Jun 17, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Education, M.A.

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Program of Study


The Master’s Program at California State University San Marcos is characterized by its emphasis on critical pedagogy and reflective practice. Its view of the classroom teacher and administrator as an instructional, ethical, and curricular leader places high value on individual empowerment, on multiple ways of knowing, on the construction of meaning, and on the production (vs. reproduction) of knowledge.


The Master of Arts in Education is designed for classroom teachers, administrators, and other educators who wish to extend or refine their knowledge and skills beyond the level attained in their previous studies. For some, master’s level study is a way to improve their performance in the classroom; others seek preparation for leadership roles at the school or district level; still others may wish to use master’s studies as the basis for graduate work at the doctoral level.

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Education consists of three components: Core Coursework, the Option, and the Culminating Experience.

The Core Coursework

All master’s students in the School of Education will complete the Core Coursework for a total of six (6 units), as follows:

The General Option

The General Option allows students to pursue their particular areas of interest according to their individual needs and goals.

The Culminating Experience

All MA students in the School of Education must complete EDUC 698 - Master’s Culminating Experience Seminar  (3 units) as part of the culminating experience for Master’s study. The culminating experience may be a thesis; a project, including The National Board Certification Teacher (NBCT) process; or the National Examination in Speech Language Pathology (PRAXIS); or a comprehensive examination as permitted by the option. Master’s candidates are encouraged to work collaboratively and may choose from a variety of forms to present their work.

Admission Requirements

General requirements are listed below. Any additional requirements for specific options are found in the description for that option.


  1. Basic credential.
  2. Application for the Master of Arts in Education in the School of Education and $25 fee.
  3. Interview with appropriate School of Education Admissions Committee.
  4. Two (2) letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the candidate’s work in the field of education.
  5. Statement of Purpose describing the candidate’s interest in pursuing the degree.
  6. GPA according to the university admission policy.
  7. Completion of the Graduate/Post-baccalaureate Application to the University.
  8. Official transcripts.

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

Other Master of Arts in Education Requirements
The following information applies to all master’s students in the School of Education:

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of an option and advancement to candidacy.
  • Planning, preparation, and completion of a culminating experience under the direction of a faculty committee.
  • Collaboration among master’s students and school districts is encouraged.
  • Note: candidates must continually enroll in EDUC 698  until successful completion of the culminating experience.
  • 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. A grade-point average of 3.0 must be maintained and any grade of less than a B- will be subject to review.

Master’s Student Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement

Students need to fulfill the Master’s Student Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement before advancing to candidacy. Please refer to Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement  for more information regarding this requirement.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Master of Arts in Education will:

  • Meet California Commission on Teacher Credentialing English Learner competencies, if not already met through a basic credential program.
  • Create a Social Justice Action Plan (EDUC 602 ).
  • Be effective consumers of educational research ( EDUC 622 - Research Methods in Education ).
  • Develop and apply research skills to address practice within the candidate’s teaching setting.
  • Meet additional individually designed program outcomes that address their professional goals.

TPE Assessment

Beginning January 1, 2011, all candidates entering programs that result in the issuance of a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential must demonstrate satisfactory performance through coursework and verified clinical practice on the full range of Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Performance Expectations and develop a written Individualized Transition Development Plan for use in the candidate’s Clear Credential Program.

Clear Credential Requirements

All teachers holding a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential must clear the credential within five years of credential issuance by obtaining a Clear Education Specialist Instruction Credential. An essential clearing requirement is the development of a written Individualized Induction Plan (IIP) of supported induction and job-related advanced professional preparation approved and signed by the clear credential candidate, an employer designee, and a CCTC-approved clear credential program sponsor (e.g., district BTSA program, University, County Office of Education). See the CCTC web site for currently approved clear credential sponsors. The IIP must be written to clear all general and special education preliminary credentials held, may include up to 12 semester units of university coursework, and must be developed within 60 days of employment. Preliminary Education Specialist credential holders not employed in a school setting may complete the clear credential requirements if the parties signing the IIP agree to a setting and professional development activities that allow demonstration of effective teaching to clear all preliminary credentials held.

Areas of Study:

Schooling, Culture, and Language

Schooling, Culture, and Language courses prepare educators to take on leadership roles for social change. Such areas of focus may include, but are not limited to, multicultural curriculum development; differentiated instruction for English learners; culturally and linguistically diverse students; students with special needs; and working collaboratively with families and communities. Candidates are also able to earn an optional Multicultural Specialist Certificate by completing the following coursework:

Science, Mathematics, and Educational Technology for Diverse Populations

Courses in this area prepare teachers for positions of leadership at the school or district level in the areas of science, mathematics, and/or educational technology. This coursework is designed for teachers who wish to strengthen their knowledge and performance in one of these areas. Candidates are also able to earn an optional Science Education Certificate by completing the following coursework:

Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

Courses within this area are designed for K-12 teachers in any subject area who wish to enhance their expertise as educators. Coursework focuses upon the examination of who is being taught, how they learn, and the development of best teaching practices to meet the needs of all students.

Literacy Education

Courses within this area prepare teachers to assist other teachers and administrators in creating literacy programs that promote not only the learning of reading and writing, but also the learning of subject matter across the curriculum. Candidates may earn a Reading and Literacy Added Authorization or a Reading and a Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential on the way to a master’s degree, or use courses within this area to satisfy the 21-unit course electives required for the General Option.

The M.A. in Education, General Option with a focus in Literacy Education is offered entirely on-line through Extended Learning.


Courses in this area fulfill the International Baccalaureate (IB) professional development requirement for program authorization and evaluation in IB schools. Completion of the Primary Years, Middle Years, or Diploma Program curriculum prepares newly credentialed teachers, experienced teachers, teacher leaders, and school site administrators for the International Baccalaureate Educator Certificate.

General Option (30 Units)

Candidates must complete the core coursework (6 units), the culminating experience (3 units), and 21 units of 600-level elective courses selected to best suit their interests and goals. Upon faculty approval, up to nine (9) units of 500-level credential coursework taken at CSUSM as a post-baccalaureate student may be applied toward the 21 units of electives; each such applied unit reduces the number of units that may be transferred into the program. The elective courses may be chosen from the following described areas. Optional certificates are also available to those completing certain collections of courses within specified areas.

Advanced Credential Certification Option

Advanced Credential Certification Option in addition to the General M.A. admission requirements, candidates must also have the following to enter the program:

Three or more years of teaching or professional service experience; and, completion of the CBEST or an equivalent basic skills examination.



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