The people who work in high schools are more than teachers: They are mentors, content experts, and personal cheerleaders for their students.
If you are a licensed teacher, you may be looking to deepen your content knowledge and elevate your teaching practice. The programs on our list can help you do just that.
If you earned your bachelor’s degree in a field outside of education but you’re interested in a teaching career, this ranking is for you, too. Many of the programs featured here can offer a pathway to your first job as a classroom teacher.
What are the options for a graduate degree in secondary education?
Graduate programs in secondary education are as diverse as the teachers who work in this field. You’ll have options to specialize in a particular content area, such as social studies, science, math, or English.
You may want to earn an endorsement for teaching bilingual learners, deaf or hard of hearing students, visually impaired students, or students with autism spectrum disorder. You may want to focus on incorporating technology in the classroom or developing curriculum that reflects the latest in pedagogical best practices.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether you’ll earn your degree on-campus or online. In this ranking, we cover traditional, on-campus degree programs. If you think you’d be a better fit for a distance learning program, stop by our ranking for the Best Online Master’s in Secondary Education Degrees.
How much can you earn with a master’s degree in secondary education?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for high school teachers is $58,030 per year.
To break this down a little further, take a look at how average high school teachers’ salaries vary by years of experience (data courtesy of PayScale):
- Less than one year: $36,743
- One to four years: $47,740
- Five to nine years: $50,251
- 10 to 19 years: $62,900
- More than 20 years of experience: $69,206
As you can see, the salary for high school teachers tends to increase steadily with experience. The state and region where you teach, whether you lead any extracurricular activities, the type of school where you work (public, private, parochial, charter), and whether you earn any add-on endorsements or certificates will all greatly affect your paycheck as well.
What can you do with a degree in secondary education?
Most graduates with a degree in secondary education will go on to careers as a classroom teacher.
All public school teachers must hold a valid teaching certificate. The grade levels that you’re eligible to teach will depend on your program and the state where you earn your certification. For some programs, the teaching license that you earn will only include grades 9 through 12. In other programs, your license will include grades 5 through 12. Some master’s degrees can even provide you with the necessary qualifications to teach at the community college level.
Be sure to choose a program that matches the grade level and content area where you plan to teach.
What are the requirements for a master’s degree in secondary education?
Most master’s degree programs in secondary education will incorporate pedagogical coursework, as well as content coursework that is specific to the subject you'll teach.
At the graduate level, most initial teaching licensure programs will lead to an M.A.T. degree. Programs that are intended for in-service teachers commonly lead to M.S., M.A., M.A.Ed., or M.Ed. degrees. Any program that leads to a change in certification (such as gaining initial licensure, or transitioning from initial licensure to professional licensure) will require fieldwork in a secondary classroom.
What are the best master’s degrees in secondary education?
Our research team utilized resources such as PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, the IPEDS database, and individual college websites to compile this ranking. Using these sources, we examined data points such as student satisfaction, student-to-faculty ratio, expected early career salary for graduates, academic quality, and student return on investment.
Taking into account all of these important factors, each school was assigned a composite score and then ranked accordingly. This methodology allows us to confidently present the nation’s very best master’s degrees in secondary education.
1. Stanford University
Stanford University is among the world’s leading research universities. Roughly 7,000 undergraduate students and 9,000 graduate students attend this prestigious institution. The Graduate School of Education at Stanford includes 61 faculty members, roughly 400 students, and 16 research centers. With seven master’s degree programs and 21 doctoral programs, Stanford’s School of Education offers students some of the most outstanding teacher training programs in the country.
The Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) is available for both elementary education and secondary education. STEP Secondary culminates in a Master of Arts in Education and a preliminary California Single Subject Teaching Credential. The program is offered in a full-time format, and the track is designed to be completed in 12 months. Available coursework for STEP teacher candidates includes:
- The Centrality of Literacies in Teaching and Learning
- Adolescent Development and Learning
- Classroom Management
- Equity and Schooling
Approximately 70 candidates are enrolled in the STEP Secondary program during a given year. The program features extensive fieldwork, including a summer at a local middle school followed by a year-long student teaching placement in a middle or high school. While the degree program requires a minimum of 45 credits, students may take up to 48 credits with no additional charge.
2. University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is a member of the Ivy League and a national leader in higher education. Penn is home to 12 graduate and professional schools. The Graduate School of Education enrolls a little over 1,600 students in programs such as Language and Literacy, Learning Sciences and Technologies, and many others.
Penn’s M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education offers certification tracks in English, Math, Sciences, and Social Studies for grades 7 through 12. Candidates in this program will create a web-based Inquiry Portfolio. The Portfolio will focus on an inquiry question about pedagogy and will include lesson plans, critical reflection on the progress of the candidate and their students, and an analysis and response to the original inquiry. Coursework for this program includes:
- Teaching and Learning in Urban Contexts
- Teaching Diverse Learners
- Developmental Theories and Applications with Adolescents
- Field Methods in Secondary Schools
Candidates will complete a year-long teaching apprenticeship placement in a Philadelphia public school. If a student can show through a transcript review that they have a strong background in multiple content areas, they may be able to qualify for dual certification (e.g., in Social Studies and English). Dual certifications are also available in specialization areas such as Project Based Learning, Language Diversity/Program Specialist in ESL, Special Education, and STEM.
