AU School of Education

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We strive to affirm, honor, and support the lived experiences of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, multiracial, and all students, staff, and faculty of color. We strive to actively acknowledge and challenge intersectional systems of oppression, including racism, xenophobia, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, colonialism, among others. We commit to constantly engaging in self-critique and action—never resting until all School of Education (SOE) community members who experience marginalization and oppression are honored and affirmed. We strive to achieve to the following in our work: • affirm the experiences of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, multiracial, and other students, staff, and faculty of color • support inclusion and equity for all students, staff, and faculty • call out racism and acts of oppression, in all forms • commit to reflecting on our own instruction, syllabi, policies, and procedures to ensure multiple perspectives are represented, challenging ourselves and our colleagues

It is my pleasure to welcome you to SOE. As dean, I can proudly say that our school is a vibrant learning environment where faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members regularly engage in active learning, culturally responsive pedagogy, rigorous scientific discovery, passionate advocacy, and community-based engagement. Whether you decide to study online or in person, our distinguished faculty and staff work every day to achieve our vision of an antiracist and equity-driven community in which all students are given the support they need to realize their unique potential. We are proud of our diverse offerings for achieving a degree in education, like our Teacher Pipeline Project for DC students interested in teaching and our recently added executive online certificate program in antiracist school leadership. Washington, DC, is an exceptional place to pursue a degree in education because of the rich and diverse education settings that surround us—public schools, charter schools, education nonprofits, and government agencies, among others. And our work environment at AU, in every dimension, reflects both the aspirations and unlimited opportunities in teaching and learning, leadership development, policymaking, and community organizing. Joining us brings a multitude of possibilities, from observing world-class special educators in a unique lab school setting to acquiring knowledge and skills in international education policy. I hope you will discover our dedication to helping students thrive and find joy in learning. We truly believe that education is a social determinant of various aspects of our lives—health and nutrition, justice, community development, and economic stability. This commitment is evidenced by our interdisciplinary approach to learning and our graduates’ accomplishments in diverse career fields. Life at SOE is full of excitement, and most important, it’s a place where classrooms come alive with purpose through conversation, collaboration, and hands-on experiences. I hope you’ll join us! Best,

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, PhD

SOE acknowledges that Washington, DC, is the traditional territory of Nacotchtank/ Anacostan/Piscataway people. We honor this legacy and find inspiration from this land. More information about this acknowledgment can be found at


OUR MISSION To create knowledge and prepare students to transform societies through education.

Are you ready to raise your hand with us? At SOE, we pursue causes we care deeply about: culturally responsive pedagogy, antiracist policy and leadership, international education, equity, and creating environments where all students thrive. Our aim is not just to educate, but to bring equity to education. Through hands-on learning in the nation’s capital, rigorous research, and excellent teaching, we prepare our students for successful and purpose-driven careers as educators, policy makers, and leaders. SOE is here to help you put educational theory into practice. We work with you to address disparities in education and change the trajectory of student lives. We recognize worldchanging passion and help you channel it back into the world where it can make a difference.

TRANSFORMING THE FIELD OF EARLY LITERACY DR. VIVIAN MARIA VASQUEZ is an internationally recognized professor of education who studies critical literacy, early literacy, and information communication technology. Dr. Vasquez has published 11 books and numerous book chapters and journal articles. Prior to coming to AU, Dr. Vasquez taught preschool and public school for 14 years. She has won numerous awards, including the prestigious NCTE Outstanding Elementary Educator in the English Language Arts Award (2019) and the NCTE Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award (2015).

OUR VISION The School of Education aims to be locally, nationally, and globally recognized for making a meaningful impact in the field of education through innovative teaching, research, and service. Our impact will be achieved through rigorous scholarship; advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments; advancing social justice; preparing effective educators; providing leadership in public policy arenas; and collaborating with local, national, and global communities and organizations.

PROGRAMS OVERVIEW UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS Our undergraduate degree programs offer students access to individual-focused classes that stress experiential learning and student-teaching positions in the DC area. Learn from faculty and expert practitioners who will empower you to bring equity to education.

Bachelor of Elementary Education

Minor in Education Studies

Bachelor of Secondary Education

Minor in Special Education

GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS Our master’s and doctoral degree programs offer students access to cutting-edge research, innovative partnerships with educational organizations in DC, and an engaging, progressive curriculum that prepares you to transform education for all students.

Master of Arts in Special Education: Learning Disabilities

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Master of Arts in International Training and Education Master of Education in Education Policy and Leadership Doctor of Education in Education Policy and Leadership

• Early Childhood Education (grades PK–3) • Elementary Education (grades 1–6) • Secondary Education (grades 7–12) • English for Speakers of Other Languages (grades K–12)

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS Antiracist Administration, Supervision, and Leadership Program Child Development Associate (CDA) Master’s degrees in teaching and special education lead to a DC teacher license.

