Graduate College of Education

The Graduate College of Education (GCOE) is home to a dedicated group of faculty, staff, and students whose focus is on serving the students and families of the Bay Area, and whose commitments are to social justice and change for good. Through our undergraduate, credential, and graduate programs, we prepare professionals who consistently make a positive difference in education and in students’ lives and whose impact is meaningful and lasting.

We are a college with deep roots. The oldest college on the campus, the GCOE was founded in 1899 as the San Francisco State Normal School, and became San Francisco State Teachers College in 1921. Those deep roots ground us in long-standing relationships with districts, clinics, agencies, and schools where our candidates connect with a diverse population of students and families, and where our alumni have long careers.

We are also a college committed to examining our long-standing practices, to changing and dismantling what is unjust and racist, and to building equitable and just systems that welcome and advance all students.

Statement of Purpose

The GCOE develops transformative and visionary educators, clinicians, and leaders for social justice, to effect change for good across the Bay Area and beyond, and to create an engaged, and productive democracy. Together we do the work necessary to understand and welcome all; prepare equity-focused, caring, and highly skilled professionals; to identify and dismantle racist, ableist, and oppressive systems; and to build an equitable and accessible present and future.

GCOE Guiding Commitments

Social Justice

We embrace equity and social justice in our university and across our community by critically examining our routines and practices and addressing our biases to make social change; by doing what’s right, just, and equitable; by consulting with Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) faculty, staff, and students in actively articulating and holding an anti-racist, anti-ableist, and anti-oppressive stance; and by disrupting and dismantling injustice that impacts marginalized groups (i.e. people of color, LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, new and undocumented immigrants, multilingual communities, people from low socio-economic backgrounds, people who identify as gender non-conforming, people who identify as neurodivergent) in complex, intersecting ways. We enact our commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement and to other movements that challenge institutionalized discrimination against historically marginalized communities.

Student Support

We know and support our candidates into, throughout, and beyond their experience in our college so that they know they are welcome and valued. We connect with high school and undergraduate students and remove barriers to accessing education careers. We ensure that our candidates matriculate and complete their degrees and credentials without obstacles, in a timely manner, and that they experience the GCOE as their professional home.

Community and Collaboration

We build and embrace a professional community and school culture with an ethic of care by working together, collaborating, creating a sense of belonging, and knowing each other. Our intent is to approach colleagues and candidates from a place of care and humility, seeking to understand and respect all, and modeling this with and for future educators. We recognize that all colleges across the university are engaged in preparing future educators and that collaboration is essential in meeting all of the goals outlined in our interdisciplinary mission.

Culturally Sustaining and Inclusive Pedagogy

We implement inclusive teaching and learning with culturally sustaining pedagogy. All learners are integrated within early intervention programs, home, clinic, school, rehabilitation, and community settings for optimal and shared learning; teaching and learning incorporate students’ cultures, languages, backgrounds, histories, and lived experiences.

Content Knowledge

We hold high expectations for disciplinary content knowledge for each of our candidates, in each program, so they become professionals who are fluent in their content; who are proficient in teaching, therapy, service; who facilitate access to technology and digital tools; and who inspire all students to learn. We bridge programs and departments with practices that build shared content knowledge and pedagogical skills across disciplines.

Clinical Practice

We develop and sustain partnerships to locate preparation in schools, clinics, and agencies for as much of the school year as possible, to give candidates deeper and more meaningful experiences leading to their readiness to assume professional responsibilities. We give them the tools to teach their students critical thinking and how to work through the challenges of practice in a variety of environments. Our candidates have a positive impact on students’ learning birth-to-adult through their service, teaching, advocacy, interactions, care, and support in collaboration with their mentors.

Current Research

We teach and practice theories of learning, behavior, and development with a sociocultural perspective based on current research on learning that reflects a diversity of scholarship and cultures, and that takes a critical stance to make clear white supremacist assumptions within many developmentalist theories.

Inquiry and Scholarship

We engage in critical inquiry and continuous improvement as we question the status quo and the historical or familiar; we seek to improve our practice and outcomes using data in an improvement cycle (plan, do, study, act); faculty research and scholarship is an essential activity that advances knowledge in our fields, is interdisciplinary, and fosters mentoring of student researchers.

Operations and Governance

We recognize that colleges of education have historically been white institutional spaces, and we work to change that through our organizational practices. We operate using organizational practices and shared governance structures that promote fair and efficient practices, and trustworthy stewardship of resources in support of students, staff, and faculty. Our recruitment and hiring processes lead to increased diversity and representation in the college. We ensure that communications are widely shared through media that are accessible to all.


As a professional and licensing organization, we meet or exceed all program and unit standards to maintain our good standing, and to ensure that our graduates experience the best while they are with us and are well prepared for their professional careers.

GCOE Scholarships

Numerous scholarships are offered by the Graduate College of Education and are open to all students in the graduate college. Visit SF State Academic Works to search for all scholarship opportunities and also apply online.

