2023 Best Master’s in Secondary Education Programs

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Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student/teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.

Do you want to acquire a best master’s degree in secondary education, but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s best master’s in secondary education programs.

What institution did we forget? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

  1. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

The University of Pennsylvania is a privately run institution rated as one of the top 10 institutions in the United States. Over 10,000 graduate learners attend the University of Pennsylvania in a wide variety of nationally recognized master’s and doctoral degrees. The Graduate School of Education is one of the largest of the institution’s 12 colleges, enrolling roughly 1,500 learners. The MS education degree program is a recognized international leader in teacher preparation. The MSEd degree program leads to teaching licensure for grades 7 through 12 in English, math, sciences, and social studies; it includes a yearlong student teaching placement in an urban public school. Classes in this degree program include:

  • Teaching and Learning in Urban Contexts
  • Developmental Concepts and Applications with Adolescents
  • Teaching Diverse Learners
  • Advanced Field Methods in Secondary Schools

In the MSEd degree program, learners will take two graduate-level classes in their areas of content concentration to develop their pedagogical content knowledge. During their student teaching field experience, learners will be at their placement sites each morning at take classes at the university in the late afternoon.

  1. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt offers an outstanding master of education degree program for potential educators, especially those who plan to work in an urban setting. Graduates of this degree program will receive a master’s degree in secondary education along with initial licensure for grades 6 through 12. Specializations within several content areas are available, including English, math, science, and social studies. Classes for this degree include:

  • Introduction to Exceptionality
  • Psychological Foundations of Education
  • Social and Logical Aspects of Education
  • Classroom Ecology

The degree can be finished either as a one-year degree program or as a two-year degree program. In the one-year path, learners will start in the summer term and graduate by the following summer. In the two-year degree program, learners will take classes during two standard academic years (fall and spring term). In both paths, learners will finish a one-semester secondary education practicum followed by a one-semester internship in secondary education.

  1. Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

ASU’s MEd in secondary education contains initial teacher licensure in grades 6 through 12. The degree program is intended to be finished in four semesters and requires a total of 47 credit hours. All learners will finish one semester of student teaching. Learners will take the following classes:

  • Introduction to Effective Instruction
  • American Education System
  • Creating Classroom Climate
  • Inclusive Practices for Diverse Learners

Certifications are available across a broad spectrum of content areas, including art, biology, chemistry, drama, earth science, English, history, Mandarin, French, Japanese, Spanish, math, physics, and political science.

Candidates should have finished at least 24 college credits in the field in which they plan to teach. To qualify for the degree program, candidates should have at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 credit hours of their undergraduate study.

  1. University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The secondary teacher education degree program at UW offers a unique combination of academic classwork and real-world experience. The yearlong degree path features a rigorous course sequence that gradually increases time in the field across each quarter (spring, summer, fall, and winter). In the winter quarter, learners will finish 350 hours in the field. The academic classwork for this degree includes:

  • Topics and Tensions in Education
  • Adolescent Development
  • Creating Classrooms for All Learners
  • Assessment in Secondary Education

The degree program is cohort-based, and all candidates within the cohort move together via the class sequence. Program concentrations are available in math, science, social studies, English language arts, and numerous world languages. Learners may also select the accelerated certification for teachers (U-ACT) degree program.

  1. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Through the MEd degree program, learners will receive a secondary teaching licensure and an English as a second language (ESL) endorsement along with a master’s degree. Candidates may select to obtain their licensure in English language arts or social studies. The degree path requires 42 total credit hours. Classes include:

  • Learning and Teaching in Urban Contexts
  • Writing Process and Pedagogy
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Literacy and Social Change

The MEd coursework totals 36 credit hours, and teacher licensure entails an additional six credit hours. Learners also have the choice to take several elective classes outside of their major. Popular electives for this degree consist of classes in English, rhetoric, and writing, educational psychology, special education, educational administration, African and African diaspora studies, Mexican American studies, and Asian American studies.

  1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

The University of Michigan’s MA for secondary education is an intensive, rigorous degree program for future teachers. The secondary master of arts with a certification degree program, known as SecMAC, is intended for candidates with bachelor’s degrees in English, mathematics, history, physics, or another teachable content area. Learners will be placed in cohorts with 20 to 25 classmates. As part of their cohort, learners will finish the following classes:

  • Educational Linguistics
  • Exceptionalities 6-12
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Educational Psychology

This program comprises a 12-month defined sequence of fieldwork and academic classes. Orientation begins in mid-June. In July, learners begin participating in a clinical field experience at a local school several mornings each week. In August, learners meet with their assigned mentor teachers and prepare for the school year. The learners work two days per week in their mentor teachers’ classrooms from September through December.

  1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Michigan State University serves roughly 39,000 undergraduate and 11,200 graduate learners. The primary campus covers 5,200 acres, and the institution owns another 19,600 acres for agricultural and natural resources and supports research and education across the state. MSU is home to several celebrated graduate teacher education programs, including a non-degree post-graduate route to initial licensure.