3. Harvard University
Based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard University enrolls roughly 20,000 of the nation’s highest-achieving students. Harvard was established in 1636 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, making it the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Harvard’s Teacher Education Program is an 11-month immersion experience focusing on public education in urban contexts.
Two paths to initial licensure are available. One is the Teaching and Curriculum (TAC) track, which is designed for recent graduates with a baccalaureate degree in humanities, math, or science, or experienced professionals in the humanities. The other option is the Mid-Career Math and Science (MCMS) track, which is designed for professionals in math- and science-related fields who are looking to transition into teaching. Required courses for both tracks include:
- Inquiries into Adolescence: Understanding and Supporting the Development of Urban Youth
- Race and Power in Urban Classrooms
- Elements of Diversity: Special Education
- Dimensions of Diversity: English Language Learners
Each cohort in the Master of Education program consists of between 20 and 25 teacher candidates. Curriculum for the degree consists of 36 credit hours of coursework and roughly 675 clock hours of classroom teaching. Students will be able to take elective courses from Harvard, MIT, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the Episcopal Divinity School.
4. Vanderbilt University
The Princeton Review recognized Vanderbilt University for having the happiest students in the nation. Located in Nashville, Vanderbilt is an independent, privately supported institution that combines world-class research centers with a philosophy of liberal arts education. Enrollment at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development totals nearly 1,900 students. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Peabody College seventh among all Graduate Schools of Education nationwide.
The Master of Education in Secondary Education from Peabody College requires between 30 and 32 credit hours and is available as either a one-year program or a two-year program. This degree track offers a pathway to initial certification for grades 6 through 12 in a range of content areas, including English, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics. Candidates pursuing licensure in any content area will be required to take courses such as:
- Advanced Social and Philosophical Aspects of Education
- Principles of English Language Learner Education
- Recognizing and Responding to Special Needs Learners
- Classroom Ecology
Students in the one-year program will begin their degree track in the summer term. The two-year program begins in the fall. According to a recent alumni survey, 98 percent of Secondary Education graduates were employed or pursuing further study within four months of graduation.
5. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is home to 19 schools and colleges and 250 academic programs. The 2018 rankings from U.S. News & World Report place the University of Michigan fourth among the Top Public Schools in the country. U-M’s School of Education was ranked number seven among public universities and number 15 among all universities nationwide.
The program at the University of Michigan is ideal for students with a baccalaureate degree in fields such as English, mathematics, history, or physics. The Secondary Master of Arts with Certification program is a full-time track, designed to be completed in four terms over 12 months. The degree path requires a minimum of 42 credit hours, which students will earn in coursework such as:
- Educational Psychology
- Educational Linguistics
- Educational Technology
- Teaching and Learning
Candidates for this degree will be part of a cohort, consisting of 20 to 25 peers. The program begins with an orientation in mid-June. Field placements and practicum experiences will be available throughout southeastern Michigan, allowing teaching candidates to work with high school students of diverse social, cultural, economic, and linguistic backgrounds. Teaching candidates who are interested in urban education will have the opportunity to work in school districts in the Detroit and Ypsilanti metropolitan areas.
6. Johns Hopkins University
For 37 years running, Johns Hopkins University has put more money into research than any other college or university in the United States. Johns Hopkins prides itself on its global engagement: The University operates research, training, and other educational initiatives in more than 150 countries worldwide. Closer to home, JHU offers extensive teacher preparation programs through its main campus in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins is available for both Elementary and Secondary Education. Initial certification tracks are available for grades 7 through 12 in English, mathematics, social studies, and the sciences (biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics). The M.A.T. curriculum may include the following courses:
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in School Settings
- Educational Alternatives for Students with Special Needs
- Human Development and Learning
- Culturally Responsive Teaching
Applicants to the M.A.T. program must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Two degree paths are available. Through the accelerated track, students will earn all 39 credits and complete their one-year student teaching internship over the course of 12 to 18 months. Through the flexible track, students can complete the degree requirements at their own pace as long as all coursework is completed within five years.
7. University of California, Irvine
Serving more than 31,000 students, the University of California, Irvine is ranked in ninth place among the nation's best public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. UCI was also named the number one school in the nation doing the most for the American dream in the New York Times’ College Access Index. Among all U.S. Colleges of Education, UCI’s ranks 25th.
The Master of Arts in Teaching with Single Subject Credential from UCI prepares candidates to earn initial licensure for teaching middle and high school students. Certification is available in mathematics, social science, English language arts, sciences, art, music, and world languages. Candidates for this degree will take classes such as:
- The History and Culture of Schooling in the United States
- Reading and Writing in the Middle and High School Classroom
- Educational Equity and the Exceptional Learner
- Design of Learning Environments for Teachers of Secondary School Subjects
The M.A.T. is a 14-month program. All candidates will complete a year-long apprenticeship applying content-specific teaching theory. Both the coursework and the fieldwork components of the program are based on the School of Education’s five core values: equity, understanding learners and learning, teaching and learning in content areas, learning from practice, and leadership.
