M.A. in Education, Special Interest Concentration

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Do you want the freedom to design your own individualized MA degree in education?

Do you want the flexibility to choose classes from any department on campus?

The Master of Arts in Education with a Special Interest Concentration is a highly flexible program that gives graduate students the freedom to design their own personalized M.A. degree in education. Each graduate student in this program works closely with an advisor to design a 30-unit M.A. degree that focuses on the student’s educational area of interest. Graduate students have considerable independence in identifying appropriate courses that will comprise their special interest area.

For this M.A. degree, half of the graduate student’s coursework is taken in the ELSIT Department in areas such as equity and social justice, adult education, educational leadership, instructional technologies, and educational research, and the other half can be taken in any department on the SFSU campus.

Former SFSU credential students can apply up to 12 units of post-baccalaureate SFSU teacher credential coursework towards the M.A. Special Interest degree, provided that these courses have been taken in the past 5 years.

Teaching Credential + Special Interest M.A. Degree Option

For the Teaching Credential + Special Interest M.A. degree option, students take at least 9 units of elective professional education courses in the ELSIT Department in one or more of the following areas: Equity and Social Justice (courses with an “ISED” prefix), Instructional Technologies (courses with an “ITEC” prefix), and Educational Leadership (courses with an “EDAD” prefix).

Career Opportunities

People who have completed the M.A. degree in Education with a Special Interest Concentration have found work in a variety of settings, including (1) public school district settings, where graduates work as curriculum developers, specialized mentor teachers, resource teachers, and school reform leaders; (2) university settings, where graduates work as lecturers; student services managers, LGBTQ support services administrators, and EOP student advisors; (3) non-profit organizations, where graduates work as health and nutrition educators, drug, alcohol, and smoking educators, juvenile prevention program professionals, and community service coordinators; (4) public non-formal school settings, where graduates work as environmental center leaders, museum educators, public parks and recreation educators, and education specialists for philanthropic foundations; (5) government agencies, where graduates work in county, state, and federal education-oriented agencies in fields such as migrant education and Title I education; and (6) the private sector, where graduates work as staff developers, human resource specialists, media specialists, and conflict mediators.

Contact an Advisor

  Student’s Last Name Office Location Email Phone
Deborah Curtis (A-M) Burk Hall 305 curtis@sfsu.edu (415) 338-1076
Helen Hyun (N-Z) Burk Hall 518 hhh@sfsu.edu (415) 338-6449

Program Requirements

1. Core 6
ISED 747 Culture, Language, and Society in Education 3
ISED 797 Seminar in Educational Research 3
2. Area of Specialization 12-15
Courses selected in the area of specialization can be taken in any department in the university. Undergraduate courses (300 to 600 level) require consent from the student’s advisor. Up to 12 units of SFSU post-baccalaureate teacher credential courses can be included here, provided that they have been taken in the past 5 years.  
3. ELSIT Professional Education Courses 6-9
Students must complete 6-9 units of graduate-level coursework in the ELSIT Department. Eligible ELSIT Professional Education courses have the prefix “ISED” (Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, which includes equity and social justice courses), “ITEC” (Instructional Technologies), or “EDAD” (Educational Administration and Leadership).  
4. Culminating Experience 3
Prerequisite. Students must complete 24 units of M.A. coursework and ISED 797 prior to enrollment in a Culminating Experience course. All students must enroll in either ISED 895: Field Study or ISED 898: Master's Thesis. Enrollment in ISED 895 and ISED 898 requires approval from the student’s advisor.  
Total 30

ISED 717 Social Foundations for Multicultural Education 3
ISED 715 Equal Opportunity Education 3
ISED 739 Education and Community Development: Equity and Diversity 3
ISED 748 Culture, Cognition, and Power Issues in Education 3
ISED 738 Critical and Postmodern Pedagogies 3
ISED 781 Educational Praxis: Curriculum Development and Pedagogies 3
ISED 736 Leadership and Policy for Community and Non-formal Education 3
ISED 716 Literacy and Cross-cultural Issues in Education 3
ISED 707 Planning and Funding Education and Community Programs 3
ISED 735 Seminar on the Adult Learner 3
ISED 706 Principles and Methods of Adult Education 3
ISED 780 Adult Literacy and Basic Education 3
ISED 745 Practicum in a Multicultural Education Setting 3
ISED 782 Practicum in Adult Learning 3
ISED 899 Special Study (1-3) 3
ITEC 711 Instructional Computing in Elementary Schools 3
ITEC 800 Theoretical Foundations of Instructional Design 3
ITEC 801 Introduction to Learning Design, Design Thinking, and Innovation 3
ITEC 815 Integration of Instructional Computing 3
ITEC 816 Design of Digital Learning Spaces 3
ITEC 825 Digital Product Usability Testing 3
ITEC 830 Emerging Technologies for Learning 3
ITEC 833 Instructional Products Design Studio 3
ITEC 865 Fundamentals of Designing Interactive E-Learning Courses 3

Pathways to Graduation

Many M.A. Special Interest graduate students are part-time students with part- or full-time jobs. Courses are offered in the evenings (4-7 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.) to accommodate working students.

Graduate students typically take between 3 and 5 semesters to complete their M.A. degree, depending upon whether they have outside work commitments, and depending on whether they are including previous SFSU teaching credential coursework as part of their M.A. degree.

Here are two examples of pathways to graduation:

Semester 1
ISED 747: Culture, Language, and Society (3 units)
ELSIT Elective #1 (3 units)
Semester 2
ELSIT Elective #2 (3 units)
Special Interest Area Course #1 (3 units)
Semester 3
Special Interest Area Course #2 (3 units)
Special Interest Area Course #3 (3 units)
Semester 4
ISED 797: Seminar in Educational Research (3 units)
Special Interest Area Course #4 (3 units)
Semester 5
ISED 895 or 898: Culminating Experience (3 units)
Semester 1
ISED 747: Culture, Language, and Society (3 units)
ELSIT Elective #1 (3 units)
ELSIT Elective #2 (3 units)
Semester 2
ISED 797: Seminar in Educational Research (3 units)
ELSIT Elective #3 (3 units)
Semester 3
ISED 895 or 898: Culminating Experience (3 units)

Admission to the Program

Applicants to the program must talk to a Special Interest program adviser about their goals and study plans prior to admission. Graduate students are admitted in both fall and spring semesters. Applicants must have attained a grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. The GRE is not required for admission to this M.A. program.

Written English Proficiency Requirement. Level One: During the first semester in the M.A. program and before filing an Advancement to Candidacy (ATC), each student must demonstrate graduate-level English writing ability. If remedial work is necessary, the student must complete prescribed courses in English, or other corrective work, at a level acceptable to the department. Level Two: The second assessment occurs within ISED 797 and by the time the ATC is approved and filed.

How to Apply

Please review the Graduate Application Procedures for Admission.


If you have questions about the admissions process please contact the ELSIT Department at 415-338-1653 or email us at elsit@sfsu.edu.