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The 10 Best Online Masters in Elementary Education Degree Programs

“Teachers affect eternity. No one can tell where their influence stops.” -Henry Brooks Adams

Your job as an elementary educator is one of the most important contributions to the appropriate development, and motivation of the life-long learners. Teaching young children to love learning is perhaps the best gift you can give to not only that child, but their family, and their community. In today’s classroom, where inclusion is highly valued, and where technology plays a new and unique role in the learning process for all types of minds, it is essential to advance your knowledge of the most current and effective educational research, pedagogy, and curricular development. Children of today learn differently than those even a decade ago. The days of sitting in desks and front-led lecture-style educating are over. Today, the curriculum includes fun involved methods for learning about science, math, and art. The elementary student’s education is a much about the teacher as it is about the family and their involvement in their child’s education. You are the steward that ensures that each unique mind is able to succeed. In the following ten programs, you will find answers to questions like: how do I reach my autistic learners? Am I supplying the right support to learners with dyslexia? How do I know that my curriculum is developmentally appropriate? Or which technology programs engage the learner rather than distract them from valuable classroom time? All of these answers are found in the course curricula listed below. We selected these programs for their flexibility- as a working profession we understand the value in finding a convenient program that works with your schedule. We also selected these course based on their affordable tuition rates- recognizing that returning as a student educator must be valuable to be worth while. We also selected these programs for their academic prestige- ensuring that you get the best and most current education to prepare you for success in your career as an elementary educator.

Methodology:

  • Affordability (1/3): an institution’s cost per credit hour for out-of-state residents provided by the degree program or institutional website.
  • Flexibility (1/3): the number of options—including acceptance of prior college credits, self-paced learning initiatives, accelerated courses, and number of specializations—that allow students to complete a program at a pace of their choosing.
  • Student Support Services (1/3): an institution’s rank for providing student support service such as digital library assistance, virtual office hours, and access to career services.

1.) Auburn University

Auburn University (Auburn) is a public research university located in Auburn, Alabama. There are 28,290 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 19:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Auburn to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs as well as professional certifications. According to U.S. News Auburn ranks as the 99th best school in the nation, 43rd top public school, and 10th for best online graduate education programs. The Association of Public and Land-Grand Universities designates Auburn as a “innovation and economic prosperity university” for is excellence in social, community, and cultural development. There are hundreds of degree offerings for undergraduate and graduate students as well as robust online offerings. In fact there are 20 graduate degree programs offered completely online in fields like agriculture, business engineering, and education.

Auburn University offers both a M.S. in Elementary Education as well as a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. We selected their programs for their flexibility- giving students the option to tailor their degrees to match their needs, and also for their affordable programming, and high academic prestige. U.S. News ranks Auburn’s online master’s in education 10th in the nation! Both the M.S. and M.Ed. require 30 credit hours for completion. Those who select the M.Ed. in Elementary education will focus on developing curriculum to meet the needs of elementary school learners. Teachers will learn about curriculum and teaching in social sciences, language arts, natural sciences, and mathematics for grades K-6. The program requires an area of specialization as well as a corresponding practicum. The M.S. differs in that students, along with an advisor, tailor their degree to meet their specific needs and research interests. This program culminates with a capstone experience. The cost of these programs is $498 per credit hour and require 30 credit hours for completion.

2.) University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) is a public land grant research university located in Amherst, Massachusetts. There are 30,037 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits UMass Amherst to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. U.S News ranks UMass Amherst as the 74th best school in the nation, 44th best college for veterans and highly for their online bachelor’s programs, nursing programs, and online graduate education programming. UMass Amherst offers 6 associate’s, 112 bachelor’s degrees, 76 master’s degrees, and 48 doctoral programs that includes everything from accounting to theater. When it comes to online offerings UMass Amherst has an impressive selection of fully online degrees and certifications in a range of fields that include agriculture, business, journalism, education and more.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) offers a M.Ed. for elementary and secondary science teachers. This program does lead to licensure for teachers in Massachusetts and is suitable for the following areas: general science 5-8, earth science 5-8, elementary teachers 1-6, general science 1-6, and students with moderate disabilities PreK-8. Students may tailor their programming to meet their needs, and those who select their unique science education program will engage with each core science subject learning curriculum and development for astronomy, geosciences, nutrition, biology, genetics, entomology, planet earth, chemistry, physics, sciences investigation and more. The M.Ed requires 33 credit hours for completion and was selected for its affordable tuition rate which is just $385 as well as its academic prestige.