8. Northwestern University
Three campuses make up Northwestern University: a 240-acre campus in Evanston, Illinois; a 25-acre campus in Chicago; and an international campus in Doha, Qatar. Approximately 400 undergraduates, 300 graduate students, and 34 faculty members are part of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP). SESP cultivates a close-knit and supportive atmosphere for its students, who pursue degrees in fields such as Learning and Organizational Change, Higher Education Administration and Policy, and Elementary and Secondary Teaching.
The Secondary Teaching graduate program at Northwestern allows candidates to earn licensure for either middle school (grades 5 through 8) or high school (grades 9 through 12). This program culminates in a Master of Science in Education and a State of Illinois Professional Educator License. The curriculum for this degree includes the following courses:
- Childhood and Adolescent Development
- Research and Analysis in Teaching and Learning: Analysis, Interpretation, and Dissemination
- Foundations of Learning in a New Language
- Theory and Practice of Teaching: Secondary
Applicants to the program do not need any prior teaching experience or any background in education. Once accepted, candidates pursuing licensure in English or Science will have two elective slots included in their degree path. Candidates in other licensure tracks will have three elective slots.
9. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina was the nation’s first public university. Today, UNC is an internationally renowned institution of higher learning. Kiplinger’s recently ranked UNC-Chapel Hill among the 100 best U.S. public colleges offering high-quality academics at an affordable price. This marks the 17th time UNC-Chapel Hill has been featured in the ranking. Students of the UNC School of Education can pursue Master of Arts in Teaching degrees, Master of Education degrees, and Master of School Administration degrees.
The M.A.T. is available with initial certification tracks for middle school (grades 6 through 9) or secondary education (grades 9 through 12) in Science, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, and Mathematics. Candidates will move through a designated program of study, which lasts from mid-June of one year through the following summer. The program of study includes classes such as:
- Schools and Community Collaboration
- Introduction to Development and Learning
- Teaching English Language Learners
- Advanced Methods for Teaching Secondary Subjects (STEM or Humanities)
In addition to their primary content area, teaching candidates can also pursue specialty licenses in Special Education or English as a Second Language. During their final summer in the program, students will take a Teacher Researcher course. This course includes an option to study abroad for an additional cost.
10. University of Virginia
Established in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia is now ranked third in the country among public national universities. U.S. News & World Report named Virginia’s Curry School of Education to 18th place among all schools of education nationwide. Many of the individual degree paths offered by Curry have also been named to the top 10 nationally, including the program in Secondary Education.
The Master of Teaching from the University of Virginia is available leading to licensure in History and Social Sciences, English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, Special Education, and English as a Second Language. These licensure tracks are typically available as both a one-year program and a two-year program. The one-year program runs early June through the following August, while the two-year program is more flexible. Coursework for Master of Teaching candidates may include:
- Instructional Methods for Teaching Multilingual Students in Secondary Content-Area Classrooms
- Foundations of Learning and Teaching
- Adolescent Learning and Development
- The Exceptional Learner
The Curry School of Education also offers a highly flexible Master of Education degree. This program offers specializations in Higher Education, Government and Policy, K-12 Teaching, Curriculum Improvement, Speech Communication Disorders, Instructional Technology, and numerous other areas.
11. Boston College
Boston College was the first institution of higher learning to operate in the city of Boston. Today, BC offers a comprehensive array of academic opportunities rooted in Jesuit values and philosophy. The exceptional Secondary Education program at BC is available with tracks leading to an M.A.T. degree, M.S.T. degree, or M.Ed. degree.
The M.Ed. program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in the field where they plan to earn teaching certification. Candidates for the M.A.T. or M.S.T. will take five graduate courses in their content area, while M.Ed. candidates will take a minimum of two graduate courses in their content area. Coursework for all Secondary Education students may include:
- Applied Adolescent Development
- Social Contexts of Education
- Instruction for the Special Needs of Diverse Learners
- Literacy and Assessment in Secondary Schools
Through any of the Secondary Education degree programs, students can earn initial licensure for grades 8 through 12 in English, history, biology, chemistry, geology (Earth Science), physics, classics, Spanish, French, or mathematics. All Secondary Education candidates may pursue an optional Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) Certificate or a Certificate in Serving Exceptional Learners in Catholic Schools.
12. University of Texas at Austin
Serving over 51,000 students, the University of Texas at Austin is among the nation’s biggest and best research universities. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks UT Austin at number 13 among Best Value Public Colleges. UT Austin offers a unique program for graduate students that examines STEM education from a research perspective.
