Master of Arts in Education


The Master of Arts (M.A.) program attracts students and educational practitioners who are pursuing a range of different goals including:

  • Students considering doctoral study or a future as an educational researcher or scholar
  • Current teachers and administrators seeking to enhance their knowledge of educational theory and research.

There are two concentrations within the M.A. program:

  1. The Master of Arts with a concentration in Language, Discourse, and Development focuses on early language development and classroom discourse, specifically emphasizing the links between components and structures of oral and written language.  Language and literacy are considered from cognitive, social, and cultural perspectives. Another central focus of this program is the theoretical and methodological issues surrounding the study of discourse, interaction, and texts.  The program locates discourse analysis in relation to linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, and literacy.  Coursework covers the study of discourse, including speech act theory, conversation, and text structure, and leads to discussions of various methods for collection and analysis of discourse. These foci are linked specifically by theories and research on the development of language and literacy in the context of meaningful discourse between children and significant adults in their lives.
  2. The Master of Arts with a concentration in Educational Foundations offers students an opportunity to explore fundamental questions about the meaning, purpose, and significance of education from philosophical and historical perspectives.  Students take a range of courses dealing with such diverse topics as the educational thought of the ancient Greeks, the history of American education, theories of moral and civic education, and major debates in contemporary education policy. Through this coursework, students gain practice deliberating with others about enduring educational dilemmas, as well as some of the important educational controversies of our own time.  As a capstone to the degree, and in consultation with the faculty, students write a major paper or thesis on an educational topic of their choosing, using tools of philosophical and/or historical analysis.

The M.A. program may be completed with or without a thesis component.

Non-thesis option


If students chose the non-thesis option, the program requires 36 credit hours as follows:

M.A. Core Courses (18 credit hours)

  • Educ 7003, Philosophy of Education, Educ 7073, History of American Education, or Educ 7083, Educational Policy
  • Educ 7123, Advanced Child and Adolescent Growth and Development
  • Educ 7153, Techniques of Research and Evaluation
  • Educ 7173, Research Proposal
  • Educ 7183, Statistical Methods for Research I
  • Educ 7913, Research and Paper

M.A. Concentration Courses (9 credit hours)

M.A. Elective Courses (9 credit hours)

Thesis Option


The M.A. Degree with a thesis is a 30 hour program with the following requirements:

M.A. Core Courses (15 credit hours)

  • Educ 7003, Philosophy of Education, Educ 7073, History of American Education, or Educ  7083, Educational Policy
  • Educ 7123, Advanced Child and Adolescent Growth and Development
  • Educ 7153, Techniques of Research and Evaluation
  • Educ 7173, Research Proposal
  • Educ 7183, Statistical Methods for Research I
  • Educ 7913, Research and Paper 

M.A. Concentration Courses (9 credit hours)

M.A. Elective Course (3 credit hours)

M.A. Thesis (typically 3 credit hours, but may be taken for 1-6 hours)

  • Educ 7983, Research and Thesis

A student opting to write a thesis will select a research area and a thesis advisor who will supervise the research and the remainder of the student’s course work in conjunction with the Graduate Program Advisor. In collaboration with the thesis advisor, the student should identify a three-member thesis committee. The committee consists of the thesis advisor as the committee chair, a second member from the School of Urban Education, and a third member must be from outside the School of Urban Education. An expert from outside the University may be used with the approval of the Graduate School. With the advisor’s approval, a draft of the thesis will be forwarded to the other members of the thesis committee for examination and review. After the thesis has been reviewed and judged ready for defense by the advisor and by the other members of the thesis committee, the student must pass an oral thesis examination. All thesis and oral examination requirements must be scheduled and completed to meet Graduate School deadlines.