If you have a passion for helping children learn, this ranking is for you. We all know that having a great teacher can make a massive impact on a child’s life – but nobody becomes a master teacher overnight.
Mastering the art of teaching takes time, experience, and preparation. Studies show that excellent teacher preparation makes a huge difference in student outcomes. By pursuing an advanced degree in education, you’ll learn evidence-based practices and experience the essential mentorship that you’ll need to excel in the classroom.
What kind of Master’s in Elementary Education degree should you get?
There are a lot of options out there. This ranking covers quite a few – from degrees that provide initial licensure to those that provide advanced credentials. Some are practitioner focused, while others lead to careers in research.
One thing that all the programs on this ranking do have in common is that they are campus-based programs. But if you can’t (or don’t want to) put your life on hold to complete your master’s degree, there are excellent online options available.
The days when an online degree was a dubious achievement are well in the past. Accredited online degrees are as rigorous as their campus-based counterparts and respected by employers.
For more information, check out our ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Elementary Education?
Nobody goes into education to become rich. That said, getting a Master’s degree in Education can deliver huge benefits to your paycheck – even after you factor in the cost of the degree. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks a Master’s in Education among the degrees that deliver a “relatively high” payoff.
A master’s degree opens doors to the highest paying jobs in education (like school principalships), and for all other jobs it confers a significant yearly wage premium. Here are a few incentivizing numbers from the BLS:
- Education Administrators with master’s: $23,000 average annual wage premium
- Elementary teachers with master’s: $11,900 average annual wage premium
- Elementary, Middle, High School Principal: $92,510 median annual salary
What can you do with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education?
The schools on this ranking have some of the top education programs in the country, and their Master’s in Education programs provide outstanding training in both teaching and leadership. Whether you want to teach for the rest of your life or move into another career, your master’s degree will open doors to countless job opportunities. Here are some possibilities:
- Principal or Administrator
- Educational Researcher
- Instructional Specialist
- Corporate Trainer
- Educational Consultant
What are the requirements for a Master’s degree in Elementary Education?
The programs on this ranking are some of the most selective in the country. These schools are looking for highly qualified and committed candidates—and it’s your job to prove that they want you in their program.
Admissions teams do look at academic performance, but good grades are only one part of the package. You will need to demonstrate your passion for educating young children in diverse and inclusive settings. Schools provide a variety of ways to do this, but here are a few common admission requirements:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a pretty healthy GPA
- GRE or other standardized test scores
- Experience working with children in some capacity (coaching, mentoring, tutoring)
- A personal statement outlining your career goals
- For programs leading to advanced credentials, you may need an initial teaching license.
What are the best Master’s in Elementary Education degrees?
So what makes for a top program? At College Choice, we are looking for schools that deliver both academic excellence and return on investment.
First of all, accreditation is critical, so all the schools on our list are regionally accredited. Additionally, many programs are accredited by the main educational accrediting bodies: NCATE, CAEP, or TEAC.
The College Choice score we give to each school takes into account a variety of factors. Our research team slogs through the data, weighing academic reputation rankings, program tuition rates, early career earnings of graduates, and student satisfaction. And we’re confident that the resulting score reflects the quality of program you’ll encounter.
Average Net Price: $16,695
Located in California’s gorgeous Bay Area, Stanford University consistently ranks among the top five national universities in the country. Known for both outstanding teaching and cutting-edge research, Stanford’s top-ranking School of Education is no exception. They’ve been trailblazing excellence in education for over a century.
Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education offers a Master of Arts in Elementary Education which integrates a high quality academic program with a well-supported, yearlong classroom placement. Referred to as STEP (Stanford Teacher Education Program), this 12-month, full-time program leads to a preliminary California Multiple Teaching Subject Credential. Courses include:
- Becoming Literate in School
- Elementary Classroom Leadership and Management
- Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics
Stanford University’s STEP Elementary program is comprised of 45 quarter-credits. In addition to wide-ranging coursework, students experience two semester-long classroom teaching placements. Class sizes are small (with around 20 students), so students have close contact with faculty. And graduate students are guaranteed housing on Stanford’s beautiful campus, as long as they apply on time!
