Education, Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in Education degree program combines online learning with practical and applied learning in the K-12 classroom. The master’s candidate must earn and successfully complete 30-43 semester credits of graduate course work, specific to the emphasis chosen. A teacher or principal licensure or an added endorsement credential is included in some emphases. Either a graduate capstone or final comprehensive examinations in the form of professional portfolios are required for graduation. A summer on-campus or online program orientation must be completed before coursework is begun. The candidate will earn a Master of Arts in Education and specialize in one of the following emphases: K-12 Online Teacher Leadership, Reading Leadership, Teaching Leadership, Educational Administration, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Leadership, or Educator Effectiveness.

  • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in K-12 Online Teacher Leadership, Reading Leadership, or Teacher Leadership will complete one of the following licensure or added endorsement programs as part of the MA degree: Elementary, K-12/Secondary, Secondary English, or Special Education Generalist.
  • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Educational Administration will complete the Principal Licensure program as part of the MA degree.
  • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education will complete the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse added endorsement program as part of the MA degree.
  • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Educator Effectiveness is required to hold an initial or professional teacher license as a prerequisite for admission and may be eligible to earn an additional licensure area or endorsement depending on course sequences chosen.

Upon acceptance to the program, an advisor will be assigned to assist the applicant in developing a degree plan, which includes a comprehensive exam or a capstone.

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Western’s Education Department offers several Masters pathways for initial licensure, as well as opportunities to add endorsements onto existing teaching licenses:

  • Candidates seeking an initial teaching or principal license will be eligible to apply for an initial license after the first year and can then pursue the additional 16-19 graduate credits to earn a Masters of Arts in Education with emphasis in: K-12 Online Teacher Leadership, Reading Leadership, Teacher Leadership, Culturally Linguistically Diverse Education or Educational Administration 
    • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education will complete the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse added endorsement program as part of the MA degree.
    • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Educational Administration will complete the Principal Licensure program as part of the MA degree.
  • Candidates who already hold a teaching license who are intending to pursue an added endorsement and/or the Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Educator Effectiveness are required to hold an initial or professional teacher license as a prerequisite for admission. Colorado Department of Education endorsements available for currently licensed teachers are: Reading Teacher, Reading Specialist, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, Special Education, and Mentor Teacher.
  • A candidate intending to pursue the Master of Arts in Special Education will be eligible to apply for a Special Education Generalist license after the first year and can then pursue the additional 10-13 graduate credits towards the MA in Special Education. For more information, please see Special Education, Master of Arts.

Completion of Western’s licensure program makes a person eligible for an initial Colorado teaching license or added endorsement. The Colorado Department of Education is solely responsible for the processing and final approval of all Colorado teaching and administrative licenses and endorsements. Western Colorado University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Western’s education program is regionally accredited and Colorado participates in licensing reciprocity agreements across the country; however, specific licensing requirements vary by state. If you are seeking a teaching license outside of Colorado, contact Western’s education department for assistance with each individual state education department’s requirements.

Program Goals

  1. To prepare new teachers who are proficient or above in all of the Colorado Teacher Standards and corresponding, endorsement specific content area standards and who have the opportunity to implement, reflect upon and improve their classroom practices.
  2. To prepare teachers who are inclusive and responsive to the needs of all students.
  3. To prepare teachers who can deliver instruction using multiple modalities, including hybrid, online, and in-person instruction.

Requirements for Full Admission to the MA in Education with Teacher Licensure

  1. Candidate must submit:
    • Proof of fingerprint clearance and background check by state agency
    • Two professional recommendation forms
    • Resume
    • Payment of university application fee
    • Official transcript of conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university showing recommended 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher
    • Personal statement
  2. Candidate must demonstrate knowledge of the content area by:
    • passing a Praxis Subject Assessment (Special Ed. and Elementary Ed. must pass the Praxis Subject Assessment for Elementary Education Content Knowledge #5001); OR
    • a conferred degree in the content area; OR
    • a content evaluation of 24 semester hours of transcripted college coursework.

Additional Requirements for Alternative Teacher Licensure Candidates

  1. Secure a full-time teaching position in your endorsement area and submit your employment contract with your application.
  2. Submit Statement of Assurance to CDE after being admitted

For more information on the requirements of the Alternative Licensure program, see the  Colorado Department of Education Alternative Teacher Program webpage.

Requirements for Full Admission to the MA in Education Program with Principal Licensure

  1. Candidate must submit:
    • Proof of fingerprint clearance and background check by state agency
    • Two professional recommendation forms
    • Letter from principal or HR office confirming employment as licensed teacher or counselor for two years upon starting the program (Note: This requirement does not apply to Alternative Principal Licensure Candidates.)
    • Payment of university application fee
    • Official transcript of conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university showing recommended 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher
    • Personal statement
    • Statement of mentor principal support 

Additional Requirements for Alternative Principal Authorization Candidates

  1. Obtain a Statement of Eligibility from CDE.
  2. Secure a full-time principal or assistant principal position.
  3. Submit a letter from a mentor principal agreeing to act as your mentor for 1-2 hours/week for school year.

