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Your Online Master of Education Degree at USD

Become a Teacher Who Makes an Even Greater Impact.

The University of San Diego’s innovative, online Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need to enhance their teaching — with an emphasis on 21st century skills, equity and social justice, classroom inquiry and a professional response to the Common Core Standards.

Offered through our School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the online Master of Education program enables degree candidates to choose from among several distinct specialization options — so you can home in on your area of interest and earn your degree on your own time while engaging with top-quality instructors and experienced educators from across the country.

Who is the M.Ed. Degree For?

The online Master of Education program is designed for practicing K-12 teachers with a minimum of two years of teaching experience from a wide variety of classroom settings, including public district, charter, independent or non-traditional schools. This diversity of backgrounds allows students to leverage knowledge, experience and real-world applications from their peers to enrich learning throughout the program.

YOUR MASTER’S DEGREE: What Does it Take to Earn Your M.Ed. Online [VIDEO] >>

Admissions (Earn Your Degree in 20 Months)

Getting Started with Your Master of Education Degree Application

Students are admitted throughout the year for admission into one of three semesters (Spring, Summer and Fall). Each semester two courses are offered, with students focusing intensively on one course at a time – a total of seven weeks for each course. An academic calendar for the first year follows.

Admission application packets are accepted on a rolling basis. A decision will be recommended by the Review Committee within one week of your application being submitted. For details on specific requirements needed for admission, please visit our Admissions page.


The online education master’s degree program consists of five foundation courses including a capstone action research project as well as five specialization courses, for a total of ten courses equal to 30 credits. Full course descriptions can be viewed by clicking on your area of specialization below.

Core courses:

  • Social Justice and Educational Equity (EDUC 520)
  • Cognition and Learning (EDUC 521)
  • Educational Research Methodology (EDUC 522)
  • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research (EDUC 523)
  • Capstone Seminar (EDUC 550)

To view additional courses by specialization, click on your area of interest below:

Program Goals   

Building 21st Century Skills

You will learn new strategies to help your students critically analyze information, and to compose, create and collaborate using the latest digital technology.

Engaging in Classroom Inquiry

Our student-centered, teacher-guided approach to classroom inquiry encourages students to investigate real-life questions that connect to their own interests, thereby stimulating their problem-solving, critical-thinking and self-directed learning skills.

Promoting Educational Equity and Social Justice

Our online M.Ed. program encourages educators to examine issues of diversity, inequity and social justice to create collaborative, inclusive classroom experiences that actively engage all students from different backgrounds and with different abilities.

Earn your master’s in education and help make a difference in the classroom. Contact us today to learn more about our online M.Ed. program

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Graduates of the USD Master of Education program enjoy such career benefits as higher pay, success in earning promotions and increased job security, as well as instructional knowledge and insights and leadership skills that can be applied to their classroom teaching experience or service in educational leadership roles. Tuition rates are competitive with other leading institutions.

The cost for each USD master’s degree program varies by credit hour. The Master of Education program requires 30 total credit hours. Information on cost per credit for the program can be found on the Master of Education Admissions / Program Snapshot page.

Financial Aid

One of University of San Diego’s highest priorities is to ensure that sufficient tuition and financial aid support is available to all eligible Master of Education program students. The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The University of San Diego provides assistance in securing additional financial support for students to further their education, including scholarships and grants.

Learn More About Financial Aid at USD

Scholarships & Grants

In addition to financial aid, the University of San Diego and other organizations offer scholarships and grants for aspiring USD students looking to earn their master’s degree in education.

For information about Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants and a partial list of additional scholarship and grant opportunities, visit our Scholarships & Grants page.

Transfer Credits

Students admitted to the Master of Education program can petition for transfer credits/units of graduate coursework, up to six credits, taken within the last five years, from a previously attended regionally accredited institution. Eligibility of transfer credit will be determined by the Academic Coordinator. It is recommended that students petition prior to their first semester in order to plan their academic program accurately.


Accreditation is an important quality indicator for college and university degree programs, generally regarded as a stamp of approval that ensures you will be able to apply for financial aid and transfer your credits if you decide to switch schools. Most state universities and private non-profit universities will have a regional accreditation, which is the most widely accepted and trusted in terms of transfer credit and eligibility for employer tuition assistance programs. The University of San Diego has regional accreditation.

The WASC Senior College and University Commission – WASC is a regional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid. Learn more about the importance of selecting a regionally accredited program.

Licensure or Certification

Currently, every state requires teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum; most states also require a combination of experience, licensures and continuing education hours. The M.Ed. degree does not in itself constitute a teaching license or administrative credential, however it is considered to be the ultimate qualification and resume builder for educators or prospective educators.

Specific licensure and certification requirements typically vary by state, with some states enjoying reciprocal agreements with others. Teach.org, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, lists licensure and education requirements for each state. Additionally, each state has a website listing its teaching requirements. Those in California can find qualifications at TeachCalifornia.org.

Career Options

Educators who understand the challenges and opportunities facing today’s students are in high demand. A Master of Education degree can open many doors and, depending on one’s specialization, a range of different career options. For example:

  • Principal or administrator
  • School or career counselor
  • Educational consultant
  • Special education teacher
  • Curriculum developer/instruction specialist
  • College/university professor

Why Choose the University of San Diego

  • Best Colleges Online Master of Education Programs 2021Top nationally ranked university (No. 4 on the 2021 BestColleges list of top MEd online programs)
  • Immersive and unique career-building education
  • Accomplished professional faculty with extensive education/teaching experience
  • Strong networking opportunities with faculty/peers through online collaboration
  • 100% online = flexibility for working professionals
  • Complete your degree in 20 months

Why not get started today?

Speak to a USD Advisor

CONNECT WITH A USD STUDENT AMBASSADOR >> Get in touch with alumni and students and find out more about the USD M.Ed. Online program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the online Master of Education program include a preliminary licensure or does it lead to a teaching credential?

It does not. Our program requires that students have two years of teaching experience. As a result, most students already have a teaching credential or they work in roles that do not require a teaching credential.

Is the online Master of Education program open to students from outside the United States?

Yes! We have students and alumni from all over the world.

Is specific standardized testing like the GRE required for acceptance to the Master of Education program?

No, the GRE is not a requirement. The admissions committee takes a comprehensive look and approach when reviewing all applications.

Is it possible to be accepted into the program and work through the courses without being a teacher at the same time?

While you do not have to be a teacher simultaneously, you do have to have access to a classroom in order to apply what you’ve learned. Our program focuses on helping to provide skills that educators can apply immediately in their classrooms or places of work.

What accreditations does the M.Ed. Online program possess?

The USD M.Ed. Online program is regionally accredited by WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges). Regional accreditation is a very important consideration when deciding on a program because it is the most widely accepted in terms of transfer credit and eligibility for employer tuition assistance programs. It is typically awarded to degree-oriented, non-profit or state-owned institutions (as opposed to for-profit schools or religious schools that offer vocational or technical training).

Does the program provide a certification for special education teachers?

If you choose the Special Education and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) specialization, you will learn a wealth of knowledge that in most cases is more in-depth than special education certification programs.

Do you need to have a science or math background to be accepted into the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) specialization?

No. At USD we are committed to helping close the STEAM gap. When reviewing applications, we look for individuals who demonstrate a commitment or passion for the field.

Does the USD MEd Online program include a teaching credential?

No, the program only offers the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree. In addition, we cannot fulfill requests for recommending students for an administrative credential and teacher prep/credential program following completion of the M.Ed. Online program.

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