3.) University of Alabama

The University of Alabama (UA) is a public research university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There are 37,663 students enrolled, and the student to faculty ratio is 23:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits UA to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. According to U.S. News UA ranks as the 103rd best school in the nation, 66th best for veterans, and is the 46th top public school. As the state’s flagship university, UA offers a large number of well-established highly acclaimed academic programming for both undergraduates, graduates, and professionals. In fact there are over 200 degrees offered through UA’s 12 academic schools including their school of law. When it comes to distance education UA offers a number of programs in fields like business, education, engineering, health, library science, and more.

The University of Alabama (UA) offers a M.A. in Elementary Education. This program is designed for individuals who are looking to increase their knowledge and skill set for success in the elementary classroom and is ideal for working professionals. We selected UA M.A. in elementary education for its affordability and academic prestige. This program is broken down into the following core components: curriculum and instruction, foundations, educational research, teaching field/s, and electives. There are 5 teaching fields to choose from that include language arts, literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. The total required credit hours are 30-33. The cost for this program is just $360 per credit hour.

4.) San Diego State University

San Diego State University (SDSU) is a public research university located in San Diego, California. There are 34,688 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 29:1. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits SDSU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well a professional certifications. U.S. News ranks SDSU as the 74th best public school in the nation, and 22nd for best online graduate education programs. There are 8 academic colleges offering a vast array of academic program in fields that range from accounting to women’s studies as well as a number of unique graduate programs in fields like architecture, gender studies, biology, business, education and more. The online offerings continue to expand each year and currently include distance learning opportunities in the fields of business, public administration, health, and education.

San Diego State University offers a M.A. in Teaching (MAT) for Elementary Education. We selected this online course for its affordable tuition rate, flexible online format that may be completed in as little as a year, and for its academic prestige. This program is highly popular and acceptance is limited. Students interested in this program are encouraged to apply early. The application deadline is in October. This course covers foundations, pedagogy, coursework (which is selected by the individual), research, and a capstone experience. The course only requires 24 credit hours and is designed to fit the schedule of a working educator. The cost of this program is $325 per credit hour. Students who are seeking credentials may be required to fulfill 6-8 additional credit hour requirements.

5.) Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University (WIU) is a public 4-year institution located in Macomb, Illinois. There are 10,373 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. The average classroom size has about 20 students. The Higher Learning Commission accredits WIU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as postbaccalaureate certifications. U.S. News ranks WIU as the 49th best regional university in the Midwest, 29th best college for veterans, and 9th top public school. G.I. Jobs lists WIU as a “military-friendly” school. Undergraduates may select from over 70 majors and graduates have over 50 programs to select from all ranging from accounting to theater arts. The online offerings are honed to prepared non-traditional learners for advancement in their career through programs like their online MBA, and online M.A. in elementary education and teaching.

Western Illinois University (WIU) offers a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Elementary Curriculum. This program is designed for educators looking to specialize in their field, and remain abreast of the current evidence-based trends in the field of elementary education. The course contains the following four component parts: core course material, specialization, electives, and a capstone experience. The core requirements include methods of research, assessment and differentiation, recent trends and research in elementary education as well as a graduate seminar. The areas of specialization include literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. All students are required to select a course from each area. We selected this program for its affordable tuition rate, flexible and convenient design, as well as for its academic prestige. The cost of this program is $323 per credit hour and requires 30 credit hours for completion.

6.)California State University – Fullerton

California State University Fullerton (CSUF) is a public research university located in Fullerton, California. There are 40,235 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 25:1. CSUF represents and extremely diverse student body from multiple ethnics backgrounds and nationalities. In fact, the student body hails from over 90 nations worldwide. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits CSUF to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. U.S. News ranks CSUF as the 110th top public school in the nation. Research initiatives are vast and includes intensive studies in the fields of genetics, education, and human health among others. There are hundreds of degrees offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level including a vast array of online degree offerings. The most popular online degrees are in business management, computer software engineering, and education.

California State University Fullerton (CSUF) offers a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. We selected this program for its incredibly affordable tuition rates, high number of concentrations for added flexibility, and its academic prestige. There are 6 different emphasis to select from that include the following: bilingual/bicultural education (Spanish-English), Math and Science, Early Childhood Education, Professional Inquiry and Practice, Staff Development, and Technology in Education. All students are required to complete the three core courses, 6 emphasis courses, and one culminating experience such as a capstone or research seminar. This is a 16-month program that requires 30 credit hours for completion. The cost of this program is $372 per credit hour.

