Master of Arts in Education Program Requirements featured image background

Colleges and Schools

Master of Arts in Education
Program Requirements

The North Park University School of Education prepares competent, respectful, and reflective professionals who are dedicated to serving diverse learning communities.

The master of arts in education (MAE) is designed for licensed teachers in who wish to extend their knowledge in the field of education and refine their skills through graduate-level studies. Others who are interested in education but do not wish to be certified teachers may also complete this degree.

The MAE is an individually-designed program and requires 34 semester hours of coursework. You can choose a thesis or non-thesis track. You’ll plan your program with an advisor from the School of Education. Up to six graduate credit hours may be transferred into the MAE program from another accredited college or university.

Master’s Degree Requirements

Descriptions for all graduate education courses are available at the bottom of this page.

  • 34 total semester hours of graduate coursework, with a plan of study approved by the School of Education
  • Four required courses (10 to 14 semester hours) of core coursework, specific to thesis or non-thesis track:
    • EDUC 5140: Comparative and International Education (2 sh)
    • EDUC 5210: Understanding Research Design and Program Evaluation (4 sh)
  • Non-Thesis Track
    • EDUC 5020: Learning and Social Management Strategies in the Classroom (2 sh)
    • EDUC 5410: Teacher Leadership (2 sh)
    • Comprehensive exam prior to graduation
  • Thesis Track
    • EDUC 5903: Proposal Writing (2 or 4 sh)
    • EDUC 5920: Master’s Project (2 or 4 sh)
    • Final project presentation to education faculty

Course Descriptions

Click on the courses names below to read a description of the class.

Please review the full academic catalog for the year you enroll at North Park for official requirements, including prerequisite and corequisite courses. The catalog and your School of Education advisor will assist you in planning your course sequence to complete your MAE degree.

An advanced study of the psychological aspects of human behavior and development applied to the teaching and learning process. Topics include an understanding and function of brain development as it affects behavior and learning, neuropsychological aspects of school-related problems, learning styles, attention span, information processing, short-term and long-term memory, encoding and retrieval mechanisms, categorization, and problem-solving. Candidates will develop a positive classroom discipline model as part of this course.


A study of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of the young adolescents. Examination of developmental issues that impact the middle school, its philosophy, and its practices responsive to the adolescent, both cognitively and affectively.


The course begins with an introduction to basic counseling skills as an essential component of effective communication with all students. The course will examine interactional, group process, and conflict resolution strategies for school and community settings. The course will examine multiculturally responsive and restorative justice strategies for classroom management. The course will also examine institutional policies and procedures relative to the impact on all students. Not required for students who begin their students in the fall of 2013 or later.


An examination of the issue of diversity with emphasis on the social, political, and cultural dimensions of school settings. Students will apply findings on this issue to their own classrooms and community contexts. Consideration will be given to the needs of ESL, bilingual, and bicultural students and the ways in which teachers respond to their needs. Legal requirements and funding issues will be addressed. Teacher certification candidates will develop a philosophy of diversity statement as a component of this course.


This course examines the application of historiographic and social scientific theories and methods to international issues of education. This course emphasizes comparative analysis of policies and practices that constitute the organization, content, processes of educational systems and institutions found around the world. Selected topics include national, global, political, economic, social and cultural impact of education. Historical and contemporary examples are also used to emphasize the contributions and challenges of those involved in the field.


Basic principles of instruction for middle and high schools including analysis of teaching and learning experiences, organization for instruction, and assessment of students work. Students are videotaped for self-assessment.


Basic principle of instruction. Preparing for teaching experiences, organizing for instruction, and working in a teacher aiding situation. Students are videotaped for self-assessment. EDUC 5110, 5170 and 5510 comprise Professional Term B.


Methods of dealing with the development of language in the young child, speaking and listening skills, and preparation for reading and writing skills. Relationship to cognitive development. (MATC only)

Introduction to language and literacy development of young children related to reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Emphasis will be on the knowledge of alphabetic code, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, fluency, organization of print, writing, and use of both narrative and informative text. The students will create instructional units that apply goals, learning standards, instructional strategies, and assessments to facilitate literacy and language development.


