COE: MEd: Secondary Education | Concentration Options
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Become a distinguished educator through your uniquely designed graduate program

We believe professional educators know a great deal already and that their voices need to be heard in identifying and solving real world problems of practice rather than just top-down flavor-of-the-month quick fixes. Rather than depending on brief professional development days in your school, become a designer of your destiny. Take a deep dive into the areas of knowledge and skills of your profession that are designed to impact your educational practice.

Do you feel you need to know more about how to support your students with disabilities? Your English language learners? Do you want to learn how character education might improve classroom climate? Do you want to test the waters in educational leadership to see if administration is in your future? Maybe you want to teach an AP class and will bring in graduate credit in a subject area to your masters experience. Assessment practices always need honing, so we designed a three course dip into theory and practice. Two linked concentrations will support a journey to literary specialist. Lots of options to serve learner needs.

Students who choose to continue their education with us at UMSL will have the opportunity to engage in Action Research within their own classrooms or educational work settings, identifying problems of practice and collecting and analyzing data to make things better for learners. As one of the largest programs in the state, the College of Education boasts a strong research and teaching faculty recognized by national reviews for high productivity.

Within the Master’s Degree in Secondary Education several concentration areas provide focus on high-leverage problems of practice such as designing curriculum, improving instruction, social justice, ESL, leadership, assessment, or content area courses needed to teach in the Advanced Credit Program.

  • Supporting Language Learners: TESOL Concentration I
  • Supporting Language Learners: TESOL Concentration II (DESE TESOL Endorsement)
  • Literacy Concentrations I
  • Literacy Concentrations II
  • Curriculum and Instruction Concentration
  • Special Education Concentration
  • Social Justice Issues Concentration
  • Leadership in Education Concentration
  • STEM Concentration
  • Discipline Content Area Concentration
  • Elective Concentration

How do professional educators benefit from continuing their education in higher education after completing a degree and/or certification? Students on the Masters Exit Survey shared insights such as this:

I feel the M.Ed. program has helped me grow as a professional. I feel more committed to creating an ideal learning environment for my students and am strengthened in my belief that all students can learn. My teachers in the program have been very helpful and knowledgeable about their subject matter. I have had a number of professors who have impacted me profoundly.

Master of Education (MEd)

Contact Advisors:

Marty Woytus & Susan Johnson

116 South Campus Classroom Building (SCCB)
p: (314) 516-5930

Deadlines to Apply:
Fall - July 1
Spring - December 1
Summer - May 1


Slide 1 MEd grad Eric Conners shines on the stage and in the classroom
Eric Conners began his career in fine arts as a professional actor with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the St. Louis Black Rep and The New Theater before attending to UMSL to get his MEd. He still performs but now spends most of his time inspiring the drama students at Hixson Middle School. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The Masters in Secondary Education, General emphasis program, is appropriate for secondary teachers, specialists, department chairpersons, and those who work in informal learning or international educational settings. Candidates choose concentration areas that will support their personal growth and development as an educational leader. It is important that both students and advisors plan ahead to insure courses in concentration areas are taken when they are offered in the schedule. Programs must be planned with the academic advisor and meet the approval of the faculty advisor, adhering to the College of Education and UMSL Graduate School policies.

Concentration area choices will appear at the end of the M.Ed. transcript. 

General Curricular Program for SEC ED areas

The M.Ed. in Secondary Education consists of 15 required hours (5 courses) plus student choice of two 9 hour concentrations from the list below. The general program option requirements are met by (a) completing three required foundation courses (9 hrs.) toward the beginning of the M.Ed. program, (b) completing the coursework for two choice concentration areas (18 hrs.), and (c) completing the two exit research capstone classes (6 hrs.) for a total of 33 hours.

Most concentration areas indicate 0-3 REQUIRED courses; a list of course CHOICE selections are then provided as a menu to choose your remaining hours for that concentration. In addition, an Elective Concentration allows students, with advisor sign-off, to construct an individualized set of target courses for 1 of their 2 concentration areas. Transfer graduate credit from another institution could also fit into this concentration choice. Finally, those who want to take 9 graduate hours in an academic content area may use the Discipline Content Area Concentration to integrate this advanced work into their M.Ed. program.

Students who wish to focus intensively (18 hrs) in one area of expertise may choose a concentration that has two sequential Concentration blocks I & II. Emphasis areas offered in SEC ED include Reading, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Teaching of Writing, and Middle Level Education. Reading and TESOL require signing up for two 9 hour sequenced concentrations (Literacy I and II and TESOL I and II, respectively) and may require additional coursework for licensure, as noted. For a C & I emphasis, students just select the C & I concentration and an additional choice concentration.  