Students may pursue either a Master of Arts or a Master of Education in STEM Education. The M.A. track is available as a 33-credit hour non-thesis track or a 36-credit hour thesis track. The M.Ed. program requires students to already hold teaching certification for either elementary or secondary education. Available courses for STEM Education students include:
- Equity in STEM Education
- Research on Teaching and Teacher Development in STEM Education
- Systemic Reform in STEM Education
- Curriculum History in STEM Education
The curriculum for STEM Education will include 12 credit hours in core courses, nine hours in STEM content courses, six hours in research methodology, and three (for the thesis track) or six (for the non-thesis track) hours in supporting courses. The thesis track requires six credit hours of thesis research. The University of Texas at Austin also presents an M.A. or an M.Ed. in Social Studies Education. Through the non-degree UTeach post-baccalaureate program, students can pursue initial teaching certification.
13. Miami University
The campus of Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio, was described as "astoundingly beautiful" and "gorgeous" when it was featured in the 2018 edition of “The Best 382 Colleges” guidebook from the Princeton Review. With over 60 master's and doctoral degree programs, Miami is routinely recognized by the Fiske Guide to Colleges, U.S. News & World Report, and other prestigious publications for academic excellence. The extensive teacher training programs at Miami include degrees in School Leadership, Literacy and Language, and Secondary Education.
The Master of Arts in Teaching provides a pathway to initial teacher licensure for grades 7 through 12 in English/language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies. Students in this degree track typically complete the program in two and a half years. Coursework for M.A.T. candidates may include:
- Educational Measurement and Evaluation
- Issues and Trends in Instructional Design and Technology
- Education of Individuals with Exceptionalities
- Data-Informed Decision Making in Education
The M.A.T. also offers licensure tracks for foreign languages (Chinese, French, German, Latin, or Spanish) for pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Applicants to the M.A.T. program must submit GRE scores. Students can pursue an optional Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement.
14. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign includes more than 44,000 students, representing all 50 states and over 100 countries around the world. The University’s campus is located in east-central Illinois, 140 miles south of Chicago and 125 miles west of Indianapolis. Ranked 14th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, U of I at Urbana-Champaign is home to an array of world-class academic programs in engineering, information sciences, teacher education, and more.
The M.Ed. in Secondary Education is available with initial licensure tracks for grades 9 through 12 in English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. All M.Ed. degree candidates must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours. This flexible degree path allows students to choose courses to fulfill requirements in Educational Psychology, Educational Policy Studies, and the content area of certification. Candidates may take courses such as:
- Sociocultural Influence on Learning
- Psychology of Classroom Management
- Race, Educational Policy, and Sociology
- Asian American Education
The College of Education offers an array of additional options at the graduate level. On-campus programs include master’s degrees in Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching, and Agency; Language and Literacy; and Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education. Online options include an M.S. in Teaching Biology and an English as a Second Language Endorsement.
15. University of Washington
As the flagship institution of the state’s six public universities, the University of Washington confers more than 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees each year. Of the UW’s 54,000 students, roughly 1,300 are enrolled in the highly acclaimed College of Education. The unique Secondary Education program at the UW culminates in a Master in Teaching degree and an entry-level certificate for middle or high school teaching in mathematics, sciences, social studies, language arts, or world languages.
Students in the Master in Teaching program will be eligible for certification after four consecutive quarters of coursework and clinical experiences. The program provides pathways for optional endorsement specializations in English Language Learners, a second content area, and special education. Through this cohort-based track, all students will move through a designated course sequence alongside a group of peers. Coursework for this degree includes:
- Creating Classrooms for All Students
- Multicultural Education
- Adolescent Development
- Assessment in Secondary Education
The Secondary Teacher Education Program incorporates extensive fieldwork experiences. Starting from their first quarter in the program, teaching candidates will receive placements in urban partner school classrooms, where they will gain experience working with socioeconomically, ethnically, and racially diverse students. This graduate program is ranked among the top 10 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.
16. Lehigh University
With approximately 7,000 total students, Lehigh University is a small institution with one of the largest private campuses in the country. Situated on 2,358 wooded acres in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh is an internationally recognized research university with a student-faculty ratio of just 9:1. Lehigh’s renowned Secondary Education program features a focus on basic research principles, gathering and analyzing educational data, and best practices for teaching all learners.
The Master of Education in Secondary Education program can lead to Pennsylvania Level I certification for grades 7 through 12 in English, Social Studies, Mathematics, and numerous science subjects. The degree requires a minimum of 33 credit hours. The 15-credit hour core for the M.Ed. degree includes courses such as:
- Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs
- Diversity, Families, and School Collaborations in K-12
- Principles and Applications of K-12 Assessment
- K-12 Classroom Environment and Management
With 15 credit hours beyond the 33-credit hour minimum, students can earn dual certification in General Education (grades 7 through 12) and Special Education (grades 7 through 12). A Master of Arts in Secondary Education, which also leads to Pennsylvania Level I certification, is available with a minimum of 42 credit hours.
17. Hunter College
Located in the heart of Manhattan, Hunter College is the largest college in the City University of New York system and one of the nation’s oldest public colleges. The School of Education at Hunter College presents 43 master's degree programs in areas such as Creative Arts Education, Educational Leadership, Special Education, and many other specialized areas of education. Degree paths to initial licensure are available for every grade level, from early childhood to secondary education.
