What Courses Will You Take in a Master’s in Education Program?

Considering a master's in education? Discover what courses and specializations you can take if you pursue this master's degree.
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  • Given the current demand for qualified teachers, a master's degree can set you apart.
  • Master's in education programs consist of several foundational classes to help build your knowledge.
  • You can choose from several specialization areas when pursuing your master's in education.
  • Knowing your future career goals can help you choose a specialization that best fits you.

If you're looking for a way to increase your knowledge and skill set in the education field, then you might consider a master's in education.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 49% of educators have a master's degree. New York has the most educators with a master's degree in the U.S.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

Looking to boost your resume? A master's in education can help you stay competitive in the job market. Especially given the current teacher shortage in the U.S., educators with a master's degree are in high demand.

In a master's in education program, you'll learn about a variety of topics, including instructional theories and best practices. You can also choose from various concentrations, which will lead to different coursework based on your interests.

What Are Common Master's in Education Courses?

Not sure yet what interests you in the education realm? Don't worry! There are plenty of foundational classes, or core classes, to provide you with a broad basis of understanding.

Here are some of the most common core courses you'll take in a master's in education program.

Instructional Strategies and Models

The primary goal of this course is to understand the basics behind instructional design. In this class, you'll address the best way to teach others and learn how you can improve your teaching methods.

Whether you're a specialist in a subject area or coaching colleagues, this course can help you become an expert in instructional design. This class also addresses instructional strategies, such as classroom management and student engagement.

Curriculum Development

Curriculum development teaches you how to form an effective curriculum, either for a district or a school. Doing so can help you meet the needs of the students you're serving.

You'll study high school course requirements for college admissions, how to select the right textbook to meet curriculum goals, and how to ensure a manageable student workload.

Teacher Leadership

The main focus of this course is identifying leadership concepts and applying them to education. In addition to learning about how the concepts work both in theory and in practice, you'll study how to talk about leadership in terms of on-campus advocacy.

Eager to make a broader change in your community? This course will also teach you how to be an effective advocate in your district and within the educational community.

Research in Education

In this class, you'll learn about quantitative and qualitative research. You'll explore various trends and methodologies so you can determine which strategies best fit your students' needs.

This course will also teach you how to effectively collect and analyze data around classroom dynamics, such as student learning habits and different teaching methods.

What Other Courses Can You Take for Your Master's in Education?

Whether you know exactly what you love about education or are still figuring out your niche, master's in education programs allow you to take subject-focused classes, known as specialized courses.

So what's the purpose of a specialized course? These classes allow you to hone in on one particular area in education. Unlike core courses, specialized courses give you the opportunity to pursue specific interests.

Plus, many master's in education students typically choose a concentration area to make them more marketable for educational roles.

For example, if you want to create lessons that inspire students, you might get a degree in curriculum and instruction with the aim of becoming a campus instructional coach. Or, if you specialize in educational psychology, you could become a school crisis counselor.

Either way, there's a specialization out there that's right for you.

What Specializations Can You Study in a Master's in Education Program?

So what's the benefit of choosing a specialization within your master's in education program? It allows you to concentrate on an area of education that you're passionate about.

Special Education

When pursuing a master's in education, one popular specialization area is special education. An average of 15% or 7.2 million of K-12 students need educational accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to NCES data from 2020-2021.

The goal of this concentration is to help you work with students who have physical, emotional, psychological, and/or intellectual limitations. Your coursework will prepare you to identify and meet students' individual needs and provide them with methods for achieving personal and academic success.

Common Courses for This Specialization

  • Law and special education
  • Behavioral disorders in children
  • Behavioral assessment

Curriculum and Instruction

In this specialization, you'll build classroom culture by designing new ways of instructing and providing strong models for new and upcoming techniques in the field.

The coursework will teach you how to carefully evaluate the content of a proposed book to adapt it into a textbook.

Classes in this concentration will also help you evaluate whether new adaptations in the curriculum meet state and federal regulations. And they will give you tools to help successfully coach other teachers, implement new standards, and maintain a high achievement level.

Common Courses for This Specialization

  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Identifying and responding to the needs of diverse learners
  • Teaching digital learners

Literacy and Digital Learning

As technology use seeps into everyday life, it's important to incorporate it into the classroom so students can become digital natives.

Specializing in literacy and digital learning will teach you how to integrate new media into lesson plans while also encouraging language development, reading, and writing.

Pursuing this specialization can help you become an expert in effectively engaging students and encouraging them to develop critical skills so they can share their ideas through various media.

Common Courses for This Specialization

  • Teaching digital readers
  • Teaching digital writers
  • Media literacy

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)

Do everyday academic subjects pique your interest? Specializing in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) can help you meet the current shift from STEM schools to STEAM schools.

The coursework in this specialization teaches you to adjust the framework of integrated instruction to a project-based learning approach across academic subjects.

Common Courses for This Specialization

  • Social justice and educational equity
  • STEAM and special student populations
  • Communication, technology, and curriculum design

English Language Learners

Another popular specialization for a master's in education focuses on English language learners. According to the National Education Association, 1 in 4 children in the U.S. will be English language learners by 2025. As the U.S. is seeing a significant increase year after year of dual language learners, educators with a master's in this concentration are experiencing high demand.

Throughout this program, you'll gain a practical and theoretical understanding of linguistics and learn best practices for helping this often underserved population.

Common Courses for This Specialization

  • English language learning
  • Multicultural perspectives in education
  • Linguistic theory

How to Choose a Specialization for Your Master's in Education

So you've decided you want to get a specialization for your master's in education, but you're not sure which one. Now what?

One of the best ways to choose your area of specialization for your master's in education is to assess your interests, skillset, and professional aspirations. You should also consider what field of education you want to make the biggest impact in.

Thinking through your learning objectives can help you identify potential careers. Knowing your end goal can help you select the best-suited specialization while providing you with a clear path to pursue it.

At the end of the day, you'll know you're making the right choice if you feel a meaningful connection to your work and studies.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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