For more information on Alternative Authorization, see the Colorado Department of Education Alternative Principal Authorization webpage.

Requirements for Full Admission to the MA in Education, Educator Effectiveness Emphasis

To be successful in coursework in this emphasis, the candidate is a practicing teacher working in his or her own classroom while pursuing the program.

  1. Candidate must submit:
    • Copy of current teaching license
    • Two professional recommendation forms
    • Professional Resume
    • Personal statement
    • Official transcript of conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university showing 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher

Provisional Admission to the MA in Education program

An applicant who does not meet the requirements for full admission to the Master of Arts in Education program may be required to submit additional materials in order to be considered for provisional admission upon the recommendation of the program director and approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies. These may include evidence of relevant professional experience, post-BA coursework, professional development, recommendations, and any other experience that demonstrates history of work, study, volunteering or other professional activity demonstrating potential to be a quality educator and successful graduate student.  The program director may request a phone interview with the applicant. A provisionally admitted student will have a maximum of one calendar year to complete any pre-requisite academic coursework. The program director or Dean of Graduate Studies may set additional timeline requirements.

International Students: see Graduate Academic Catalog section, Criteria for International Admission.

Program Requirements

Teacher Licensure Areas

Students seeking the MA in Education with emphasis in Teacher Leadership, Reading Leadership, or K-12 Online Teacher Leadership must complete 27 credits of coursework in their first year of the MA Program. Students may choose to seek a Colorado Initial License or an added Colorado Endorsement, or to pursue further investigations in their current licensure area. Licensure areas include Elementary, K-12 (Art, Foreign Language, Music, and Physical Education), Secondary (Business, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies), and Special Education. 

Elementary Education Licensure

EDUC 600Foundations of Literacy Development3
EDUC 601Methods and Strategies of Effective Reading Instruction3
EDUC 604Learning Environments3
EDUC 605Curriculum Development and Assessment3
EDUC 608Methods and Strategies of Effective Writing Instruction3
EDUC 613Methods and Strategies of Effective Mathematics Instruction3
EDUC 619Elementary Student Teaching (taken twice)6
EDUC 628Pedagogies for English Learners3
Total Credits27

Secondary or K-12 Licensure

EDUC 603Content Area Learning3
EDUC 604Learning Environments3
EDUC 605Curriculum Development and Assessment3
EDUC 606Reading and Writing in the Content Area3
EDUC 607Rethinking Learning through 21st Century3
EDUC 624Managing to Differentiate3
EDUC 629Inclusion and English Learners3
Appropriate Student Teaching Course:6
Secondary Student Teaching (must be taken twice)
K-12 Student Teaching (must be taken twice)
Total Credits27

Special Education Generalist (Ages 5-21) Licensure

EDUC 611Strategies for Teaching Students with Exceptionalities3
EDUC 612Assessment and Programming3
EDUC 614Inclusivity with Collaboration3
EDUC 630Inclusivity in the Content Areas3
EDUC 631Inclusive Methods and Strategies for Literacy3
EDUC 632Overview of Special Services3
EDUC 633Differential Literacy Assessment3
Appropriate Student Teaching Course:6
Student Teaching for Students with Exceptionalities (First-time Licensure must take twice)
Total Credits27

Education with emphasis in K-12 Online Teacher Leadership, Master of Arts

K-12 Online Teacher Leadership is defined as the work of an individual (an online-teacher leader) teaching online in a virtual school and/or in a blended K-12 learning environment who knows federal and state policies related to online and blended teaching and learning; has advanced knowledge of the development, implementation, and evaluation of quality online teaching and instructional design; and can work effectively with other online or blended instructional staff to meet the targeted learning needs of all students. The K-12 online teacher leader provides professional guidance and expertise to virtual or brick and mortar schools on effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment programs in relation to online and blended learning.

In order to earn the MA in Education with emphasis in K-12 Online Teacher Leadership, the candidate must successfully complete 43 graduate credits of education course work in conjunction with in-classroom/school practical experience. Already licensed teachers have the option of adding an endorsement in one of the licensure areas above during their first year of study. Successful completion of the K-12 Online Teacher Leadership emphasis will result in earning the MA degree. 