7.) University of Missouri

The University of Missouri (Mizzou) is a public land-grant research university located in Columbia, Missouri. There are 33,239 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 19:1. The student body represents all 50 states and over 150 countries worldwide. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Mizzou to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. Mizzou has over 300 degree offerings from 18 colleges and schools. It is one of the few universities in the U.S. with a law school, medical school, and veterinary medicine school in the country. U.S. News ranks Mizzou as the 111th best school in the nation, 51st top public school and 73rd best college for veterans. When it comes to online rankings Mizzou ranks as the 61st best school for online graduate education programming.

The University of Missouri offers a M.Ed. in learning, teaching and curriculum with an emphasis in early childhood education. Delivery of this program is online, and requires 30 credit hours for completion. Students will focus on developmental aspects of human learning, advanced early childhood curriculum, and advanced assessment of early childhood. Or students may elect to focus on early childhood special education which examines early childhood special education, language and early literacy development, methods of early intervention, applied behavior analysis, and young children with autism. We selected this program for its relevant prestigious academic content, its great value, and for its flexible online format. The cost is just $416 per credit hour and requires 30 credit hours for completion.

8.) University of South Carolina – Columbia

The University of South Carolina Columbia (USC) is a public sea-grant research university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is the flagship university of the state. There are 34,099 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits USC to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. The Carnegie Foundation awarded USC with both a research and community engagement designation- one of 32 public universities in the nation receiving this recognition. U.S. News ranks USC as the 49th top public school in the nation, 69th best school for veterans, 9th for best online graduate nursing programming, 62nd for best online graduate engineering programs, and 40th for best online graduate education programs. Their online presence is also robust- offering over 40 degrees and professional certifications in fields like library science, mathematics, and education among others.

The University of South Carolina offers a M.Ed. in Teaching completely online. We selected this program for its extremely flexible programming structure, and high academic prestige. Though our most expensive pick per credit hour, this degree is customizable to fit your specific educational requirements. All students engage withe the following 5 core courses: developing as a professional educator, ideas and issues in teaching, action research in teaching, a capstone seminary, as well as an introduction to educational research. You will, along with an advisor, select the remaining half of programming to fit your career needs. Some courses to select from include reading and language arts in early childhood and elementary education, studies and internships in math, social studies, and science for early childhood and elementary education, elementary school curriculum, and others. This program may be completed in 2 years, and courses are 8-weeks in length. The cost for this program is $645 per credit hour and requires 36 credit hours for completion.

9.) Capella University

Capella University is a private distance- learning institution headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are 37,569 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Capella University to award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees, as well as professional certifications. As a distance learning university, Capella provides all of its education online. There are hundreds of online courses offered in career-ready fields like business, health, information technology, and education. Students may select online degrees that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level as well as professional certifications. Its military-friendly benefits include discounted tuition, transfer credits for military training, flexible military leave of absence policy, and military spousal support. Capella offers two paths to degree completion: the FlexPath which is self-paced and the GuidedPath where the pace is set by the university.

Capella University offers a M.S. in Education with a specialization in early childhood education. This program is designed to elevate the learners understanding of different learning styles of children, as well as the developmental needs of all students and more. We selected Capella’s program for its incredibly flexible specialization options, affordable tuition rates, and its comprehensive academic programming. The program is broken into 3 component parts: core, specialization, and practicum. The core online courses include foundations in master’s studies, curriculum instruction and assessment, classroom management strategies, and more. This specialization requires course material on infant and child development, the early childhood learning environment, children families and society, early childhood reading and literacy, and early childhood education practicum. The cost for this program is $453 per credit hour and requires 46 credit hours for completion.

10.) University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) is a public sea-grant, and space-grant research university located in Oxford, Mississippi. There are 23,610 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1.The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Ole Miss to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as postbaccalaureate and professional certifications. According to U.S. News Ole Miss ranks as the 135th best school in the nation, 64th for best public schools, 21st for best online MBA programs, and 43rd for best online graduate education programming. Ole Miss has 12 academic institutes offering hundreds of degree opportunities in fields that range from African American studies to Visual Art. When it comes to online programming, Ole Miss Online offers a number of graduate degrees like their online MBA, online clinical nursing program, and their online master’s in elementary education.

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) offer a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in early childhood education. The M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction offers four emphasis areas including elementary education, special education, literacy education, and secondary education. This program enrolls over 100 students and requires a minimum of 30 credit hours for completion. The goal of the program is to develop teaching strategies that engage young learners. All candidates for this program must take educational research as well as advanced curriculum theory. This program is offered entirely online and includes readings, simulations, as well as discussion, and applications in fields experiences/ clinical practices. The cost for this degree is $443 per credit hour.