Master's in Elementary Education

The Elementary Education M.Ed. program consists of a comprehensive and innovative series of experiences designed to develop the knowledge, skills and qualities essential for initial teaching effectiveness. The mission of the program, grounded in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development's bridging concepts—Research and Scholarship, Reflective Practice, Community Service, and Educational Leadership, is to prepare teachers who are knowledgeable in the research and scholarship of curriculum and methods of instruction; who are reflective practitioners in the integration of theory and practice; who are actively dedicated to teaching and learning in a pluralistic democracy; and who, as leaders, are eager to contribute to the national conversation about the reform of American schools and society.

The program's mission is further grounded in a conceptual framework that consists of an integrated set of three themes: knowledge, individuality, and social responsibility. These three themes provide a cohesive conceptual framework for the entire program and are reflected in all aspects of program coursework as well as in related clinical experiences. The relationship of the conceptual framework's three themes is interactive.

This master's program is approved by the office of the State Superintendent - Standards and Credentialing of the District of Columbia and is part of the GSEHD unit accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Dr. Beck was one of six GW graduates honored in 2015 with the GW Alumni Association’s highest annual award for service.

For more information about the unique features of this program, its conceptual framework, and curriculum please view, download, or print: Elementary Education. Program Plans for the 1 and 2 year options can be found here.

Read the Elementary Education Annual Newsletter.


Good teachers know the subject matter they teach; and understand the process of its construction and the impact of its use in real world settings. This extended view of knowledge establishes a base for meaningful classroom instruction in content areas.


Today’s youngsters come from a rich array of cultural and experiential backgrounds. They bring to schools a diverse set of personal, social, and academic expectations. Good teachers are attentive to students as individuals; they are also sensitive to the broader cultural context that gives shape to diversity.

Social Responsibility

Teaching is a socially significant profession that calls for a wider, moral vision extending beyond the narrowness of personal gain and private intellectual development. The education of today’s youth is connected to many crucial issues confronting the larger social order.


Why a GW Master's in Elementary Education?

  • Licensure Eligible: A one-year or two-year, intensive 33 credit program, the Elementary Education model leads to eligibility for licensure in grades 1-6. The program is approved by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
  • Internship and Immersion: Course work covers a broad array of topics from development and diversity, language and literacy to perspectives in American education. The course work strengthens the program's clinical practice in 24 partnership elementary schools in the Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland districts.

Partnership Schools

  • Alexandria City
    • James Polk
    • Samuel Tucker
  • Arlington County
    • Arlington Science Focus School
    • Glebe
    • Long Branch
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
    • Eaton, NW
    • Hyde, NW
    • Key, NW
    • Lafayette, NW
    • Langley, NE
    • Ross, NW
    • Watkins, SE
    • District of Columbia Public Charter Schools
      • Capital City Public Charter
      • DC Bilingual Public Charter
      • Yu Ying Public Charter
  • Fairfax County
    • Bailey's
    • Gunston
    • Spring Hill
  • Falls Church City
    • Thomas Jefferson
  • Montgomery County Public Schools
    • Somerset
  • Independent Schools
    • Green Acres (Montgomery County)
    • Lowell School (DC)
    • Our Savior Lutheran School (Arlington County)
    • Washington International School (DC)

Foundation Courses

CPED 6604 Perspectives in American Education
CPED 6606 Theories of Learning and Development
CPED 6608 Development and Diversity
SPED 6290 Affective Development and Behavior Management in Special Education


CPED 6410 Reading Children’s Literature across the Curriculum
CPED 6412 Elementary School Curriculum and Methods (Math)
CPED 6412 Elementary School Curriculum and Methods (Science)
CPED 6412 Elementary School Curriculum and Methods (Language Arts)
CPED 6412 Elementary School Curriculum and Methods (Social Studies)
CPED 6623 Foundations of Reading Development
EDUC 6114 Introduction to Quantitative Research


CPED 6635 Professional Internship in Elementary Education (taken for 6 credits)

Associate Professor
(202) 994-9084
Associate Professor
(202) 994-0997
Associate Professor
(202) 994-1542
Career Outlook


Our Elementary Education graduates are teaching throughout the country and the Washington DC metropolitan area. In addition to teaching, our graduates become leaders in their profession. They are:

  • Teacher Mentors
  • Cooperating Teachers
  • Gifted Resource Teachers
  • Advanced Academic Program Teachers
  • Reading Specialists
  • Early Childhood Specialists
  • School Based Technology Specialists
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Literacy Coaches
  • Mathematics Coaches


Program Entry: Summer (Full Time, 1 Year Cohort), Fall (Part Time, 2 Year Cohort)
Prerequisites: Bachelors Degree
Campus: Main Campus

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Writing sample (should consist of an academic paper written for undergraduate studies, a professional paper, or published academic or professional work with full citation)
  • Application Fee

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants

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

Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Master's in Elementary Education program located on campus (202-994-8411).

In the News

GSEHD alumna Vanessa Drumm-Canepa (master's, Elementary Education), was highlighted in The Washington Post's article, "Good things are happening at Langley Elementary. You can help." Ms. Drumm-Canepa is the principal at Langley Elementary, a DC Public School in the Eckington neighborhood, just east of North Capitol Street. Ms. Drumm-Canepa has made many improvements to Langley since starting as principal three years ago, such as introducing a program called Conscious Discipline. It’s an approach to socio-emotional learning that considers how children’s brains work and gives students the tools to “self-regulate” their behavior. Dr. Sylven Beck says, "Vanessa is a mover and shaker and has the right stuff -- we in Elementary Ed are proud to call her one of our own!"

GSEHD's Elementary Education Program joined other GW fans for the "GW College Day" at Nationals Stadium on September 6. The Elementary Ed group even made the Jumbotron (twice) at the game!

GSEHD alumna Lesley Greenstein (master's, elementary education) of Summit, NJ, was installed as President of the National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section. The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

GSEHD student Grace Siemietkowski (master's, Elementary Education) was named the winner of the 2018 John Horrworth Children’s Book Award on May 18 at the Elementary Education Program’s Class of 2018 Graduation Celebration.

Dr. Gloria Horrworth, Professor Emeritus of Reading Education, established the endowment in 2001 in memory of her son, John, who was an avid reader before his passing from leukemia at the age of 14. The endowment provides annual cash prizes to Elementary Education Program students who prevail in a children’s book writing competition. Dr. Horrworth passed away on March 30 of this year.

Kim Sloan, instructor for the program’s Children's Literature course, conducted the children's book writing project, which culminates in this annual competition with awards determined by a panel of judges. The winner receives $500, the second place winner receives $300, and honorable mentions receive $100 each. Ms. Siemietkowski won for her book Mariama. Rachel Brotman won second place for her book The ABCs of Baking. The two honorable mentions were Amanda Leibert for Still Stanley, and Kelly Wecker for Tom the Turtle Finds the Light.

Dr. Gloria Horrworth, retired professor in the field of reading education and long-serving faculty member of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), died on March 30, 2018 in Hagerstown, MD at the age of 86. Learn more about Dr. Horrworth and her contribution to GSEHD.