Completion of the Emphasis in K-12 Online Teacher Leadership

27 credits of Teacher Licensure course work is required in addition to the following: 27
EDUC 621Creating Effective Online Learning Environments3
EDUC 622Using Data to Plan for Online & Blended Learning and Targeted Interventions3
EDUC 623Designing and Delivering Effective Online & Blended Instruction3
EDUC 680Research and Critical Inquiry for Leaders4
EDUC 693Capstone3
Total Credits43

Education with emphasis in Reading Leadership, Master of Arts

Reading Leadership is defined as the work of an individual (a reading-leader) situated in the classroom or in a school or district-level position who has advanced knowledge of federal and state policies related to literacy; has deep understanding of the development, implementation, and evaluation of scientifically-based reading programs; and can work effectively with other instructional staff to meet the literacy needs of all students. The reading leader provides professional guidance and expertise to classroom teachers, school and/or district literacy curriculum, instruction, and assessment programs; and develops and conducts in-service programs related to literacy.

In order to earn the MA in Education with emphasis in Reading Leadership, the candidate must successfully complete 43 graduate credits of education course work in conjunction with in-classroom/school practical experience. Already licensed teachers have the option of adding an endorsement in the licensure areas listed above during their first year of study, and will have the opportunity to add Reading-specific endorsements as they complete their MA as outlined below. Successful completion of the Reading Leadership emphasis will result in earning the MA degree. 

Completion of the emphasis in Reading Leadership

27 credits of Teacher Licensure course work is required in addition to the following: 27
EDUC 680Research and Critical Inquiry for Leaders4
EDUC 684Materials and Motivation for Reading2
EDUC 685Assessing, Evaluating, and Instructing At-risk and Struggling Readers3
EDUC 686Literacy Coaching and Mentoring2
EDUC 687School-Wide Comprehensive Literacy Program Development2
EDUC 693Capstone3
Optional courses required in the Reading Leadership emphasis to add Colorado endorsements in Reading Teacher and/or Reading Specialist
Reading Teacher Internship
Reading Specialist Internship
Total Credits43

Education with emphasis in Teacher Leadership, Master of Arts

Teacher Leadership is defined as the work of an individual (a teacher-leader) within a school who is regarded as an excellent educator; is well respected by peers; is recognized for his or her leadership capacity; holds a lifelong learning orientation; and has been identified to facilitate, advocate, and advance school reform and improvement of student learning. The work of a Teacher Leader is typically carried out through informal and formal venues and processes; for example, with teachers in their classrooms, and district level task forces, committee, and/or membership in district level professional development projects. In order to earn the MA in Education with emphasis in Teacher Leadership, the candidate must successfully complete 43 graduate credits of education course work in conjunction with in-classroom/school practical experience. Already licensed teachers have the option of adding an endorsement in the licensure areas listed above during their first year of study. Successful completion of the Teacher Leadership emphasis will result in earning the MA degree.

Completion of the emphasis in Teacher Leadership

27 credits of Teacher Licensure course work is required in addition to the following: 27
EDUC 680Research and Critical Inquiry for Leaders4
EDUC 681Instructional Program Development and Evaluation3
EDUC 682Shaping School Culture3
EDUC 693Capstone3
Select three credits from the following:3
School Law for Teachers
Resource Management in Education
Engaging External Stakeholders
Total Credits43

Education with Endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, Master of Arts

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) teaching is defined as the work of an individual (a CLD Interventionist or CLD Teacher Leader) who serves as a liaison between various constituents accountable for meeting the needs of CLD learners in the school and community settings. This individual is aware of state, national and local cultural norms, legalities, and policies that impact student learning and the acquisition of English language proficiency. The CLD teacher has the ability to guide and support stakeholders associated with serving CLD learners to sustained high levels of productivity, collaboration, and achievement.

To earn the MA in Education with an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, the candidate must successfully complete 46 credits of education course work in conjunction with in-classroom/school practical experience. The candidate must be a licensed teacher and will be eligible to add a CLD endorsement at the conclusion of the following sequence of MA course work.  

27 credits of Teacher Licensure course work is required in addition to the following:
EDUC 614Inclusivity with Collaboration3
EDUC 616Language Acquisition for Linguistically Diverse Students3
EDUC 617Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency in the Content Area3
EDUC 618Linguistically Diverse Student Teaching3
EDUC 680Research and Critical Inquiry for Leaders4
EDUC 693Capstone3
Total Credits19

Education with emphasis in Educational Administration, Master of Arts

Educational administrator leadership is defined as the work of an individual serving in an administrative capacity at the school/district level. This individual is aware of local, state, and federal laws and policies that affect student learning and school/district management, understands the needs of students and staff, and has the ability to lead a school/district to sustained high levels of productivity, collaboration, and achievement. 

In order to earn the M.A. degree, the candidate must successfully complete one year of principal licensure course work and at least one concurrent year-long contractual or internship experience in school administration. First-year course work requires 25 credits. The candidate must also successfully complete 12 credits of administrator licensure course work during the second year. The Master of Arts in Education with emphasis in Educational Administration requires 44 credits. At the conclusion of the first year the candidate is eligible to become licensed as a principal. Successful completion of the second year will result in earning the M.A. degree, as well as eligibility to become licensed as a district administrator. 

