Choosing a Master’s Program

This is a quick guide and intended as a helpful first step in considering options. Prospective students should contact with specific questions about which program is best for them.

MEd programs offering teaching licensure and endorsements

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

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, school leaders, and research professionals. These programs are also popular with teachers who want to change focus in their work and/or deepen their expertise in a particular educational topic.

Choosing MEd Educational Policy Studies (“Ed Policy”) or 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.

Choosing Urban Higher Education (UHE) or Youth Development (YD)

The master’s in Urban Higher Education was created in 2019, but it draws its strengths from two longstanding, award-winning programs at the College: the Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership and the M.Ed. in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics & Assessment (MESA). If you want to work in higher education, or you know that higher education is your 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.  The program focuses more on out-of-school spaces and informal learning and development as opposed to classrooms and formal institutions.

YD covers some of the same age-range as UHE, but YD’s focus is on all young people, not only those who have transitioned into higher education. YD focuses more on how institutions and systems impact human development rather than the legal frameworks, policies and procedures that might be addressed in the Ed Policy degree or UHE.

Questions about our master's programs? Contact: