A Master of Education (ME) is a graduate degree designed to provide professional advancement to current and aspiring teachers, educators and school professionals. ME programs are generally designed for either:
A. Educators who already hold their teaching license and are seeking additional certification(s) and experience
B. Individuals looking to work in the field of education but outside of the traditional classroom (See “Program Options” for more information.)
ME programs prepare students for advanced positions in a variety of educational fields and are not limited to the traditional K–12 classroom environment. Generally, ME programs are for those who already hold their initial teaching certification; however, there are programs that offer ME degrees for students without prior teaching experience.
Earning your ME provides you with the opportunity to explore a number of fields of education. Depending on your school of choice, program options/concentrations may include the following:
Economics and policy
Reading and literacy
It is important to remember that the above-mentioned programs are not available at all schools of education and that not all programs are alike. Programs’ courses of study and curriculum focus areas are dependent on the individual school’s mission statement, faculty, and background.
Contact your desired college or university for more information about their ME program options.
The 8-week Harvard Bok Teaching Certificate online short course is delivered by Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX. Students in this course will engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective teaching methods in the higher education context, while refining their own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy.
The Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling degree is for students who are aspiring to become school counselors in K-12 settings and seek to explore the challenges affecting students and schools in the 21st century.
THE BENEFITS OF A MASTER OF EDUCATION
While most states do not require education professionals to hold an advanced degree, there are a number of benefits to earning your ME. Having an advanced degree, both in and outside the classroom, provides you with greater career options and the opportunity for a higher salary.
Understanding your program’s standard curriculum is the first step in deciding which Master of Education program is right for you. ME degree coursework focuses on the balance between theory and practice, but it is the program’s concentration/area of study that dictates the framework of the overall curriculum.
The following program options are only a sample of Master of Education programs available. Contact your desired college/university for a complete list of programs offered. Also, Master of Education (ME) programs may fall under the following abbreviations
Master’s programs in the areas of classroom technology and instructional design provide students with the basic framework needed for learning in the 21st century, focusing on designing and implementing classroom technology in formal and informal learning environments. Coursework includes classes focusing on product design, technology in the classroom, cognition, instructional design, adaptive technology and online literacy.
Master’s degree programs in educational psychology (also referred to as school psychology) are designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of learning, development, motivation, research and assessment in various fields of education. Graduates of educational/school psychology programs may have careers in fields such as program evaluation, curriculum development and academic testing, and may work in schools, non-profit agencies and health-related institutions. Coursework includes classes focusing on statistics, learning theories, research methods, cognition and child/adolescent development.
Economics and Policy
Master’s degree programs focusing on educational economics and policy provide students with an understanding of the political, legal, economic and social factors of the education system. Students with degrees in educational economics and/or policy may work within government agencies and non-profit organizations that focus on educational reform and advocacy. Coursework includes classes focusing on policy analysis and implementation, educational law, community development, sociology, urban education and decision making.
Museum education/museum studies degrees are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in art, history and/or science within informal learning environments such as museums, historical institutions and libraries. Museum education programs provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise needed to teach in a museum, utilizing galleries and other media to enhance the learning of both children and adults. Coursework includes classes focusing on public relations and marketing, educational media, fundraising, art history and cognitive development.
Master’s degrees in higher education (also referred to as post-secondary education) prepare students with the leadership and administrative skills needed to be a leader in today’s colleges and universities, as well as government institutions that address the needs of higher education. Higher education degree programs focus on student/academic affairs, leadership theory, management and finance. Coursework includes classes focusing on college teaching, leadership and management, student development and diversity in higher education.
School counseling programs are designed to prepare students with the skills and experience needed to counsel students, families and members of the community in areas such as coping with personal issues, academic advisement and advocacy. Students who pursue a master’s degree in counseling may work within a number of formal and informal educational settings such as K–12 schools, colleges, hospitals and non-profit organizations. Coursework includes classes focusing on interview techniques, group counseling, family systems and special education.
Bilingual education and TESOL programs provide students with the foundational skills required to work with bilingual and ESL students in today’s diverse educational settings, which prepares students to work as teachers, curriculum designers and evaluators in a number of formal and informal learning environments. Coursework includes classes focusing on linguistics, literacy, pedagogy and oral/written language skills.
Master’s degree programs in educational leadership prepare students for leadership roles in public and private education institutions, which may include positions such as principal, dean, department head, superintendent, athletic director and instructional leader. Coursework includes classes focusing on business administration, personnel management, cultural diversity, educational law and policy, learning and assessment.
Students earning their ME degree are required to gain practical experience in a formal or informal education environment, one that closely mirrors their course of study, institutional expectations and desired career goals.
Practical experience for ME students may include the following options:
Formal observation hours
A capstone (also referred to as a graduate thesis or dissertation) is a culminating project, presentation or activity that requires students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that they have accumulated throughout their graduate studies. Capstones and thesis projects allow students to develop research on a particular area of focus tied to their ME degree program and/or concentration, and the projects are generally related to the student’s concentration, internship responsibilities and/or career focus. Capstone projects are intensive areas of study and often require the guidance and/or approval of a supervising faculty member. These projects can take many forms, including research papers, grant proposals, bill proposals, curriculum materials or hypermedia materials such as educational apps for tablets.
Capstones, thesis projects and graduate dissertations may tackle issues such as school reform, gender/race inequality in the education system and learning with technology. Below are some examples of graduate dissertations and capstone projects from CAEP-accredited colleges and institutions:
From Policy to Practice: An Analysis of the Implementation of State College Readiness Assessment Policies at Four-Year Public Higher Education Institutions in Massachusetts, Lesley University
The Role of the Superintendent in System-Wide Success for PreK–12 English Language Learners, University of Wisconsin
The Infinity and Beyond: Museum-School Partnerships Beyond the Field Trip, Seton Hall
The Mediating Effects of Problematic Internet Usage on Social Phobia and Psychosocial Well Being, University of Florida