Information For:

Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

Master's Degree Program

Master's Overview

"Let’s see what we can do to improve education and our world — together."

Bridget Long
Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics
Harvard Graduate School of Education

A debilitating pandemic. Racial injustice. Deepening systemic inequities. While these developments have shaken the world throughout 2020, they also have had — and will continue to have — a significant impact on our education system. That means, as Dean Long explains, the world also needs you. 

The Master’s in Education (Ed.M.) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) prepares educators and aspiring educators like you with the skills needed to change the world through education. With our world-class faculty, cutting-edge research, seasoned leaders and practitioners, and a commitment to social justice, our program will help you establish a long-term, impactful career in education. Centered around three pillars — Foundations, Programs, and Concentrations — the HGSE master’s degree will prepare you to create transformative learning at every level and in every role — from teachers to district leaders, policymakers to entrepreneurs, learning designers to nonprofit leaders — whether you focus on early childhood education, K–12, or higher education, domestically or globally. Our unique master’s curriculum provides you with an opportunity to design your own pathway by crafting a customized set of enriching experiences that allow you to tap into your leadership potential, cultivate your ability to foster positive impact, and create the conditions for meaningful learning and development. Whether you are seeking to further your career, develop new skills, or enrich and deepen your knowledge to make an even greater impact on the world, the HGSE Ed.M. will offer exceptional academic preparation, personal and professional development, and opportunities for real-world engagement — all within a customizable and manageable yearlong program.

Widen Layout: 


Educators today need to be prepared to understand, evaluate, and address a wide range of challenges and rapidly changing circumstances facing students, families, and communities. To prepare you for this important work, HGSE has crafted a set of  Foundations courses to help you gain the core skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking that are central to the profession of education. With the Foundations, you will launch your HGSE journey grappling with complex education issues and applying your learning to real-world scenarios. The knowledge derived from them will guide you during your time at HGSE and throughout your career. The four Foundations courses listed below leverage the expertise of our faculty and innovative instructional approaches and tools, and they are designed to make essential knowledge accessible, relevant, and applicable to real-world settings. They also cater to a range of interests and experience levels by allowing students to personalize the specific contexts and populations studied within the courses. For academic year 2021–22, these foundations courses are highly recommended but not required. However, we believe they will add significant value to your experience and preparation to making meaningful improvements in education.

  • How People Learn

  • Evidence

  • Equity and Opportunity

  • Leading Change

Widen Layout: 

All students must choose one of our Programs, in which you will develop expertise in a specific area of education practice that aligns with your professional aspirations. Each program is designed to prepare you to meet the challenges of your chosen career pathway and will include the flexibility to customize your learning experience through core course, electives, and by combining your Program of study with a Concentration.

Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship

Today’s learning landscape requires strong leadership abilities, change-management skills, and deep organizational experience — whether you seek to transform the education sector to promote equity or to launch an innovative education venture. Through our Education Leadership, Organizations and Entrepreneurship (ELOE) Program, you will attain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to lead with impact in diverse roles, including preK–12 schools and districts, higher education, nonprofits, government, philanthropy, and entrepreneurial ventures.

Education Policy and Analysis

Our Education Policy and Analysis (EPA) Program will prepare you to lead and engage in education policy development, analysis, and change in a variety of organizations and settings. You also will learn how to scale effective education practices and understand how to leverage policy in order to expand their reach. In addition to providing a shared set of knowledge, skills, and professional competencies, EPA allows you to focus on specific contexts and interests, preparing you for roles in policy development, research, analysis, and organizational leadership in the United States, as well as in developing countries around the world. 

Human Development and Education

Whether you are interested in exploring a direct service role, engaging in clinical or counseling work, starting a nonprofit, or pursuing doctoral research, our Human Development and Education (HDE) Program prepares you to support the unique needs and individual growth of learners. Through immersion in theories and pioneering research in child, adolescent, and adult development, you will have opportunities to examine different developmental domains — including cognitive, emotional, social, moral, and neurological — as well as to design strategies and interventions to promote healthy development.   

Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology

In our Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology (LDIT) Program, you will tackle promising and challenging frontiers of education — innovating education technology, leveraging the science of learning, and developing powerful pedagogies to improve learning outcomes. Our program prepares you to lead educational change around the world, whether you are an instructional designer or learning specialist, project director or program manager, software designer or media producer, formative evaluator or museum educator, start-up founder or partner. 

Teaching and Teacher Leadership

Due to the uncertainty of public health restrictions and the potential impact on teacher licensure opportunities, HGSE has made the difficult decision not to accept new applications for the Teacher Education Program (TEP) for fall 2021 enrollment. We will continue the program for students who were already accepted. Though we are pausing additional enrollment for TEP in fall 2021, HGSE remains committed to helping teachers and aspiring instructional leaders gain the skills they need to design and lead transformative learning experiences that generate better outcomes for all students. Beginning fall 2022, we will offer a new program designed for both aspiring teachers and experienced educators committed to deepening their craft and building their instructional leadership capacities. Complete the Introduce Yourself form about opportunities to pursue teaching certification or instructional leadership at HGSE for fall 2022 enrollment.

You also have the option to further personalize your learning at HGSE by choosing to specialize in a Concentration. While optional, HGSE’s Concentrations allow you to deepen your knowledge in a particular context or area of education through courses and co-curricular activities, ranging from applied learning experiences to professional development opportunities to speaker and networking events. Through the Concentrations listed below, you can foster connections with peers who share similar interests as you explore your passions and prepare for your career as an education professional. The Concentrations can be combined with the Programs to create personalized pathways and signal investment in developing specific expertise. For examples of possible pathways and combinations, please go here. 

Arts and Learning

In our Arts and Learning (A&L) Concentration, you can explore the integral role the arts play in education — across art forms, age groups, and learning environments. Through a combination of coursework, cultural events, and participation in a vibrant arts community, this concentration will prepare you for roles in teaching, research, and leadership throughout schools, communities, and arts and culture organizations.

Early Childhood

Ensuring that all young children have access to quality early childhood education will take a combination of professionals in roles ranging from preschool teachers to curriculum developers to policy analysts. Our Early Childhood (EC) Concentration enables you to explore opportunities within early childhood education research, practice, and policy, while collaborating with cohort members who share your dedication to the field.

Global, International, and Comparative Education

By participating in the Global, International, and Comparative Education (GICE) Concentration, you will join a diverse community focused on transforming education by examining the power of global and comparative learning. Through core courses, small group advisory sessions, and co-curricular community learning opportunities, you will gain preparation for a career in education policy, teaching, or organizational leadership.

Higher Education

From addressing issues of college access and affordability to preparing first-generation college students for success, the field of post-secondary education has never been more complex. With activities that include coursework, study groups, events, and internships, our Higher Education (HE) Concentration helps you prepare for a career as a college administrator, educational foundation director, education-related consultant, and more.

Literacy and Languages

The Literacy and Languages (L&L) Concentration will enable you to examine the role of literacy-related developments on student achievement, as well as explore language and literacy issues from a developmental, academic, and cultural perspective. In addition, the concentration’s robust array of courses and community learning opportunities will help inform your future work as a classroom teacher, learning specialist, policy leader, or preK–12 administrator.

Widen Layout: 

A Note About 2021–22 Planning 

Preparations for academic year 2021–22 are already underway. Our focus remains on the health and safety of the entire HGSE community. We are working closely with colleagues across Harvard University and will continue to abide by public health guidance regarding the status of the pandemic and the implications that it has for providing a safe and meaningful educational experience. Visit Coronavirus: HGSE Looks Forward for evolving information and to read about how HGSE has responded to the pandemic. We will finalize our plans as the new academic year draws closer.

Cohort and Community

From the start of your time as a student, you will be supported to successfully transition into graduate school and immediately begin to develop your networks with others who are dedicated to improving education. And throughout your time at HGSE, you will continue building relationships with and receiving support from your cohort. HGSE faculty and staff also facilitate numerous opportunities to help you find a community that will outlast your time as an HGSE student, and upon graduation, you will join the over 30,000 HGSE alumni working around the world. Learn more about HGSE’s approach to fostering Community Learning.


Widen Layout: