The Master of Arts degree in Education is an advanced academic degree that builds upon an appropriate undergraduate foundation. A total of 36 semester units are required to complete this program. The curriculum for each of the specializations in this degree links theory to practice for teachers, counselors, principals, and those in educational roles outside of the K-12 setting.
Program Learning Outcomes
Candidates who complete the Master of Arts in Education program will be able to:
- Promote the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.
- Promote the success of all students by modeling a personal code of ethics and developing professional leadership capacity.
- Promote the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.
Program Eligibility for the Master of Arts in Education
- Proof of completion of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or equivalent accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Candidates seeking a Master’s degree which does not include an approved CTC credential are not required to take the CBEST or equivalent exam;
- A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.000 is required to be admitted in the M.A. in Education program. Candidates with a cumulative grade point average less than 3.000 may apply for “Admission under Exception” which is reviewed by the program director and dean;
- A writing sample that indicates graduate-level ability; and
- An interview with the appropriate program director or Admissions chair at a branch campus.
Applicants who do not meet the above standards but can demonstrate that they have an exceptionally rich experiential background and/or have demonstrated dramatic change in academic performance may petition the School of Education to review their status.
In order to earn and receive a Master of Arts in Education degree, a student must satisfy all of the following:
- A completed Application for Degree Candidacy (online or in the Records Office, Point Loma campus);
- Satisfactory completion of the prescribed course of study with a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 or higher;
- Completion of the approved graduate program consisting of a minimum of 36 units;
- A recommendation from the program coordinator and director of the branch campus;
- All accounts paid in full; and
- All requirements for graduate degrees must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of initial enrollment in the program.
Up to six units of post-baccalaureate coursework aligned with the course of study below, and unused for a previous master’s degree, may be transferred from other institutions toward this degree. Candidates desiring to transfer coursework must petition this through their advisor during the first semester of enrollment.
Transfer of Credits
Up to six units of approved post-baccalaureate coursework aligned with the course of study below, and unused for a previous Master’s degree, may be transferred from other institutions toward this degree. Candidates desiring to transfer coursework must petition this through their advisor during the first semester of enrollment.
The Master of Arts in Education degrees are considered advanced degrees beyond preliminary teacher credential coursework, signified by GED course numbers. Prior coursework taken toward a preliminary teaching credential cannot be used as credit toward a PLNU Master of Arts in Education degree, concentration in Counseling and Guidance or Educational Administration. However, graduate credit earned toward a Clear Teaching credential may be approved for credit toward all of the concentrations in the Master of Arts in Education degree. PLNU credential candidates may utilize up to 12 units of post-baccalaureate credential coursework. Graduate credits purchased through PLNU for completion of a district-sponsored Induction Program may be applied toward the Master of Arts in Education, concentrations in Educational Administration and Leadership in Learning.
The Master of Arts in Education offers three concentrations: (1) Counseling and Guidance; (2) Educational Leadership; or (3) Teaching and Learning.
Counseling and Guidance
The purpose of the concentration in Counseling and Guidance is to prepare counselors for service to students in a changing world. Candidates have three options:
- Candidates desiring to serve as school counselors in California’s public schools complete the Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential that requires forty-eight (48) semester units listed below, or
- Candidates can complete the Master of Arts degree with the required thirty-six (36) units, or
- Candidates can complete the Master of Arts degree with a specialization in College Counseling and Student Development
The admissions requirements for the above options are identical and students can complete a change of degree/program form to move from one option to the other.
Program Learning Outcomes for the Master of Arts in Education - Counseling and Guidance
The program learning outcomes for the Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance are built on and related to the School of Education outcomes symbolized in three themes: equip, transform, and empower. The Counseling and Guidance concentration implements these major themes in the curriculum.
- Maintain competencies in knowledge, skills of the school counseling profession, and attitudes that demonstrate the ability to ethically implement, maintain, and advocate for a results-based counseling program.
- Promote the comprehensive counseling program through modeling of servant leadership that focuses on positive outcomes for diverse school communities in the belief that all students can learn and succeed.
