The George Washington University

Cultivate Extraordinary Classrooms

The online Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners is one of only eight programs in the country that prepares educators to meet the cultural, language, social and learning needs of a growing number of culturally and linguistically diverse students.

The master’s program is nationally recognized by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and leads to certification in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and special education (SPED).


The program emphasizes culturally responsive instruction, assessment and service practices in order to prepare you to distinguish and differentiate appropriately between students with a disability and students who are in the process of second language acquisition.

On-Campus Program
Click here for information about the campus program offering.

Program Highlights

The online 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.

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

  • Theory-to-Practice Model: GW offers a progressive curriculum based on cutting-edge research paired with field experience to create teachers who have the knowledge and skills to effectively understand and address the cultural, linguistic, social, and learning needs of students.
  • Applied Coursework Focusing on Policy and Research: The topics covered throughout the program utilize real-world examples and provide frameworks that are immediately actionable in the classroom. 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.
  • 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. Upon graduation you will be prepared to work with students who have disabilities and those in the process of second language acquisition.
  • Scholar-Practitioner Faculty: Learn from faculty members who are current in the field, share their real world experiences and provide a diverse perspective on the field.
  • Networking Opportunities: The program’s practical curriculum enables you to develop close working relationships with faculty experts and peers as you gain the skills that will not only advance your career, but the education of your students.


The 33-credit master’s degree can be completed in as little as 1.5 years.


Courses (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)

Career Outlook 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Special Education job growth will reach 6% overall by 2022*. Better screening and identification of various disabilities in children are expected to increase the demand for special education services. In addition, children with disabilities are being identified earlier and enrolled into special education programs, increasing the need for special education preschool teachers with job growth expected to reach 16% by 2022*.


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

Other Programs

Graduate Certificate in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

GW also 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.


The Certificate program is designed to enhance the skills of current teachers in their classroom. Based on a holistic model that shows the inter-relationships of the school, home and community, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. This understanding is achieved by providing you with academic foundations of current research, theory and data-driven best practices for teaching and responding to the unique needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students with or without exceptionalities.


Graduate Education Master’s Programs

GW also offers online Graduate Education Master’s programs that prepare students in the fields of teaching, leadership and administration and education technology.

About GW 

As one of the nation’s first major universities to launch online programs, the George Washington University (GW) provides students from all backgrounds — and all locations around the world — with the highest quality online educational opportunities.

Why You Should Earn Your Degree at GW

GW prepares you to lead in research and policy, as well as practice in the fields of teaching, counseling, administration, human and organizational learning, and education policy. The school also offers opportunities for experienced professionals to enrich their education and advance their career.

  • The Graduate School of Education and Human Development is ranked among the Best Online Education Schools for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Strong legacy of transforming students into change agents
  • Unparalleled educational approach that integrates intellectual discovery and interactive learning

Transformation Begins Here

Contact an Admissions Advisor for more information at (844) 386-7323 or complete the form to the right.


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