Degree Requirements: Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.)

Course Requirements

Master’s of Science in Education degree programs require between 10-13 CU’s. Check with your division coordinator or academic advisor for the requirements for your degree program. Your academic advisor will assist in planning an appropriate program of study to meet degree requirements. All students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.

To earn an M.S.Ed. degree, the student must complete 10-13 course units (Students should consult with the division for the appropriate number of courses required for their specialization) and pass the master’s comprehensive examination, thesis or portfolio.

  • Courses must be at the 500 level or above
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better
  • One course must be a distribution (course outside of student’s division, with a GPA of at least 3.0 for this course



Each student will be assigned an academic advisor upon admission. The advisor will help plan the student’s program of study, assist in selecting courses, provide academic advising and monitor academic progress. Students should contact their advisors individually in the first semester of the students first year before the drop/request period has concluded. The planned program of study should be developed between the advisor and the student in the first semester of the first year of study. The planned program of study can be revised over time. After this initial meeting, students and advisors are mutually obligated to stay in regular contact, preferably twice a year, but always at the start of the academic year to review progress and consider alterations to the planned program of study. While the advisor will know much about GSE policies, rules do change. Students should always consult the Student Handbook or the Student Records Office for the most current academic policies, procedures and deadlines for completing academic requirements. To request a change in advisor, the student should see the division coordinator for procedures.


Distribution Requirement

Candidates for the M.S.Ed. degree must demonstrate knowledge of the field of education beyond the area of specialization. This requirement is met by satisfying the distribution requirement. To meet the distribution requirement, students must complete one approved graduate level GSE course outside the student’s area of specialization, earning a grade of “B” or better. Students should check with their Division Coordinator for a list of courses approved to fulfill the distribution requirement. Further requirements regarding these courses may be specified by each division.


Comprehensive Examination (or Portfolio or Thesis)

Master’s degree candidates must demonstrate thorough knowledge of the field of specialization by passing a comprehensive examination in their area of study. The examination/portfolio/thesis serves an educational and evaluative purpose through which students are expected to review and integrate what they have learned in their coursework and fieldwork. All examinations are administered in accordance with the rules set forth in the Code of Academic Integrity. Comprehensive formats vary. The faculty in each specialization determines the appropriate examination format and is responsible for communicating the guidelines, expectations, rationale and evaluation criteria for examination to students. Students may be asked to do one or more of the following: take a timed, written examination administered at GSE, complete a take-home examination, write a master’s thesis, undertake a field project or submit a portfolio. If a sit-down examination is given, it must be at least three hours duration. Students are permitted two opportunities to pass the comprehensive examination. Students who are unsuccessful after two tries will be withdrawn from the degree program. In order to qualify to take the examination, students must first fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be formally admitted to a master’s degree program in the Graduate School of Education.
  • Be registered for the term in which they apply. If coursework has been completed, or student is submitting work for previous Incompletes, student must be registered for Master’s Registration (EDUC 990) during the term in which the examination is taken. Enrollment in EDUC 990 is considered full-time status and may affect the student’s enrollment in University mandatory health insurance.
  • Have completed at least six course units, or be enrolled in at least the sixth course unit of graduate study toward the degree.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Have paid tuition for all previous semesters.
  • Register to take the master’s comprehensive examination by completing the form online by the deadline listed in the GSE academic calendar.

There may be additional criteria required to take the comprehensive exams. Check with the division coordinator or faculty advisor.


Transfer of Credit

GSE does not accept courses from another university to be counted as part of a 10 course unit master’s program. Some master’s degree programs that require 11 or more CU’s may accept 1-2 courses in transfer under the following conditions:

  • If the desired course is to be taken after matriculation in a degree program at GSE, the course must be approved by the advisor
  • Student must matriculate at least one semester before submitting the transfer of credit form.
  • Transfer credit will only be granted if the grade received is a “B” or higher. Grades of
  • “Satisfactory” or “Pass” are not transferable.

Fill out and submit the Application to Transfer Credit.


Time Limitation

A maximum of six consecutive years from the date of matriculation in a master’s degree program will be allowed for completion of the work for the master’s degree, including satisfactory completion of all examinations required. Official leaves of absence will not automatically change this time limit.


Graduation Requirements

The GSE academic calendar lists the deadlines for completing degree requirements in order to graduate in any academic term. All degree candidates must apply to graduate online at the beginning of the term in which they plan to receive the degree. Failure to apply for graduation by the published deadline will make it impossible to receive the degree at the time desired.

  • All coursework, including exam/thesis/portfolio must be complete
  • Student must be registered in the term in which they intend to graduate
  • Student’s bill must be paid in full
  • Successfully complete 10-13 CU’s,
  • Take only courses at or above the 500 level
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Take one distribution requirement (a course outside the area of specialization) and earn at least a “B”

GSE holds a commencement ceremony each year in May for students who will be receiving their degrees in that term, as well as for those who completed their degrees in the previous year. Additionally, students who will be receiving their degrees in the following August may participate in the May ceremony if they:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0


  • Have completed eight course units of a 10 course unit program, or 9 units of an 11 CU program, or 10 course units of a 12 course unit program

– OR –

  • Have passed the comprehensive examination (or thesis or portfolio)