An introduction to the process of research which includes conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and assessment strategies for both quantitative and qualitative studies. Emphasis will be on reading, interpreting and designing research studies.


This course is an introduction to the processes of research. The purpose of this course is intended to help students develop skills, insights, and an understanding of basic to performing research. This course also emphasizes the application of educational research methods and results into an educational setting. Both qualitative and quantitative methods research methods are examined in this course.


This course introduces students to research-based instructional strategies along with basic principles and practices of classroom assessment. Special attention will be given to differentiated instruction, maximizing student engagement and learning, formative and summative assessment practices, and the use of data in classroom decision making.

An analysis of both traditional and alternative forms of assessment and evaluation, e.g., portfolio assessment, video performances, and student presentations. Philosophical foundations that form the basis for selected evaluation practices will be considered. Examination of literature on tests and measurements as well as alternative assessment and evaluation procedures will enable students to develop strategies that best meet the needs of their own educational objectives. Attention to grading procedures and other means for reporting student progress will enable teachers to evaluate a variety of strategies for reporting student progress.


This course prepares candidates to teach science in the middle grades. Candidates will learn about the place of science learning in the middle grades and middle schools. This course will prepare middle grades teachers by focusing on selected science content, along with specific methods and techniques for helping middle grades students develop skills specific to the sciences.


This course prepares candidates to teach social science in the middle grades. Candidates will learn about the place of social science learning in the middle grades and middle schools. This course will prepare middle grades teachers by focusing on selected social science content, along with specific methods and techniques for helping middle grades students develop skills such as reading, discussion, and critical thinking.


This course will consist of methods of teaching art in the elementary school. Emphasis will be placed on both the theoretical and the practical information and skills essential for the teaching of art.


Methods and techniques of teaching music by the classroom teacher at all levels in the elementary school. Special emphasis will be placed on current music educational trends.


A presentation of the current trends in elementary physical education and health; human body systems and promotion of social, emotional, physical, mental and environmental health; theories and principles of health promotion and disease prevention; methodology, class organization, basic movement principles, and identifying teaching resources for physical education.


Exploration of major theories dealing with stages and changes relating to physical, cognitive, social, personality, and emotional development in childhood and adolescence. Student must have completed an introductory course in Psychology.


This course introduces candidates to the basic principles of unit planning and lesson design with special emphasis on the School of Education lesson plan template. Planning principles are aligned with the Danielson Framework for Teaching, the edTPA, Illinois Learning Standards, and national content area standards. Strategies for supporting the needs of diverse learners are addressed.


Emphasis on the middle school classroom and its structure (curriculum and instruction) of the young adolescent. Examination of curriculum development, teaching and instructional strategies, support of students as changing young people, parent and community development, service learning, advisor-advisee programs, block scheduling, learning communities, homework and assessment, exploratories, teaming, reading and writing across the curriculum, and other current middle school issues that impact curriculum and instruction for the 10 to 15 year old. Pedagogy is based on middle school philosophy, curriculum, instruction, and instructional models for designing and teaching developmentally appropriate programs including content area reading instruction.


As the first literacy course in the Elementary Education program, this course emphasis on balance literacy, methodology, and principles of instruction related to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Candidates will explore instructional strategies to construct differentiated instruction, standard-based literacy lessons, and literacy units. Field experience will be required.

Emphasis on emergent literacy and primary methods in the areas of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science as they are integrated with art, music, health, and physical education in the schools. Materials suitable for these ages and stages of development are reviewed. Assessment of students is discussed.


An analysis of the materials and the methodologies used in writing, reading and language arts including children's literature. A review of theories, research, and the differentiated instructional needs of struggling and special education students. Emphasis on the learner in middle grades.