Average Net Price: $23,150
Located in Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt University is a private research university with a reputation for excellent undergraduate teaching, research opportunities, and post-graduate employment placements. The Peabody School of Education ranks among the top ten in the country for U.S. News and World Report and is known for providing world-class programs for future educators.
Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Elementary Education. The program is comprehensive and is built around the core values of equity, access, and inclusion. Vanderbilt M.Ed. students learn to work with urban children in culturally responsive ways, connecting theory to practice through engaging coursework and extensive practice in local schools. Courses include:
- Learning Ecologies I – Equity, Access, and Inclusion in Context
- Social Studies Methods
- Mathematics Concepts
Vanderbilt University’s M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 32-credit program comprised of traditional coursework and student teaching experiences. The program takes 13 months to complete, beginning in June with an intensive 8-week experience. Peabody’s partnerships with local schools and community-based organizations give experiences in such initiatives as trauma-influenced practices and STEAM subjects.
University of Virginia
Average Net Price: $15,945
Located in Charlottesville, VA, the University of Virginia is a highly selective public research institution which was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. The historic university sits at the top of national rankings to the present day, and UV’s graduate schools – including the renowned Curry School of Education – rank among the best in the country.
The University of Virginia Curry School of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Teaching with a concentration in Elementary Education which leads to initial licensure in the State of Virginia. This program is ideal for candidates with an undergraduate degree in an area other than education and provides the necessary knowledge and experience to begin a career in teaching elementary students. Core courses include:
- Exceptional Learner
- Designing Technologies for Teaching
- Contemporary Educational Issues
The University of Virginia’s MT in Elementary Education is a 30-credit program which includes coursework in pedagogy and content areas, as well as extensive field experiences. Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible for licensure with endorsement in Elementary Education (grades pre K-6), and you can also choose to pursue a second endorsement in special education, ESOL, Algebra I, or gifted education.
University of California Berkeley
Average Net Price: $17,160
One of the ten research universities in the University of California System, UC Berkeley is a highly ranked public institution that overlooks San Francisco Bay. UC Berkeley is home to 14 schools and colleges, including a renowned School of Education (#19 in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report). Their top-ranked programs prepare students to take on leadership roles in challenging K-12 settings.
UC Berkeley’s visionary Graduate School of Education offers the Berkeley Educators for Equity and Excellence program which provides a Master of Arts in Education (Elementary Education) and a multiple subject teaching credential. The goal of the program is to develop ambitious, equity-focused teaching practice that is grounded in research, disciplinary, and professional content knowledge. Courses include:
- Issues of Teaching, Learning, and Equity Pro Seminar
- Foundations for Teaching Language Arts
- Science in the Elementary Classroom
UC Berkeley’s MAT in Elementary Teaching is a 48-52 credit program comprised of classroom-based coursework and extensive fieldwork experiences (over 600 hours) in schools and local community organizations. Students complete the program over the course of four semesters, (summer, fall, spring, fall) on a full-time basis. This is an ambitious program, and UC Berkeley is renowned for producing some of the best-prepared teachers in the country.
University of Michigan
Average Net Price: $16,107
Situated in Ann Arbor, Michigan, known as one of the best college towns in the country, the University of Michigan is top-ranked public research university. The School of Education, which ranks at #14 nationally according to U.S. News and World Report, intertwines renowned research, teaching, and service to develop highly trained educational professionals who lead K-12 education.
The School of Education at the University of Michigan offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Educational Studies with Elementary Teacher Certification. This intensive, one-year program combines academic courses and supported K-8 classroom experiences. Students develop a range of professional skills and disciplinary knowledge to become teachers who can engage diverse groups of children in thoughtful learning. Courses include:
- Developmental Reading and Writing Instruction in the Elementary School
- Teaching Students with Exceptionalities K-8
- Digital Technologies K-8
The University of Michigan’s Elementary MA with certification program is an intensive, full-time, cohort-based program that begins in late June and finishes in mid-June the following year. All students take part in a full-year internship in an elementary classroom (the same classroom throughout the year). And there is also the option of completing an additional endorsement in the teaching of English as a Second Language.