First year Principal Licensure course work requires 25 credits
EDUC 670Introduction to School Leadership4
EDUC 672Personnel Selection and Development3
EDUC 673School Safety and Management3
EDUC 674Family and Community Involvement3
EDUC 675Student Learning and Accountability3
EDUC 678Principal Internship I3
EDUC 679Principal Internship II3
EDUC 683Legal and Ethical Issues in Education3
Second Year Administrator Licensure course work requires 12 credits
EDUC 681Instructional Program Development and Evaluation3
EDUC 682Shaping School Culture3
EDUC 695Resource Management in Education3
EDUC 696Engaging External Stakeholders3
Completion of emphasis in Educational Administration requires 7 credits
EDUC 680Research and Critical Inquiry for Leaders4
EDUC 693Capstone3
Total Credits44

Education with emphasis in Educator Effectiveness, Master of Arts

The MA in Education emphasis in Educator Effectiveness delivers a curriculum that provides a customized and relevant program of study based upon the candidate’s specific needs as measured by Colorado’s Teacher Quality Standards for performance. Candidates may complete the MA in one academic year by completing fifteen credits per semester. Programs of study may be made up from five, 3-credit courses or the equivalent by inserting 1-6 credit offerings during fall and spring semesters only, so that the candidate may choose to spread out their program to complete the 30 credits over more than one year, within the five year maximum. Courses are limited to the fall and spring semesters due to the fact that coursework is designed to be completed and applied within a K-12 teaching setting for maximum internalization and improvement. Candidates may end the program in either fall or spring semesters. Upon acceptance into the program, candidates will work with a profile identifier and academic advisor to register for the most applicable sequence of courses which will help meet specific goals established from the candidate’s professional growth plan.

In order to earn the MA in Education with emphasis in Educator Effectiveness, the candidate must successfully complete 30 graduate credits of 600-level education course work. Degree completion will also require an extensive Capstone: Professional Portfolio that contains evidence from multiple measures to establish the rate and degree of improvement in performance. These may include the candidate’s annual effectiveness ratings (pre-program and post-program) as reported by an evaluating administrator, evidence of academic achievement and growth of the candidate’s K-12 students taught during the course of the program, artifacts, assessments, and further evidence of performance and growth. The portfolios will be due and evaluated to coincide with the end of the candidate’s final semester. If a candidate requires additional time to complete the Capstone, registration in EDUC 697 Special Topics for at least one credit per semester will be required to remain eligible to complete this degree completion requirement.

Candidate will complete 30 credits from the following.

The following two courses are required:
EDUC 625Relevant Data Analysis to Inform Instruction3
EDUC 626Defining and Defending Evidence of Professional Mastery3
Select 24 credits from the following:24
Foundations of Literacy Development
Methods and Strategies of Effective Reading Instruction
Literacy Assessment Informed Instruction
Content Area Learning
Reading and Writing in the Content Area
Rethinking Learning through 21st Century
Methods and Strategies of Effective Writing Instruction
Strategies for Teaching Students with Exceptionalities
Assessment and Programming
Methods and Strategies of Effective Mathematics Instruction
Inclusivity with Collaboration
Language Acquisition for Linguistically Diverse Students
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency in the Content Area
Linguistically Diverse Student Teaching
Creating Effective Online Learning Environments
Using Data to Plan for Online & Blended Learning and Targeted Interventions
Designing and Delivering Effective Online & Blended Instruction
Managing to Differentiate
Exploring Educational Technology
Pedagogies for English Learners
Inclusion and English Learners
Inclusivity in the Content Areas
Inclusive Methods and Strategies for Literacy
Overview of Special Services
Differential Literacy Assessment
Acclimation of Beginning Teachers
Professional Growth for the Beginning Teacher
Formal and Informal Methods of Assessment
Family and Community Involvement
Instructional Program Development and Evaluation
Shaping School Culture
Materials and Motivation for Reading
Assessing, Evaluating, and Instructing At-risk and Struggling Readers
Literacy Coaching and Mentoring
School-Wide Comprehensive Literacy Program Development
Reading Teacher Internship
Reading Specialist Internship
School Law for Teachers
Resource Management in Education
Engaging External Stakeholders
Special Topics
Research Problems
Total Credits30

K-12 Online Teacher Series

The following three courses may be taken in series to provide the student with a sequential learning experience of nine credits, in which the student will become prepared to teach K-12 Online and Blended classes in the virtual classroom. These courses are offered as professional development only and may not be transferred into the MA in Education. Upon successful completion of the nine credit series, participants will earn a Certificate of Completion from the Office of Graduate Studies. 

EDUC 535Engaging the K-12 Online Learner3
EDUC 536Assessing the K-12 Online Learner3
EDUC 537Field-Based Application of Online Instruction3
Total Credits9