Master of Education

Student's work

The Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education offers the following Master of Education degrees.

  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education with emphasis in Educational Curriculum and Instruction (see plan of study here)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education (see plan of study here)

The program of studies at the master’s degree level is designed to increase the professional competency of the classroom teacher and to provide the coursework necessary to meet standards of teaching licensure at the advanced level. The master’s degree programs require admission to a particular program, completion and submission of the application form for a master’s degree at least one semester in advance of the date of graduation, successful completion of the comprehensive examination, and completion of all coursework requirements.

(While not at the advanced level, the department also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) for those who did not get a Bachelors degree in Education but have now decided they would like to get their master's degree to become a teacher. This initial licensure program at the Master's level leads to alternate route teacher licensure. More information can be found on this page.)

Admission Requirements

Admission to master’s programs offered in the content area of curriculum and instruction is selective.

To be considered for regular admission to a master’s degree program, an applicant must have

  1. an academic record reflecting a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) for the last two years of undergraduate study;
  2. results from a national standardized achievement/aptitude test predictive of the ability to complete a graduate program successfully. These include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (all sections)or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT); or the Praxis II: Content Area Examination
  3. three letters of recommendation sent to Graduate Admissions from professionals in the field of education who are qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study;
  4. a letter of intent (describe reasons for pursuing a master’s degree); also serves as a writing sample;
  5. a professional resumé; and
  6. a copy of educator license.

The department reviews qualified applicants for graduate work throughout the academic year. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Admission to master’s programs is contingent on the approval of the Departmental Graduate Committee, department chair, the dean of the college, and the dean of the Graduate School. An applicant who fails to meet the criteria for regular admission may be considered for conditional admission on an individual basis. Students accepted on a conditional basis MUST obtain grades of B or better on the first nine (9) hours of specified coursework 500-level or higher or all coursework taken while completing this nine-hour requirement. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the department chair or the graduate coordinator when conditional status is to be removed. Additional requirements may be specified based on the applicant's deficiencies.

All graduate programs require a 3.0 GPA or better for graduation. No course with a grade lower than "C" will count toward the degree.

Substitutions for required courses must be approved in advance and in writing by the graduate coordinator or the department chair. Transfer credit (see general master’s degree requirements) must have prior approval by the graduate coordinator or department chair. In addition to the above requirements, the individual must pass comprehensive examinations. Each student is allowed only two attempts to pass comprehensive examinations. Each student should register with the department’s graduate secretary for comprehensive examinations one semester prior to the examination. It is the responsibility of the student to keep abreast of the dates and times of the comprehensive exams. Comprehensive exams are administered over each semester: the fourth Friday of October, February, and June.

More Information about the M.Ed. in Elementary Education

Coming soon

More Information about the M.Ed. in Special Education

The M.Ed. in Special Education is a 33 hour program including a 15 hour core, 15 hours of special education elective coursework, and a 3 hour practicum.  Candidates may complete elective sequences which lead to Mississippi licensure in Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Emotional/Behavior Disorders, Severe Disabilities, or Gifted Education. Policies and Procedures for M.Ed. in Special Education (pdf)

M.Ed. in Special Education Comprehensive Portfolio

The M.Ed. Comprehensive Portfolio serves as a major component of the advance candidate’s comprehensive exam and is an assessment of the skills in his or her Special Education elective area (mild/moderate disabilities, severe/low incidence disabilities, emotional/behavior disorders or gifted education).

Advanced candidates who completed an initial licensure program by a unit of education accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and a program nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) either at The University of Southern Mississippi or at another institution of higher learning will only need to demonstrate those knowledge and skill competencies for the 7 Standard areas for the new elective area that they wish to add to their teaching license. This is because these advanced candidates have already demonstrated the skills in the CEC Common Core when they completed their initial degree. Advanced candidates who did not complete an initial NCATE accredited and CEC nationally recognized program will need to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competencies for the 7 Standard areas listed for those seeking initial licensure, and those specified for his/her elective area.

Please click here for the Guidelines_for_the_M.Ed._in_Special_Education_Comprehensive_Portfolio.

Orientation sessions are held periodically for candidates preparing to complete their portfolios.  Candidates are strongly encouraged to attend an orientation session early in their M.Ed. program.  To view an archived orientation, please click here:  View the Blackboard Collaborate recording

All M.Ed. Comprehensive Portfolios should be built and submitted through Tk20 (https://usm.tk20.com/).  The following documents provide information about Tk20:

  • Tk20 Student Guide to Getting Started (TK20_Flyer)
  • Student Guide to Completing the M.Ed. in Special Education Comprehensive Portfolio in Tk20 (Student Direction Sheet).