Best Master’s in Education Degrees

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Educators of all stripes help students prepare for the challenges of life and learning.

A good educator doesn’t just make lessons, manage classrooms, and give grades; a good educator engages and shapes curiosity, mentors young people, and helps individuals reach their fullest potential.

Whether you work in a private or public school, if you’ve completed an undergraduate education degree, you understand that a master’s in education will improve your chances of getting a job, increase your position at a school, and create job security.

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Top 10 Best Master’s in Education Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Stanford University Stanford, CA
2 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
3 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
4 University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
5 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI
6 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
7 University of Washington Seattle, WA
8 Columbia University New York, NY
9 University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA
10 University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA

What kind of Master’s in Education degree should you get?

At College Choice, we want to help you find the best program for your Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or your Master of Arts in Education (MEd) so that you can begin a fulfilling career affecting the lives of young people. Our Best Online Master’s in Education may also be what you’re looking for.

Depending on your state’s certification rules and laws, getting more education in the field may be simpler and less costly than ever before. With a teacher shortage crisis near, many states’ departments of education are working to increase quality instructors in the classroom through policy changes, scholarships, grants, and tax/loan forgiveness incentives.

What can you do with a Master’s of Education degree?

These changes are designed to help educators pursue more schooling, thus equipping teachers with more robust credentials that help them hone their craft and create marketability. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a significant growth in the field in the next decade, getting a professional edge will be important.

For a teacher, getting an MAT is the perfect path for individuals looking to increase their understanding of pedagogy, methodology, and theory while getting hands-on experience with students.

How much can you make with a Master’s in Education degree?

The MAT is a comprehensive teaching degree that will sharpen your skills in the classroom and help you to thrive outside the classroom for the entirety of your career. Workers completing this degree can expect a starting salary of $50,000-$60,000, depending on their grade level, region, and district.

For the education-focused employee looking to move away from the classroom and into a more managerial role in a school, completing a MEd would be the best next career step.

Going for an MEd, a teacher can begin transitioning into a specialized career path overseeing a school as a high-level administrator or principal. Workers completing this degree can expect to make nearly $90,000 per year depending on their position and district.

What are the Best Master’s in Education Degrees?

No matter if you’re looking to pursue a master’s in education or a master’s in teaching, College Choice is here to help you navigate the complexities of taking the next career step in the field. Our rankings pull data from several sources. The first source is college freshman questioned during a nationwide survey available from the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

These students rated academic standing, financial aid contributions, overall cost of education. As well, the data also take graduate success rates on the post-college job market into account. In addition, we take other publicly available sources into account, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Stanford University is a private research institution that is internationally recognized for its education programs. This school, which is located in Stanford, California, has over a half-dozen education programs that focus on curriculum and education policy.

    Program Features

    The programs at Stanford are mostly created for certified teachers. However, the Stanford Teacher Education Program does offer initial licensure at the elementary and secondary education routes. Students who are interested in being licensed to teach in the state of California. Sample courses include:

    • Becoming Literate in School
    • Equity and Schooling
    • Introduction to Academic Language

    Notables

    Most of the degrees are year-long, full-time programs that require a minimum of 45 credit hours of coursework. An internship and practicum may be required as well. This university holds regional accreditation by the WASC.

  2. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    John Hopkins University is a private research institute that is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a world leader in education and has five graduate education degrees in a variety of concentrations, most of which are nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report, the Princeton Review, and the Financial Times. This school is regionally accredited by the MSCHE.

    Program Features

    John Hopkins offers students the MA, MS, MSE, and the MEHP degrees. All of these programs come with at least two concentrations, and some of these can lead to endorsement or certification. Students often choose the MAT or the MSE for its modularity in the workplace and the exciting fieldwork opportunities. Sample courses include:

    • Managing Behavior in the Classroom
    • Ethics in Education
    • A History of the American Education System

    Notables

    Each degree has its own specific requirements, but for the sake of brevity, the general requirements are this: at least 36 credit hours of coursework and a culminating project. Certification degrees will also require a one-year long field experience and internship.

  3. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Harvard is home to over a dozen year-long intensive master’s programs in education. It is one of the only schools on this ranking to both be nationally ranked in the top ten for graduate education programs by ranking sites and also have a suite of degrees that can be completed in less than a year. Harvard, which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is regionally accredited by the NEASC.

    Program Features

    The Ed.M. programs at Harvard were created as academic degrees for certified teachers or students who are on their way to obtaining licensure. This is not a school that offers initial licensure for any subject or age group; students are advised to speak to an admissions advisor about what their plan of action at the university ought to be. Sample courses include:

    • ProSeminar in Higher Education
    • The History of American Higher Education
    • The Economics of Higher Education

    Notables

    With over a dozen subjects to choose from, students might find that this school puts an emphasis on the aspects of society and politics that shape American education. This is highlighted by the fact that most of these programs require students to take history and politics courses as part of the Core Curriculum. The degrees all have a minimum requirement of 32 credit hours of coursework. There are no student teaching experiences required.

  4. University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Texas at Austin has a reputation for being the best school in the state for educators. This school confers the MA and the MEd in 20 different subjects. This school, which is located in Austin, Texas, holds regional accreditation by the SACS COC.

    Program Features

    Many of the areas of interest at the education department at UT come with the option to choose an academic or a professional degree type. If a student has yet to receive initial licensure, the MA is a good choice; for certified teachers MEd will provide a more advanced study of the subject at hand. The degree requirements vary by subject matter, but most degrees require at least 33 credit hours of coursework. MEd students will also be required to take on a student teaching experience. Sample courses include:

    • Language and Politics
    • Biliteracy
    • Critical Pedagogy and Bilingual Education

    Notables

    Students often choose the MEd route for many of the degrees, especially if they have chosen to begin a new subject as a teacher. This is especially true for students who are interested in pursuing bilingual education as a career path. Only the MEd requires student teaching for the degree, and that is needed for bilingual teachers.

