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Elementary Education: MS, MA, MEd

Elementary Education

The graduate program in elementary education is designed for people who desire to improve their competencies as educators. The curriculum consists of core principles in teacher education, such as theories of teaching and learning, classroom management, diversity in education, and more.

USU’s elementary education program ranked in the top 10 among teacher education programs for faculty scholarly productivity in 2007's Academic Analytics. The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services ranks in the top 2% of all graduate colleges of education nationwide, and the college is also ranked third in the nation in total research dollars received, according to “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” U.S. News & World Report.

While the MS and the MA (which includes a language requirement) are traditional master’s degrees, ideal for students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, the MEd is designed for students who desire to work in the field of education. This includes school personnel as well as individuals who are involved in education-related activities in industry and other areas.


A specialization is not required.

  • Early Childhood Education: This specialization provides the required coursework and experiences for students to receive an Early Childhood Endorsement.
  • English as a Second Language (MEd only): This specialization allows students to study linguistics, language acquisition, language assessment, pedagogy, and the sociocultural and political dynamics continually influencing English language learners. The coursework qualifies students to receive an ESL Endorsement.
  • Gifted and Talented Education: Courses in this specialization provide students with the credentials needed for the Gifted and Talented Endorsement.
  • Mathematics and Science Education: In this specialization, students take math and science courses. If students take certain math courses, they qualify to receive a Mathematics Endorsement.
  • Reading, Writing, and Language Arts: Students in this specialization can study a variety of topics, from literacy learning in early childhood to adolescent literacy development to supervision of school reading programs. If students take certain courses, they can receive a Reading Endorsement.
  • Social Studies Education: This specialization provides coursework that improves competency in fields including anthropology, economics, political science, history, sociology, geography, etc. It does not lead to an endorsement.

Peace Corps Master's International Program:s

Students have an option to participate in the Peace Corps Master’s International Program. To participate in this program, students must first be accepted into the Peace Corps. Once accepted, students may apply to the elementary education MEd program. Students take one year of classes toward the elementary education MEd degree. Then they spend approximately two years assigned to a country for Peace Corps field service, and upon their return, they complete an additional year at Utah State University to earn the master’s degree. The Peace Corps is particularly interested in students with backgrounds in education.

Graduates generally continue on in their teaching careers in schools across Utah and the nation. In addition, graduates have also taken leadership positions in private and public K-12 organizations.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must have a standard elementary teaching certificate and have completed at least one year of successful elementary education teaching.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on in the GRE or MAT
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admissions Deadlines

The department has the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester – June 15
  • Spring semester – October 15
  • Summer semester – March 15

Program Requirements

MEd Qualifying Exams:

All students pursuing the MEd must participate in a final exam.

  • MEd Plan B: Students are required to pass an oral exam, which is taken at the end of the program. Typically, half of the exam is devoted to a presentation/discussion of the student's master’s project or portfolio, and the other half focuses on general information related to the field of elementary education. Guidelines for preparing for this part of the exam are presented to each student upon acceptance into the program so the student may work toward acquiring this knowledge while proceeding through the program. If a student fails the oral exam, he or she may retake the exam once.
  • MEd Plan C: Students are required to pass a culminating experience, which is developed by the student’s advisor to meet the needs of the student. The culminating experience will be one of the following: 1) culminating interview with the advisor; 2) oral comprehensive examination under the supervision of the advisor; 3) written comprehensive examination under the supervision of the advisor; or 4) other culminating experience developed by the student and advisor and approved by the department head.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students receive the MS or MA by pursuing the following plan option:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.

Students can receive the MEd by pursuing one of two options:

  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.
  • A second option, Plan C, does not involve a thesis or a defense meeting and is comprised of coursework only.

Financial Assistance

Graduate assistantships (teaching or research) for full-time graduate students are available. For the best chance to be awarded an assistantship, applicants should have their applications submitted by the end of February.

A variety of additional funding opportunities are available, including fellowships, scholarships, tuition awards, and travel support. Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

James Barta, PhD, University of Oregon
Associate Dept. Head, Regional Campus and Distance Education
Area: Early childhood, mathematics
Office: USU Salt Lake education center
Phone: (801) 646-5570

Amy Bingham Brown, EdD, Florida Atlantic University
Assistant Professor
Area: Elementary mathematics
Office: USU Tooele campus
Phone: (813) 765-1842

Deborah Byrnes, PhD, Arizona State University
Area: Social studies education
Office: EDUC 399
Phone: (435) 797-0372

Steven Camicia, PhD, University of Washington
Associate Professor
Area: Social Studies Education, Educational Foundations, and Qualitative Research Methodologies
Office: EDUC 390
Phone: (801) 518-3193

