Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum & Instruction Program Requirements

These requirements are from an excerpt from the University Academic Catalog, which outlines the requirements for a student to earn the distinction of being a Castleton University graduate. The complete catalog is available online.

The Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction is a course of study designed for educators who wish to strengthen their understanding of curriculum theory, integrated curricula, the role of technology in curriculum, curricula and global issues, and the ways in which action research can be used to shape more effective curriculum. This degree is intended for candidates who already have initial licensure. Candidates who are not planning to obtain a teaching license may also obtain this degree.

Students completing the master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction will demonstrate their successful realization of the following learning outcomes:

  • Philosophy and Educational Organizations - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates will have a comprehensive understanding of the philosophical, historical, social, political and cultural understanding of schools and society.
  • Curriculum - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates will understand that curriculum should be relevant, engaging, challenging, personalized, and integrative for the learner. They will know how to select, adapt and reflect on theories and engage in reflective practices in light of curriculum standards, theories, models and learners.
  • Instruction - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates will understand the principles of instruction, know a wide variety of teaching strategies and learning theories, and incorporate relevant technologies while teaching core concepts, skills of inquiry, problem posing/solving, collaboration, and communication to facilitate student learning.
  • Assessment and Evaluation - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates will analyze and understand the various roles of multiple types of assessments for monitoring, evaluating and responding to student learning; they will understand, develop, use and critique formal, informal, and performance assessment techniques, including local, state, and national assessment systems to improve student learning. Assessment practices will emphasize Proficiency-Based Systems (Vermont Act 77) where students are instructed and assessed based on pre-determined expectations of what the student will know and be able to do.
  • Research - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates, as critical consumers of educational research, will appreciate the role of educational research for informing practice, will develop the skills to conduct classroom research, and will collect and analyze data, and formally share their research findings.
  • Diversity - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates will understand human diversity as a valued component of educational systems; understand how to appropriately engage with diverse population; effectively structure learning experiences with diverse population; and effectively engage with diverse populations of students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Subject Knowledge - Castleton University Curriculum and Instruction program graduates will demonstrate their knowledge of the content they teach through content coursework included in the degree and ongoing analysis of their work in connection with the Vermont Core Teaching Standards.

The Education Department is committed to developing research skills in graduate students, promoting professionalism as scholar practitioners, who are well versed in current educational theory and practice. Masters candidates will implement change in their own current practice and develop the skills to change future practice. The skills range from an introductory overview of methods employed in research in education as the first course, to specific instruction in framing research questions within the candidates' course of study, qualitative and quantitative data collection and management, writing initial chapters of the thesis, and specific guidance through the final writing of the thesis.

By supporting the content courses of candidates' study with research, candidates in this program will work together, consider questions that arise in other areas of teaching, and meaningfully integrate their specialization in the fabric of their work in K-12 schools.

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum & Instruction are required to take the following combination of required courses and electives:

Core Courses (15-18 cr):

Code Course Credits

EDU 5100

Introduction to Graduate Education and Research

This course is designed to provide an overview of the major discussions and debates in the area of education and research. The main questions this course addresses are: What is education research and what kinds of education research are possible? Objectives of this course include: To develop a deeper understanding of issues surrounding education research; to understand the process of conducting research; to consider the ethics and politics of research; to gain an understanding of the production o knowledge; and to generate potential areas of interest to pursue in the field of education.


EDU 6121

Qualitative Research

This course will introduce students to the theories and practices of qualitative research in the field of education, including a review of methods and methodologies. We will explore the central concepts, issues, and dilemmas associated with qualitative research as well as analyze qualitative research studies. Students will become familiar with the principles of a number of paradigms within qualitative research (e.g., ethnographies, case studies, applied research, interviews, critical studies, etc.) and understand a range of ethical considerations involved in conducting qualitative research.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100


EDU 6122

Quantitative Research Methods

This course will introduce foundational statistical methodology most frequently described in educational research. Topics will include assumptions and applications of descriptive, univariate, and multivariate applications. Survey design and analysis including Likert-scaled surveys, selection considerations, development, and psychometrics will be addressed. Basic educational measurement including standard scores and interpretation of standardized test scores will be reviewed. Students will learn which statistical test to utilize for different types of research questions.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100


EDU 6245

Research Design in Education

Research Design in Education will build on EDU 6121 Qualitative Research Methods and EDU 6122 Quantitative Research Methods leading to refinement of research protocols, methodology, and analysis that will be incorporated in thesis research. The process for permission via the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board and additional ethical considerations will be emphasized. The final research proposal will be completed during this semester.

Prerequisite: EDU 5100, EDU 6121 and EDU 6122


EDU 6601

Thesis Seminar

This course supports Masters of Education students in their final semester of the program as they complete their thesis research and writing. The course provides a structure and support for students to come together to analyze data, as well as to write, re-write, and organize the final stages of the thesis project. Students gain valuable research techniques related to qualitative and quantitative analysis and share opportunities to fine-tune their thesis writing and organization. Students read each other's work, offer suggestions for revision, and act as a community of researchers, committed to each other's larger thesis projects and purposes. The course meets bi-monthly for three hours a session.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, Instructor permission required.


EDU 7960

Master's Thesis

All candidates must write either a 3‐credit or a 6‐credit thesis. A thesis proposal must be completed and approved by the Director of Education prior to the semester in which the research begins. Graduate students must formally register for EDU 7960 according to the published registration deadlines in the same manner as required for any regular course.

The thesis is the final project for graduate students. Each student addresses his/her own research question, concludes the writing of a five chapter thesis including the introduction to the hypotheses, literature review, methodology used, results, and discussion of the research and implications for practice and further research. The student will choose and work with a two-reader review panel, revise, and conduct the research with their guidance. A thesis manual is provided. The completed thesis is presented at a symposium to faculty, peers, and invited guests. Each thesis will be bound and housed in the library.

Prerequisite: EDU 6245, By permission only.

Electives (18-21 cr):

Additionally, the candidate chooses a combination of 18-21 credits of electives in education and the liberal arts relevant to their educational interests.

(Minimum credits required for the degree: 36 cr)