Johns Hopkins University
Average Net Price: $27,352
Named after the American philanthropist and abolitionist, Johns Hopkins University is a top-ranked private research university and a founding member of the elite American Association of Universities. The university, which is situated in the east coast city of Baltimore, Maryland, is known for its prestigious graduate schools – and their School of Education ranks at #17 nationally for U.S. News and World Report.
Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Teaching with Certification in Elementary Education. As a student, you’ll experience personalized coaching from experienced faculty as well as structured clinical internships in partner schools. The dynamic curriculum includes cutting-edge studies of differentiated instruction, mind-brain research, and cultural and global understanding. Certification content areas include:
- Social Studies
Johns Hopkins’ University’s MAT program is a 39-credit program that students complete in a cohort over a one-year or eighteen month period. On graduation you’ll be eligible for initial Elementary Education certification in Maryland. This flexible program combines face-to-face courses with some online courses – and there are options for an accelerated program or a more flexible, non-cohort based program.
University of California Los Angeles
Average Net Price: $14,236
Located on an expansive campus in the Westwood neighbourhood of L.A., the University of California Los Angeles UCLA is a top-ranked national university. UCLA ranks among the top 25 national universities in the country; and, according to U.S. News and World Report, their School of Education ranks as the very best in the country.
UCLA’s School of Education offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education which provides a teaching credential. The program has a focus on social justice in urban communities, and graduates will be prepared with innovative teaching strategies and strong subject matter knowledge. As a student, you’ll also gain extensive practical experience in urban schools in L.A. in both years of the program. Courses include:
- Principles and Methods for Teaching Reading
- Integrated Methods for Elementary Teachers
- Teaching in Urban Schools
UCLA’s M.Ed. Elementary Education is a full-time, 2-year program. Graduates are eligible for a California preliminary multiple-subject teaching credential to teach Elementary (K-5). Each year has a specific focus, with the first year of the program being devoted to coursework and student teaching. During the second year of the program, students assume paid teaching positions in partner school districts in urban LA while they complete degree requirements.
University of Pennsylvania
Average Net Price: $22,944
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, ivy league research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school is one of the 14 founding members of the exclusive Association of American Universities and has a longstanding reputation for academic excellence and innovation. Pennsylvania’s highly ranked graduate schools include the School of Education, which offers excellent programs for urban teachers.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education offers an Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program which offers a Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education. The UTAP PreK-4 program is built around educating the whole child, and that philosophy permeates the program. Teacher apprentices move through five stages of inquiry and development, with intertwined courses and mentored teaching. Courses include:
- School and Society
- Teaching Diverse Learners
- Social Studies Methods in the Elementary/Middle-Level Classroom
The University of Pennsylvania’s MS.Ed. in Elementary Education is an intensive, one year program that leads to Pennsylvania Grades Pre K-4 Certification. This apprenticeship program includes ten months of mentored teaching in a local school setting, with up to 800 hours of fieldwork. Coursework builds competence in core academic areas, but it also covers the urban setting, child development, and creative courses in writing, visual arts, robotics, and drama.
College of William & Mary
Average Net Price: $16,734
With a history dating back into the very early colonial period, the College of William & Mary is a historic public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Today William & Mary is listed among the “Public Ivies” due to its consistently outstanding reputation and highly selective admissions. The School of Education is no exception, ranking among the top 70 nationally by U.S. News and World Report.
The William & Mary School of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Education in Elementary Education which leads to initial K-6 certification in the state of Virginia. As a student in this one year program, you’ll complete educational foundations coursework, methods courses in elementary school subject fields, and student teaching experiences. Courses include:
- Current Issues in Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
- Advanced Educational Psychology & Development
- Social & Philosophical, Cultural and Historical Foundations of American Education
The College of William & Mary’s MA.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 45-credit, intensive 12-month program in which students complete all requirements in a cohort group. Field experiences lead up to the ten-week student teaching semester, and you can also earn an emphasis in Literacy by taking two additional courses in the summer semester. This program is only open to non-licensed teachers.
