Master of Education

Specializations & Curriculum

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Master of Education

The online Master of Education program is designed for experienced educators who seek to become designers of learning and enhance their skills. The 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.

School of Leadership and Education Sciences


The School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at the University of San Diego believes in academic excellence, innovation, and a strong commitment to equity and inclusion. We educate, engage, model, mentor, and challenge the campus community to promote social justice and ignite meaningful change in our diverse society.


SOLES shapes the future by educating and empowering professionals to enact social justice, enhance human dignity, and improve the quality of life of diverse individuals, families, and communities.

Core Values

Diversity, inclusion, and social justice
Excellence in teaching
Care for the whole person and common home
Community engagement
Excellence in scholarship

At a Glance

Earn your MEd online in just 20 months — invigorate your teaching practice or pursue your ideal career in education.

20 months
30 Units
September 3
August 2

Learning outcomes

Changing lives in California and Across the Globe

Outcome 1

Candidates demonstrate specialized field knowledge as they integrate knowledge and technology across content areas and use differing perspectives to engage all learners in critical thinking, creativity and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.

Outcome 2

Candidates apply theories of learning, instruction, and motivation relating to the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, physical and moral development of all learners; evidenced by developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences implemented in an inclusive learning environment.

Outcome 3

Candidates incorporate assessment and technology in their planning and instructional strategies as a means of obtaining continual feedback used to improve student learning, classroom management strategies and pedagogical approaches.

Outcome 4

Candidates utilize and generate meaningful research on pedagogical practices, student learning, and educational issues and policies to actively investigate and consider new ideas that will improve teaching and learning and advance the profession.

Outcome 5

Candidates explore effective approaches for creating inclusive learning environments that are welcoming and accepting of diverse learners and students with learning differences who, because of gender, language, cultural background, differing ability levels, disabilities, learning approaches and/or socioeconomic status may have academic needs that require varied instructional strategies to ensure their learning.

Outcome 6

Candidates engage in critical reflection on how their own frames of reference and potential biases impact expectations for and relationships with learners and their families.

Master of Education Degree Options

All courses in the program are instructor-led and asynchronous, enabling you to work on your assignments on your own schedule while still meeting deadlines. If you are balancing coursework with a full-time job or other time commitments, asynchronous learning offers you a great deal of flexibility. Materials needed for assignments are readily accessible so you can access them and do your classwork when the time is right for you.

The courses are specially designed for online learning with the course content prepared by your professor with input and support from the academic director. In addition, professors may choose to offer live virtual events, however, such events are optional, and all live sessions will be recorded. Attendance during live events is always optional in consideration of any students that may not be available during those designated times.

The specializations offered through USD’s Master of Education degree program provide a strong researched-based curricular foundation with immediate practical classroom applications. Specializations include:

Technology and Innovation

The online Master of Education: Technology and Innovation specialization helps educators become technology leaders in their classrooms, schools and districts. Studying traditional education standards, frameworks, theories and techniques as a foundation upon which to effectively integrate technology tools, degree candidates will become “EdTech experts” — skilled at stimulating equitable, digital learning experiences for all types of students in a wide variety of educational settings.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)

The STEAM specialization takes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the next level by adding Arts (liberal, social, manual, physical and fine arts) to the framework for integrated instruction. STEAM empowers teachers to employ a project-based learning approach that crosses all of these disciplines in solving everyday problems. This approach aligns with Common Core Standards and has been shown to engage students and allow them to use both left and right brained thinking in the same exercise.

Inclusive Learning: Special Education And Universal Design (UDL)

Inclusive learning (UDL) provides all students with access to flexible learning choices and effective paths for achieving educational goals in spaces where they experience a sense of belonging. As special and general education teachers move toward creating more inclusive classrooms, the frameworks of Disability Studies in Education and Universal Design for Learning employ strategies to meet the expectations of IDEA and expand understanding of student ability.

Curriculum and Instruction

This course of study is the most flexible master’s online option at the University of San Diego (USD). It allows you to choose your specialization courses from across the School LeadershipSTEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) and Inclusive Learning: Special Education and Universal Design offerings. With these courses, you will focus on the design, delivery and assessment of lessons, units and programs.

School Leadership

The School Leadership specialization is designed for experienced K-12 educators who aspire to leadership roles within their schools and communities. The School Leadership concentration features a five-course specialization sequence that addresses essential areas of school leadership including data driven decision-making, instructional leadership, professional learning communities, meaningful engagement with families and communities and ethical and professional norms.

view course schedule

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 7 weeks for each course. An academic calendar for the first year follows.

Success stories

I chose University of San Diego for the nationally ranked and recognized programs they have to offer in Education. USD’s reputation of serving quality education in a brick and mortar environment led me to believe that their online environment would do the same. It did!

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 lead to a teaching credential. 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 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 online USD MEd program possess?

The USD MEd 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, nonprofit 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.

Must-Watch Webinar for Educators Considering an M.Ed.

Get an inside look at the University of San Diego’s online Master of Education degree program in this free, on-demand video.