When the College of Education & Human Development was reorganized during the 1993-1994 academic year, the former Department of Special Education and the Educational Psychology program in the former Department of Educational Foundations were merged to form the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education (EPSE).
On July 1, 2014, the department was renamed the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders (ESC) to reflect all three major program areas in its purview.
The first degrees in special education were offered by the Department of Education in the School of Arts and Sciences. They were a bachelor’s degree in 1965 and a M.Ed. degree in 1966, both in mental retardation. In 1968 the Department of Special Education was created and an undergraduate degree in Deaf Education was added. With the beginning of the AY 1969-70 Behavior Disorders and Learning Disabilities were added to the M.Ed. offerings, and both an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) and a Doctoral (Ph.D.) degree in Special Education were created. In subsequent years additional offerings were added: 1971 M.Ed. in Hearing Impairments, 1974 M.Ed. programs in Early Childhood Special Education, Speech Pathology, and Interrelated Special Education; 1975 M.Ed. in gifted education, 1976 M.Ed. in Multihandicapped (Moderate/Severe Handicaps). By the end of the 1970s there were 16 full-time faculty members in Special Education. The bachelor’s degree programs were deactivated in Fall 1994 and discontinued in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2006 students were no longer accepted into the Ed. S. program due to declines in enrollment and a desire to focus on doctoral training.
The Communication Disorders Program began with a single faculty member in 1974; there were two in 1979. From its inception the program has offered the M.Ed. degree in Speech-Language Pathology. The program continued to grow and received national accreditation in 1993 by ASHA. The ongoing shortage of speech-language pathologists throughout Georgia and the country ensures both a large applicant pool and a 100 percent employment rate for graduates.
The study of Educational Psychology at Georgia State dates back more than 70 years. In 1933, three courses in Educational Psychology were offered, including an introductory course, a course in measurement, and a course on intelligence testing. Various courses in educational psychology were offered in the 1940s and 1950s and in 1957 Educational Psychology courses were moved to the newly formed Department of Education. From 1966 to 1970 there was a Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology; however in 1970, Educational Psychology moved to the newly formed Department of Educational Foundations. Course offerings led to the master’s and doctoral degrees. During the 1970s, course offerings included foci on urban education, applied behavior analysis, and cognition and social learning. By 1979, the Educational Psychology program had 10 full-time faculty and offered graduate coursework in life-span human development, information processing, applied behavior analysis, and social psychology of education.