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Master's Degree Program

Foundations

The HGSE Ed.M. is built on three pillars: Foundations, Programs, and Concentrations. By electing to participate in our four Foundations courses — How People Learn; Evidence; Equity and Opportunity; and Leading Change — you will gain core skills central to the profession of education. Through innovative instructional approaches and tools, these optional foundation courses will foster discussions around complex education issues and enable you to apply your learning to real-world scenarios. 

You will continue to build on these foundational experiences as you progress toward your master’s degree by developing personal and professional knowledge in topics related to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. You also will gain knowledge of critical concepts in education, insights from developmental self-work, and interpersonal skills that will help you communicate, collaborate, and engage in dialogue with fellow cohort members who bring different backgrounds and perspectives to HGSE.

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How People Learn

Education is not “one size fits all” — namely, what works for one age, one type of learner, and one context does not necessarily work in another setting. Our first foundation course, How People Learn (HPL), explores the core concept of education, including how people develop through their lifespan; how learners understand and make sense of material; and how you can successfully design, lead, and create systems to support learning and growth.  

How People Learn is HGSE’s first “born-digital” class, meaning the experience takes full advantage of all that digital learning has to offer. Complete with multimedia experiences, digital conversations, and individualized content, the course is fully online and can be completed at a distance during June and July of your enrollment year. It is grounded in field studies — authentic problems of practice drawn from international and U.S. sites — that relate to learners of various ages, from early childhood to adulthood. Based on your professional interests and expertise, you can choose which field studies to pursue and how you would like to explore the specific problem of practice they present.

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Evidence

The second in our foundations sequence, Evidence, builds from the competencies developed in How People Learn and turns to critical questions you will face in the field: In a landscape where studies emerge each day, how do we become critical consumers of new information and distinguish myth from fact? How do we make decisions that generate the best possible outcomes for our learners?

At HGSE, we believe you need to understand how to gather evidence, how to evaluate evidence, and how to best deploy it in service of improving learner outcomes. While Evidence is not a statistics course, ideas such as using descriptive data and causal data are introduced, along with fundamental questions about what “counts” as data at all. The course focuses on the analysis of evidence, which requires you to understand how to:

  • Organize evidence by questions, use, and research paradigms
  • Learn frameworks for assessing the quality of evidence
  • Apply these frameworks in case-based discussions

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Equity and Opportunity

 Equity is at the core of our work as educators, and it aligns directly with HGSE's aim to improve opportunities and outcomes for all learners. To ensure you will be equipped to work in increasingly diverse education contexts in the United States and abroad, our third foundational course, Equity and Opportunity, will give you the knowledge and skills to advance equity and opportunity for all. 

Equity and Opportunity begins with shared learning about core theories and concepts within equity, opportunity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Course content also reveals the underlying reasons for gaps in equity and shares research on what can be done to address it. These components are followed by your choice of topics focused around identity, including race and ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, immigrant and citizenship status, or ability. You will continue your personalized learning in Equity and Opportunity throughout the academic year by selecting courses that build on core the  learning experience and extend this learning into your programs, concentrations, and professional work.

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Leading Change 

In order for you to lead teams, champion initiatives, and move critical work forward to improve outcomes for all learners, you must understand how organizations and systems work — and how to generate change within them. Whether you are interested in working in a school, a school district, a nonprofit organization, a university, an entrepreneurial venture, a technology firm, or the national government, Leading Change will provide you with powerful learning experiences, concepts, and tools for leading and managing change.  
 
Building on learning from HPL, Evidence, and Equity and Opportunity, you will learn how to move initiatives forward at the individual, group, and systems level. Since change is rarely accomplished in isolation, Leading Change will focus on techniques designed to build effective teams and cultivate a better understanding of organizational behavior.

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