There are a number of reasons for pursuing postsecondary education, and the type of degree you choose to obtain can be just as important as the field you choose to study. The College of Education offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Master's of Education (M.Ed.), Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D), Education Specialist (Ed.S.), and Graduate Certificate. A few programs are offered online. The meaning and necessity of each degree can vary greatly by field and profession, so always consult with program coordinators or other advisors before applying. Below are some general features for each degree.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is the College of Education's four-year undergraduate degree. Students looking to pursue an M.Ed., Ph.D, Ed.S, or Graduate Certificate must have earned at least a bachelor's degree before applying for an advanced degree program. Students earning a BA in education also take general education classes across campus, making the BA in Education a well-rounded, liberal arts degree.
Earning a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) is often the required degree for entering certain professional fields, such as school counseling or K-12 educational leadership. In other fields, a master's degree can serve as credentialing for management or other leadership positions. Generally speaking, a master's degree will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary for practice in many professional settings. Some fields, such as K-12 classroom teaching, offer promotion, licensing, or salary incentives for those who earn a master's degree. Students looking to pursue an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D. or Ed.S. will often need to hold a master's degree first, though some programs allow you to earn your master's degree along the way.
Students who are looking to become leading scholars and advanced practitioners in their fields should consider a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Earning a Ph.D. means transitioning from consuming knowledge to producing knowledge. The Ph.D. programs in the College of Education are all reading-, writing-, and research-intensive. Some programs encourage students to attend as full-time status, while others are designed to accompany a full-time work schedule. All Ph.D. students take at least four research courses and complete a dissertation before earning their degree. Students graduating with a Ph.D. from the College of Education often take positions as faculty members, research consultants, and senior-level administrators.
Education Specialist (Ed.S.) programs are designed for students looking for an advanced degree without the requirement of a dissertation. Like the M.Ed., the Ed.S. may provide opportunities for promotion, licensing, or salary incentives in some fields, such as K-12 teaching and leadership. Typically, the Ed.S. advances your credentials by 30 credits beyond a master's degree. Some programs offer students the opportunity to pursue an Ed.S. after earning an M.Ed., and some programs allow students to continue on with their studies to earn a Ph.D.
The Graduate Certificate is an excellent option for students looking to study and develop skills in a new area without the financial and time commitments of a full degree. Career-changers, especially those who already have an advanced degree, benefit from the educational credentials of a certificate and the networking opportunities provided by exposure to other professionals in the field. Graduate Certificates in the College of Education typically carry 15 credits and can be completed within one or two years of part-time study.
Students looking for a flexible schedule or who want to study from a distance will enjoy our online programs. The College of Education offers several asynchronous degree and certificate programs online, giving you a chance to learn with students from across the country and around the world. Students pursuing degrees on campus also have the option of taking online classes (in consultation with their advisors) to supplement their in-person coursework, although University Without Walls (Continuing and Professional Education) classes are not covered under assistantship tuition waivers.