INCREASING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY DR. SARAH IRVINE BELSON serves as the Executive Director of AU’s Institute for Innovation in Education. Her research explores educational opportunity for children with disabilities and teacher education policy, and her focus is on applied interventions for children at risk. She is the Principal Investigator on federal and local research grants, including the US Department of Education Early Intervention Leadership program, the Collaborative for Reading Science and Inclusive Classroom project, and the Healthy Schoolhouse.

“One of my favorite parts of the International Training and Education program has been the collaborative and supportive cohort. We all support each other whether we’re taking personal time to review each other’s work, debriefing over a coffee, or connecting someone with a job or informational interview.”


PUT THEORY TO PRACTICE Practical experience is integral to all of our programs. Whether you’re in the classroom working with world-class educators or consulting at renowned education organizations in the nation’s capital, you’ll gain the firsthand knowledge and experience to become an effective and innovative educator and leader.


Practicum and student teaching give MAT students hands-on experience in the classroom with a licensed teacher. For the practicum, they are in a classroom (matching with their intended licensure) for two full days a week for a 15-week semester. For student teaching, they are in the classroom five full days a week for the 15week semester, taking over pieces of the class until they lead it completely for the last two weeks.

PRACTICAL CONSULTANCY PROJECT MEd in Education Policy and Leadership

A distinguishing feature of the EPL program is the proseminar course. Students utilize the skills and knowledge they have learned from their previous coursework—developing a research question, collecting and analyzing data and sources, critiquing and creating education policies, and pulling from real-world experiences—to meaningfully contribute to an education organization seeking to create positive change.

CAPSTONE PROJECT MA in International Training and Education

Students work with a core faculty member to design and finish a capstone project during their final semester to help them consolidate, integrate, and advance knowledge and skills acquired through the program.

DISSERTATION IN PRACTICE EdD in Education Policy and Leadership

Doctoral students are required to complete a dissertation in practice, a culmination of their work through the program. During their residency experiences on campus, doctoral fellows will have the opportunity to work with their cohort and educational leaders to refine their research.

“What I love most about my program is how hands-on many of my classes are, the amazing advising team, and professors who truly care about seeing their students succeed to become great teachers for future generations.”


ADVANCE EQUITYDRIVEN EDUCATION From exploring the intersection of education and art to understanding and implementing antiracist practices, research is the foundation on which we build change. At SOE, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in transformative discovery and help find solutions to education’s most challenging issues.

CENTER FOR POSTSECONDARY READINESS AND SUCCESS (CPRS) CPRS concentrates its research, professional development opportunities, and knowledge dissemination on improving postsecondary opportunities for students who are historically disenfranchised and underrepresented on college campuses. Founded in 2018, the center fosters a collaborative approach to research, working alongside community partners and scholar-practitioners to increase P–12 students’ college and career readiness.

SUMMER INSTITUTE ON EDUCATION EQUITY AND JUSTICE The Summer Institute aims to change educational mindsets and practices through an annual event that centers on justice for those who are most vulnerable in schools. It builds a community of practice focused on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in the lives of marginalized youth and the communities in which they live.

PANAMA TEACH A collaborative effort between SOE and the Panama education community, this research project provides professional development to Panamanian public school teachers. The goal is to develop an evidence-based plan for in-service teachers in Panama that focuses on increasing the number of teacher-leaders who can coach and mentor other teachers.

IMPLEMENTING ANTIRACIST PRAXIS DR. ROBERT SIMMONS is a faculty member in the EdD program and education policy and leadership MEd program. His nationally recognized work focuses on the lived realities of Black students and teachers, as well as antiracist praxis in a variety of contexts, including public schools, public charter schools, and Jesuit high schools. Prior to AU, Dr. Simmons was an award-winning teacher in Detroit Public Schools, a school district senior leader, and tenured professor of urban education at Loyola University Maryland.

THE INSTITUTE FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATION (IIE) The IIE conducts educational research and administers professional development initiatives to improve teaching and learning in Washington, DC, and beyond. Projects support and engage teachers as they affirm, benefit, respect, and value traditionally underrepresented student groups. Researchers use a cross-disciplinary approach to study educational policies and interventions. Current initiatives include partnerships in early literacy intervention, STEM teacher preparation and retention, teacher wellness, and inclusive education.

COLLABORATE TO INNOVATE We cannot transform education practice and policy alone. SOE partners with leading organizations that help us shape the next generation of educators through research, teacher pipelines, enrollment programs, and more. Join our community of thinkers, innovators, and researchers who are shaping the future of education.

