Master's Degree Programs

MEd in Instructional Leadership: Educational Studies

The Educational Studies concentration within the MEd in Instructional Leadership program enables students to design their own course of study with guidance from an adviser. This flexible program offers students relevant theory, research, and practical strategies for their particular needs and interests. This program caters to students whose intellectual and practical needs are outside the existing programs at UIC, and can accommodate almost any configuration students wish to pursue, including specializations in curriculum theory, mathematics education, science education and ESL/bilingual education.

For more information, sign up for our email list below, review degree requirements, submit a question to program advisor Ana Valenta at or contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532.  Or, start the application process.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of credit for the degree, at least 9 of which must be at the 500 level. Courses numbered 596, 597, 598 or 599 do not meet this requirement.

Core Curriculum (9 semester hours)

  • Philosophy or History of Education (Education 402 or 403 - 3 hours)
  • Educational or Developmental or Adolescent Psychology (Education 421 or 422 or 445 - 3 hours)
  • Curriculum, Instruction and Evaluation (Educ. 430 or 431 - 3 hours)
  • The core must be completed before enrollment in other courses.

Area of Concentration (14 semester hours)

Students may select, in consultation with their adviser, 14 hours of graduate coursework from the College of Education. Only two of these courses may be Individual Study.

Elective Courses (9 semester hours)

Students may select, in consultation with their adviser, 9 semester hours of graduate coursework from any department in the University. Students in this program also may combine this master's degree with an English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or Bilingual Approval.

For further information regarding degree requirements, contact the Office of Student Services at 312- 996-4536.

Advising Guide

Advising guides offer a checklist for class completion requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Mike Herkes, Coordinator of Data Management and Records, at in the Office of Student Services.

Advising Guide for the M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership - Educational Studies (pdf)


Options and Outcomes

Because our program offers so much flexibility, our graduates go on to do a broad range of work. While many students teach in classrooms or work in school settings, other students may choose other opportunities, including:

  • Directors of education in museums and cultural centers
  • Educational work in cultural and community agencies
  • Leadership roles in medical schools and other health-sciences positions
  • Educational researchers
  • Educational publishing
  • Educational media work
  • Private consulting on education with schools, businesses, and cultural or community agencies
  • Teacher educators
  • Youth and Youth Advocacy Groups

Application Process

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline: May 15
Spring Deadline: November 1
Summer Deadline:  March 15

  1. Applicants who are not currently registered graduate students at UIC must complete the UIC Graduate School application. Submit your application fee when completing the application.
  2. Complete the online College of Education application.
  3. The following documents should be uploaded online upon receiving email instructions after completing the UIC Graduate School application. View the Document Upload Guide for more information.
    • Upload undergraduate transcripts for your last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and all graduate transcripts.
    • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international applicants only
    • Three letters of recommendation.  These letters should address the applicant's academic qualifications, research ability/experience and ability to carry on advanced degree studies. Letters may be from current or former professors or supervisors. At least one letter should be from someone who can address your experience working with children.
    • A 3-to-4 page statement of professional goals and reasons for seeking admission to this concentration.  Some things to consider mentioning when writing your statement are your reasons for applying, experiences that sparked your interest, goals for the program and experiences you hope to take away from the program, how your program will relate to your career goals and whar are your experiences with, and beliefs about working with children/youth in urban environments.

Program FAQs

Do you still have a self-designed program?

Yes, it is called Educational Studies.

How long is the program?

The program consists of 32 hours: 9 hours of core curriculum, 14 hours for the area of specialization, and 9 hours of electives.

When are classes offered?

Almost all of our courses are offered from 5 p.m.  to  8 p.m.

What are the requirements?

You must take 9 hours of core courses in which we offer 3 sets of courses (students must take one course from each set). Sets include:

  1. Philosophy of Education (ED 402) or History of Education (ED 403)
  2. Educational Psychology (ED 421, 422, or 445)
  3. Curriculum (ED 430) or Learning Environments (ED 431)

Each course is 3 credit hours; therefore, one from each set equals 9 hours, which constitutes the core requirement.