The master of arts in literacy instruction is intended for practicing classroom teachers. The degree path enables learners to take nine credit hours in an area of concentration. Options consist of reading specialist, writing instruction, early literacy foundations and development, teaching literacy to diverse learners, children’s literature, and technology.

The MSU College of Education has a master of arts in education and a master of arts in teaching and classes, available entirely online. The post-graduate route to initial teacher licensure at MSU entails at least two years of study. More time may be needed for learners whose bachelor’s degree does not correspond to the intended area of licensure.

  1. Boston College, Boston, MA

The Lynch School of Education has a master of education, master of arts in teaching, and master of science in teaching for secondary education. Learners pursuing the MAT or MST path will normally take five graduate-level classes in the content area in which they plan to teach. Learners pursuing an MEd will take a minimum of two graduate classes in their content area. The MEd degree program is better suited for learners who hold a bachelor’s degree in their desired area of licensure. Required classwork for the MEd in secondary education includes:

  • Applied Adolescent Development
  • Instruction of Learners with Special Needs and Diverse Learners
  • Literacy and Assessment in Secondary School
  • Teaching Bilingual Learners in Secondary Education

All three of the graduate degree paths in secondary education lead to initial licensure for grades 8 through 12. Candidates may work on licensure in English, history, biology, chemistry, geology (earth science), physics, classics, Spanish, French, or mathematics.

  1. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

The secondary education path from UOTeach is a one-year degree program leading to a master of education and initial licensure. All candidates for the MEd will finish a 34-week field experience. During the field placement, learners will work directly with mentor teachers and institution professors while taking graduate classwork at the same time. Available class titles for the MEd degree program consists of:

  • Foundations of Teaching and Learning
  • Language, Power, and Education
  • Creating Supportive Learning Communities
  • Technology and Education

Content-specific endorsements are available for several subject areas, including English language arts, mathematics (advanced or foundational), science (biology, chemistry, physics, or general science), world languages (Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish), and social studies. The degree program contains several career service workshops, which help learners build their professional portfolio and form relationships in local school districts.

  1. University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA

The University of California Irvine is a top-rated state institution serving 5,000-plus graduate learners. With extensive partnerships in K-12 schools across Orange County, UCI has a graduate degree program grounded in real-world experience. The master of arts in teaching program enables learners to receive their initial teaching licensure in one of several subject areas in 14 months. Candidates for the MAT will finish a yearlong apprenticeship at a school placement site.

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois offers a master of education that leads to licensure in English, mathematics, science, and social studies. Licensure is for grades 9 through 12. The degree program entails a total of 32 credit hours, including eight hours of foundational classwork, 12 hours in education classes, and 12 hours in elective classes chosen with input from an academic advisor. Available classwork for the degree program contains:

  • Education Reforms and Inquiry
  • Discourse in STEM Classrooms
  • Bilingual and ESL Assessment
  • Urban Schools and Schooling

The master of education degree path does not require a thesis. Candidates must finish their graduate classwork within five years of enrolling as a degree-seeking learner. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also has graduate programs in educational psychology; special education; and education policy, organization, and leadership.

  1. Indiana University–Bloomington, Bloomington, IN

Indiana University–Bloomington is recognized as a leader across a breadth of academic fields, including social psychology, nonprofit management, finance, music and theatre, and more. IU has a master of science in education for secondary education degree program that is intended for practicing classroom teachers. The institution also offers the choice of a secondary transition to teaching degree program, a cohort-based, 18-credit-hour path leading to initial licensure. Learners may finish the following classwork:

  • Instruction in the Context of Classes
  • Learning and Cognition in Education
  • Anthropology of Education
  • Critical Thinking and Education

The MSEd is a 36-credit-hour path. Learners will finish nine credit hours in electives, either inside or outside the School of Education.

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

The UNC School of Education houses several nationally rated programs, including a master of arts in teaching degree that leads to initial licensure. Learners in the MAT degree program can select to work on licensure in science, social studies, English language arts, and mathematics. Licensure is available either for grades 6 through 9 or grades 9 through 12. The degree program is one year long and runs from summer to summer.

All learners in the degree program will finish a yearlong residency in a public-school classroom, working directly with an experienced teacher mentor. The degree path will require learners to develop an inquiry-based classroom or community-based research project. MAT candidates have the choice of pursuing an add-on license for special education or English as a second language.

  1. George Washington University, Washington, DC

MEd in secondary education candidates at George Washington University may enroll in either a one- or two-year cohort path lead to initial licensure. Certification is available in an array of content areas, including English, English as a second language (ESL), mathematics, sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), social studies (history, civics, economics), and foreign languages (Spanish, French, German, Latin, and others). The ESL concentration entails 36 credit hours. All other paths require 30 credit hours.

  1. University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO

At the graduate level, learners may work on a master of arts in education that contains initial teacher licensure for grades 7 through 12. The MA degree program allows learners to pursue licensure in English, math, science, social studies, and music. Requirements for all MA candidates consist of the following classes:

  • Advanced Social Foundations of Education
  • Adolescent Psychology and Development for Teachers
  • Differentiation in the Classroom
  • Education and Practice
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