North Carolina State University
Average Net Price: $13,066
Located in Raleigh, NC, North Carolina State University is a public research university that ranks among the top 85 national universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Known for their stellar graduate colleges, the university boasts a renowned College of Education which produces some of the top K-12 educators in North Carolina.
The College of Education at North Carolina State University offers a CAEP-accredited, Master of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education. This is a practitioner-focused program for individuals wanting to earn an initial teaching licensure. The program integrates essential pedagogical theory with experience in culturally diverse and technology-enhanced classrooms. Courses include:
- Principles of Developing and Interpreting Assessment
- Exploring Diversity in Classroom and Community
- Classroom Action Research
North Carolina State University’s MAT in Elementary Education is a 33-credit program (though credits vary with the chosen content area). Students complete the program over a year-and-a-half of full-time study – though you can take longer if you need to. Classes take place in a hybrid format, being delivered both face-to-face on the Raleigh campus, face-to-face off-campus, and online.
University of Florida
Average Net Price: $14,761
Located just a couple miles from downtown Gainesville, the University of Florida is a prominent public research university and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. UF’s College of Education ranks among the top 25 in the country according to U.S. News and World Report, with teacher educator programs that prepare leaders in the field of education.
The College of Education at the University of Florida offers a CAEP-accredited Master of Education in Elementary Education which leads to initial certification and two additional endorsements (ESOL and Reading). Students experience a year-long internship and coursework that focuses on assessment, advanced pedagogy, and technology integration within content areas. Courses include:
- Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
- Literacy Assessment and Instruction
- Understanding K-8 Mathematics
The University of Florida’s M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 36-credit program which provides eligibility for Florida certification in Elementary Education K-6, English for Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement, and the Florida Reading Endorsement. This is a full-time, 3-semester program which includes extensive teaching experiences. And if you want the teaching credential without the M.Ed., UF offers a 21-credit program that provides just that.
Average Net Price: $27,167
Located just west of Boston in the village of Chestnut Hill, MA, Boston College is a renowned private, Jesuit research university. The university’s combination of excellence in both teaching and research consistently places them at the top of national rankings – and the Lynch School of Education is no exception to that tradition. Currently sitting at #21 nationally by U.S. News and World Report, they provide training, practice, and support for future master teachers.
Boston College’s Lynch School of Education offers an NCATE and TEAC-accredited Master of Education in Elementary Education that leads to a Massachusetts K-6 teaching certification. Boston College’s teacher education program stresses a humanistic approach to teaching, with a focus on transformative education for a more just world. Courses reflect current research and practices in teaching and learning, and include:
- Applied Child Development
- Instruction of Students with Special Needs and Diverse Learners
- Social Contexts of Education
Boston College’s M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 37-credit program comprised of 12 courses and a practicum. Full-time students complete the program in a full academic year, with two summer sessions. Part-time students take from two to three years, depending on their pace of study. And for added flexibility, Boston College offers three start dates throughout the year, in spring, summer, or fall.
Average Net Price: $29,326
Located just outside Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, Northwestern University is a top-ranking, private research university. The school has a commitment to providing an intimate educational experience, with small class sizes and faculty who welcome student collaboration. Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy has a long tradition of excellence and currently ranks among the top ten in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy offers a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Elementary Teaching which leads to an Illinois Professional Educator License. The emphasis of the program is on reflection, research, flexibility, and lifelong learning – and students gain extensive experience in the classroom where they apply their learning to real-world teaching. Courses include:
- Social Contexts of Education
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Foundations of Learning a New Language
Northwestern University’s MS.Ed. in Elementary Education is a flexible, 45-credit program that full-time students may complete in one calendar year. But if an intensive, full-time degree isn’t possible for you, there is also the option to complete the degree part-time, beginning the program in any academic quarter. And core courses – except for student teaching – meet once a week in the evenings to accommodate working students.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Average Net Price: $17,190
Generally referred to as Virginia Tech, Virginia Polytechnic and State University is a large public research university located in the college town of Blacksburg, VA. The school as a whole ranks among the top 25 public national universities, and their School of Education ranks among the top 100 in the country according to US News and World Report.
Virginia Tech’s School of Education offers a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Elementary Education. Students encounter a variety of instructional approaches based on sound theoretical and research-based underpinnings. As a student, you’ll also engage in active, interactive, and collaborative experiences that will prepare you to teach in challenging, diverse classrooms. Courses include:
- Psychological Foundations of Education for Preservice
- Elementary School Curriculum
- Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Social Studies
Virginia Tech’s M.Ed. in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction offers both licensure track and non-licensure options. Both tracks are comprised of 45-51 credit-hours, and the program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis in one to two years. Coursework is aligned with NCATE professional standards, and the M.Ed. with licensure option provides a Virginia Professional Licensure for grades Pre K-6.
Average Net Price: $12,621
Located on a huge campus in the city of Bloomington, IN, Indiana University is a large public research university and the flagship campus of the Indiana University system. The university as a whole ranks among the top 100 national universities in the country and is home to a renowned School of Education that ranks at #30 nationally from U.S. News and World Report.
Indiana University’s School of Education offers a CAEP-accredited Master of Science in Education: Elementary Education which provides a focus on either General Elementary Education (Grades 1-6) or Early Childhood Education (Pre K-3). This is a non-licensure program for practicing teachers who want to enhance their teaching practices and explore current theories of teaching and instruction. Students select courses in the advanced study of content areas relevant to elementary education. Courses include:
- Instruction in the Context of Curriculum
- Elementary School Curriculum
- Advanced Study in the Teaching of Reading in the Elementary Schools
Indiana University’s MS.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 36-credit program comprised of major and foundation courses (15 credits) and electives (15 credits). The final six credits are devoted to a culminating experience which consists of either a thesis or a practicum. The practicum option is ideal for working teachers and is carried out as an action research project in their own classroom or school.
University of Connecticut
Average Net Price: $19,064
Located in Storrs, Connecticut, the University of Connecticut is a flagship university and the top-ranked public university in New England according to U.S. News and World Report. With a long history of high-quality academic programs, the university is home to the top-ranking Neag School of Education which combines innovative research with forward-thinking teacher education programs.
The University of Connecticut Neag School of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction. This is a non-certification program that prepares teachers to serve as instructional leaders in elementary schools. Students gain skills in supervision and curriculum that can be applied to all levels of education. The program offers two concentrations in Elementary Education:
- Reading/Language Arts Education
- General Elementary Education.
The University of Connecticut’s MA.Ed. in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction is a 30-credit program which students can complete in a year of full-time study. The program is intended for individuals with teaching experience, but a teaching license is not one of the requirements for admission to the program. And if you’re looking for a master’s program that could lead to further research, UConn’s includes a thesis option.
Christopher Newport University
Average Net Price: $22,637
Located in the city of Newport News, Virginia, Christopher Newport University is a small, relatively young, public liberal arts university. Relative youth notwithstanding, the university ranks among the best regional schools in the South by U.S. News and World Report, and their teacher preparation programs have a reputation for innovation and excellence.
Christopher Newport University’s Department of Education offers a CAEP-accredited Master of Arts in Teaching which leads to a Virginia teaching license for Pre K-6. The MAT program of study promises both the content area mastery and pedagogical knowledge you need to be successful in the classroom. And the school offers several additional areas of endorsement at the Elementary level. These include:
- Visual Art
Christopher Newport University’s MAT in Elementary Education is a 36-credit, practitioner-oriented degree which translates theory into effective instructional practice. The curriculum is comprised of education and content courses as well as teaching methods for your chosen endorsement area. Students also complete a student teaching experience with an impact study project which serves as the culminating project.
University of Maryland, College Park
Average Net Price: $15,757
Located in the city of College Park, MD, the University of Maryland is a large, public research university and the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland. On national rankings, the university habitually sits among the best national universities in the country, and their College of Education ranks among the top 35 nationally according to U.S. News and World Report.
