Master's in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

Cultivate Extraordinary Classrooms

Designed for teachers who are passionate about improving the quality of learning for children with diverse needs, the Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners empowers you to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of your students.

Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the George Washington University’s program is one of only eight in the country that will provide you with the latest instructional techniques and research methods needed to help ensure the success of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as those with social or learning disabilities.

This Special Education degree utilizes cutting-edge research and the field experience of our practitioner faculty to equip you with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage the changing demographics of the modern classroom. You will graduate prepared to address the cultural, language, social and learning needs of a variety of exceptional students.

Highlights

Why a GW Master’s in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners?

  • ESOL and SPED PRAXIS:You will develop a professional portfolio and are prepared to sit for the ESOL PRAXIS and SPED PRAXIS exams at the end of your program. The program prepares you to work with students who have disabilities and those in the process of second language acquisition.
  • Theory-to-Practice Model: Build the skills and knowledge to effectively understand and address the unique needs of exceptional students with a progressive curriculum and field experiences that are built around an understanding of policy, best practices and competences in the areas of assessment, lesson planning, cultural competency and teaching.
  • Applied Coursework Focusing on Policy and Research: Utilize data, research and skills obtained through real-world examples and frameworks that can be applied directly to instruction design, materials development and student assessment. Notable focus is on creating data-driven, research focused teachers who are versed in current state and national policy. Therefore, they are able to critically assess the most effective approaches for this classroom population.
  • Scholar-Practitioner Faculty Learn from faculty members who are working professionals, gaining real-world insights and diverse perspectives.
  • Curriculum

    Master’s in Special Education Courses

    GW’s Master’s in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners is a 33-credit master’s degree and can be completed in as little as 1.5 years.

    The program emphasizes theory-to-practice. The coursework and field experiences are built around an understanding of policy, best practices and competences in the areas of assessment, lesson planning, cultural competency and teaching.

    Curriculum (33 credit hours)

    • CPED 6551 Second Language Instruction (3 Credits)
    • CPED 6556 Linguistic Applications in English as a Second Language (3 Credits)
    • CPED 6627 Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing (3 Credits)
    • EDUC 6114 Introduction to Quantitative Research (3 Credits)
    • SPED 6266 The Development of Language and Literacy (3 Credits)
    • SPED 6268 Development of Children with Disabilities (3 Credits)
    • SPED 6275 The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student with Disabilities: Policy, Research, and Trends (3 Credits)
    • SPED 6276 Academic and Psychosocial Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students (taken twice, 6 credits)
    • SPED 6277 Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students with Disabilities (3 Credits)
    • SPED 6997 Internship: Educational Intervention for the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student with Special Needs (3 credits)

    Program Outcomes

    As a graduate of GW’s Master’s in Special Education program, you will be prepared to work with students who have disabilities as well as those in the process of second language acquisition, utilizing skills that span knowledge, diversity, assessment and collaboration, including:

    • Understanding the effects an exceptional condition can have on student learning
    • Developing individualized instructional plans based on a student’s abilities and needs as well learning environment, cultural and linguistic factors
    • Mastery of the major theories and research related to teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students
    • Demonstrating knowledge and skills to apply and evaluate assessment information for diverse educational decisions
    • Understanding of the legal policies and ethical principles of measurement and assessment related to referral, eligibility, program planning, instruction and placement for students
    • Ability to work collaboratively with peers, family, service providers and community agencies to improve learning and support for students
    Faculty

    Program Faculty

    Visiting Assistant Professor
    (202) 994-5817
    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.

    Special Education Career Opportunities

    • 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 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm

    Certificate

    Certificate Offered

    GW offers a Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. Should you wish to pursue the Graduate Certificate, you can transfer all 18 credit hours into the Master's program.

    In the News

    Mary Lou Donahoe (a student in GSEHD's online MA in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners) was selected as the WIDA Featured Educator (September 2016) by the New Hampshire Department of Education, Title III office. In her interview, she said, "Although I had a master's in TESOL, it covered a lot about the English language sociolinguistics and pragmatics.