The Master of Arts in Adolescent Education from Hunter offers tracks for science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science), foreign languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, and Latin), English, Mathematics, and Social Studies. Graduates will be certified to teach students in grades 7 through 12. All Adolescent Education degree candidates will take between 25 and 27 credit hours in teacher education courses. These required courses may include:
- Social Foundations of Adolescent Education
- Educational Psychology: Applications to Adolescent Education
- Assessment of Teaching and Learning in Adolescent Education
- Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Settings
All Adolescent Education programs require applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants will be expected to submit GRE scores. A post-master’s program leading to licensure is also available for students with no prior teaching certification.
18. New York University
With more than 50,000 students at three campuses (New York City, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai), New York University is one of the nation’s largest private institutions of higher learning. The University has a worldwide reputation for groundbreaking research and innovative academic programs. NYU’s Embedded Master of Arts in Teaching (EMAT) is a unique program that places candidates in full-time, paid residencies in high-need urban classrooms all over the country.
The EMAT program culminates in New York State initial certification in grades 7 through 12 with a 5 through 6 extension in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, or Special Education. Students will complete flexible online coursework while working with mentor teachers to develop their skills in the classroom. The EMAT is built on inquiry-based modules such as:
- How Do I Build a Culture of Achievement for My Students and Myself?
- How Do I Teach Reading and Writing in My Discipline?
- How Do I Individualize Curricula for Students with Disabilities?
- How Do I Make a Difference with Research?
The EMAT program takes a full calendar year to complete. Placements for EMAT candidates are available in Brooklyn Prospect Charter Schools, the San Francisco Unified School District, Great Oaks Charter Schools (in Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York City), and in numerous other districts and regions.
19. The George Washington University
Located just four blocks from the White House, the George Washington University offers top-tier academic opportunities in the heart of Washington, D.C. Composed of 10 schools and colleges and serving 25,000 students, the University is D.C.’s largest institution of higher education. The unique location of GW provides teaching candidates with opportunities to gain experience in both suburban and urban settings, as well as in public, charter, and private schools.
Available certification tracks include English, English as a Second Language (ESL), Mathematics, Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Social Studies (History, Civics, Economics), and Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, German, Latin, and more). Regardless of the area of intended licensure, all candidates for the M.Ed. in Secondary Education will take the same core of seven education courses. These courses include:
- Teacher Leadership in Education
- Instructional Models and Classroom Management
- Theories of Learning and Development
- Foundations of Assessment, Testing, and Measurement in Education
Candidates for the M.Ed. can enroll in either a full-time, one-year cohort, which begins during the summer term, or a part-time, two-year cohort, which begins in the fall. All of the Secondary Education tracks require a minimum of 30 credit hours (except the ESL concentration, which requires 36 credit hours).
20. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Established in 1848, University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public land-grant university and a distinguished research institution. In the 2018 World University Rankings from Times Higher Education, UW-Madison placed in the top 50 among more than 20,000 higher education institutions around the world. U.S. News & World Report consistently recognizes UW-Madison’s School of Education as one of the top five among all public universities nationwide.
The Secondary Teacher Education Master's Program culminates in a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. Graduates who successfully complete the program will earn dual certification in their subject area (English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies) and in English as a Second Language. While earning this degree, students will take courses such as:
- Adolescent Development in Educational Contexts
- Social and Cultural Approaches to Educational Policy
- Classroom Management for Secondary Teachers
- Assessment and Data Use for Instructional Improvement
The Secondary Teacher Education Master's Program is available only on a full-time basis. This cohort-based program extends over two summers and an academic year. Students will be expected to submit GRE scores when they apply. However, there is no minimum required score. In addition to extensive fieldwork and student teaching experiences, this program requires students to create a portfolio as their culminating master’s project.
21. Arizona State University
For the third straight year, Arizona State University was recently ranked number one in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s “Most Innovative Schools” list. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU came in at number four among best graduate colleges of education at public universities. The graduate programs at Mary Lou Fulton include degrees in Educational Policy, Educational Technology, Higher and Postsecondary Education, and many other areas.
The M.Ed. in Secondary Education program is available on all four of ASU’s campuses (Downtown, Polytechnic, Tempe, and West). Through this program, students with a bachelor’s degree in any field can earn teaching certification for grades 6 through 12. The degree requires 47 credit hours in courses such as:
- Inclusive Practices for Diverse Learners
- Creating Classroom Climate
- Learning and Instruction
- American Education System
Three distinct tracks are available for earning an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from ASU: The Master’s and Arizona Certification (MAC) program allows students to take classes two nights a week and complete a field experience one day per week for at least two semesters. The Induction, Master of Education, and Arizona Certification (InMAC) track is intended for full-time teachers with a Teaching Intern Certificate. The iTeachAZ Teacher Education for Arizona Math and Science (TEAMS) program is for students seeking certification in a STEM content area.
