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MSEd Specializations Explained

Most master’s in education programs allow students to choose a specialization.

Having a focus area helps you pursue the educational role you’re most passionate about—whether you want to teach elementary math or become a school administrator. It also helps you stand out as an educator, giving you the skills to compete for jobs and advance in your career. Here’s a look at some of the specializations available through Walden University’s online MS in Education program.

Mathematics (Grades K–6)

MSEd Specializations Explained

Designed for elementary mathematics teachers, this specialization focuses on effective practices that engage students and keep them interested. Courses cover new teaching strategies for introducing elementary students to concepts such as geometric thinking, data, mathematical modeling, and proportional reasoning. You’ll also learn how to utilize technology to enhance classroom instruction in mathematics. Topical courses in this specialization include Learning and Teaching Mathematics; Measurement, Data, and Geometric Thinking; and Understanding Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning.

Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation)

If you are interested in becoming a principal or school administrator, this specialization will help you attain the legal, financial, data, and personnel management knowledge you’ll need, along with instructional leadership skills that positively impact student outcomes. You will learn how to lead curriculum initiatives, foster community at your K–12 institution, and inspire teachers to work together toward improving student achievement. And you’ll be able to apply concepts immediately in your current educational role while being mentored by licensed, practicing principals. Walden’s Educational Leadership and Administration specialization is approved by the Ohio Board of Regents as meeting the standards for Building Level Principal Licenses (grades preK–6, grades 4–9, and grades 5–12). Upon graduation, you can pursue principal licensure with the Ohio Department of Education or see if you qualify in other states depending on their regulations.

Elementary Reading and Literacy (P–6) (Non-Licensure)

In this specialization, you will prepare to help young students develop the literacy skills they will need for life, work, and higher education. Courses focus on current research around literacy and practical strategies that help teachers engage students and promote achievement among linguistically, culturally, and academically diverse learners. You’ll consider digital literacy, learn to assess reading and literacy development in elementary students, and apply what you are learning as a scholar-practitioner along the way, with the goal of effecting positive social change. Courses within this specialization include Literacy Development (P–3), Literacy in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms; and Reading and Literacy Today.

STEM Education (Grades K–8)

As demand for workers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) continues to rise, K–12 educators must work to prepare students for their future careers. In this specialization, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to implement STEM curriculum in K–8 classrooms, developing strategies to help diverse student populations become critical thinkers. You’ll also look at ways to incorporate technology in the classroom, enabling students to take charge of their educational goals and assess progress. Courses in this specialization include Exploring the Physical World, The Effective STEM Scholar-Practitioner, and Action Research for Educators.

Special Education (Grades K–12) (Non-Licensure)

Designed for educators who are passionate about working with students with exceptionalities, this specialization helps you build on your experience and develop more effective teaching methods. The coursework centers on current research in neuroscience, assessment, and scientifically based interventions. You’ll have opportunities to expand your collaborative problem-solving skills through reviewing virtual scenarios and real-world case studies, conducting research, and using assistive technology to enhance student learning. This specialization also prepares you to become an advocate for legal and ethical policy that delivers high-quality education for students with exceptional learning needs. Courses in this specialization include Special Education: Honoring Due Process, Strategies for Teaching English as a Second Language, and Creating Effective Behavior Interventions.

Integrating Technology in the Classroom (Grades K–12)

If you are interested in education technology, this specialization may be the right choice. You’ll learn how to prepare students to thrive in a global society by helping them use and disseminate knowledge effectively. Coursework focuses on using technology to enable personalized learning, incorporating computer-mediated instruction, and helping students become competent consumers and producers of knowledge. Course topics include Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society; Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology; and Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas.

Pursuing an MS in Education online can be a great way to further your career in education without leaving your current role. You’ll have the opportunity to apply what you are learning immediately, enhancing your education as you go.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education (MSEd) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Note on teacher licensure or certification: The only MS in Education specialization offered by Walden that is state-approved as leading to any educational license or certification is the MS in Education, Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation), which has been approved in Ohio for leading to Building Level Principal Licensure (grades P–6, grades 4–9, and grades 5–12). No other MS in Education specialization will lead to teacher licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Note on Administrator Licensure or Certification
Walden University’s MS in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation) meets the Ohio Board of Regents’ standards for graduate programs and the Ohio State Board of Education’s standards for Building Level Principal Licenses (grades P–6, grades 4–9, and grades 5–12). Upon successful completion of this program, Walden can recommend candidates for principal licensure to the state of Ohio. Candidates who complete this program may qualify for principal licensure in many other states; 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. Additionally, prospective students are advised if they choose to relocate to carefully review, evaluate and understand the requirements of the applicable licensure board in the state in which they intend to relocate.

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 endorsement.  

Prospective Alabama students: State authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P–12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at

For Minnesota residents only: Students who wish to pursue licensure as an educational leader who reside in Minnesota are not eligible for admission into the MS in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation), but should instead enroll in the EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation) that is approved by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators to meet requirements for eligibility for licensure as a school principal in Minnesota.