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Master of Arts in Education

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Master’s Degree in Education

If you’re a passionate educator looking for growth and advancement, pursue a Master of Arts in Education from National University. This program expands knowledge and opportunities. Candidates will learn about historical, philosophical, psychological, and social foundations of education. It will also analyze issues of educational equity and diversity, develop understanding of students with learning differences, examine the foundations of curriculum, assessment, and instruction, and use educational research to deepen critical-thinking skills.

Areas of emphasis may include advanced teaching practices, early childhood education, technology, higher education administration, special education, or inspired teaching.

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Course Details

Required Introduction Courses

  • 1 courses; 4.5 quarter units

Required first course in the MAE program. Course participants are presented with essential experiences and exercises to a) select MAE emphasis courses that align with MAE Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and b) evaluate practitioner research paradigms and effective research designs used in education by practitioner researchers.

Emphasis Requirements

  • 8 courses; 36 quarter units

MAE program courses may be selected from any SCOE graduate level, non-credential course from the following list of courses. Students shall not select more than four (4) courses from any subject.

Research-based analysis of English phonology, morphology and orthography, with attention to teaching students to become proficient readers through recognizing sound-print relationships. Incorporates current approaches to phonemic awareness, explicit phonics instruction, recognition of high-frequency words and spelling patterns for both English speakers and English language learners.

Provides an investigation of meaning-making at both the local (discourse) and global (general knowledge) levels. Covers research-based models of discourse processing and representation construction. Introduces strategies to promote guided reading, independent reading, and study skills in all content areas, using the concepts of connecting background experience and applying self-monitoring strategies.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Examines the critical role of the early childhood teacher leader. Analysis of beliefs and ethics on quality care. Explore history of social policy on the field of early childhood. Develop plan to support professional growth as an ECE Leader. Addresses NAEYC Advanced Standard 6: Growing as a professional.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Focuses on current issues in early childhood education and implications for the field. Conduct a literature review and develop a research agenda

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Focus is on current research in early childhood learning and development. Deepen understanding of young children thinking skills. Examine impact on curriculum and the educational community from multiple perspectives.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Focus on research based effective teaching strategies for young children. Examines opportunities for integrating curriculum across content areas. Close attention paid to balancing standards and Developmentally Appropriate Practice.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Examines interpersonal communication skills required for early childhood teachers and leaders. Examines strategies for enhancing parent-professional partnerships, consultation skills and issues relating to interactive teaming and the larger community.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Emphasis on variations in child development, identification of disabilities and the implications of cultural and linguistic diversity. Examines inclusive early childhood programs, strategies for adaptions and accommodations to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of all children who are at-risk or have special needs.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Focus on adult learning theories and principles of personal leadership to meet the specific needs of ECE leaders. Foundational knowledge and best practices for working with diverse learners in various capacities covered. Particular attention paid to the different roles and responsibilities for effectively facilitating adult learners in the field of ECE.

PrerequisiteATP 600, or MAE 610

Examines a variety of strategies to advocate for and advance the Early Childhood Education profession. Includes grant writing skills, awareness of public policy issues, and effective political action strategies.

Overview of the basic aspects of higher education including issues, policies, operations, financial management, strategic planning, enrollment, student services, and regional accreditation. A brief examination of the history and functions of colleges and universities in the United States and the world as well as an introduction to educational philosophy, curriculum and instruction provide the candidate a foundation of understanding of the role of the academe in today’s society.

This course examines theory and practice regarding resistance to and acceptance of change initiatives, including the impact on organizational culture. Learn to initiate and implement change in organizations through problem-solving experiences and exercises.

This course familiarizes students with assessment, policy-making, and accountability in higher education. Practical and theoretical approaches are explored. Power influences will be identified and examine, both inside and outside institutions including university hierarchy, state, and federal entities. Student learning and assessment’s impact on the present and future of higher education will be explored, including the roles of state and regional accreditors.

This course is an examination of the literature on theories related to interaction with the cultures found within a higher education community and the community in which the institution sits. Strategies for effective communication with various entities within the organization such as students, faculty, staff, and administration are gained, as well as engaging with the external community—local, state, and regional.

This course examines the legal aspects of higher education, sources of law and authority presented; impact on, interaction with, and implications of the administration of higher education are discussed. The course provides an overview of the legal issues that arise in public and private college and universities and the policy implications of those issues. Pertinent federal and California statutes and case law will inform students of the legal rights and responsibilities of higher education students, faculty, and the administration.

This course provides a survey of how higher educational institutions are funded: private, non-profit/private, and public. Trends in higher education finance will be examined. Students will engage in case studies of institutions in financial crises and examine solutions to these crises.

This course will examine the processes of institution-wide planning that examines internal and external variables. An analysis of all relevant data provides a crucial element in these processes. Data include those pertaining to student learning and learning assessment.

Overview of Student Services and Enrollment Management in Higher Education institutions. Practical advice and theoretical frameworks to inform planning and problem solving are explored. Professional practice is summarized in the areas of students, human resources, interpersonal dynamics, skills and competencies, and services offered.

Technology Foundations serves as MSDIET program introduction. Course format forecasts program expectations, introduces the five lenses of educational technology evaluation (theory, tools, practice, design & assessment). Key concepts defined. Hands on project-based instructional design practices introduced and scholarly research begins

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Overview of instructional tools and design processes used to create robust learning objects and dynamic learning environments. Relevant theories applied to creation of instructional strategies, learning objectives, and assessment of outcomes. Students continue scholarly research and hands-on projects.

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Students explore relationship between extant theory and instructional. Technology viewed as a value-neutral tool applied to enhance communication and cognition.

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Media Rich learning objects, supported by learning theory created for real world application. Emphasis on UX.

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Learners step into the role of course designer as they explore the affordances and constraints of distant learning modalities. Tools, theory, and calibrated learner needs are considered as original learning environments are crafted and evaluated for their efficacy as tools of teaching, learning, engaging and community building.

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Overview of audio and video tools. Introduces techniques and design skills for craft engaging, comprehensible learning objects. Emphasis on audience. Media choice supported by theory. Emphasis on narrative-supported learner-engagement.

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Deep dive into the tools, theory, and practice of using simulation, games, virtual spaces (AR, MR, & MR), and representational avatars to enhance interactive learning environments. Instructor return on investment considerations explored.

Recommended PreparationEID 600 with a minimum grade of C.

Program graduates prepared for roles as educational technology subject-matter experts and institutional change agents. Emphasis on issues surrounding the choosing, adoption, rollout and sustainability of new educational technologies. Teams of students conduct needs assessment as basis for drafting technology plan.

PrerequisiteEID 600 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 610 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 620 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 630 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 640 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 650 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 660 with a minimum grade of C. ; EID 670 with a minimum grade of C.

Prospectus for capstone (the final course in the program) developed. Students review efficacy of previous work, evaluate continuous improvement strategies. Emphasis on UX, learning outcomes and assessment.

Typologies and characteristics of English Learners; grounded knowledge of learners and their families in schooling contexts. Research focused on inclusion and equity practices for English Learners.

PrerequisiteITI 660

Language, language structure and linguistics as related to English Learners. Language conventions, academic content obligatory/compatible vocabulary, effective expression and wide reading/writing of multiple texts.

PrerequisiteITI 662

Cognitive load and language challenge(s) for K-12 English Learners. Content area learning informed by disciplinary and multidisciplinary knowledge. Academic achievement for English Learners using multiple assessment measures. Alignment with the CA-CCSS and the California ELA/ELD framework.

PrerequisiteITL 600; ITL 604; ITL 606

Analyze the components of social emotional learning (SEL). Compare theoretical orientations regarding the development of SEL in school aged children. Assess own level of social emotional functioning to improve their ability to provide comprehensive and effective services to students. Evaluate evidence base for social emotional learning interventions within an MTSS framework.

PrerequisiteITI 670 minimum standards

An inquiry project focused on the support of current research on social emotional learning strategies, interventions, and practices for various age and grade levels will be completed. Collaboration strategies and partnerships within the school system, support staff, and community will be analyzed as a part of the inquiry process.

PrerequisiteITI 672

Explore research designs that measure social emotional learning at the individual and school levels. Finalize a research proposal to investigate a current issue or problem related to social emotional learning. Evaluate strategies to apply social emotional learning research in everyday classroom teaching and practice.

Prerequisite: ITL 600; ITL 604; ITL 606; ITL 608

Focuses on STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) education issues and challenges. Candidates assess their own thinking about interdisciplinary STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) education, analyze STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) education research and practice, select an action research topic in the interdisciplinary STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) field, and create a research question in STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) related field.

Prerequisite: ITI 681

Focuses on the interdisciplinary STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) education in the classroom. Candidates evaluate lesson plans from a theoretical perspective of teaching STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12), study instructional strategies, create lesson plans that support the learning STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) in their students.

Prerequisite: ITI 681; ITI 683

Focuses on the STEAM (PK-6) and STEM (7-12) interdisciplinary action research. Candidates share and verify their research questions, develop appropriate research methods, finalize their literature review, and develop their research proposals.

PrerequisiteITL 600; ITL 604; ITL 606

Covers current theories and applications of evidence-based Inspired Teaching Practices in PK-12 education and includes developing a repertoire of technology-enhanced curricular tools. Candidates explore the process and application of action research resulting in the development of framing an instructional practices-based research topic and question through writing a literature review.