22. Indiana University Bloomington
Serving as the flagship institution of IU’s eight campuses statewide, Indiana University Bloomington is a national leader in research and the arts. More than 550 academic programs are available to IU Bloomington’s 43,000-plus students. IU Bloomington is home to top-ranked programs in public affairs, social psychology, library and information studies, and education.
The Master of Science in Education is designed to prepare in-service teachers for leadership and supervisory roles. The flexible curriculum for this degree features just one course that is required for all students. Degree candidates will also take at least three credit hours in Foundational Areas and Inquiry Skills, 15 credit hours in Specialized Studies, nine credit hours in electives, and six credit hours in a thesis or practicum. Options to fulfill the Foundational Areas and Inquiry Skills requirement include:
- Learning and Cognition in Education
- Foundations of Educational Inquiry
- Anthropology of Education
- Critical Thinking and Education
Students seeking initial teaching certification can do so through the General Education track of the Secondary Education program. Other M.S.Ed. tracks include Mathematics Education, Science Education, Art Education, Social Studies Education, and Special Education. The M.S.Ed. is available through both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.
23. University of Southern Mississippi
Founded as the Mississippi Normal College for teachers in 1910, the University of Southern Mississippi is now a comprehensive doctoral institution. Roughly 15,000 students are enrolled through the Hattiesburg campus, the Gulf Park campus, and online programs. The Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education at Southern Miss offers a pathway to initial certification in an extensive array of content areas.
The M.A.T. in Secondary Education program requires 36 credit hours. After taking the first nine credit hours, students will earn an initial one-year teaching license and will obtain a full-time teaching position in a Mississippi public school district. After completing all other coursework and requirements, students will earn their master’s degree and a five-year teaching license. Coursework for this degree will include:
- Management and Organization of Diverse Classrooms
- Assessing Student Outcomes
- The Psychology and Education of the Exceptional Individual
- Technology in Education
Applicants to the Secondary Education program must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 on the last 62 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. All master’s degree candidates at Southern Miss must successfully complete a comprehensive exam at the end of their program. The M.A.T. offers licensure tracks for Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Chinese, Economics, English, French, German, Health, Home Economics, Latin, Library Media, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physical Science, Physics, Social Studies, Spanish, and Speech Communications.
24. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
With over 7,500 undergraduate students and almost 1,000 graduate students, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is the fastest-growing school in the UW System. UW-Platteville is located on 821 acres in the southwest corner of Wisconsin, not quite 30 miles from the borders of both Illinois and Iowa. The Master of Science in Education program from UW-Platteville is available with specializations in Adult Education, Human Services, Elementary Education, Middle School Education, and Secondary Education.
Students applying to the M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education must already hold a teaching license. The program requires at least 30 credit hours. Of these, nine credits will be earned in required courses. The remaining 21 credits will be earned through approved specialization courses. Available graduate-level coursework in teacher education includes:
- Educational Administration Relationships
- Exploring Innovations in Education
- Special Education: Legal and Theoretical Foundations
- Intercultural Communication for Teachers of English Language Learners
Applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75, or a 2.90 on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. Through the M.S.Ed. program, students can earn endorsements in areas such as educational administration, reading teacher, reading specialist, cross-categorical special education, or English as a second language.
25. University of Illinois at Chicago
Offering nearly 100 master’s degree programs and 65 doctoral programs, the University of Illinois at Chicago is a public research university in the heart of downtown Chicago. The student body of UIC is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the nation. UIC presents a number of teacher education programs, with tracks available for both certified teachers and those seeking initial licensure.
Students at UIC can pursue a Master of Science in Teaching for Secondary School Mathematics or a Master of Education in Science Education. Both programs are available for either practicing educators or pre-service teachers. The non-licensure tracks require a minimum of 32 credit hours, with additional credit hours required for initial certification. For the M.Ed. in Science Education, available coursework includes:
- Race, Identity, and Agency in Mathematics and Science Education
- The Learning and Teaching of Secondary Science in Urban Schools
- Language, Culture, and Learning in Urban Classrooms
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Equity in Secondary Science Education
The M.Ed. in Science Education is a coursework-only track, with no thesis or master’s project option. UIC also offers an M.Ed. in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment; in Special Education; in Youth Development; in Language, Literacies, and Learning; and in Instructional Leadership.
26. University of Massachusetts Amherst
Among more than 700 public, four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., the University of Massachusetts Amherst ranks in the top 30, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1863, UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of public higher education in Massachusetts. The University offers 118 undergraduate degree programs, 76 master’s programs, and 48 doctoral programs, with highly regarded academic tracks in business, social and behavioral sciences, and education. Numerous pathways are available leading to a master’s degree and initial teaching licensure.
Bridges to the Future, which focuses on rural education, and 180 Days in Springfield, which focuses on urban education, are both one-year immersion pathways. The University to Schools track includes on-campus coursework, clinical experiences, and a one-semester student teaching placement. Students typically complete the University to Schools pathway in two to three years. Coursework for the University to Schools program may include:
- Educational Psychology
- Work of the Middle and High School Teacher
- Microteaching Lab
- Teacher in the Classroom
UMass Amherst offers certification tracks for middle school (grades 5 through 8) and high school (grades 8 through 12) in English, history, political science, the sciences, and foreign languages (Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish). Mathematics certification is available for grades 9 through 12. UMass Amherst students may pursue a non-degree post-baccalaureate program that leads to initial certification.
27. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Over 10,000 students attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, pursuing 99 undergraduate programs, 21 graduate programs, and two doctoral programs. La Crosse is located near the western border of Wisconsin, about 130 miles from Dubuque and 150 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul. UWL offers a number of unique programs for educators, including a Master of Education available in online and blended formats.
The Master of Education in Professional Development provides emphasis areas in Culturally Responsive/Adventure Education; Leadership, Critical Thinking, and Connections; Adventure-Based Experiential Education; Trauma-Informed Care; and Social Studies. The Social Studies emphasis is a 30-credit hour program. The curriculum for this degree is designed to help teachers develop their content and pedagogical knowledge. Coursework will include:
- Best Practice Pedagogy
- Democracy, Diversity, and Social Justice in Education
- Curriculum Development and Assessment
- Technology in Education
The Social Studies emphasis is a blended program. Students in the Social Studies Learning Community will meet two weekends per semester for two years. Once a year, students will attend UWL’s Annual Fall for Education Conference, which features renowned speakers from across the nation. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in trips to historical and political sites throughout the upper Midwest.
28. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a highly selective research university and one of the anchor institutions of Los Angeles. The community of USC is exceptionally diverse: Roughly one-quarter of the student body is composed of international students. Presented by USC’s acclaimed Rossier School of Education, the Master of Arts in Teaching offers certification pathways for future K-12 teachers.
Students can earn the M.A.T. either through the USC City Center campus in downtown Los Angeles or entirely online. Full-time students can earn this degree in as little as 15 months. The curriculum features a minimum of 28 credit hours, including fieldwork experiences in local urban and high-need classrooms. For students in all secondary licensure tracks (English, Math, Science, or Social Science), coursework may include:
- Contexts for Educational Equity, Access, and Agency
- Literacy Development and Instruction in Secondary Education
- Applying Knowledge and Strategies for Teaching All Students
- Blended Learning Experiences for Students in Urban Schools
M.A.T. candidates may choose to add to their degree with a Special Education (Education Specialist Instruction) Credential, a Gifted Certificate, or a Bilingual Authorization for Spanish Certificate (BILA). In a publication by Education Week, five faculty members at USC Rossier were recognized in an annual ranking of the top 200 scholars who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice.
29. University of Oregon
Out of all schools in the Pacific Northwest, the University of Oregon is one of only two institutions selected for membership in the elite Association of American Universities. Recognized as a Tier 1 national public research university, UO offers more than 300 certificate and degree programs to its 23,000 students. The Secondary Education program from UO culminates in a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching as well as initial teaching licensure.
The curriculum for the Master of Education incorporates 34 weeks of progressive field-based school practicum. Certification tracks are available in English Language Arts, Mathematics (Advanced or Foundational), Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or General Science), World Languages (Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish), and Social Sciences. Depending on the area of intended licensure, coursework may include:
- Language, Power, and Education
- Humanities and Cultural Conflict—Social Studies, Language Arts, and World Language
- Creating Supportive Learning Communities
- Science Problem Solving Curriculum
While most candidates earn this degree in one year, the program may be broken up over two calendar years. All participants in this program will graduate with an ESOL endorsement in addition to their master’s degree and license. Students will have the opportunity to attend career services workshops, where they can build their professional portfolio and develop relationships with local school districts.
30. Clemson University
Located on 1,400 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Clemson is a science- and engineering-oriented college committed to research, outreach, and service. U.S News & World Report ranks Clemson as the 23rd best national public university in the U.S. The Master of Arts in Teaching from Clemson is available with concentrations in Special Education, Middle Level Education, and Secondary Math and Science.
The M.A.T. in Secondary Math and Science is a 42-credit hour program leading to South Carolina initial certification for grades 9 through 12. Students will complete both online and face-to-face coursework, as well as more than 100 hours of field experience and a 15-week student teaching placement. Core courses for this degree include:
- Advanced Educational Psychology
- Adolescent Growth and Development
- Content Area Reading and Writing for Middle and Secondary Teachers
- Teaching Individuals with Disabilities in Integrated Settings
Applicants to the M.A.T. program should be prepared to submit competitive scores on either the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or MAT (Miller Analogies Test). The program is intended for students with a bachelor’s degree (or a professional background) in a science or mathematics field. Clemson also offers M.Ed. degrees in Teaching and Learning, Student Affairs, Literacy, Administration and Supervision, and several related disciplines.
31. Teachers College, Columbia University
Established in 1887, Teachers College, Columbia University is the nation’s first and largest graduate school of education. The College enrolls more than 5,000 students in master’s and doctoral degree programs in health, education, leadership, and psychology. TC’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching offers programs in Gifted Education, Literacy, Inclusive Education, Secondary Education, and more.
