2023 Best Master’s in Elementary Education Programs
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Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student/teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.
Do you want to acquire a master’s degree in elementary education, but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s best master’s in elementary education programs.
What institution did we forget? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Situated in California’s gorgeous Bay Area, Stanford University is rated among the top five institutions in the country. Known for outstanding teaching and cutting-edge research, Stanford’s School of Education is top-rated. Stanford’s Graduate School of Education has a master of arts in elementary education, which incorporates a high-quality academic degree program with a yearlong classroom placement. This 12-month, full-time degree program leads to a preliminary California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Classes consist of:
- Becoming Literate in School
- Elementary Classroom Leadership and Management
- Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics
Stanford’s STEP elementary degree program is comprised of 45 quarter-credits. Along with wide-ranging classwork, learners experience two semester-long classroom teaching placements. Class sizes are small (with around 20 learners), so learners have close contact with faculty. And graduate learners are guaranteed housing on Stanford’s beautiful campus, as long as they apply on time!
Vanderbilt University is a private research institution with a reputation for excellent undergraduate teaching, research opportunities, and post-graduate employment placements. The Peabody School of Education is rated among the top 10 in the United States. The School of Education has an NCATE-sanctioned master of education in elementary education. The degree program is holistic and is built around the core values of equity, access, and inclusion. The MEd in elementary education is a 32-credit degree program comprised of conventional classwork and student teaching experiences. The degree program takes 13 months to finish, beginning in June with an intensive 8-week experience.
- University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
The University of Virginia is a highly selective state institution that was established by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. The institution sits at the top of national ratings, and UV’s graduate schools, including the legendary Curry School of Education rank among the best in the country.
The School of Education has an NCATE-sanctioned master of teaching (MT) with a concentration in elementary education, which leads to initial licensure in the state of Virginia. This degree program is perfect for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education and offers the necessary knowledge and experience to begin a career in teaching elementary learners. Core classes consist of:
- Exceptional Learner
- Designing Technologies for Teaching
- Contemporary Educational Issues
UVA’s MT in elementary education is a 30-credit program which contains classwork in pedagogy and content areas along with extensive field experiences. Graduates can apply for licensure with an endorsement in elementary education (grades pre-K–6), and they can also select to work on a second endorsement in special education, ESOL, Algebra I, or gifted education.
- University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
One of the ten research institutions in the University of California System, UC Berkeley is a highly rated state institution that overlooks San Francisco Bay. Their top-rated programs prepare learners to take on leadership positions in challenging K–12 settings. UC Berkeley’s visionary Graduate School of Education has the Berkeley educators for equity and excellence degree program, which offers a master of arts in education (elementary education) and a several subject teaching credential. The objective of the program is to develop an ambitious, equity-focused teaching practice that is grounded in research, disciplinary, and professional content knowledge.
Berkeley’s MAT in elementary teaching is a 48- to 52-credit degree program comprised of classroom-based classwork and extensive fieldwork experiences (over 600 hours) in schools and local community organizations. Learners finish the degree program over four semesters (summer, fall, spring, fall) on a full-time basis. This is an ambitious degree program, and UC Berkeley is legendary for producing some of the best prepared teachers in the country.
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan is a top-rated public research institution. The School of Education intertwines legendary research, teaching, and service to develop highly trained educational professionals who lead K–12 education.
The University of Michigan has an NCATE-sanctioned master of arts in educational studies with elementary teacher certification. This intensive, one-year degree program combines academic classes and supported K–8 classroom experiences. Learners develop an array of professional skills and disciplinary knowledge to become teachers who can engage diverse groups of children in thoughtful learning.
The University of Michigan’s elementary MA with licensure degree program is an intensive, full-time, cohort-based degree program that begins in late June and finishes in mid-June the following year. All learners participate in a full-year internship in an elementary classroom (the same classroom across the year). And there is also the choice of completing an additional endorsement in the teaching of English as a second language.
