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Choosing a Master’s Program

Need help deciding? Take our Master's Quiz to see which program might fit you best.

We also encourage you to talk to the faculty who lead these programs, attend an info session, and/or email to help you in your decision process.

MEd programs offering teaching licensure and endorsements Heading link

Licensure programs for future teachers

Do you want to teach in a classroom or work in an educational space that requires a teaching license? Students can earn an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) in addition to endorsements in these programs:

Specialized programs for licensed teachers who want to pursue research, endorsements, and advance their career

Master’s students who already have a PEL can specialize, add multiple endorsements to their PEL, and advance their skills and knowledge in these programs:

Programs for careers in education outside of K-12 classroom teaching Heading link

These MEd programs allow students to expand their career options and/or pursue research in education that happens outside of K-12 classroom teaching:

Careers include higher education professionals, youth program directors, corporate trainers, museum educators, school leaders, and researchers. These programs are also popular with teachers who want to learn more about education outside the classroom and/or deepen their expertise in a particular educational topic.

What is the difference between MEd Educational Policy Studies (“Ed Policy”) and MEd Educational Studies (“Ed Studies”)?

Both of these programs have the same 3 core course (9 semester hours) requirements. Ed Studies offers the most expansive selection of courses, but if you know you want to study educational policy, especially as it relates to topics such as school organization and leadership, or the social foundations of education (including social justice work), Ed Policy will be best tailored to your needs.

Ed Policy (housed in the Department of Educational Policy Studies) has specific course requirements (14 hours) for their Area of Specialization. Students choose between Educational Leadership and School Improvement; Education Policy and Policy Analysis; or Social Justice and Education.

Ed Studies (housed in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction) allows students to take courses in any of the Colleges’ four departments to count towards their Area of Specialization. Ed Studies allows students the flexibility to select courses to earn the ESL/Bilingual endorsement (if they have a teaching license) OR to focus on any assortment of 400-500 level courses that align to their interests and/or aspirations.

I want to study or work with youth/young adults. Should I choose Urban Higher Education (UHE) or Youth Development (YD)?

The master’s in Urban Higher Education is our newest master’s program. Students choose between two focus areas: leadership or institutional research. If you want to work in a college or university, or you know that higher education is your research topic of interest, this is the program for you.

The YD program has over a decade of success in educating students about the health, development and thriving of young people, primarily between the ages of 10-24. In this program there is a major focus on informal learning spaces (as opposed to schools and classrooms) in urban environments. Even though both programs cover a similar age range of learners, YD focuses on all young people, not only those who have transitioned into higher education.

Questions about our master's programs? Contact: Heading link