The Master of Arts: Secondary Professional Certification Program requires 32 credits. This program can lead to New York State professional certification for grades 7 through 12 in English, Social Studies, Science, Technology, or Mathematics. Students must already hold initial certification in one of these content areas. Available coursework for Secondary Professional Certification candidates includes:
- Differentiated Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms
- Curriculum and Teaching in Urban Areas
- Differentiated Curriculum for Gifted Students
- The Teacher: Socio-Historical Cultural Contexts of Teaching
Full-time students who begin the program in the fall or summer term can finish in as little as 12 months. Students who start in the spring term can finish in 17 months. The program is also available on a part-time basis for students who need more scheduling flexibility. All students will take two Social Context required courses, which include Critical Perspectives in Secondary Education and a Master’s Project course. These classes must be taken concurrently, and they are only offered in the fall semester.
32. Temple University
The sprawling urban campus of Temple University sits in the heart of North Philadelphia. The University serves more than 38,000 students in 17 academic schools and colleges, including the celebrated College of Education. Enrolling roughly 1,200 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students, Temple’s College of Education offers outstanding academic programs for teachers as well as school administrators, counselors, school psychologists, researchers, and policymakers.
The Secondary Education program at Temple culminates in a Master of Education degree and initial teaching certification for grades 7 through 12. Concentrations are available in English Education, Mathematics Education, Science Education, Social Studies Education, and World Languages Education. Students may also pursue a dual certification program leading to an M.Ed. in Secondary Education and Special Education. Core coursework for the M.Ed. may include:
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Foundations of Language Teaching: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners
- Literacy and Differentiation in the Academic Areas, 7-12
- Inclusive School Practices
Once accepted as a master’s degree candidate, students may opt to leave the program once they have earned their teaching certification before completing the degree requirements. The degree plus licensure track requires 31 credit hours, while the non-degree, certification-only track requires 25 credit hours.
33. University of Mississippi
A Carnegie-designated R1 Doctoral University with Highest Research Activity, the University of Mississippi is the state’s flagship institution of higher learning. Known affectionately as Ole Miss, the University enrolls more than 24,000 students. The School of Education at Ole Miss offers extensive teacher training programs, including a Master of Education, Education Specialist (Ed.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Secondary Education.
The M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Secondary Education offers two tracks. Option I is designed for students who plan to continue as classroom teachers in grades 7 through 12. Option II prepares graduates to pursue employment as a community college instructor. Both tracks require 30 credit hours, which students will earn in courses such as:
- Measurement and Evaluation for Classroom Teachers
- Advanced Curriculum and Theory
- Educational Research
- Trends and Issues in Secondary Education
To qualify for admission, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. Applicants should already hold, or be eligible to hold, an A educator licensure in English, mathematics, science (biology, chemistry, physics), or social studies. The full program of study is available only at the Oxford campus. However, students can typically complete up to half of the required credit hours either through online coursework or at a regional campus.
34. University of Connecticut
More than 7,000 graduate students attend the University of Connecticut, engaged in over 120 fields of study. Three teacher preparation programs at UConn have been ranked in the top 25 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, including Elementary Education (ranked 13th), Special Education (17th), and Curriculum and Instruction (22nd). The Master of Arts in Education for Curriculum and Instruction is offered with tracks in both Elementary Education and Secondary Education.
Within the Secondary Education track, students will choose a concentration in Agriculture, Bilingual or TESOL, English, Mathematics, Reading/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies/History, or World Languages. This program can prepare students for leadership roles in public high schools as well as in colleges, universities, educational organizations, and governmental agencies. Graduate-level coursework offered through UConn’s Neag School of Education includes:
- Comparative and International Education
- Literacy in the Secondary School
- Education and Popular Culture
- Language Diversity and Literacy
The application deadline for spring admission is October 15th. For fall admission, the application deadline is January 15th. Other graduate programs from the Neag School of Education include an M.A. in Cognition, Instruction, and Learning Technology; an M.A. in Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development; an M.A. in Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment; and numerous additional options.
35. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa ranks number 31 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of the “Best Public Universities.” Times Higher Education also named Iowa one of the top 250 universities in the world. Nationally recognized programs at Iowa include degrees in Social Psychology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Student Counseling and Personnel Services. The University’s College of Education is the top producer of K-12 classroom teachers for 100 percent of Iowa's school districts.
The Secondary Education programs at Iowa offer initial certification for pre-service teachers and add-on endorsements for certified teachers. Licensure tracks are available for grades 5 through 12 in English Education, Foreign Language Education, Mathematics Education, Science Education, and Social Studies Education. Current teachers will generally enroll in programs leading to an M.A. or M.S. degree, while students seeking initial certification will enroll in M.A.T. programs. For M.A.T. candidates, core coursework will include:
- Secondary Education Orientation and Classroom Management
- Technology in the Classroom
- Educational Psychology and Measurement
- Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher
Kindergarten through grade 12 licensure is available for Art Education and Music Education. Other available certification programs include an Athletic Coach (K-12) Endorsement, a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Endorsement, a Talented and Gifted Endorsement, and Teacher Librarian Licensure.