Todd Campbell, PhD, University of Iowa
Associate Professor, Graduate Program Coordinator
Area: Science education
Office: EDUC 331
Phone: (435) 797-7038

Kay Camperell, PhD, University of Wisconsin
Associate Professor
Area: Literacy
Office: EDUC 337
Phone: (435) 797-2501

Sarah Clark, PhD, Utah State University
Associate Professor
Area: Literacy Education, Teacher Preparation, Teacher Development
Office: ECERC 313
Phone: (435) 797-0370

Cindy D'On Jones, PhD, Utah State University
Associate Professor; Director, USU Literacy Clinic
Area: Literacy Instruction & Intervention; Relationship of Reading, Writing, and Discourse;
Office: ECERC 214
Phone: (435) 797-7027

Barbara DeBoer, PhD, Utah State University
Clinical Assistant Professor
Area: Early childhood education
Office: EDUC 397
Phone: (435) 797-0372

Martha Dever, EdD, University of Northern Colorado
Professor, Associate Dean
Area: Early childhood education
Office: EDUC 385
Phone: (435) 797-2225

James Dorward, PhD, University of Oregon
Area: Mathematics Education, Program Evaluation
Office: EBLS 236
Phone: (435) 797-1471

Parker Fawson, EdD, Brigham Young University
Area: Literacy
Office: EBLS 235
Phone: (435) 797-0866

Laura Foley, EdD, Utah State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Literacy
Office: USU Uintah Basin campus
Phone: (435) 722-1765

Barry Franklin, PhD, University of Wisconsin
Area: Curriculum theory
Office: EDUC 340
Phone: (435) 797-1836

Michael Freeman, PhD, University of Wyoming
Associate Professor
Area: Leadership, Adult Learning
Office: EDUC 396
Phone: (435) 797-1474

Scott Hunsaker, PhD, University of Virginia
Associate Professor
Area: Gifted and Talented Education; Advanced Readers; Assessment
Office: EDUC 399
Phone: (435) 797-0386

Francine Johnson, PhD, Stanford University
Associate Dean, Teacher Education
Area: Gifted and talented, supervision
Office: EDUC 101
Phone: (435) 797-2714

Sherry Marx, PhD, University of Texas
Associate Professor
Area: Qualitative Research, Multicultural Education, ESL Education
Office: EDUC 341
Phone: (435) 797-2227

Patricia Moyer-Packenham, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Area: Math Education, Virtual Manipulatives, Mathematical Representations
Office: ECERC 318
Phone: (435) 797-2597

Patricio Ortiz, PhD, University of Texas
Assistant Professor
Area: ESL, multicultural education
Office: EDUC 339
Phone: (435) 797-3946

Sylvia Read, PhD, Utah State University
Associate Professor
Area: Writing instruction, teacher education
Office: EDUC 382
Phone: (435) 512-4929

Ray Reutzel, PhD, University of Wyoming
Emma Eccles Jones Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor
Area: Early childhood literacy
Office: EBLS 139 A
Phone: (435) 797-8631

Cinthya Saavedra, PhD, Texas A&M University
Assistant Professor
Area: Early childhood education, ESL
Office: EDUC 392
Phone: (435) 797-0392

Susan Turner, PhD, Brigham Young University
Clinical Professor
Area: Leadership Theory; Adult Development; Instructional Leadership
Office: EDUC 388
Phone: (435) 797-3947

Martha Whitaker, PhD, University of Utah
Associate Professor
Area: Foundations, supervision
Office: EDUC 384
Phone: (435) 797-0384

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Under the broad discipline of education, there are many professional organizations specific to different areas of interest and expertise. Students are encouraged to become members of organizations that are relevant to their area of study.

Labs, Centers, Research

Center for Persons with Disabilities: The CPD is a nationally recognized research center that joins the expertise of researchers and faculty with community partners to address the most difficult challenges facing persons with disabilities and their families. Research addresses issues that cross fields ranging from biomedicine to education. In clinical experiences, learners join teams of professionals, family members, and individuals with disabilities to deliver services and supports.

Center for the School of the Future: The CSF is a research center dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of education by identifying effective educational practices and supporting their dissemination and adoption in local circumstances.

Edith Bowen Laboratory School: EBLS is one of Utah’s charter schools, offering services to more than 300 students grades K-5. The school, in cooperation with Utah State University, trains more than 200 pre-service teachers preparing to become professional educators, as well as supporting several other departments/colleges on campus, including special education, physical education, music, psychology, and business. Because the school is funded through state funds and donations, no tuition is charged to students.

Emma Eccles Jones Center for Early Childhood Education: This center provides educational experiences and resources for teachers and parents that reflect the development of children from birth through age eight.


School of Teacher Education and Leadership


Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services

Academic Advising

Michael Freeman
Associate Professor
Office: EDUC 396
Phone: (435) 797-1474

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