United States General Education Masters Programs
General Education Masters Programs may appeal to a broad range of students, from those who aspire to teach as well as current educators seeking advanced skill-sets or to maintain teaching credentials through an advanced degree. If you seek the tools to fill a variety of potential roles within the broad field of education, masters in general education programs cultivate teaching skills, supervision and leadership abilities as well as prepare students for doctorate degrees in education. In some programs students have the ability to customize their academic courses to focus on their personal goals and interest; if this resonates with you, read on to determine which type of General Education Master’s Degree is right for you.
General Education Masters Programs: Basics
General Education Masters Programs offer advanced degrees for teachers or administrators that may require 1 to 3 years of study, depending on whether you attend as a full-time or part-time student. While a master’s in education is not a requirement to earn teacher certification, in some states teachers must earn a master’s after a certain number of years of holding an initial certificate – this is the case with high school teachers, for instance. [i]Teachers also commonly earn advanced degrees in order to fulfill professional development requirements in order to renew their teaching certificates and develop their classroom teaching skills[ii].
DID YOU KNOW? Often, teachers are required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.(BLS)[iii]
Thesis and Non-Thesis Options
Some General Education Masters Programs may include a directed practicum, student teaching or supervised teaching period, and there may be an option to complete a thesis or not. Students who choose the thesis option typically do so in order to transfer into a doctoral program after earning their master's degree. The thesis offers you research experience and may give you insight into the type of educational research you would like to pursue while earning your PhD.
Common Admission Requirements for Master of Education Programs
Admission requirements for General Education Masters programs is likely to vary, both due to individual graduate schools and to the type of program you are interested in. Some programs provide a path to initial certification and may accept candidates who have an undergraduate degree in any academic subject. These programs may suit someone who is looking for a career switch. Programs that are not designed to provide a path to teacher certification may prefer students who are currently certified to teach and have some teaching experience. For master’s degrees in content areas (e.g. science, math, art), candidates may be required to have a bachelor’s degree in that academic field. Many general ed. master’s programs also set a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above, and may also require minimum GRE scores. Other possible admissions requirements are letters of recommendation, personal essays or statements of purpose, and a professional teaching resume or portfolio.
Types of Master’s Degree in Education
If you have glanced through the GradSchools.com directory, you may notice that there are quite a few different types of General Education Masters degrees. So how does one determine the ‘right’ one?
The two main types of graduate degrees in education are the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and the Master of Education (M.Ed.), however the Master of Science in Education (MS.Ed.) and the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) are also offered by some graduate schools.
While there are some similarities between these degrees, there are significant differences between programs. As a general guideline, M.Ed. programs tend to focus on educational leadership and support, whereas MAT programs tend to focus on the development of direct teaching skills. As a broad rule of thumb, Master’s programs may center on:
- A specific area of teaching (e.g. elementary or secondary education)
- A particular academic subject (e.g. inclusion, reading literacy, English)
- School administration
- Curriculum and instruction
Master of Education
A Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) is typically formatted for current teachers who aspire to move into a leadership role and may include advanced study into the theoretical aspects of education such as:
- Education research
- Education policy and reform
- Educational leadership
Common concentrations for M.Ed. programs are:
- Curriculum and instruction
Master of Science in Education
Master of Science in Education (MS Ed) degree programs offer a more scientific approach to the study of education. The coursework for this degree may include topics such as:
- Instructional technology
- Educational evaluation and measurement
- Research methods
Master of Arts in Education
Master of Arts in Education (MA Ed) degree programs tend to be flexible in that they allow to specialize in several different areas whether they aspire to remain in the classroom or seek administration positions. Some of these concentration areas might include:
- Elementary education
- Secondary education
- Special education
- Educational leadership
Master of Arts in Teaching
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree may appeal to teachers who want to develop pedagogical strategies and proficiencies or build their content expertise. Some MAT degrees provide a path to initial certification and are intended for career switchers who already have an undergraduate degree in another subject. Master of Arts in Teaching programs usually include a focus area (e.g. elementary, middle, or secondary education) and an academic content (e.g. mathematics or English).
Master in General Education
Some Masters programs in education focus on a specialty area. In a General Education Masters Degree program, even though the format of each program may differ between education schools, the courses typically focus on general pedagogy. Some of the courses that students may take could include:
- The art and science of teaching
- Assessment and evaluation
- Instruction and leadership
- Educational diversity
- Classroom management
- Technology integration
- Instructional design
On-Campus, Hybrid or Online Masters in Education?