The University of Maryland’s College of Education offers an CAEP-accredited Master of Education that leads to elementary teacher certification. All Master’s Certification Program courses are taught by UMD’s world-class faculty and school practitioners, and students have extensive internship opportunities to connect content and pedagogy. Prerequisite courses include:
- College-level Algebra
- College-level Geometry
- College-level Statistics
The University of Maryland’s MCERT program is comprised of 36-42 academic credits that students complete over one year of full-time work and study. Over the year, students experience an intensive, full-time internship in a local school while attending pedagogy and education courses on two nights a week and on some Saturdays. Graduates receive both the M.Ed. degree and Maryland elementary teacher certification.
University of Washington
Average Net Price: $10,068
Located in the rainy-but-beautiful seaport city of Seattle, WA, the University of Washington is a public research university that ranks among the top public schools in the U.S. The university is home to many prestigious graduate programs, and their College of Education currently ranks among the top ten in the country according to U.S. News and World Report.
The University of Washington’s College of Education offers an Elementary Teacher Education Program which confers a Master of Arts in Teaching as well as eligibility for Washington state teacher certification. A hallmark of UW’s teaching education is extensive, field-based learning in local public school settings with high levels of socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial diversity. The program’s wide range of courses include:
- Teaching & Learning in Literacy
- Classroom Management for Elementary School Educators
- School & Society
The University of Washington’s MAT in Elementary Education program is a 60-quarter credit program that students complete over the course of one year (four quarters). In addition to coursework, students engage in over 800 hours of work in local schools, with fieldwork increasing in intensity as the program goes on. The last quarter is comprised of a full-time teaching experience and a Capstone project.
Loyola University Maryland
Average Net Price: $34,152
Located in Baltimore, MD, Loyola University Maryland is a private Jesuit university that ranks among the top five regional universities in the North according to U.S. News and World Report. With the Jesuit concern for social justice uppermost, the University’s College of Education provides high-caliber graduate programs that prepare teachers to thrive in diverse settings.
Loyola University Maryland’s College of Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education which leads to Maryland teacher certification in Grades 1-6. Whatever field you completed your bachelor’s degree in, Loyola’s MAT program is designed to deliver the essential knowledge and skills you’ll need to thrive as a elementary classroom teacher. Clinical experiences are blended with academic courses which include:
- Process and Acquisition of Literacy
- Learning Sciences
- Foundations of Education
Loyola University Maryland’s MAT in Elementary Education is a 38-credit program with two delivery options. The one year, full-time program is an accelerated, cohort-based program with a focus on urban education. The part-time MAT program is a flexible option which gives students from two to five years to complete the degree. Evening classes make this a great option for working students.
Arizona State University
Average Net Price: $13,007
Located on five campuses throughout Phoenix, AZ, Arizona State University is a public research university and one of the largest, by enrollment, in the country. The nationally-ranked university is home to the renowned Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College which offers some of the best elementary teacher preparation programs in the country according to U.S. News and World Report.
Arizona State University’s Fulton Teachers College offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education that leads to an Arizona teacher certification (Grades K-8). ASU’s program is for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field and want to become licensed teachers. Students build connections between theory and practice through quality classroom instruction and extensive clinical experiences. Courses include:
- Psychology in Education
- Instructional Planning for the Diverse Classroom
- Instructional Design for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
Arizona State University’s M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 33-credit degree comprised of 10 required courses and an applied project (as a culminating experience). Students also take part in extensive field work in local public schools. There are three possible tracks for completing the degree that offer varying levels of flexibility, but all three tracks culminate in a full-time teaching experience during the final semester.
University of South Carolina
Average Net Price: $19,913
Located in downtown Columbia, SC, the University of South Carolina is a public research university and the flagship of the University of South Carolina’s eight-campus system. The school is home to a highly regarded College of Education that was ranked among the top 85 in the country by U.S. News and World Report and provides high caliber programs for future teachers.
The College of Education at the University of South Carolina offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education which provides certification to teach Grades 2-6. The program is designed for those with no academic background in education, and provides all the skills and knowledge you need to excel as an elementary classroom teacher. Courses include:
- Human Growth and Development
- Systematic Effective Teaching
- The School in Modern Society
The University of South Carolina’s MAT in Elementary Education program is a 51-credit program comprised of 10 required courses and two internships. The program is delivered in a cohort format, so students take classes together in sequence, beginning in the fall semester. In addition to the MAT degree, graduates of the program receive the Read to Succeed endorsement required for South Carolina educators.