As a literacy method course in the Middle Grade education program, this course presents an analysis of instructional materials and methodologies used in reading and writing in content areas for middle grades. The course will explore evaluation of instructional materials, higher order comprehension instruction, learning specialized vocabulary, study skills and cognitive strategies, reading and writing across the curriculum, assessment of student progress, diversity in the classroom, and current approaches to content reading. Teacher candidates will learn how to plan content units with literacy strategies.


As a content literacy course in the graduate program, this course enables students to critically examine the current research, theories, adn best-practices instructional literacy strategies for all content literacy for pre-service secondary teachers. It integrates a fundamental knowledge on reading, writing, and oral communication within all content to student learning. The major emphasis of the course is to provide knowledge of pedagogical approaches to evaluation of instructional materials, comprehension instruction, vocabulary, fluency, reading and writing across the curriculum, assessment of student progress, diversity in the classroom, and current approaches to content reading and writing.


An introduction to the range of communication and computer technologies now available to teachers for classroom use. Participants will receive instruction in the use of computers, interactive video, CD-ROM, Livetext, and other advanced technologies. Applications of software packages such as spreadsheets, HyperCard, and simulation and visualization software will be offered. Students will investigate pedagogical implications of these technologies and programs. Not for students who begin the program in the fall of 2013 or later.


Methods and techniques of teaching socialization, art, music, and physical education to the young child along with the materials available and appropriate for the infant and young child.

This first instruction course explores developmentally appropriate approaches, methods, instructional strategies, and assessment for teaching fine arts, health, U.S. history, and geography appropriate to early childhood. The course will also emphasize SEL management skills and communication in classrooms. Creating units based on the understanding of the interrelationships in social sciences will be included.


Methods and techniques of teaching science in grades K-4. Emphasis is on concept development and discovery approach.


This course is intended for candidates working towards an elementary certification. Candidates will explore instructional strategies in order to guide their students in acquiring writing and reading skills in content areas. Emphasis is on the functional teaching of writing and reading including designing and preparing materials to use with curriculum materials in all school subjects. Field experience required.


Methods and techniques of teaching mathematical, social, and scientific concepts to young children. The relation of learning theories to the selection process. Diagnostic and evaluation techniques and procedures.


Methods and techniques of teaching mathematics in grades K-4. Emphasis is on NCTM Teaching Standards for concept development, problem-solving, critical thinking ability, and use of manipulatives. Student must have successful score on the mathematics area test.


This course focuses on the methods and techniques for mathematics instruction and assessment in the middle grades. Candidates will develop differentiated lessons and implement effective strategies through collaborative planning and peer teaching. This course will emphasize and review specific math content and skills appropriate to middle grades learners as identified in the Common Core State Standards.


Lesson planning, methods, and material selection for teaching art in the elementary school. Integration with the program of regular classroom teacher as well as planning for an entire art curriculum for elementary students.


Specific methods and materials for teaching middle and secondary school subjects: topics and problems of general concern to middle and secondary teachers; selection and use of instructional media. Mini-teaching assignment in a local school. Basic principles of instruction, preparing for teaching experiences and organizing for instruction. Regular and special populations are included. Music education majors must register for MUS 3408 and 3409 in place of this course.


A focus on opportunities and strategies for teacher leadership in developing ideas, programs, and policies within school settings. Shared decision-making, school restructuring, school based management, and peer coaching are among several issues explored from both administrative and classroom teachers' perspectives. Research studies in areas of teacher organizational culture will be utilized to develop strategies for teacher leadership and followership.


Survey of the psychology of the identification of, and the methods of instruction for the exceptional child, including the learning disabled, with special emphasis on characteristics and methods of instruction for cross-categorical special education students.


An introduction to the characteristics of students with specific learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, autism, traumatic brain injury, and orthopedic or other health impairments and implications of these characteristics in the educational setting and throughout the lifespan. The provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)for these learners are explored as well as the definitions of the disabilities, etiologies, preventions, and interventions. Issues related to the identification, screening, labeling, and placement of, students, particularly culturally and linguistically diverse students in Special Education, will also be presented. IFSP and IEP development is explored well as past, present, and future issues and trends in the field. Early childhood through high school student populations are included. Leads to cross-categorical approval for early childhood, elementary, and 6-12 certificates when combined with EDUC 5430 and 5436. Student must have completed an introductory course in Educational Psychology and in Curriculum.


