Master's in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services

Improving Systems through Evidence-Based Practice

The Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services (ISTS) Master’s program equips professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to empower students and young adults with disabilities in successfully transitioning to postsecondary opportunities. Through course work in transition practices, curriculum, instruction, assessment, programmatic design, applied research methods and interagency collaboration, you will develop expertise in the design, implementation and continuous improvement of transition planning and programming within schools, districts, agencies and community organizations. With students representing a diverse range of professional roles in schools, agencies and community organizations, the ISTS program provides an environment for you to collaborate and take on new frontiers in transition services with fellow students across the country.

Designed by leaders in the field of secondary special education and transition, the ISTS course of study is aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children's Advanced Transition Specialist Standards for Preparation and Practice as well as current research-based models of practice, programming and service delivery.

Through its affiliation with the Transition Discoveries Initiative, the ISTS program is a leader in bridging the gap between research and practice through local, state and national partnerships. With an interdisciplinary team of faculty and staff with expertise in teaching, employment and applied research, the ISTS program provides students with rigorous field-based opportunities to develop their skills as educators, advocates and data-driven change makers.


Why GW’s online Master’s in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services?

  • Flexible Learning: All course work is completed virtually through synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences. Synchronous sessions occur once a week in late afternoons and evenings (Monday-Thursday) to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, and for internship experiences. With the flexibility to begin in fall, spring or summer semesters, the program adjusts to your schedule and needs.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Embedded throughout the program curriculum, students have ongoing opportunities to engage in discussions and rigorous project-based learning experiences with peers, faculty and leading experts in the field of secondary transition.
  • Professional Leadership Development: The program imbeds a "train-the-trainers" leadership component enabling you to be recognized by your organization as a "transition leader" with respect to evidenced practices, programming and service delivery within K-12 education. employment and community settings.
  • Engage in Applied Research: Become a research savvy practitioner with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct, evaluate, and use inquiry to guide professional practice.
  • Scholar-Practitioner Faculty: Learning experiences and 1:1 mentorship from faculty who are current in the field and bring a diversity of professional experiences from the K-12 and adult service systems.
  • Field-Based Experiences: Unique among online programs, ISTS leverages its robust network of partnerships throughout the country to provide all students in the program 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 through collaboration with youth, families and a broad range of transition stakeholders.

The online program requires 36 credit hours of graduate course work and school and community-based internship to apply learning to field-based professional practice and research.


The following requirements must be fulfilled: 30 credits in required courses and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.


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

Career Outcomes

The online Master’s in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services is designed for passionate professionals like you who are ready to take a step forward in their careers with a challenging, practice-based online curriculum. After completing this master’s program, you will be prepared to work as a transition specialist across multiple disciplines:

  • Secondary educators (general/special education, career/tech education, guidance/career counselors)
  • Secondary transition educators (State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies, transition consultants)
  • Agency transition professionals (public and private vocational rehabilitation, community providers, career one-stop centers, Medicaid waiver providers, Centers for Independent Living, parent advocates, youth advocates)
  • University positions (disability services offices, adjunct instructors)


From the day I began the application to a year after graduating, GSEHD faculty and staff have supported every step. I can truly say I would not be where I am today without them. The Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services (ISTS) program offered tools, resources, and coursework that have allowed me to directly impact students and teachers every day. I now see myself as an emerging leader in the field because of the ISTS program.

As a Secondary Transition Specialist with the Arizona Department of Education, I have the opportunity to create and share professional development that stems from my learning at GSEHD. The ISTS program curriculum continues to be directly applicable to my day-to-day work with students and teachers.

- Samantha Klein, M.A.


Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

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


Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2023. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Priority Deadline Nov 1
Round 1 Deadline Dec 15
Round 2 Deadline Jan 16
Round 3 Deadline March 1
Round 4 Deadline May 1
Round 5 Deadline Aug 1


For more information, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now     


Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Online MA in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services program. Complete the form linked below or contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at 202-994-9283.

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