The programs leading to the degree of Master of Education provide preparation for increased professional competence in education. They should be distinguished carefully from the research-oriented programs that lead to the academic degrees of Master of Arts or Master of Science. In most major programs the requirements for admission include 18 credits in education and related fields.
A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required for the degree, of which at least 20 must be earned at the campus/center where the degree program is offered; at least 24 must be in course work. This degree is also offered in certain programs at Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State Great Valley.
Major Programs in the Fields of Education--A student can major in one of the approved programs in professional education and proceed under the guidance of a graduate faculty member of the appropriate major. At least 18 credits at the 500 level or above (with at least 6 credits in 500 level) must be included in the program. Most programs of this type require at least 6 credits to be earned outside the major as providing valuable breadth for the candidate. However, this policy differs among programs. Specific information about such requirements is found under the individual program listings in this bulletin or from the program's coordinator. It is important for potential students to obtain the degree requirements of the programs in which they are interested, because many programs specify degree requirements in excess of 30 credits and the manner in which credits are to be earned: required, elective, in or out of the major.
Major Programs Outside the Fields of Education--A student who wants to earn an M.Ed. in a specific subject-matter field, such as economics, mathematics, German, or a broader area, can choose such a program as a major and take a majority of work in it under the guidance of the department offering that major. The candidate is required to earn 6 credits in education as directed by the faculty of one of the approved graduate programs in professional education.
Culminating Experience--All M.Ed. programs require a significant culminating or “capstone” experience. Each program has established the specific manner for meeting the requirement, which may take the form of a thesis, production, paper, exhibition, comprehensive examination or other similar experience serving to demonstrate comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the field of study. The nature and extent of this work and when it is to be undertaken within the program of study shall be determined by the major program and reported to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services of the Graduate School.
Thesis or Paper--The thesis or paper must be of considerable proportion and must be clearly and definitively indicative of the capacity to describe a serious intellectual investigation, study, critical analysis, or evaluation; to acquire, integrate, and analyze information; to draw conclusions logically; and to present the experience adequately and professionally in writing. The requirements of the Graduate School regarding a thesis must be met. Programs may impose other requirements regarding the master's paper, including submission of more than one copy for disposition at the program level.
Exhibition or Production--The capstone experience must be of comparable rigor as that required for a thesis or master's paper. While the format of the experience will differ among programs, all such capstone experiences must result in definitive evidence of satisfaction of the above noted qualities. Some tangible written report is required, although the length and nature of this report are to be left to the department or program.
Other Capstone Experience--If the program wishes to use some other mechanism to demonstrate culminating evidence of analytical ability and synthesis of material, it may do so upon approval by the Graduate Council. The program or department must report to Graduate Enrollment Services evidence that the student has met the approved requirement.