The Master of Science in Education degree program involves advanced study designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers in P-12 schools. The program blends studies of educational theory with analysis of current issues and practices in teaching well as specific discipline content. Students explore the ways in which knowledge and skills developed in the programs enhance teaching and learning. Program tracks are offered in:
- Elementary Education
- Secondary Education
- Kinesiology, Health and Sport
- Mathematics Teaching
Applicants must be admitted to graduate study under University graduate policies and then be accepted into the specific MSE Track. In addition to the requirements for admission to graduate study at USI, admission to the MSE program requires the following:
- a copy of a standard US teaching license or an approved waiver form; and
- a completed personal information form that includes a record of teaching experience.
The curriculum for all program tracks uses the reflective teacher-researcher conceptual framework with three phases: the exploration phase, the analysis phase and the synthesis phase. All MSE tracks require completion of 33 credit hours following the curriculum outlined below.
Exploration Phase (15-21 credit hours)
During the exploration phase, graduate students must successfully complete at least one course from the following categories:
- Advanced Instruction (AI) – Courses in advanced instruction develop reflective and analytical skills in candidates related to their practices as teachers. Much of this curriculum emphasizes the learning process, and how students are changed as a result of experience, how they apply what they learn in different contexts, and how they recognize and extend that learning to completely new situations. Modes of facilitating effective learning, transferring new knowledge and skills to appropriate contexts, creativity and innovation, and experiential education will be investigated.
- Curriculum Theory (CT) – Curriculum theory refers to the transmission of knowledge, skills, and affective sets to others through formal and informal means. These courses examine the organization of schooling, as well as formal and informal educational environments. Curriculum as process, curriculum and context, modes of learning, and revisionist theories of modes of knowledge will be explored.
- Human Development (HD) – Courses in human development examine changes in human beings’ biological, social, cognitive, and emotional behavior from conception until death. Such lifelong processes and permanent change overtime often influence not only how students learn, but who learns based on the contexts of the environment. Patterns of growth, motivation, engagement within classroom environments, and the implications of culture and the individual are tools to understanding how humans develop.
- Social Foundations (SF) – Social Foundations courses explore questions about the nature, structure, and functions of schools; education and social justice; the nature and uses of knowledge; and conceptions of a worthy life. These courses are intended to introduce students to the methods and questions of philosophy, history, sociology, and anthropology as tools for investigating the work of teachers and the institutions of schools.
The course work at the exploration phase will culminate in the creation of a professional portfolio. The portfolio will represent an individual graduate student’s organization of course-related and professional development knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Artifacts in the portfolio should be taken from each course in the student’s program. The portfolio will also include a synthesizing statement that identifies an area of focus for the remainder of the program. The portfolio will be presented to a committee of three faculty members, with at least one faculty member representing the specific track in which the student is enrolled.
Analysis Phase (9-15 credit hours)
During the analysis phase of graduate course work, graduate students begin the work of further analyzing and developing their program foci. The analysis phase of the program emphasizes preparation for performance of an action research project.
During the analysis phase students complete:
The course work at the analysis phase of master’s programming will culminate in the creation of a prospectus presentation related to the candidate’s teacher action research project. The prospectus presentation is the final outcome of EDUC 631 - Analysis of Instruction . The presentation will represent an individual student’s organization and understanding of course-related and professional development knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to his/her action research topic.
Synthesis Phase (3 credit hours)
All graduate students must complete an action research project in the synthesis semester. Each candidate designs an action research project, implements the project, and writes a report of research findings.
EDUC 671 /EDUC 674 is a culminating research-oriented seminar that integrates professional knowledge and professional skills. Each student conducts a school-based research project, based on professional literature, and writes a research report.
Elementary Education and Secondary Education Track
Early in the program, a graduate student in elementary or secondary education will meet with an advisor to develop a program of study that follows his/her area of interests. Courses are available in areas such as reading/literacy, special education, and technology. The individual program of study must meet the specifications outlined in the MSE curriculum.
Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Track
The concentration in kinesiology, health, and sport is designed to prepare students for careers in areas of health education, physical education, and coaching.
The program of study follows the specifications outlined in the MSE curriculum with 15 credit hours from the Department of Teacher Education and 18 credit hours from the Department of Kinesiology, Health and Sport.
Mathematics Teaching Track
The Master of Science in Education—Mathematics Teaching is designed to strengthen the conceptual and pedagogical understanding of mathematics for teachers of mathematics at the secondary level and for instructors of entry-level mathematics at two- and four-year colleges and universities. The goals of this program are to further students’ mathematical knowledge and to provide rich pedagogical experiences utilizing appropriate technologies and manipulatives as they relate to the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Applicants for this program must have an undergraduate major in mathematics or mathematics teaching, certification to teach mathematics, and at least one year of teaching experience in mathematics.
The program of study follows the specifications outlined in the MSE curriculum with 15 credit hours from the Department of Teacher Education and 18 credit hours from the Department of Mathematics.
An advisor from the Department of Mathematics will collaborate with the student and the instructors of EDUC 601, EDUC 631, and EDUC 671 with regard to research projects.