Required 15 hours of M.Ed. core courses plus two 9-Hour Concentrations

Required Core
Students are required to complete the following courses within the first 15 hours of study:
TCH ED 6010Examining History, Community and Social Justice in Education3
TCH ED 6020Teacher Action, Advocacy and Leadership3
ED PSY 6030Instruction, Learning and Assessment3
Required Research Courses
These two research courses should be taken in sequence (not together) at the end of your program since the first course prepares you with the knowledge and skills to successfully complete an Action Research project in the capstone exit course. You will design and execute a piece of original practitioner research and present your findings in a public forum.
TCH ED 6909Teacher Action Research I (Take semester prior to Teacher Action Research Capstone, TCH ED 6910.)3
TCH ED 6910Teacher Action Research Capstone 13
Total Hours15

Students seeking a professional Masters in Education Degree choose two 9-hour concentrations in consultation with their advisors that will enhance teacher leadership capacity in practice. The following 9-hour concentrations include an interdepartmental range of concentration areas that can support a candidate’s development of a broad range of skills, knowledge, and dispositions.

3) 9 hour Concentration Choices

a.) Curriculum and Instruction Concentration
b.) Literacy Concentrations I and II (Certificates in Reading and Writing available) 
c.) Special Education Concentration 
d.) Social Justice Issues Concentration (College of Education Social Justice Certificate available)
e.) Leadership in Education Concentration 
f.) Supporting Language Learners: TESOL Concentrations I and II (DESE TESOL endorsement available) 
g.) STEM Concentration 
h.) Discipline Content Area Concentration
i.) Elective Concentration

Curriculum and Instruction:

In order for all students to optimally achieve, teachers must develop integrated, standards based, innovative curriculum delivered as engaging instruction that equips students to develop the knowledge and skills for a global society. This concentration explores common issues in curriculum design and implementation. Educators will create curriculum and design instruction for their own educational settings.

SEC ED 6415Curriculum Leadership in Education3
SEC ED 6416Curriculum Design for Educational Programs3
SEC ED 6420Improving Teaching and Learning3

Literacy Concentrations I and II: 9 hours Each

Concentration I is designed for educators who want a deeper understanding of reading and writing processes across the lifespan. This area emphasizes the preparation of leaders in a wide range of school and community settings, including literacy coaches or grade-level leaders. Concentration I emphasizes cutting-edge theory, research and instructional practices in literacy education. Concentration II, for those wanting a Literacy endorsement, applies these understandings through a variety of readings, writings and experiences, both in Clinical and online settings. There are two choices for Concentration II: Writing and Reading. Students who complete Concentrations I and II in Literacy can apply these courses to a K-12 DESE Reading Certificate or the UMSL Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing, but additional coursework may be required.

Literacy Concentration I:

ELE ED 6387Literacy Acquisition and Learning for Diverse Students3
ELE ED 6684Instructional Strategies for Teaching Reading3
ELE ED 6686Analysis and Correction of Reading Disabilities3

Concentration II: Choice A:

Courses to complete the Reading Certification emphasis

The M.Ed. program with emphasis in reading (literacy) is designed to enable candidates to further their competencies as teachers of reading, writing, and the other communication arts. The program also prepares them for positions as literacy coaches, reading specialists, curriculum specialists in communication arts and reading areas, consultants in areas of communication arts, and/or for further graduate study. Concentration II enables a student to earn a master’s degree in education with credit towards an emphasis in reading as per requirements laid out by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for special reading certification in Missouri. Students must complete the required 15 hours of M.Ed. courses, an educational psychology course, plus 18 hours of literacy courses.

ELE ED 6493Reading Specialist Practicum I3
ELE ED 6494Reading Specialist Practicum II3
TCH ED 4391Literacy for Adolescent Learners in Content Areas3

Concentration II: Choice B:

Courses to complete the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing

Applicants who wish to earn a Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing must apply for admission to the certificate program. Applicants must have a 2.75 GPA in undergraduate coursework to be admitted. A background in K-12 or adult education is desirable.

TCH ED 6880Gateway Writing Project6
TCH ED 6890Seminar in Professional Writing for Teachers3

Special Education:

For educators who are not receiving a degree in Special Education, but would like to expand their understanding of Special Education law and the needs of students with cross-categorical disabilities and those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, this concentration offers coursework on the characteristics and effective strategies for teaching students with varied abilities in educational settings. Those interested in the M.Ed. in Special Education or the Graduate Certificate in Autism and Developmental Disabilities should choose concentrations in those designated programs under the Masters in Special Education.