PrerequisiteITI 690

Increases student achievement by differentiating and matching each learner’s unique characteristics and various curriculum components; how student-centered learning is enhanced through appropriate classroom management and effective curricular practices. Candidates finalize their research question, expand the literature review., and offer a rationale for their final proposal.

PrerequisiteITI 692

Explores and incorporates Information Communication Technologies (ICT) into instructional practices including curricular tools, apps, and web-based resources. Working collaboratively in teams, candidates create a multidisciplinary unit incorporating appropriate learning technologies. The Action Research Proposal is finalized and presented in video and written formats.

Graduate level credential program requirements; K-12 school and classroom experiences; and observational skills in K-12 classrooms. Principles sustaining an inspired teacher mindset. Electronic showcase reflecting professional growth throughout the program.

Examines psychological, socio-cultural, linguistic, and other factors influencing development, learning, and the full range of learners, including English Learners, standard-English learners, students with exceptionalities, and students with other needs. Considers a variety of data to identify appropriate strategies and community-based resources to support all learners and their families.

PrerequisiteITL 604

Examines theories and research regarding typical and atypical child and adolescent development and learning. Considers various data collection and assessment techniques guiding the selection of effective instructional strategies, practices, resources, and technologies needed to create environments supporting the full range of learners and provide equitable access to the curriculum.

PrerequisiteITL 606

Candidates integrate principles of learning theories and factors influencing human development when designing instruction and evaluating instructional effectiveness. Candidates will utilize a four-stage cyclical model of planning, teaching, analyzing and reflecting in the process of learning-and-teaching to ensure all students equitable access to the curriculum.

Notes: Courses with pre-requisites may not be taken without prior faculty permission.

Research Course

  • 1 courses; 4.5 quarter units

Presents course participants with experiences and exercises to: a) develop a practitioner research proposal based on a relational practitioner research question and b) produce a reflective presentation that evaluates plan of study digital portfolio artifacts alignment to MAE Program Learning Outcomes.

Guided Study Option

  • 0.5 – 6.0 quarter units

Students who transfer prior learning credit course work may take a variable unit course to help meet the total degree unit requirements. This course is only offered as an independent study request. Please contact your academic advisor for additional information.

Provides an overview of social and emotional learning (SEL), the impact of SEL on academics and how SEL practices can lead to healthy growth and human development and help build positive and dynamic relationships.

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Master of Arts in Education students must complete 45 quarter hours of graduate work. A total of 4.5 quarter units of transfer graduate credit may be granted if not used earning another advanced degree. An additional 11.25 units of graduate level credit may also be transferred through prior learning experience. All prior learning experience will be reviewed by the Sanford College of Education Prior Learning Experience Assessment Committee before accepted for transfer. Students must complete all courses with a minimum grade of B-. Students shall not select more than four (4) courses from any subject to fulfill the MAE course requirements. Students in a credential program, who no longer desire to earn the credential, may transfer courses into the MAE upon approval from the Academic Program Director. 

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze diversity issues in education to support equity in educational contexts and learning practices.
  • Integrate foundational theory and skills to make subject matter comprehensible to all learners.
  • Analyze the application of educational research, evidence-based practices, and academic writing.
  • Integrate advanced approaches to instruction, assessment, and learning using digital tools and skills.
  • Design learning experiences that include learner characteristics, principles of customized learning, and assessment as learning.
  • Develop reflective practices that are grounded in current learning science research, professional ethics, and include pathways to continuous growth.
  • Apply practitioner research methods to study and inform instruction in traditional and digital learning environments.


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The $7,500 MAE Program for Harmony Academy Educators

Designed for participating Harmony Academy teachers, this program offers personalized learning to elevate your professional skills and credentials. Begin by completing a no-cost Harmony Academy SEL training module in just four weeks, then transfer into the Master of Arts in Education program to earn your degree in as few as ten months.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Whether or not a Masters of Arts (MA) in Education is worth it depends on your personal and professional goals. For many graduates, a Master’s degree in Education can lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities, especially in leadership roles or specialized fields like curriculum development or instructional design.

The main difference between a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Master of Education (MEd) is their focus and intended audience. An MAT is ideal for professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree in a subject area and want to become certified to teach in that area. An MEd, on the other hand, is more focused on education theory and research, and is often pursued by educators who want to advance in their careers or specialize in areas like curriculum development or educational administration.

There are several benefits to earning a Master of Arts in Education degree, including the potential for career advancement, increased earning potential, and the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of education. Earning a Master’s in Education can equip you with advanced skills and knowledge for a variety of roles in education.

A Master of Arts in Education degree can prepare graduates for a variety of careers in education, including classroom teaching, curriculum development, educational administration, school counseling, and education policy. Masters in Education students may also want to continue their education and specialize further with a doctoral degree.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.