New York University
Average Net Price: $35,147
A private research university located in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City, New York University is the largest private university in the US and ranks among the top national universities in the country. NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development ranks at #6 nationally and is known for its outstanding, hands-on graduate programs.
NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Teaching and Learning offers a TEAC-accredited Master of Arts in Childhood Education which provides certification to teach grades 1-6 in New York State. NYU also offers an option for students who want a second endorsement in Childhood Special Education. The program includes extensive field experiences and courses that cover the theory and practice of how people learn. Courses include:
- Inquiries into Teaching and Learning
- Individuals with Disabilities in School/Community
- Foundations of Curriculum for Diverse Learners
New York University’s MA in Childhood Education is a 43-46 credit program, depending on whether students complete the Special Education certification. NYU’s world-class faculty train students in innovative pedagogical practices. And students complete at least 100 hours of field experience before student teaching (150 hours if you’re completing a double certification), observing, training, and engaging with urban schools and communities.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Average Net Price: $16,242
Located along the banks of the Mississippi in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota is a highly ranked national research university. The school offers stellar graduate programs through a number of acclaimed graduate colleges. And UMN’s top-ranking College of Education is home to an Institute of Child Development which is recognized as a premier center for child study and research.
The College of Education at the University of Minnesota offers a NCATE-accredited Master of Education which confers an initial teaching license in Elementary Education. The program combines educational theory with a year-long, co-teaching experience in Minneapolis/St.Paul public schools. Coursework covers content area methods and includes a reflective seminar and a capstone course. Courses include:
- Cultures, Schools, and Communities
- Technology for Teaching and Learning
- Child and Adolescent Development for Teaching and Learning
The University of Minnesota’s M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 32.5-credit program which students complete on a full-time basis over 15 months. Students enjoy the support of a cohort and are paired with experienced teachers to complete their fieldwork. And within the M.Ed. program, UMN also offers a Teacher Scholars of Color Program for those who would like to study in a community of prospective teachers of color.
Columbia University Teachers College
Average Net Price: $24,569
Located in New York City, Columbia University is a private ivy league research university that sits in the upper echelon of national universities. Among Columbia’s top-ranking graduate schools, the Teachers College is the first and largest graduate school of education in the United States – and is perennially ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Report.
Columbia University’s Teachers College offers a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Teaching: Elementary Inclusive Education which leads to New York State teacher certification, grades 1-6. Students study a wide variety of approaches to education, but the focus of the program is on curriculum development for heterogeneous classrooms, critical multiculturalism, and teaching for equity and social justice. Courses include:
- Disability, exclusion, and schooling
- Curriculum and instruction in elementary education
- Language and teaching in the primary reading/writing classroom
Columbia Teachers College’s MA in Curriculum and Teaching is a 40-credit minimum program comprised of 13 required courses and a full year of student teaching in two different settings. At an accelerated pace, students can complete the entire program in 16 months, but you have five years to complete the degree if needed. Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible for a NY State teaching certification which can transfer to many other states in the US.
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Average Net Price: $13,751
Located in downtown Denver, CO, the University of Colorado Denver is a public urban university and the largest research institution in the state. The university’s high-caliber graduate schools offer students diverse teaching and learning communities. Among these, the School of Education and Human Development is the largest in Colorado and ranks among the best nationally.
CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development offers a Master of Arts in Elementary Education which leads to a K-6 Colorado teaching license. Students in CU Denver’s program simultaneously work as urban teacher candidate interns and take teacher education classes. Students are well supported by faculty – this program is recognized nationally for its innovative approach to collaborative teacher preparation. Courses include:
- Understanding (dis)Ability in Contemporary Classrooms,
- Social Foundations and Cultural Diversity in Urban Education
- Exploring Diversity in Content and Pedagogy
CU Denver’s MA in Elementary Education is a 48-credit program which students can complete full-time over either one year or one-and-a-half years. A major feature of the program is the intensive teacher-intern component, in which students become part of the staff at a Denver metro area urban professional development school. You’ll earn alongside expert practicing clinical teachers as well as from award-winning university faculty.