In addition, to different types of General Education Masters programs, there are different learning formats available depending on your needs. Campus programs offer the most face-to-face instruction, and you can search for graduate schools by city, state or country using the location settings on GradSchools.com. If distance-learning is more feasible to your scheduling needs, busy working adults might find that earning a master’s degree in education online is a convenient way to juggle career and academics. Some education graduate programs actually include both campus and online components to blend the need to build in-person communication skills with the flexibility of creating one’s own schedule; these hybrid programs may also be referred to as ‘blended online’.
Educator Preparation programs may be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) since the NCATE and TEAC have been consolidated. Since teaching is a profession with licensure requirements, you should check whether certain accreditation applies and choose accordingly.[iv] In terms of institutional accreditation, you can check with the U.S. Department of Education.
Take the Next Step
Ready to initiate a search? Browse sponsored listings such as MA Education, MA/Education-reading and Literacy, Master of Education in Inclusion Education, MEd in Education: Problem-Based Learning/Critical Skills, Master of Education – General Education and Master of Arts in Teaching (Online). Sometimes you will find multiple listings for the same type of degree; it is useful in these cases to request info (the green tab) so that you can fill yourself in on the unique features of each graduate school and their programming.
- Belmont, CABelmont, CA
Notre Dame de Namur University
For over 50 years, Notre Dame de Namur University has maintained a reputation for excellence in teacher education. The School of Education and Leadership offers students the possibility of enrolling concurrently in some master’s and credential programs.
Develop cutting-edge knowledge relative to career options and 21st Century skills, and gain knowledge of managerial roles and functions essential to administering and supervising a CTE program in a variety of settings.
University of Northern Colorado - Extended Campus
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Education (M.Ed.). This program is open to those who already have a teacher certification.
Purdue University Global
- Des Moines, IA
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Hagerstown, MD
- Indianapolis, IN
- Lincoln, NE
- Lewiston, ME
- Mason City, IA
- Augusta, ME
- Davenport, IA
- Cedar Falls, IA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Omaha, NE
- Saint Louis, MO
- South Portland, ME
- Rockville, MD
Elevate your education. Reach a career milestone by earning your Master of Arts in Education online from Ashford University. Study in depth those areas that most influence educational institutions.
- Buffalo, NYBuffalo, NY
The WNY Teacher Residency Program is a innovative teacher education program open to all undergraduate majors. Living wage stipend and scholarships available.
Liberty University Online
Liberty University’s Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree program allows students to design their own graduate degree by combining two areas of study.
- Plainfield, VTPlainfield, VT
In Goddard’s Master of Arts in Education, you choose your topic of inquiry and design a program of study based on how you learn best and what your study can contribute most to you and your community...
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
School of Visual Arts
The Master of Arts in Teaching provides a hands-on learning environment...
- Minneapolis, MNMinneapolis, MN
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
The program is committed to preparing Wisconsin teachers for applying for the Master Educator License.
- Minneapolis, MN
- Rochester, MN
- Winona, MN
Columbia International University
100% Online The M.Ed. prepares practicing educators for Christian school administrative, instructional leadership, and teaching positions in the U.S. and around the world.
- Johnson City, TNJohnson City, TN
East Tennessee State University
The major purpose of this degree is to improve the quality of teaching at the elementary level by broadening the background of teachers in the areas o...
- Johnson City, TN
- Milwaukee, WIMilwaukee, WI
Teaching children during their formative years of adolescence is a challenge that can be personally and financially rewarding..
- Phoenix, AZPhoenix, AZ
The Master of Arts in Education is a minimum 36 semester credit hour program (with the exception of the Professional Development concentration, which...
- West Hartford, CTWest Hartford, CT
University of Saint Joseph
Grounded in research, theory, and practice, the M.A. in Education will challenge your thinking, enrich your professional practic...
American InterContinental University
The AIU Online Master of Education degree program features a concentration in Educational Assessment and Evaluation.
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
University of California - Berkeley
Founded in 1980, the Developmental Teacher Education programis based on the fundamental premise that the quality of learningin the classroom can be su...
- Medford, MAMedford, MA
The Master of Arts in Teaching prepares candidates to teach in academic fields at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels, and in some discipline areas in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The degree of M.A.T. is offered for students who se...
University of West Florida
Designed to provide practicing educators with the skills necessary for teaching reading and understanding reading pedagogy.
American Public University
The Master of Education in Teaching (with multiple concentrations) has been developed to meet the needs of licensed classroom...