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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences

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Stay at the forefront of your field with the Riley College of Education and Human Sciences.

More Than 50 Years of Shaping Impactful Educators

You’re dedicated to helping learners create bright futures and big possibilities. As the Educator of Educators®, Walden shares your passion. Our online education degree programs have been refined over the years to help educators like you rediscover their purpose and make an even greater impact in the classroom and the community.

The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences is rooted in the belief that a great education makes a great educator. Every course in every program is designed to help you prepare to meet the challenges—and opportunities—of today’s evolving learning environment. You’ll also discover an outstanding support system, delivered by a university that’s been helping remote learners achieve their goals for more than 50 years.

Education Is in Our DNA

Walden was founded in 1970 by two teachers. We’ve been focused on empowering and advocating for educators since day one.

Relevant, Actionable Approach

Our programs provide practical, research-based strategies for improving student outcomes. Apply what you learn immediately.

A Focus on Social Change

Become an impactful educator who makes a difference for their students, organization, and community.

Thank You for Being Essential

Educators like you light the way forward for students—especially in uncertain times. With an advanced degree from Walden University, you can make an even greater difference in your classroom, your organization, and your community.

CAEP-Accredited Online College of Education

Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences is accredited based on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards through June 2026. This accreditation covers specific Walden initial teacher and advanced educator preparation programs, including the BS in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Special Education specialization, MS in Education – Educational Leadership and Administration specialization, and EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration. The MAT-SPED, MSED-ELA, and EdS-ELA programs were reviewed by Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs), which define content-area standards for programs, and achieved national recognition. 

CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. Walden’s College of Education and Human Sciences has earned national accreditation by demonstrating excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact, and capacity for continuous improvement. CAEP is a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized national accreditor for educator preparation. 


Kelley Costner
Kelley Costner
Interim Vice Provost

Dr. Kelley L. Costner serves as interim vice provost of the Division of Social Supports for Healthy Communities. Since 2004, Dr. Costner has served in numerous academic and faculty positions at Walden University, including dean for The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences, dean of the School of Higher Education, Leadership, and Policy in the Riley College of Education, associate dean for the college’s Administration and Postsecondary Education Division, and director of research studies for the EdD programs.

Dr. Costner’s research interests include culturally responsive pedagogy, African American learners, faculty development, and teacher attitudes and beliefs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business Administration from Morgan State University, an MEd in School Improvement Leadership from Goucher College, and a doctorate in higher education specializing in community college leadership from Morgan State University.

Sara Makris
Sara Makris
Interim Dean

Dr. Sara Makris is the dean of Walden’s School of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Studies and interim dean of The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences. Her scholarship emphasizes educational theory and inclusive teaching, with a focus on teacher identity, from secondary classrooms to higher education settings. Dr. Makris earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in the University of Maryland, College Park’s Minority and Urban Education unit. She earned her MA in Leadership in Teaching at the Notre Dame University of Maryland and her BA in liberal arts at Sarah Lawrence College.

Throughout her over 20 years of experience in education, Dr. Makris has held a variety of roles. She has taught secondary English and served as a department chair in the Baltimore City Public School System. She has served as a university supervisor for preservice teachers in Prince George’s County, Maryland, as well as teaching undergraduate and graduate courses covering topics such as diversity and inclusion in the classroom, English teaching methods, and research. Dr. Makris has developed curriculum for English language learners and a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs at Walden University, the University of Liverpool, and the University of Roehampton in London.

Dr. Makris was born and raised in Athens, Greece, and she currently lives in Philadelphia.


All other degree and certificate programs in the Riley College of Education and Human Sciences not listed below are not designed or intended to lead to licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether their program of interest may qualify for salary advancement.

Licensure Overview

States issue credentials that allow teachers and other educators (principals, superintendents, school counselors, etc.) to serve in public K–12 schools. These credentials are referred to as licenses or certificates. They are issued in specific academic areas (elementary, special education, secondary math, etc.) and grade levels (K–6, 9–12, K–12, etc.). Being licensed in a specific area means that the teacher or other education professional meets the state standards and is prepared to teach students in that area.

Walden’s Licensure-Leading Education Programs

The state board or department of education creates rules and policies that provide the specific details governing the profession, including licensing requirements. Some states also have state-specific courses or training required, so it is important to understand all of the licensing requirements for the state in which you intend reside. The programs Walden currently offers that lead to licensure are:

Frequently Asked Licensure Questions

Our Licensure FAQ have answers to many common questions.

Conceptual Framework


Walden University has developed a conceptual framework in collaboration with the professional community that articulates the shared vision of the Professional Education Unit’s efforts to prepare educators to work in P–12 schools. This conceptual framework provides the College of Education Unit’s philosophical foundation and serves as a guide for decision making.

Mission and Vision


The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences uses innovative programs and inclusive learner-centered pedagogies to empower diverse scholars and practitioners to actualize innovation and positive social change for the communities they serve.

We prepare transformative leaders who inspire, influence, and impact their diverse communities and advance research and discovery for the global good.


The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences envisions being a premier leader in online education offering transformative and interdisciplinary programs aligned to the social determinants of health.

We empower diverse scholars and practitioners to become globally conscious citizens who advance healthy communities and positive social change.