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Master's Degree Program

Residential Master's in Education

"As educators, what we do right now matters. If we lean into our mission to not only empower but also address harm, imagine what the next generation will be capable of?"

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

A debilitating pandemic. The push to confront racial injustice. Deepening systemic inequities. These developments haven't just shaken the world; they've also made a fundamental impact on learners everywhere. The case for transformative education has never been stronger. 

The residential Master’s in Education (Ed.M.) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education prepares educators and aspiring educators like you with the skills you need to change the world through education. With our world-class faculty as your mentors, seasoned leaders and practitioners as your colleagues and lifelong network, and a community that encompasses frontier-pushing research and a deep commitment to social justice, our program will help you establish a long-term, impactful career in education.

An Immersive Experience

Our on-campus master’s degree is a one-year, full-time, immersive Harvard experience that offers five distinct programs, spanning education leadership and entrepreneurship, education policy, human development, teaching and teacher leadership, and learning design and technology. You'll apply directly to one of those five Programs, but our residential Ed.M. curriculum has two other key pillars — Foundations and Concentrations. Together, our Programs, Foundations, and Concentrations — as well as a rich assortment of electives and co-curricular experiences — will prepare you to create transformative learning at every level and in every role, from teacher to district leader, policymaker to entrepreneur, learning designer to nonprofit leader.

Whether you focus on early childhood education, K–12, or higher education, and whether domestically or globally, our 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 your leadership potential, cultivate your ability to foster positive impact, and create the conditions for meaningful learning and development. Along the way, you'll develop new skills, deepen your knowledge, and create opportunities for real-world engagement and lifelong professional and personal networks.

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At HGSE, you'll launch your master's program with Foundations courses — distinctive learning immersions that will prepare you to understand, evaluate, and address the wide range of challenges and rapidly changing circumstances facing students, families, and communities. Our Foundations will give you the core skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking that are central to the profession of education. You'll apply that foundational knowledge to complex education issues and real-world scenarios — and you'll draw on that knowledge over the rest of your HGSE coursework and throughout your career. Leveraging the expertise of our faculty and novel instructional approaches and tools, our four Foundations make essential knowledge accessible, relevant, and actionable. 

You’ll commence your HGSE master’s experience with How People Learn, an immersive online course that runs June–July and requires a time commitment of 10-15 hours per week. You’ll take Leading Change, Evidence, and Equity and Opportunity on campus in August and one additional Equity and Opportunity elective during the year. The four HGSE Foundations areas are:

  • How People Learn

  • Leading Change

  • Evidence

  • Equity and Opportunity

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To start your master's experience at HGSE, you'll choose and apply to one of our five Programs, where you'll 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 path, and each will include the flexibility to customize your learning experience through core course, electives, and by selecting an optional 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.

For individuals who want to expand their preK–12 school leadership skills, ELOE offers the School Leadership Pathway, which includes a Principal Licensure option.

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 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.

HDE offers a School Counseling Licensure Strand for students interested in pursuing Massachusetts licensure in school counseling.

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

In our Teaching and Teacher Leadership (TTL) Program, you will gain the skills you need to design and lead transformative learning experiences that change lives, advance social justice, and help generate the best outcomes for all students. Whether you are an experienced or novice teacher, our approach to teacher education will engage you in a community of practice that enables you to build core competencies, work alongside faculty and school-based mentors in meaningful and lasting networks and pursue a wide range of career goals. The TTL curriculum enables novice teachers to pursue Massachusetts initial licensure in secondary education, while experienced teachers may focus on instructional leadership, coaching, and/or teacher development.

TTL offers the Teaching Licensure Strand for students interested in earning their license to teach at the middle and high school levels in U.S. schools.

You can personalize your learning by choosing a Concentration — an area of specialty that can be combined with your Program to create customized pathways and specific expertise. 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. You'll foster connections with peers who share similar interests, explore your passions, and lay the groundwork for your career. You will express interest in a concentration on your application and can officially “declare” one concentration before the add/drop deadline. Concentrations require 6-12 credits of coursework. For examples of possible pairings of Programs and Concentrations, and the personalized pathways they can create, 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.

Identity, Power, and Justice in Education

The Identity, Power, and Justice in Education (IPJE) Concentration is a community of students and faculty across programs who want to actively challenge and disrupt different forms of oppression in education as a part of their current and future work. IPJE students will have the opportunity to explore critical theories that provide frameworks for analyzing oppression across multiple identities, develop key dispositions for holding space on topics of injustice, and build capacity to create education spaces that aim to eliminate oppressive conditions and inequitable outcomes.

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.

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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.


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