- Engage in on-going professional self-evaluation and personal self-reflection using the dispositions.
- Assess student needs routinely and use technology to conduct, analyze, and evaluate research data and communicate results to all school stakeholders.
Master’s and PPS Credential
Candidates who have an intern contract with a school district must have completed these 9 units of PPS coursework (GED 6062 , GED 6063 , and GED 6064 ) and register for the following course each quad the candidate is serving as an intern:
Master’s and College Counseling and Student Development
The purpose of the concentration in Educational Administration is to prepare school leaders to meet the challenges of improving student learning and school success in a diverse and rapidly changing society. Successful candidates will be eligible for a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential upon successful completion of all requirements.
Program Learning Outcomes for the Master of Arts in Education - Educational Administration
The program learning outcomes for the Master of Arts in Education specializing in Educational Administration are built upon the School of Education themes equip, transform, and empower and the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSELs).
- Engages in ongoing scholarly, professional, personal, and spiritual growth.
- Gains knowledge and skills in critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis.
- Works collaboratively and communicates effectively as a servant leader.
- Embraces the positive power of diversity through development as advocates for equity and access.
- Applies faith-based influence and beliefs within educational organizations.
- Engages in reflective educational practices that emulate Christian discipleship within an educational community focused on service and responsibility.
- Serves as research-based transformational leader within educational organizations.
Required Courses for the Master of Arts in Education - Educational Administration with Preliminary Services Credential
Credential Total: 24 Units
Candidates who have an intern contract with a school district must have completed 6 units of administrative coursework and register for the following course each quad the candidate is serving as an intern:
The California Administrator Performance Assessments (APA)
The School of Education implements the APA as one of several measures to assess candidate proficiency and the preliminary administrative credential program effectiveness. The CCTC requires that all preliminary administrative credential candidates pass the Administrator Performance Assessment before applying for a preliminary administrative credential.
Information about the APAs
The APA process is an integrated part of the fieldwork experience throughout the program. All candidates are required to follow the calendar and deadlines of the APA process and must receive acceptable scores on all three (3) APAs in order to be recommended for their preliminary administrative credentials.
The Assessment Fee includes all assessment services, except a second attempt of the Cycles.
Required Courses to complete the Master of Arts in Education - Educational Administration
Electives may be chosen from the following areas of study directly related to the role of an educational administrator:
- Special needs populations
- Cross cultural and language diversity
- Technological applications in education
- Advanced educational psychology
Leadership In Learning
The Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Leadership In Learning strategically refines the ability of educators to deeply understand and apply “best practices” and the latest research on effective teaching to significantly improve student learning in diverse settings. This program substantially builds on the foundation of initial teacher preparation and the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). This program also supports those candidates seeking advanced levels of teaching and learning practice for working with families, churches, businesses, or community entities.
Candidates serving in private schools or charter schools, or others who are not part of a beginning teacher induction program in a school district, may earn a California Commission for Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved 2042 Multiple or Single Subject Clear Credential as part of the Master of Arts program.
Other options for fulfilling the program elective requirements offer an in-depth emphasis/authorization to be chosen from a variety of areas including:
*Up to twelve (12) units of approved post-baccalaureate coursework from PLNU may be applied to this degree.
Program Learning Outcomes for the Master of Arts in Education - Leadership In Learning
The program learning outcomes for the Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Leadership In Learning are built on and related to the School of Education outcomes that are symbolized in three themes: equip, transform, and empower. This concentration implements these major themes in its curriculum.
- Engage in lifelong learning in an information-based, interactive society and explore the major classical and modern philosophies as they relate to contemporary educational theories and practices.
- Develop and internalize the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions to conduct research that transform their teaching and significantly impact learning in educational settings.
- Communicate a cohesive personal educational philosophy, an educational mission, core values, and vision of teaching and learning as a servant leader.
