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Choosing the MSEd Specialization That's Right for You

As an educator, one of the best things you can do for your career—and your students—is to earn a master’s degree in education, also known as an MSEd. Walden University’s online master’s in education is focused on enhancing educator effectiveness and student success.

Today’s student body is more diverse than ever. School systems must support children from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures, as well as those with special needs and learning disabilities. This poses tremendous opportunity for educators who wish to focus on a particular discipline, or take on the role of mentoring other teachers. Because of this, educators pursuing an MS in education have a multitude of specializations from which to choose.

Walden’s online learning program for those seeking an MSEd offers 17 specializations. The first step in choosing a specialization that aligns with one’s aspirations and career goals is to understand the differences between them.

Choosing the MSEd Specialization That's Right for You

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (Grades K–12): Learn to provide the differentiated learning instruction each student needs, regardless of socioeconomic conditions, ethnicity, or learning differences.

Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation): Educators who want to become a principal or administrator can gain legal, financial, data, and personnel management skills, as well as the instructional leadership knowledge required to improve student outcomes.

Educational Leadership and Administration (International Non-Licensure): Designed specifically for international educators living outside the U.S.*, this version of the specialization will help you discover how to lead curriculum initiatives and improve instructional effectiveness as you set your goals as a school administrator.

Elementary Reading and Literacy (Grades PreK–6) (Non-Licensure): Designed by national experts in the field, coursework explores current research and practical strategies that can help you increase the achievement of all students, including linguistically, culturally, and academically diverse learners.

Elementary Reading and Mathematics: This specialization explores strategies to help you become more effective in delivering reading and mathematics instruction that is aligned with Common Core State Standards.

Integrating Technology in the Classroom (Grades K–12): Utilize 21st-century knowledge, strategies, and skills to create an effective and motivational learning environment.

Mathematics (Grades K–6): Explore new strategies and techniques for introducing students to mathematical skills and concepts such as measurement, data, geometric thinking, understanding rational numbers, and proportional reasoning.

Mathematics (Grades 5–8): Help prepare your students for mathematics success in high school with programs such as number systems and operations; geometric thinking and measurement; functions and equations; and data, probability, and statistical reasoning.

Mathematics and Science (Grades K–8): Help prepare young students in developing the analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills they need to succeed in college and in their careers.

Science (Grades K–8): This newly enhanced specialization blends content with pedagogy and promotes inquiry-based learning that promotes hands-on and exciting educational experiences. The program aligns with the five core propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the National Science Education Standards (NSES), and the standards of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Self-Designed: Customize your online degree program with the courses that best prepare you to achieve your professional goals. Teach in additional subject areas or gain new skills in areas such as technology or leadership, the MSEd Self-Designed specialization allows you to create your own path.

Special Education (Non-Licensure) (Grades K–12): Experienced special educators with the desire to enhance their skills will enjoy this specialization, which synthesizes the most current research in the arenas of neuroscience, assessment, and scientifically based interventions so that you can determine best practices for student learning.

STEM Education (Grades K-8): The STEM Education specialization prepares certified educators to more effectively teach, engage, and inspire students in the STEM fields. Gain the skills and knowledge to lead and improve STEM curriculum in K–8 classrooms. Learn strategies to help diverse student populations become critical thinkers and build the educational foundation for future STEM-related careers.

Teacher Leadership (Grades K–12): Gain dynamic skills that can help you lead with greater confidence in your classroom and in your teaching community and address such key challenges as parent involvement and student achievement. You will also learn more about your own leadership style and how to leverage the latest research to guide your decisions.

Walden’s accelerated MSEd degree offers six specializations—Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (Grades K–12); Elementary Reading and Literacy (Grades preK–6) (Non-Licensure); Elementary Reading and Mathematics (Grades K-6), Integrating Technology in the Classroom (Grades K-12), Special Education – Non Licensure (Grades K-12); and Teacher Leadership (Grades K-12). It is key to note that regardless of which specialization you choose, the MS in Education program will provide strategies for greater student achievement while leading you to greater success as a teacher.

*U.S. citizens living abroad may qualify for our principal licensure program. Some restrictions apply. Contact an Enrollment Specialist for more information and to see if you qualify.

Find information on costs, occupation types, completion rates, and median loan debt for this program at

Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to

Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.

Prospective Washington state students are advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 1-360-725-6275 or [email protected] to determine whether Walden’s programs in the field of education are approved for teacher certification or endorsements in Washington state. Additionally, teachers are advised to contact their individual school district as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Walden is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching to offer a program leading to the K-12 reading endorsement. Candidates must pass the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exam (MTLE) before Walden can recommend candidates to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for the reading endorsement. The MTLE is offered exclusively in the United States. MDE is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing endorsements and candidates are responsible for completing any other Minnesota requirements beyond completion of Walden’s state-approved program. Individuals interested in a reading endorsement in states other than Minnesota may qualify for the endorsement by virtue of completing a state-approved endorsement program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. In most cases, candidates do not need to qualify for the Minnesota endorsement. In the case where candidates are required to obtain the Minnesota endorsement before applying to their state, their current (initial) teaching license must be deemed equivalent to a comparable Minnesota initial license before the endorsement will be granted. This program is not approved for endorsement as a reading leader, reading specialist, etc. Individuals enrolling internationally must be supervised by a teacher with a valid state teaching license, and must check that the program is accepted by their state for an endorsement to their current license.

Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorse