Curriculum:Master of Science in Education


The Drake 100% online education master’s program can be completed in as little as 1 year. The asynchronous courses are six weeks and the program consists of 32 credit hours to be taken in the following areas:

  • Core courses: 17 credit hours
  • Elective courses: 15 credit hours

Core Courses

EMSE 205: Effective Teaching – 3 Credit Hours

Participants will reflect upon their current teaching practices while engaging in readings, discussions, and activities through the lens of a research­-based framework. Topics include: aligning materials, instruction, technology, and assessment to best fit learning targets and student goals; evaluating teacher behaviors/moves; and how to teach students about their own learning. Also, social emotional learning, assessment, verbal and non-verbal teacher moves, teacher reflection, and technology. Participants will engage in a video reflection from their own classroom and modify a current unit of study based upon new learnings.

EMSE 207: Best Practice in the Content Areas – 3 Credit Hours

Current research-based instructional strategies and techniques will be investigated including math, science, reading, writing, and social studies.  Participants will explore current research and how that research can be applied in classrooms.  Students can be expected to reflect and synthesize their own practice in relation to new learning.

EMSE 209: Balanced Assessment for Learning – 3 Credit Hours

This course will explore best practices in student assessment for learning. Providing educators with strong models and purposeful dialog around the creation, use, and communication of authentic and effective assessment practices. Teachers will be empowered to develop assessment practices that fit into an instructional framework in an authentic way that improves student growth alongside informing their instruction. Putting students at the center of the coursework, teachers will have opportunities to improve and design assessments that promote student-engagement and ownership of learning. Practical application of current and research-based assessment theories will enhance assessment for learning practices in any subject area or grade level for a deeper and more fulfilling experience for teachers and students.

EMSE 211: Academic Research and Writing – 3 Credit Hours

This course is intended to prepare education professionals in writing academic discourse for publication and presentation through rhetorical analyses of academic journal articles and familiarization with research foundations. The course is designed to assist students in becoming critical consumers of research and reflective, evidence-based decision-makers. As educators, it is important to learn and apply research skills that foster a greater understanding of current practices, enable the critiquing of those practices, and contribute to the potential of conducting research and evaluation. Further, being able to communicate findings, research syntheses, and conceptual arguments with other professionals is crucial to not only understanding the current body of literature but also how to contribute to the literature. The foci in this course will be on article analysis, writing of selected short pieces, and creating a research synthesis on a topic of interest.

EMSE 213: Culturally Responsive Teaching – 2 Credit Hours

This course examines the Cultural Proficiency Framework and philosophies that support it. Students will reflect on their social identities and experiences that have affected their perceptions of education and practices in the classroom. The reciprocal relationship between historic, economic, social, and political contexts that inform the practices and policies in schools and the ways that schools form the ideologies of our communities will be evaluated.

EMSE 215: Meeting the Needs of All Students – 3 Credit Hours

This is a course designed to explore the literature and current practices in differentiating instruction within classrooms for ELL, TAG, and Special Education (both BD/ID) students. The primary objective of this class is for students to advance their professional knowledge, skills, and practice for effective teaching through differentiated instruction. Working with students dealing with mental health issues will also be addressed.  Educators will enhance their ability to successfully deliver instruction and evaluate outcomes for all students.

Reading Specialist Endorsement Electives

Program requirements for students seeking the MSE and the Reading Specialist endorsement are as follows:

  • Core courses: 17 credit hours
  • Reading Specialist electives: 21 credit hours

Students must already have a reading endorsement to apply for the reading specialist endorsement in Iowa.

EDUC 260: School Improvement and Professional Development in Literacy – 3 Credit Hours

The purpose of this course is to prepare literacy professionals to work with their schools utilizing the Iowa Model of Professional Development and School Improvement. Specific documents and resources from the Iowa Department of Education will be explored and shared. Students will learn elements of effective school improvement and professional development in literacy.

EDUC 280: Case Studies in Literacy Education – 3 Credit Hours

This is the final course in the master’s degree program. The course will focus on the design, implementation, analysis and sharing of an action-research project. Students will be guided in the study, design, implementation and critical analysis of data collected in an educational setting. Students will be expected to reflect on the process with specific attention to literacy instruction in urban settings.

ELIT/EDUC 281: Writing Research & Theory – 3 Credit Hours

This course will explore the major theories related to writing instruction and education. Students will examine current research in the field of writing education and examine how writing develops over the K-12 grade span. Additionally, theories related to the instruction of writing education will be discussed. Specific focus will be on effective instruction in learning to write and writing to learn.

ELIT/EDUC 285: Models of Literacy Instruction – 3 Credit Hours

This course will examine current instructional models as they relate to literacy. Teachers will leave this course knowing when to use various models based on their intent and application for teaching. Knowledge of skills, strategies, models and teaching purpose will be clarified.

ELIT/EDUC 287: Reading Research & Theory – 3 Credit Hours

This course is designed as a seminar class in which graduate students and the instructor collaboratively explore, discuss and reflect on current research related to reading. Full participation is critical. This seminar includes a heavy reading load. While the instructor will offer support and guidance through the content, it is essential that participants are able to invest time in reading assignments and reflective participation.

ELIT/EDUC 288: Leading & Coaching Data Team Analysis in Reading – 3 Credit Hours

This course is designed for graduate students aspiring to be literacy specialists. The class involves an in-depth look at the types of assessments used in schools today, as well as the theory and research related to using data to inform instruction. Participants will engage in the data team process in order to gain a deeper understanding of effective data analysis at the classroom and building level.

EDUC 289: Managing School-Wide Change through Literacy Coaching – 3 Credit Hours

This course will focus on the role of a coach in managing and leading school-wide change. Through video demonstrations, real-life scenarios and a study of related research, participants will gain a deep understanding of how to successfully communicate with and coach fellow educators. After gaining an understanding of the attributes of a successful coach, participants will have an opportunity to lead colleagues in change in order to apply this knowledge.

Talented and Gifted Endorsement Electives

Program requirements for students seeking the MSE and the TAG endorsement are as follows:

  • Core Courses: 17 credit hours
  • TAG electives: 12 credit hours
  • Additional Electives: 3 credit hours

TAG courses can be used as electives in addition to the endorsement.  Classes vary in number of credit hours and are four to eight weeks (not the six-week format of core courses).

Psychology of the Gifted

EDUC 191/291: Introduction to Gifted Education – 3 Credit Hours

This comprehensive introduction to gifted education combines both theory and practice.  In addition to developing an understanding of the history of gifted education and the characteristics, identification, special programs, and related law, participants will learn about instructional models, programming options, assessments, and evaluation.  Practical components such as resources, beginning a program, special programs available, and parent education will be addressed.

EDUC 192/292: Social-Emotional Needs of Gifted – 2 Credit Hours

This course will explore social and emotional issues facing gifted and talented individuals.  Current research, basic counseling techniques, and effective classroom strategies will be presented.  Some topics include perfectionism, motivation, underachievement, self-esteem, gender bias, depression, stress management, and overexcitabilities.

EDUC 193/293: Creativity and Gifted – 2 Credit Hours

This course is designed to be an overview of creativity to include definitions and theories of creativity, characteristics of the creative person, models of the creative process, techniques of creative thinking, metaphorical thinking, creative dramatics, tests of creativity, and developing personal creativeness.

EDUC 194/294: Special Populations of Gifted – 1 Credit Hour

This course is designed to help students increase their knowledge and understanding of issues related to serving special populations of gifted learners. Some of these special populations are gifted children who are poor, who are twice-exceptional (2E), who live in rural areas, or who are English Language Learners (ELL). Their issues include various racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds of gifted learners. The course addresses these students’ unique needs, gender identity concerns, programming options, identification, and learning styles.

Programming for the Gifted

EDUC 112/212: Challenging the Young Gifted Child – 1 Credit Hour

This course is designed to develop an understanding of programming related to the education of the young gifted preschool to second grade child.  Relevant research related to social emotional needs, literacy, STEM, acceleration, differentiation, and assessment will be addressed. This course is appropriate for preschool and early elementary teachers.

EDUC 195/295: Curriculum & Assessment – 3 Credit Hours

This course provides an understanding of developing, selection, and implementing appropriately challenging curriculum for the gifted.  A practical application includes reviewing both a curricular unit and an existing gifted program. Curriculum design areas including resources will be explored.  The role of assessing student learning and best practice to implement curriculum will be addressed.

EDUC 196/296: Differentiation for the Gifted – 1 Credit Hour

This course provides the specific tools and techniques to meet the needs of the gifted through adapting the curriculum.  Content, process, and product differentiation will be examined, as well as strategies such as pre-assessment, flexible grouping, independent study, compacting, centers, and tiered instruction.  Students will learn how differentiation is effective in the regular classroom through classroom management and proper assessment.

EDUC 197/297: Gifted Learners: Literacy Strategies – 2 Credit Hours

This course will examine curriculum theories and methods for teaching literacy, with a focus on meeting the needs of gifted learners.  Strategies for identification, assessment, and instruction will be presented.

EDUC 198/298: Gifted Learners: Math Strategies – 1 Credit Hour

This course will examine curriculum theories and methods for teaching mathematics, with a focus on meeting the needs of gifted learners.  Strategies for identification, assessment, and instruction will be presented.

EDUC 190/290: Administration of Gifted Programs – 1 Credit Hour

This course is designed to develop an understanding of program policy, administration, and evaluation related to gifted education. Relevant research on definition, mission statements, and goals of programming will be reviewed.  State policy and regulations regarding identification, programming, licensure, and funding will be addressed. Advocacy and communication, professional development, and in-service design will be examined to further the development of a school program.

Practicum Experience

EDUC 110/210: Practicum in Gifted Education – 1 Credit Hour

This course is designed to be a substantive field based practical experience with a population of TAG students learners in a level in which you do not have your license. It includes 8 hours of observation and “hands-on” interaction with gifted students. Those licensed at the elementary level observe or work with secondary students and secondary educators observe or work with elementary students, since this is a pK-12 endorsement.

Independent Studies

EDUC 130/230: Independent Study – 1 – 3 Credit Hours

Independent studies may be available for courses of special interest (e.g., technology, out of sequence or unavailable courses, NAGC conferences).

Back to: Master of Science in Education

Lifelong Learning for a Lifetime of Success