Choose three of the following:
SPEC ED 6325Advanced Studies in Classroom & Behavior Management3
SPEC ED 6345Characteristics and Education of Students with High-Incidence Disabilities3
SPEC ED 6415The Law and Special Education3
SPEC ED 6610Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Research to Practice3

Social Justice Issues:

Educators need to challenge themselves to understand the variety of assets diverse students and their families bring to educational contexts. An interdisciplinary group of courses is offered for this concentration that invite personal growth and academic knowledge in the area of social justice. An emphasis on engagement and action permeates the course activities.
With completion of TCH ED 6010, TCH ED 6020 and TCH ED 6910 and these 9 hours, students will meet the requirements for the Social Justice in Education Certificate. Applicants who wish to earn a Graduate Certificate in Social Justice in Education must apply for admission to the certificate program.

Choose three of the following:
CNS ED 6820Counseling Women Toward Empowerment3
CNS ED 6850Social Class and Poverty Issues in Counseling3
ED FND 6203Political Contexts of Education3
GS 5053Advanced Studies In African-American History3
TCH ED 6230Cross-Cultural Communication in the Classroom3

Leadership in Education:

Organizations need leaders who understand the complexities of systems and working with diverse staff and families within situated communities in a dynamic and changing educational environment. Leadership skills can be taught and nurtured. This Leadership in Education concentration allows educators in various roles and career levels to apply principles of leadership to creating effective communities of practice.

Required Courses:
ED ADM 6503Organizational Change in Education3
Choose two of the following:
ED ADM 6205Legal Contexts of Education3
ED FND 6200Demographic Contexts of Education3
ED FND 6203Political Contexts of Education3
ED ADM 6401School Staff Development and Supervision3

Supporting Language Learners: TESOL Concentrations I and II: 9 hours each

This concentration is designed for those who want to better understand Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) processes. Courses emphasize the theoretical foundations of Second Language Acquisition and TESOL and their practical application to practice. Concentration I is open to all Masters in Education students.
In order to get a Missouri TESOL endorsement, complete BOTH Concentration I and Concentration II (18 hours). The graduate certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is intended for individuals with a bachelor’s degree who would like to advance their knowledge about language learning in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. The program is a combination of theory and practice, covering the key concepts, issues and innovative strategies required to apply this knowledge. Students may seek this Graduate Certificate simultaneously with the M.Ed. in Secondary Education with a specialization in TESOL.
Applicants who wish to earn a Graduate Certificate in TESOL must apply for admission to the certificate program and to the Graduate School at the UM-St. Louis as a non-degree student or as a master’s or doctoral student. Applicants must have a 2.75 GPA in undergraduate coursework to be admitted. A background in K-12 or adult education is desirable.
Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to remain in the certificate program. The DESE endorsement is awarded after completion of Concentrations I and II. A program of study, or M-1, should be filed in the first one-third of the program. Students should file the Intent to Complete a Graduate Certificate form at the beginning of their last semester. The Graduate Certificate in TESOL requires 18 credit hours of course work, including an entry course.

TESOL Concentration I:

TCH ED 6210Foundations of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages3
TCH ED 6220Principles of Second/Foreign Language Acquisition3
TCH ED 6230Cross-Cultural Communication in the Classroom3

TESOL Concentration II:

TCH ED 6240Assessment for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages3
TCH ED 6250Methods and Materials for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages3
TCH ED 6260Practicum in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages3

STEM Concentration:

Many challenges remain in the attraction and preparation of youth for the careers in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Those who teach in these areas need to continually work toward developing and implementing relevant curricula and develop new instructional strategies as well as revise and upgrade current methodology. The STEM Concentration focuses on professional development with respect to instructional research and best practices for all involved in enhancing STEM literacy.

SEC ED 6431STEM Instruction in Secondary Education3
or ELE ED 6431 STEM Instruction in Elementary Education
ED TECH 5340Selection and Utilization of Educational Multimedia3
ED TECH 6436Computer-Mediated Communication in Education3
ED TECH 6448Technology-Supported Inquiry Learning3
Graduate Level Science or Math Course3

Discipline Content Area Concentration:

Educators recognize the importance of staying current in their field of teaching. This Discipline Content Concentration allows for 9 hours of graduate level credit in a content area related to one’s field of practice. This includes graduate credit in areas such as history, English, math, science, foreign language, health and PE, and art and music. Courses for this concentration need to be approved by advisors before they are included on the M-1 program form.

Elective Concentration:

To insure maximum flexibility in course selection to meet the individual needs of professional educator’s development, this concentration represents an opportunity to select three unique courses from the various concentration areas in an eclectic and personalized way. Choices to include in this concentration need to be approved by advisors and signed off on by the program director.

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