Special Education and Disability Studies

GSEHD prepares 21st century scholar-leaders to work within clinical settings, schools, and communities to meet the diverse needs of children and youth with disabilities. GSEHD offers a variety of specialized programs across the developmental span, from birth through young adulthood. Our programs equip students with the expertise to promote inclusion and equity for all learners, engage in culturally responsive collaboration with families, and implement strength-based and evidence-based interventions. Students can choose from a wide array of programs aligned with their specialized interests within the field of special education and disability studies. GSEHD's high touch programs allow each graduate student to benefit from high quality mentorship and gain the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference for people with disabilities in schools and communities.


Doctorate Degree


Master's Degrees


Graduate Certificates


Student Stories

Dr. Brian Ernest, Ed.D

Graduating from GW’s Programs for Teaching Students with EBD in 2009, I felt prepared to make a difference in the lives of students struggling in the classroom. I learned so much from the professors in the program: how to defuse a conflict cycle, different ways of thinking about student behavior, and evidence-based teaching practices. However, it was the application of these concepts in my daily work in a high school serving students with significant emotional and behavioral challenges that solidified these concepts. Because I was able to apply the information I learned on Tuesday evening in my Behavior Management class in my own classroom on Wednesday morning, I was able to see the power of effective teaching practices in action. I saw my students grow, both academically and emotionally.

After teaching for several more years and serving as a cooperating teacher for the program, I made the tough decision to leave the classroom and start my doctoral work at GW. I was fortunate enough to be able to work for The Programs for Teaching Students with EBD as a research associate, adjunct faculty, and university supervisor. Even though I wasn’t in my own classroom, I was able to help shape the experience of student teachers learning to work with this very special population of students.

Today, I am an assistant professor at Montana State University Billings teaching courses in classroom management and special education. I am infusing a great deal of what I learned in The Programs for Teaching Students with EBD into my courses here. My sincerest desire is to engage and inspire my current students as much as the professors at GW did for me in The Programs for teaching Students with EBD.


Samantha Klein, M.A.

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 GSEHD. 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.

Without the ISTS program, I can truly say, I would not be where I am today. 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.

Everything I learned throughout the ISTS program was and continues to be directly applicable to my day-to-day work with students and teachers. GSEHD built the foundation for my emerging leadership in the field.