The other two requirements are: a self designed area of specialization (14 hours) and a set of electives (9 hours).

What is an “area of specialization?”

This is an opportunity to pursue your interests through any courses offered by the College of Education.

How do I find what is offered by the College of Education?

You can pick up a schedule of classes from the Office of Student Services located at 3145 EPASW, or by calling 312-996-4532. You can look at the course offerings list.

What are some examples of “areas of specialization?”

The areas are unlimited but there are some that are frequently selected: mathematics education, science education, bilingual education or curriculum. This program offers unlimited opportunities to create your own unique and individualized course of study with an adviser.

Other areas that are popular are non-school education, community organizing, community college instructors, teachers in other realms with no need for additional certification, teachers who want to become peer leaders, educators interested in developing staff development programs, people anticipating PhD work, teachers who feel they have enough certification but want to enrich their practice and life.

There is also the opportunity to roll-in a middle school endorsement if you are already certified to teach in  K to 12 classrooms with the addition of two classes, CI 484 and EPSY 446.

You may also get a bilingual approval through this program.

Can you get initial or administrative certification in this program?


Do I need to have a plan made in advance for my area of specialization?

No, we believe that you learn as you go along; therefore, you may not know what you want to specialize in. Thus, we encourage you to revise your plans as you progress through the program.

How do I get an adviser?

When you are admitted to the program, you are told that your adviser is the program coordinator. The program coordinator will consider your background, consult with you initially and match you with an appropriate and effective adviser.

What about electives?

These may be taken either in the College of Education or anywhere in the university where they have the background to take graduate level classes as determined by departments in question.

What if I have some graduate work at previous institutions?

If the graduate work has not been used for a degree, you may petition to have it count toward your program requirements. The maximum number of credit hours you can transfer in from a different institution is eight. You may transfer up to twelve non-degree seeking credit hours from U of I. These credit hours must be approved by the graduate college.

Can I take independent study work?

Yes, you can take up to 8 hours of independent study (596); you also may select CI 592 (Apprenticeship in Teaching) or CI 539 (Internship in Curriculum and Instruction). These can be done independently with  faculty members who agree to supervise them.

How do I know enough about faculty members to be able to choose who to study with?

You could take CI 500, the pro-seminar in Curriculum and Instruction. This is a one-hour credit course that is offered from 4 p.m. to 4:50 p.m., one day each semester. In this setting, a different faculty member speaks autobiographically each week, telling about their work and interests. If you elect this course for two semesters, you can meet about 25 different faculty members.

You can also view faculty profiles on our web site.

Is there funding available for graduate students?

Faculty members have grants that offer research assistant positions. You can also look at our website for financial aid opportunities.

More funding exists for full-tine students than for part-time students. There are a limited number of tuition waivers offered through the Office of Student Services. Contact them at 3145 EPASW or by calling 312-996-4532.

How many hours should I take per semester?

It depends on your work load. Those who are employed full time usually take one or two courses.

Are the same courses offered every semester?

No. Core courses are offered frequently, but other courses are not.

What level of courses should I take?

Course must be at least 400-level, and  you must take at least 9 hours at the 500 level. The independent study (CI 596), while it may count toward your required 32 hours, it does not count as a 500 level class. You may, of course, take more than 9 hours at the 500-level.

Is a master’s thesis required?

No, however, if someone is interested in doing an equivalent, the internship in Curriculum and Instruction (CI 539) may be taken as a culminating activity that could be similar to a thesis, but this is not required.

Are there cohorts?

No, although there is ample opportunity to work with other students.

Are classes taught on Saturday?

No. Courses are usually offered one night a week, Monday through Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Do you offer summer sessions?

We now offer two different summer sessions.