University of California Santa Barbara
Average Net Price: $15,149
Located on a sprawling campus near Santa Barbara, CA, the University of California Santa Barbara is a public research university and a member of the 10-campus University of California system. The University ranks among the top 40 national universities in the country, and the renowned Gevirtz Graduate School of Education ranks at #54 nationally according to U.S. News and World Report.
UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School of Education offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education that leads to a California teaching credential. This intensive, 13-month program propels a cohort of students through a rigorous academic program as well as a year-long supported teacher internship. Students experience a high level of support from faculty and mentor-teachers as well as strong collegial relationships. Courses include:
- Child Development and Learning
- Professional Issues
- Application of Technology: Elementary
UC Santa Barbara’s M.Ed. in Elementary Education is an accelerated program that features concurrent student teaching and study. As a graduate, you’ll be eligible for a Multiple Subject Credential. This versatile credential authorizes candidates to provide instruction in self-contained classrooms in elementary schools (usually grades K-12) as well as English language skills and academic content to English learners in California.
University of Illinois
Average Net Price: $11,444
Located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, IL, the University of Illinois is a large, public research university and the flagship of the University of Illinois system. The University ranks among the top 50 national universities in the country according to U.S. News and World Report and has a reputation for excellence in research, teaching, and public engagement which extends to its much-lauded School of Education.
The College of Education at the University Illinois offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education which leads to an Illinois teaching licensure. In this program, students develop the tools, methods, and habits of mind that make education equitable and accessible to all learners. Graduates are leaders, researchers, and passionate advocates committed to transforming learners of all ages. Courses include:
- Psychology of Learning in Education
- Child Language and Education
- Psychology of Classroom Management
The University of Illinois’ M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a flexible, 32-credit program comprised of 12 credits of foundations coursework, 12 credits of education coursework, and 12 credits of electives. You can complete this program on either a full- or part-time basis (taking up to five years). And you’ll experience four different classroom placements over a period of two years, accumulating over 900 hours of experience working with children.
University of South Florida
Average Net Price: $11,398
Located in Florida’s west coast city of Tampa, the University of South Florida is a public research university and a member of the State University System of Florida. As one of the top 100 education schools in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report, the USF College of Education provides state-of-the-art training to every student pursuing a career in the field.
The University of South Florida’s College of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Teaching that provides certification to teach grades K-6. The program covers core curricular areas (including ESOL instruction) and provides meaningful connections to clinical experiences. Students work alongside an experienced elementary mentor teacher as well as a university field-supervisor over the course of the program. Content areas include:
- Language Arts/Reading
The University of South Florida’s Elementary Education MAT is a full time, four-semester program with new cohorts beginning each fall semester (students may also be admitted in the spring or summer semesters). All program graduates receive a full State of Florida English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Endorsement. And an additional four courses provide a Reading endorsement.
University of New Orleans
Average Net Price: $9,428
Located on New Orleans’ Lake Pontchartrain, the University of New Orleans is a mid-sized, public research university. The University offers solid academics and a close community of faculty and students – and their nationally-ranked College of Education and Human Development has a reputation for stellar teacher preparation.
The University of New Orleans’ College of Education and Human Development offers a Master of Arts in Teaching which provides eligibility for a Florida initial teaching certificate. This flexible program combines study in pedagogy and core content areas with field experiences in local public schools. Graduates are prepared to teach general education programs in the elementary grades. Required courses include:
- Curriculum and Instruction for Multicultural Education
- Elementary School Curriculum
- Foundations of Child Development
The University of New Orleans’ Elementary Education MAT is a 36-credit minimum program which students generally complete in two to two-and-a-half years (on a full- or part-time basis). A unique feature of UNO’s program is that teacher-candidates can obtain a temporary Louisiana teaching license so that they can teach while they study. Those who take advantage of this opportunity are given up to six years to complete the program.