Jul 13, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.

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Program of Study

The M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction is designed for K-12 credentialed educators who wish to broaden their understanding of education as well as deepen their knowledge and skills as teachers. The program provides opportunities for students to develop advanced understandings and capacities related to curriculum development, to interrogate the many ways in which students and their families experience marginalization and exclusion in schools, and to conduct original research to address inequities in school. It is recommended that educators begin this program after clearing their California credential and/or after gaining at least 2 years of full-time classroom teaching experience. 

This program requires a minimum of 30 graduate-level units. Twenty-one (21) units must be taken in residence at CSUSM. With careful planning and advisement, those with a credential from CSUSM who attend full-time can complete the program in two semesters. 

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction will:

  1. Analyze and evaluate curriculum and instruction that addresses issues of equity, access, and social justice.
  2. Explain how curriculum and instruction can address inequities in schools.
  3. Design, conduct, and communicate research to address issues in curriculum and instruction.

Required Core Coursework (18 Units)

Elective Coursework (12+ Units)

Elective courses are designed to provide students the opportunity to focus their learning on an area of interest related to curriculum and instruction. Elective courses are chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor, must be at the 500- or 600-level, and completed prior to completing the required core coursework. Up to nine (9) units from relevant graduate study may count toward the elective units provided they are applied within 5 years of completion. 

The Culminating Experience

All M.A. students in the School of Education must complete EDUC 698  - Master’s Culminating Experience Seminar (3 units) as part of the culminating experience for the M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction. The culminating experience will be a thesis that reflects the candidate’s systematic study of a significant problem in teaching. Projects (which reflect original work related to curriculum and instruction) and comprehensive examinations related to curriculum studies may also be completed in lieu of the thesis with faculty approval.

Note: Candidates must continually enroll in EDUC 698  until successful completion of the culminating experience.

Admission Requirements 

  1. Graduate application for California State University San Marcos
  2. School of Education Supplemental Application
    1. Verification of valid basic credential issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing
    2. Verification of subject matter competency
    3. Three letters of recommendation
    4. A statement of purpose
    5. Tuberculin clearance or clear risk assessment
    6. Two sets of official transcripts
    7. Writing sample 
    8. Interview, upon request

All materials will be evaluated to assess an applicant’s qualifications for admission; however, no one indicator shall determine acceptance of an applicant.

Upon faculty approval, up to nine (9) units of graduate-level coursework in education or a related field may be transferred into the program.


All coursework will earn a letter grade. Students must earn a grade of at least a C in all classes while maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not meet these requirements may be subject to Academic Probation.

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