An examination of assessment and evaluation instruments appropriate for use with special populations. Standardized, aptitude, achievement, personality, diagnostic, and criterion reference tests will be analyzed. Validity, reliability, norming, and standard scores will be examined. Student must have completed an introductory course in Statistics.


An introduction to the philosophies and theories underlying the variations in educational programming for students with specific learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, autism, traumatic brain injury, and orthopedic or other health impairments. Educational approaches and best practices used by teachers to design curriculum, and instruct and assess students with disabilities will be presented. Applied behavioral analysis techniques and behavior change plan will be explored. Issues of identification, screening, placement, and family involvement of culturally and linguistically diverse students will also be explored. Student must have completed an introductory course in Educational Psychology and in Curriculum. To be taken as part of Professional Term C.



As the first clinical experience course in the Teacher Education Program, this course requires teacher candidates to observe and teacher aide in a classroom for up to 50 hours in order to demonstrate an understanding of the classroom environment along with instructional and assessment practices. Teacher Aiding experiences include focused reflection on Danielson's Framework for Teaching and edTPA. Prerequisite: Full admission into the Teacher Education Program.


Mini-teachers meet regularly with School of Education faculty to share and reflect on the experience and prepare for the edTPA. There will be a minimum of 35 hours of mini-teaching in a local school in connection with methods courses. The student must meet the required grade point average and have a receipt by the School of Education of meeting the Illinois basic skills requirement.

Minimum of 35 hours of mini-teaching in a local school in connection with methods courses. To be taken in the second year of the program.


The purpose of this course is to observe and assist a teacher in an ESL school setting for a minimum total of 100 clock hours. The requirements for this course may also be met through verification of three months of teaching experience with ESL students. Only those who have verification by a principal or other administrators of three months of teaching ESL students prior to entering the program may take this for no credit. To be taken at the end of the five-course ESL sequence.


Introduction to the basic principles of linguistics, the study of human language. Origins of language, what it means to know a language, comparisons of the difficulty levels of different languages, how children acquire language, and common threads that may connect languages will be explored.


Exploration of various aspects of the relationship between language and society. Culture, sex differences, communities, dialects, and speech will be examined.


Philosophical and theoretical considerations for teaching a second language. An explanation of theories as well as comparisons among the different theories of teaching a second language will be explored. The student will build a personal framework for teaching a second language. Kindergarten through high school student populations will be the focus of attention, including design and sequencing of ESL courses.


Assessment techniques of ESL students. Different types of assessment instruments, the theoretical viewpoints of these instruments and testing procedures in general will be discussed. Assessment of all levels of proficiency and grade levels will be considered.


Introduction to the various methods of teaching a second language in K-12 based on the philosophies and theories presented in 5603. Strategies used when working with ESL or second language students and exposure to the issues of multicultural diversity and socioeconomic diversity.


This course provides the current research and theories forming the foundation of bilingual education. It examines and reviews the historical, legal, philosophical, theoretical, pedagogical, and political issues concerning bilingual education programs in the United States. It also analyzes the linguistic, psychological, social, and cultural underpinnings of current practices in the field and cultivates multicultural perspectives.


This course introduces various models, philosophies, and theoretical underpinnings of bilingual education for language minority students. It provides and prepares the participants with the theoretical basis, methods and techniques needed for effective teaching in bilingual/bicultural classrooms.