- Demonstrate evidence of an applied understanding of the five propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, including a commitment to students and learning and distinguishing cultural and familial differences from one another in order to inform their practice.
- Reflect on learning throughout the program and develop a professional development and research plan to continually extend and refine a philosophical, technological, and research application and orientation to teaching and learning.
- Work within a professional educational learning community reflecting and contributing to instructional improvement within diverse educational communities.
- Extend and refine the understanding of current challenges and trends in education, developing a response plan aligned with personal philosophy in addressing these situations.
The following eighteen (18) semester units are required of all Leadership In Learning options:
Emphases and Certification Options
Each of the emphases below may be taken as a stand-alone certificate or added to the Master of Arts degree core content to fulfill a thirty-six (36) unit Masters of Arts degree with a concentration in Leadership In Learning. Degree candidates are required to choose an area.
In-Depth Options for Leadership and Learning
Candidates choose one of the following in-depth options to complete the degree.
Clear Teaching Credential (for Current Preliminary Multiple Subject and Single Subject Teachers) (12 Units)
This twelve (12) unit credential is available for teachers who hold a valid Preliminary California Teaching Credential working in Public, Private or Charter Schools or those teaching in a public school without access to an approved Induction program to clear their credential.
The Clear Credential requires six (6) one-unit courses of Reflective Coaching to be taken AFTER completion of the preliminary credential and beginning in the first year of employment. Reflective Coaching can be completed in two (2) years. An additional six (6) units of elective coursework is determined by the candidate, their assigned coach, and the Program director based on the goals of the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) in order to complete the twelve (12) unit program.
Diverse and Cross Cultural Environments for Leaders (15 units)
This fifteen (15) unit certificate prepares the candidate to lead academic, social, and organizational venues to be knowledgeable and responsive to the social, emotional, and academic needs of children, families, and community members from a variety of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. This includes military families, foster families, and those impacted by homelessness. Graduates of this concentration will understand how cognitive, social, and emotional development intersects with community and cultural contexts.
Instructional Design with Technology (12 units)
Utilizing technology for global learning opportunities, this twelve (12) unit certificate gives professionals grounding in the pedagogy of online and hybrid teaching and learning, beyond teaching or training resources currently in use. Using best practices in instructional design and technology, graduates will gain the confidence and up-to-date knowledge necessary to design, implement, and teach effective online courses. Intended for candidates with a teaching background.
Instructional Leadership (15 units)
The fifteen (15) unit Instructional Leadership certificate prepares current teachers with the practical skills to serve as instructional mentor, coach, department chair, clinical practice supervisor, and professional developer. With a mix of student-centered learning and adult learning theory, the holder of the Teacher Leadership certificate employs effective instructional leadership and is prepared to serve the entire school community.
Leading Instructional Design for Professionals (15 units)
This fifteen (15) unit certificate prepares the professional to design and lead professional development in the workplace. Candidates will understand adult learning theory, effective instructional design, and leadership for organizational success in both face-to-face and online venues. Designed for professionals new to the teaching and learning environment and leadership role.
Reading and Literacy Added Authorization (8 units)
This added authorization is a nine (9) unit program for credentialed teachers who want specialized certification to teach reading in the PreK-12 setting. The program follows an explicit philosophy and purpose based on current, confirmed, replicable, and reliable research in literacy as referenced in the California Preschool Learning Foundations and Frameworks (Volume 1) and the California Reading/Language Arts Framework.
Upon successful completion of all coursework, candidates may apply to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization. Candidates must have completed three (3) years of successful K-12 teaching at the time of submission to CTC for this added authorization.
In addition to the above courses, elective courses may be added to fulfill the thirty-six (36) unit requirement for completion of the Master’s degree requirements. Candidates seeking to transfer credit must make this request during the first semester of enrollment.
Candidates with their preliminary credential coursework from an accredited university may request to apply up to six (6) units of approved coursework. Candidates with the preliminary credential coursework from PLNU may apply up to twelve (12) units of approved coursework to the Master of Arts in Education if it has not been previously used toward another degree.