For Graduate Fellowship Opportunities, please visit

Doctoral Programs

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is an intensive multidisciplinary three-year program implemented at SF State to accommodate the needs of working professionals and maximize the use of multidisciplinary faculty expertise in the San Francisco Metropolitan Bay Area. The program aims to prepare outstanding educational leaders. The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership immerses its students in an exploration of critical challenges that pre – K-12 school district and community college educational leaders must grapple with while providing enriching educational opportunities available only in dynamic urban and transitioning communities.

The Special Education Joint Doctoral program, which offers the Ph.D., is designed to prepare candidates for leadership positions in special education. By combining the complementary resources of San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley, these programs are designed to provide a greater breadth and depth of preparation in the field of special education. Students completing this degree program are prepared to serve in a variety of roles, including administration, research, and college and university teaching.

Master's of Science Degree in Communicative Disorders

  • Communicative Disorders, to prepare for professional practice, research, and leadership as a Speech-Language Pathologist in school, community, clinical and medical settings. Completion of the program prepares candidates for certification by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, licensing by the State of California, and the Speech Language Pathologist Services Credential by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Master's of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction

  • Curriculum and Instruction, to equip teachers with knowledge of current research in education and culturally responsive pedagogical practices to support their work in diverse school settings. 

Master's of Arts Degree in Special Education

  • Special Education, for competence in research and leadership skills in working with people with disabilities in the program's five emphasis areas, including early childhood special education, mild/moderate disabilities, moderate/severe disabilities, orientation and mobility, and visual impairments. The degree program prepares individuals to work in schools and other educational settings, in public and private agencies serving people with disabilities, and in other related human services fields.

Master's of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education

  • Early Childhood Education, for greater competence in teaching nursery school, kindergarten, and primary grades.

Master's of Arts Degree in Educational Administration and Leadership

  • Educational Administration for positions as a consultant, curriculum coordinator, supervisor of designated subjects, supervisor of designated services, and school principal or administrator.

Master's of Arts Degree in Education: Concentrations in Special Interest

  • Education: Special Interest, an interdepartmental program for developing competence in designated specialized aspects of teaching such as research, evaluation, human relations in education, adult education, the foundations of education, and human development and learning.

Master's of Arts Degree in Equity and Social Justice Education

  • Equity and Social Justice in Education addresses issues of language, culture, ethnicity, and gender diversity in education, enabling graduates to work on related issues in public education, non-profit groups, public service, and private organizations.

Master's of Arts Degree in Instructional Design and Technology

  • Instructional Technologies, for personnel in schools, instructional materials centers, and industry.


The most common class is the lecture-discussion; there also are many seminars, workshops, clinical courses with individual attention, supervised internship and field experiences, and individually planned field studies and theses. For those students in teacher education, courses emphasize the relationship between school practice and findings from educational research and the psychological and social foundations of education. For those students with human service and professional development goals, courses emphasize the interrelationship between the concepts and research underlying the discipline or field of endeavor and the acquisition of professional roles through directed practice experiences. Requirements for most programs, except for internships, can be met through late afternoon, evening, and summer courses.

Advising and Student Support Services

The Cahill Learning Resources and Media Lab in Burk Hall 319 is available to all GCOE students for quiet study, EdTPA equipment and training, assessment material, CSET/CBEST/RICA test preparation material, computer terminals, and printing. Candidates seeking teaching credentials may go directly to the Credential and Graduate Services Center, BH 244 for credential application and processing information. Students should confer with their advisor frequently to develop and maintain a working relationship based on direct acquaintance. These conferences, along with formal records, help to provide a basis for planning and assessing student programs.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science

  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences 12201


  • Education
  • Special Education

Master of Arts

  • Curriculum and Instruction 08011
  • Early Childhood Education 08231
  • Education
    • Concentrations in
      • Special Interest Area (Interdepartmental) 08993
  • Educational Administration and Leadership 08271
  • Equity and Social Justice Education 08131
  • Instructional Design and Technology 08992
  • Special Education 08081

Master of Science

  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences 12201

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

  • P-12 08272
  • Community College 08273

Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Concentration in Special Education 08081

Graduate Certificate Programs

  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences)
  • Autism Studies (Department of Special Education)
  • Inclusive Early Childhood Practices (Department of Special Education)
  • Training Systems Development (Department of Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies)

College Administrative Officers

Title Officer Office Telephone
Dean of the College Dr. Cynthia Grutzik BH 501 338-2687
Associate Dean Dr. Tamara Spencer BH 505 338-3054

College Directory

Department/Program Chair/Director Office Telephone
Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional TechnologiesDr. Deborah CurtisBH 239338-2614
Elementary EducationDr. Ali BorjianBH 199338-1838
Secondary EducationTBATBATBA
Special EducationDr. Amber FriesenBH 156(415) 338-7654
Speech, Language and Hearing SciencesDr. Laura EpsteinBH 115338-1058