This course explores reading and writing as a dynamic, strategic and goal-directed process of language and tools that utilizes native language (L1) and second language (English as L2) for learning in academic and social contexts. The course examines research-based best practices and pedagogy for literacy and language arts to help Bilingual and ELL students transition into English language fluency. Multimedia literacy and multimodal tools, such as computer graphics, video clips, blogs, wikis, and electronic resources are also examined. Theories of learning, assessment of Bilingual and ELL students, Rt1, the role of classroom environment, and parent-community partnerships are included. Academic and social competencies in multicultural and global citizenship are explored through the extensive use of multicultural literature for middle school and young adolescents.


This course examines the current research, theories, and best-practices instructional strategies for disciplinary literacy and content literacy in Social Studies, Science, Math, Art, and Music for Bilingual and ELL students. The course applies national and discipline-specific standards to the instructional program and learning strategies that are most effective for Bilingual and ELL students. The course also examines the new technologies and multimodal literacies that enhance student learning and require 21st century literacy.



Supervised observation and teaching in the elementary school. Early childhood teacher candidates must complete five weeks in grades 1-3 (4sh). Elementary Education teacher candidates must complete ten weeks in grades 2-4 (8 sh). K-12 majors must complete eight weeks in grades 1-8 (6 sh) and eight weeks in EDUC 4120, grades 6-12 (6 sh). Prerequisite (Early Childhood): EDUC 5010, 5110, 5180, 5220, 5310, 5312, 5320, 5330, 5360, 5500, 5510, 5520; passage of the State Content Area Exam; acceptance into student teaching by the Teacher Education Committee. Prerequisite (Elementary): EDUC 5010, 5110, 5220, 5310, 5311, 5312, 5320, 5500, 5510, 5520; passage of the State Content Area Exam; acceptance into student teaching by the Teacher Education Committee. Co-requisite: EDUC 5853


Supervised observation and teaching in the secondary school. Secondary Education teacher candidates must complete this experience as follows: 6-12 majors must complete ten weeks (8 sh) in grades 6-12. K-12 majors must complete eights weeks in 5810, grades 1-8 (6 sh) and eight weeks in 5820, grades 6-12 (6 sh). Students must pass the State Content Area Exam, the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test, and show proof of acceptance by the Committee on Educational Screening. (MATC only).


As the capstone course in the teacher education program, this course enables students to create personal syntheses of the educational experiences as graduate students and as prospective educators. Students will examine selected philosophies of education in order to develop their own. Minimum of 15 hours of opening day school experience in assigned school, alternating weekly teaching seminar, preparation of student profile, and work with instructional media. Students will assemble professional portfolios, prepare for teacher certification, and outline future areas of inquiry for further professional development.


Intensive investigation of a selected topic. Topics include Creativity and Problem Solving. Consent of graduate advisor required.


Advanced work in a field of special interest. Consent of graduate advisor and the Teacher Education Committee required.


Development of a written proposal outlining a research project that includes a well defined research topic, literature review, conceptual framework, and appropriate methodology. Presentation of the completed proposal to the student's Review Committee is required at the completion of the course. This proposal will be constructed according to guidelines printed in the Research Manual for Writing a Master's Project in Education. Student must have completed a minimum of 12 sh in core requirements.


The Academic Odyssey is a short-term study/travel course offered through the School of Education at North Park University. It is especially designed for prospective teachers seeking to strengthen social and linguistic skills needed for teaching in a multilingual and multicultural global society. By visiting local schools and interacting with students, faculty and school administration of the host country, students are exposed to an in-depth study of unique educational systems across the globe along with current forces and challenges affecting education. A special focus of the course is to examine, compare and contrast the integration of culturally and linguistically diverse student populations in each country while creating culturally responsive instructional materials and activities for the global classroom. Historical and cultural sites are also an integral part of this trip.


Students will be required to design, implement, and assess their own research project. This project is a culmination of work in the master's program. Students will integrate knowledge, skills, and experiences emanating from previous course work. They will present their work to two members of the School of Education Faculty. Candidates may choose to design a classroom-based project, case study, or original research study.


Exploration of the role families and community services play in the education of young children. Teacher candidates will identify social, economic, and cultural trends that impact families of young children and will develop strategies to communicate with families to disseminate information regarding school and community services.