THE AU TEACHER PIPELINE PROJECT We’re invested in cultivating a teacher workforce that is diverse and well prepared to meet the needs of students in our home city of Washington, DC. In partnership with District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, SOE provides DC high school seniors the opportunity to enroll in AU education courses free of charge, scholarships for DC high school graduates admitted to SOE’s teacher preparation program (AU Teaching Fellows), and a five-year commitment to coaching the Teaching Fellows during their first years of teaching.

DUAL ENROLLMENT (DE) In American University’s DE program, 12th-grade DCPS students are eligible to take college courses offered by SOE. As the only program with an education focus in the Washington, DC, region, DE not only provides its participating students with access to college-level courses and prepares them for the rigor of postsecondary education, but also offers wraparound supports to help them adapt to the college environment. Up to 10 DCPS high school students are selected each academic year to participate, and the program is the first step of recruitment in the AU Teacher Pipeline.

CONFRONTING ANTI-BLACK RACISM DR. TRACI DENNIS, the program director of SOE’s undergraduate teacher prep program, is a scholar of anti-Black racism and antiracist teaching. Her teaching and scholarship supports the development of teacher candidates’ antiracist knowledge and helps them translate antiracist theories into practice in PK-12 schools, classrooms, and curriculum. Dr. Dennis is the principal investigator for a grant awarded by the Gates Foundation to support antiracist teacher preparation.

“I believe that the equity focus of American University is vital to ensuring that the next wave of educational leaders is prepared to influence policy on behalf of social justice. I admire the faculty and leaders in the program and want to stay connected to the current thinking and practice in this important work. AU is leading the way in developing equityminded educational leaders.”


ADMISSIONS All students will have a robust support team throughout the admissions process, including an academic advisor, faculty support, and resources. For more information, please visit our website at



$75 application fee or application fee waiver

$55 application fee

High school transcript(s)

Unofficial transcripts

SAT and/or ACT scores

Statement of purpose

Teacher recommendation letter


Ask your guidance counselor for the following:

Two or three letters of recommendation

Provide a recommendation letter

Academic writing sample (for EdD program only)

Complete the Secondary School Report

Send your mid-year report and mid-year grades when they become available

Applicants may be required to complete an interview or submit additional application materials. Please check our website for a detailed list of required materials for each program.

"My favorite part of my job is getting to meet the students I support in person at our residencies. They are unique and fascinating individuals who are doing important and necessary work to disrupt and transform PreK–12 education around our country."


IMPROVING EDUCATION THROUGH POLICY Prior to joining SOE, DR. JASON SNYDER served as deputy assistant secretary for policy in the US Department of Education’s office of elementary and secondary education. His teaching and research focus on education law and policy. Previously he was an education law attorney, where he advised school districts and drafted briefs in appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court. He also taught social studies in public secondary schools.

FUNDING YOUR DEGREE FINANCIAL AID American University offers a comprehensive financial aid program that recognizes academic excellence and demonstrated financial need. We work with students and their families to supplement their financial resources and make an AU education possible. Reach out to our financial aid office ( to learn more about what AU can offer you.

PARTNER SCHOLARSHIPS SOE partners with local and national organizations to offer scholarships to corps members, alumni, and staff. Receive a 29-percent discount on tuition if you’re a member, alumna/alumnus, or staff of Urban Teachers, Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, City Year, local school districts (DC and Montgomery or Prince George’s Counties), Associated Independent Schools of Greater Washington, Peace Corps, Capital Teaching Residency, AmeriCorps, JET, or Communities in Schools. Visit for additional new partnerships.

MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS Merit scholarships are available for all students who do not qualify for partnership discounts. Merit aid is determined upon admittance to the program.

ASSISTANTSHIPS Research, teaching, and program assistantships are available. Please note your interest in your application’s statement of purpose.

FOR VETERANS Your GI Bill can help pay for your degree. Please contact AU Veterans Services for more information.

“My cohort’s diverse backgrounds and areas of interest have added depth to our in-class discussions, and their insights and support have helped shape the goals I’ve set for myself as a student and as a soon-to-be first-year teacher.”


FOSTERING IDENTITY AND BELONGING THROUGH EDUCATION DR. ELIZABETH ANDERSON WORDEN is a comparative and international education scholar in our International Training and Education program. She examines how governments foster identities and belonging through education and has published widely on the subject. Her current research examines teaching citizenship in post-conflict Northern Ireland and is supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and a partnership with Ulster University. Dr. Worden served as a Peace Corps volunteer (Moldova 1997–1999).


ACCREDITATION STATEMENT The American University School of Education initial teacher preparation programs were re-accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)in November 2015. OSSE has approved the administration and school leadership certificate program to August 31, 2022.