse Classrooms

Enhance your skills to meet the needs of students with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and those with varying social and learning abilities with a Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners from the George Washington University (GW).

In this certificate program, you will focus on the inter-relationships of school, home and community to improve the quality of education for children with diverse needs. A holistic approach to the curriculum utilizes the latest research, theory and data-driven best practices to prepare you to empower and improve the quality of learning for children with diverse needs.


Special Education Certificate Courses

GW's Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners consists of 18-credit hours and can be completed in 1 year.

Curriculum (18 credit hours)

CORE COURSES (6 credit hours)

  • SPED 6276 Academic and Psychosocial Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students (3 credits)
  • SPED 6277 Teaching the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student with Special Needs: Methods, Materials and Classroom Management (3 credits)

ELECTIVE COURSES (12 credit hours) – Select 4 courses

  • SPED 6266 The Development of Language in Young (exceptional) Children (3 credits)
  • SPED 6268 Development of Children with Disabilities (3 credits)
  • SPED 6272 Strategies for Inclusion: Addressing Needs of Special Populations (3 credits)
  • SPED 6275 The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student with Disabilities: Policy, Research, and Trends (3 credits)
  • CPED 6221 Developmental Reading: Emergent Literacy (3 credits)
  • CPED 6551 Second Language Instruction: ESL Methods (3 credits)
  • CPED 6556 Linguistic applications in instruction for ESL/Diverse Populations (3 credits)
  • CPED 6627 Teaching Reading and Writing in ESL (3 credits)

Certificate Outcomes

Successful completion of this graduate certificate will prepare you to understand the impact of students’ needs on classroom learning. Through applied coursework, you will build the academic foundation while learning appropriate methodologies necessary to develop individualized instruction plans and help culturally and linguistically diverse students succeed in your classroom.

Assistant Professor
(202) 994-1509
Career Outlook

Career Outlook

The Master's in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners from the George Washington University (GW) prepares you for a career in a variety of roles in special education, including diversity coordinator, early K-12 teacher or instructional coach for a wide range of educational systems.

Within this field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job growth of 6% over the next ten years 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. This is increasing the need for special education preschool teachers with job growth expected to reach 16% by 20221, of which there is a particular demand for special education teachers who possess the skills to teach culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

  • Assessment team leaders for special education for culturally and linguistically diverse learners
  • Compliance coordinators
  • Curriculum development for special education and/or ELL Students
  • Diversity coordinators
  • Early- K-12 ESOL teachers
  • Early- K-12 special education teachers
  • IEP team leaders
  • Instructional coaches and leaders
  • Policy research
  • Special education and/or ESOL school team leaders

Potential Employment Settings

  • Alternative schools
  • Curriculum development and publishing companies
  • General education schools
  • P-12 charter, public, private schools
  • Residential or correctional facility schools
  • Tutoring company

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, on the Internet at


Master’s Program Offered

GW offers a Master’s in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners (campus or online). Students pursuing the Graduate Certificate have the option to transfer all 18 credit hours into the Master's program.



    Program Entry: Summer, Fall
    Prerequisites: Bachelors Degree
    Campus: Main Campus, Online

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Application Fee

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

We encourage you to apply as early as possible for the next available start term. Please contact the admissions team with any questions.

Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners located on campus (202-994-9283) or online (202-994-9283) and

In the News

In March, Dr. Doran Gresham conducted a series of workshops on “Inclusive practices through models of co-teaching" for the Division of Special Services in the US Virgin Islands. These sessions were attended by teachers, administrators and curriculum developers for the school district in St. Croix. Educators walked away with hands-on activities and ideas to boost student engagement, rigor and the relevance of cross-curricular content in co-taught classrooms."

On March 3rd, Dr. Doran Gresham and GSEHD doctoral student Mary Bonnell (Special Education and Disability Studies) led a teacher workshop at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities and Diversity in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dr. Doran Gresham and GSEHD alumna Dr.

For more information, please request information or contact our admission office at or 202-994-9283.