  5. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Wisconsin at Madison is known for its wide array of education degrees, including the MSPE and teacher certification programs. This is one of the best schools for students who are interested in developing their talents as a teacher. This school, which is located in Madison, Wisconsin, is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.

    Program Features

    UWM is best known in the education community for being the home of the Master’s of Science for Professional Educators degree program. This is a two-year, part-time online program that fits into the busy lifestyle of the educators who earn the degree. The main focus of the degree is educational psychology and leadership and is perfect for students who are interested in getting a leadership position within a public school distract. Sample courses include:

    • Educational Literacy
    • Foundational Research Methods in Education
    • Critical Issues in Education and Society

    Notables

    Each degree has a minimum requirement of 36 credit hours of coursework, with the exception of the MSPE, which only requires 30 credit hours. A culminating experience and fieldwork are also required. Assistantships and fieldwork are a large part of studying at UWM. All programs require at least some form of experience in the classroom or working with educators. This is a great way to put the theories students learn in the classroom to the test, all while giving them constructive feedback from their mentors.

  6. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Pennsylvania offers a unique degree for education. This school confers the MSEd, a program that focuses on the varying aspects of society that impacts education. The university, which is located in University City, Pennsylvania, is regionally accredited by the MSCHE.

    Program Features

    There are 21 programs listed for the MSEd. It is an incredible range of degrees, including Intercultural Communication, Learning Sciences and Technology, and Education Entrepreneurship. It is also possible for students to become professionally certified in their field after they’ve graduated from Penn. The requirements for these degrees varies, but all of the programs require 30 credit hours of coursework and a culminating experience. Fieldwork and practicums may also be required. Sample courses include:

    • Economic Aspects of Education Policy
    • School and Society
    • Politics of School Reform

    Notables

    The MSEd programs were created to be finished in one year with full-time study. These degrees are taught in the cohort model with one start date a year. Depending on a student’s chosen track, their culminating experience will vary between a thesis, a practicum, or a research paper.

  7. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Washington at Seattle houses the College of Education at its head campus in Seattle, Washington. This school confers the Master of Education with a variety of specialties for students and certified teachers. This school is regionally accredited by the WASC.

    Program Features

    There are 16 different specializations for the MEd at UW. These include Instructional Leadership, Teacher Education, and Social and Cultural Foundations. Many of these pathways have comprehensive requirements, so students are encouraged to research their chosen field to ensure that this university is the right choice. Most of these degrees require at least 39 credit hours of course work. This includes student teaching experiences and research projects. Sample courses include:

    • Public Policy and Ethics in Education
    • Social Contexts in the Classroom
    • Managing Behavior in the Classroom

    Notables

    Students have a unique option at this school: they can choose to individualize not just their degree plan, but also their major project. Some of the options include a thesis, a portfolio, a research paper, or an internship. The possibilities are endless; however, the final project must be approved by the department.

  8. Columbia University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Columbia University is home to the Teachers College, a school dedicated to graduate studies in Education, Health, and Psychology. This school confers nearly 50 education degrees in a variety of subjects, many of which come with certifications and endorsement. This university, which is located in New York City, New York, is regionally accredited by the MSCHE.

    Program Features

    The degree requirements vary by subject and certification that a student is reaching for, but most programs have a minimum requirement of 36 credit hours, or 60 points. For licensure degrees, fieldwork and student teaching is mandatory. Sample courses include:

    • School Change
    • Curriculum and Teaching Policy
    • Differentiating Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms

    Notables

    It is possible to receive initial and advanced licensure to teach in the state of New York at this college. However, students are advised that in order to receive licensure, they must take college on full-time and not work a professional job. It is highly recommended that students do not work at all.

  9. University of California, Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of California, Berkeley, known as Berkeley to students, is home to a strong range of educational programs that turns teachers into leaders. This school, which is located in Berkeley, California, is regionally accredited by the WASC.

    Program Features

    This school finds itself in the unique position of having some of the best K-12 professional programs for teachers. Many of these programs also include initial licensure, while others provide professional experience in the classroom to certified teachers. Either way, students will find an incredible program taught by passionate educators who want to change the world just as much as they do. These degrees vary with requirements, but generally all degrees have a minimum of 39 credit hours for graduation. There is also fieldwork and a research project requirement. Sample courses include:

    • Foundations for Teaching Language Arts
    • Urban Education
    • Assessment and Education of Exceptional Pupils in Regular Classes

    Notables

    One of the most popular programs is the Developmental Teacher Education degree. This is a full-time, 15-month program that has fieldwork take center stage. Students work in four different student teaching placements all around the Bay Area to learn more about how diversity is affecting the American education system and how to combat critical issues that may arise.

  10. University of California, Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of California, Los Angeles confers both academic and professional degrees in the realm of education. Students will be able to choose from the Master’s of Art or the Master of Education for their career needs. This school, which is located in Los Angeles, California, holds regional accreditation by the WASC.

    Program Features

    The graduate programs at UCLA are consistently ranked in the top 15 by the most respected ranking sites. In fact, when asked about their satisfaction with the education programs, most graduate candidates marked the faculty as being their favorite part of their time at the university. The degrees all require at least 33 credit hours of coursework. Depending on a student’s area of emphasis, a practicum may also be required. Sample courses include:

    • Research and Evaluation in Education
    • Computer Analyses of Empirical Data in Education
    • Cognitive and Personal Development of College Students

    Notables

    It is important to note the current education programs delivered by UCLA are not for students who want or require licensure. These are programs designed for educators who have already received licensure or do not need it for their career path. Students are advised to double-check with the school if licensure is an issue.

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