Johns Hopkins University is a top-rated private research institution and a founding member of the prestigious American Association of Universities. The institution is known for its prominent graduate schools—and its School of Education. The School of Education has an NCATE-sanctioned master of arts in teaching with certification in elementary education. Learners experience individualized coaching from experienced faculty along with structured clinical internships and externships in partner schools. The dynamic coursework contains cutting-edge studies of differentiated instruction, mind-brain research, and cultural and international comprehension. Certification content areas consist of:
- Social Studies
The MAT degree program is a 39-credit program that learners finish in a cohort over a one-year or eighteen-month period. Graduates are eligible for initial elementary education licensure in Maryland. This adaptable degree program couples face-to-face classes with some online classes; an accelerated degree program, or a more flexible, non-cohort based degree program is also available.
- University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Situated on an expansive campus in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, UCLA is rated among the top 25 institutions in the country, and UCLA’s School of Education is rated as the very best in the country. The School of Education has a master of education in elementary education, which offers a teaching credential. This degree program has a focus on social justice in urban communities, and graduates will be ready with pioneering teaching strategies and intense subject matter knowledge. Learners get extensive real-world experience in urban schools in LA. during their study in the degree program. Classes consist of:
- Principles and Methods for Teaching Reading
- Integrated Methods for Elementary Teachers
- Teaching in Urban Schools
UCLA’s MEd elementary education is a full-time, two-year degree program. Graduates are eligible for a California preliminary multiple subject teaching credential to teach elementary (K–5). Each year has a focus, with the first year of the degree program being devoted to classwork and student teaching. During the second year of the degree program, learners assume paid teaching positions in partner school districts in urban LA while they finish degree prerequisites.
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Pennsylvania’s highly rated graduate schools include the School of Education, which has excellent programs for urban teachers. The Penn Graduate School of Education has an urban teaching apprenticeship program (UTAP), which has a master of science in education in elementary education. The UTAP PreK-4 degree program is built around educating the whole child, and that philosophy permeates the degree program. Teacher apprentices move through five stages of inquiry and development, with intertwined classes and mentored teaching.
UPenn’s MSEd in elementary education is a one-year degree program that leads to Pennsylvania Grades PreK-4 certification. This apprenticeship degree program contains 10 months of mentored teaching in a local school setting, with a maximum of 800 hours of fieldwork. Classes build competence in core academic areas, and the program also covers the urban setting; child development; and creative classes in writing, visual arts, robotics, and drama.
William & Mary’s School of Education has an NCATE-sanctioned master of arts in education (MAEd) in elementary education, which leads to initial K–6 licensure in the state of Virginia. Learners in this one-year degree program finish educational foundations classwork, methods classes in elementary school subject fields, and student teaching experiences. Classes consist of:
- Current Issues in Classes, Instruction & Assessment
- Advanced Educational Psychology & Development
- Social & Logical, Cultural and Historical Foundations of American Education
William & Mary’s MAEd in elementary education is a 45-credit degree program in which learners finish all prerequisites in a cohort group. Field experiences feature a ten-week student teaching semester; learners also develop an emphasis in literacy by taking two additional classes in the summer semester. This degree program is only open to non-licensed teachers.
North Carolina State University is rated among the top 85 institutions in the United States. Known for its graduate degree programs, the institution features a legendary College of Education, which produces some of the top K-12 educators in North Carolina. The university has a CAEP-sanctioned, master of arts in teaching—elementary education. This is a practitioner-focused degree program for individuals wanting to receive an initial teaching licensure. The degree program incorporates essential pedagogical theory with experience in culturally diverse and technology enhanced classrooms. Classes consist of:
- Principles of Developing and Interpreting Assessment
- Examining Diversity in Classroom and Community
- Classroom Action Research
NCSU’s MAT in elementary education is a 33-credit degree program (though credits vary with the chosen content area). Learners usually finish the degree program over a year-and-a-half of full-time study—though they can take longer if they need to. Classes take place in a blended format, being delivered in person on the Raleigh campus, in person off campus, and online.
- University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
The University of Florida is a prominent state institution and a member of the leading Association of American Universities. UF’s College of Education is rated among the top 25 in the country, with teacher education programs that prepare leaders in the field of education. The University of Florida has a CAEP-sanctioned master of education in elementary education, which leads to initial licensure and two additional endorsements (ESOL and reading). Learners experience a year-long internship and classwork that centers on assessment, advanced pedagogy, and technology integration within content areas. Classes consist of:
- Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
- Literacy Assessment and Instruction
- Understanding K-8 Mathematics
UF’s MEd in elementary education is a 36-credit degree program which offers eligibility for Florida licensure in elementary education K-6, English for speakers of other languages endorsement, and the Florida reading endorsement. This is a full-time, three-semester degree program that contains extensive teaching experiences.
- Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Situated just west of Boston, Boston College is a legendary private, research institution. The institution’s combination of excellence in research and teaching places it at the top of national ratings, and the Lynch School of Education is no exception to that tradition. The Lynch School of Education has an NCATE- and TEAC-sanctioned master of education in elementary education that leads to a Massachusetts K–6 teaching licensure. Boston College’s teacher education degree program stresses a humanistic approach to teaching, with a focus on transformative education for a more just world. Classes reflect current research and practices in teaching and learning, and consist of:
- Applied Child Development
- Instruction of Learners with Special Needs and Diverse Learners
- Social Contexts of Education
BC’s MEd in elementary education is a 37-credit degree program comprised of 12 classes and a practicum. Full-time learners finish the degree program in a full academic year, with two summer sessions. Part-time learners take from two to three years, depending on their pace of study. And for added flexibility, BC has three start dates across the year in spring, summer, or fall.
Situated just outside Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, Northwestern University is a top-rated, private research institution. The school is committed to delivering an intimate educational experience, with small class sizes and faculty who welcome learner collaboration. Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy has a master of science in education with a concentration in elementary teaching, which leads to an Illinois Professional Educator License. The emphasis of the degree program is on reflection, research, flexibility, and lifelong learning; learners get extensive experience in the classroom where they apply their knowledge to real-world teaching. Classes consist of:
- Social Contexts of Education
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Foundations of Learning a New Language
Northwestern’s MSEd in elementary education is an adaptable, 45-credit degree program that full-time learners may finish in one calendar year. If intensive, full-time degree does not work for some learners, they may choose to finish the degree part-time, beginning the degree program in any academic quarter. Core classes—except for student teaching—meet once a week in the evenings to accommodate working learners.
Virginia Tech’s School of Education has a master of education in classes and instruction—elementary education. Learners encounter an array of instructional approaches based on sound hypothetical and research-based underpinnings. Learners will also engage in active, interactive, and cooperative experiences that will get them ready to teach in challenging, diverse classrooms. Classes consist of:
- Psychological Foundations of Education for Preservice
- Elementary School Classes
- Advanced Classes & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Social Studies
Virginia Tech’s MEd in elementary classes and instruction has a licensure path and a non-licensure path. The paths are comprised of 45 to 51 credit hours, and the degree programs can be finished on a part-time or full-time basis in one to two years. Classes are aligned with NCATE professional standards and the MEd with licensure path leads to a Virginia Professional Licensure for grades PreK-6.
Indiana University is a sizeable state institution and the leading campus of the Indiana University system. The institution is rated among the top 100 institutions in the United States. Indiana University’s School of Education has a CAEP-sanctioned master of science in education—elementary education, which offers a focus on either general elementary education (grades 1-6) or early childhood education (PreK-3).
This is a non-licensure degree program for teachers who want to improve their teaching practices and investigate current concepts of teaching and instruction. Learners select classes in the advanced study of content areas relevant to elementary education. The MSEd in elementary education is a 36-credit degree program comprised of major and foundation classes and electives.