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Graduate Studies

Curriculum and Instruction

The Curriculum and Instruction option of the Master of Education degree ranges from a thirty-two to a thirty-five-hour program that provides an avenue through which candidates will develop master teaching skills and a supporting theoretical knowledge base. In completing this degree, candidates will construct and utilize a framework for making educational decisions and will use research-based strategies to optimize the learning opportunities of all learners. Also, they will learn to use multiple approaches when assessing student learning and will use the results of the assessment for improving instruction.

Prerequisite: Elementary or Secondary teaching certificate, including an alternative teaching certificate. Teachers who hold out-of-state teaching credentials should consult with NWOSU Certification Officer and with the State Department of Education in their state to ensure that they will be certified to teach in their state.


Student Testimonials


Tracy Granados, Burlington, OK

"Returning to the classroom after 20+ years as a non-traditional student to complete my teaching certification and my Master's in Education Curriculum & Instruction degree made me a bit nervous, but Northwester Oklahoma State University has been the perfect choice for me! The Dean of Education, my Graduate Committee, and all of the professors that have taught me classes as well as all of the students I have met have exceeded any expectations I had in the best way.  They are supportive, kind, and helpful.  I am SO glad that I made the decision to enroll!" 


Samantha Hickman, Woodward, OK

“The curriculum and instruction degree option from NWOSU has taught me so much that I didn’t get the chance to learn in undergrad. Being emergency certified, I came into this program clueless to vital information I needed to adequately teach my students. With the help of my peers and professors, I not only learned what I lacked but also built a great support system.” 

Curriculum Outline

Required Core Subjects (10 hours):

  • EDUC 5010 Graduate Study Seminar (during 1st semester of graduate work)
  • Research: EDUC 5933 Classroom Research & Institutional Effectiveness (must be taken within the first 9 hours of coursework) 
  • Foundation: EDUC 5203 Educational Practices +
  • Psychology: EDUC 5212 Psychology of Teaching +
  • Diversity: EDUC 5822 Multicultural Education  +

Concentration Courses (16 hours)

Emphasis in Curriculum Leadership

  • EDUC 5103 Curriculum in Schools +
  • EDUC 5093  Curriculum and Instruction for Special Learners +
  • EDUC 5222 Advanced Educational Psychology +
  • PSYC 5183 Human Growth and Development +
  • EDUC 5352 Behavior Intervention Strategies +
  • EDUC 5043 Instructional Design & Pedagogy
  • Area of Emphasis (Select minimum of 8 credit hours)
  • EDUC 5782 Supervision of Teaching +
  • EDUC 5772 School and Public Relations +
  • EDUC 5231 Advanced Assessment Design +
  • EDUC 5221 Advanced Educational Technology +
  • EDUC 5403 Advanced Developmental Reading - Primary OR +
  • EDUC 5413 Advanced Developmental Reading - Intermediate/Secondary +
  • EDUC 5423 Foundations of Literacy +

Total Hours - Minimum 34 hours required 

+ These courses meet the Oklahoma State Department of Education's (OSDE's) professional requirements for those who currently have an OSDE alternative teaching certification and are pursuing a standard certificate. Individuals must work directly with OSDE to complete their certification process.

Core Propositions of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards

  1. Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
  • They recognize individual differences in their students and adjust their practices accordingly;
  • They have an understanding of how students develop and learn;
  • They treat students equitably;
  • They have a mission that extends beyond developing the cognitive capacity of their students.

     2.  Teachers know the subjects they teach beyond developing the cognitive capacity of their students.

  • They appreciate how knowledge in their subjects is created, organized, and linked to other disciplines;
  • They command specialized knowledge of how to convey a subject to students;
  • They generate multiple paths to knowledge.

      3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.

  • They call on multiple methods to meet their goals;
  • They orchestrate learning in group settings;
  • They place a premium on student engagement;
  • They regularly assess student progress;
  • They are mindful of their principal objective in planning instruction

    4.  Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

  • They are continually making difficult choices that test their judgment; and
  • They seek the advice of others and draw on education research and scholarship.

     5. Teachers are members of learning communities.

  • They contribute to school effectiveness by collaborating with other professionals;
  • They work cooperatively with parents;
  • They take advantage of community resources.

Portfolio and Action Research Project

In lieu of the capstone project, thesis, or the written comprehensive and oral follow-up examinations, the M.Ed. student will submit and defend an Action Research Project and will maintain a Graduate Candidate File (GCF) in ALCA. M.Ed. program options require three checkpoints: Milestone 1, Milestone 2, and Milestone 3. Below are the procedures and details for M.Ed. candidates:

Required during the first semester of enrollment. M.Ed. students will complete the course requirements for EDUC 5010 Graduate Study Seminar, will establish an ALCA account, and will contact graduate advisory committee members once they are assigned. Also during the first semester, M.Ed. students will complete Milestone 1 by meeting with the graduate advisory committee or its chair, by completing the plan of study and graduate advisory committee forms, by having the appropriate credentials and required paperwork submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies (FA #212), by putting appropriate materials to the Graduate Candidate File in ALCA, and by going over program expectations with the graduate advisory committee. All of these elements are required before further enrollment in graduate courses are allowed.

Required three (3) semesters before graduation. M.Ed. students will complete EDUC 5933 Classroom Research and Institutional Effectiveness with a passing grade and will submit the final research proposal and instructor's rubric with comments to the graduate advisory committee chair, who will then evaluate the course instructor's comments and the student's proposal to determine readiness for Milestone 2. To complete Milestone 2, the student will schedule a meeting with his/her graduate advisory committee and will present the Action Research Proposal to committee members. The student will also continue to put appropriate materials to the Graduate Candidate File in ALCA. All of these elements are required before further enrollment in graduate courses are allowed. At this point, students should receive a letter of candidacy from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Required two (2) semesters before graduation. M.Ed. candidates will conduct the Action Research Project over two consecutive academic semesters and will continue to add appropriate materials to the Graduate Candidate File in ALCA.

Required the semester of graduation. M.Ed. candidates will complete Milestone 3 by presenting the completed Action Research Project to the graduate advisory committee and selected stakeholders, by adding any additional materials to complete the Graduate Candidate File in ALCA, and by completing all exit documents in order to graduate.


What is Action Research?

Action research seeks transformative change through the simultaneous process of taking action and doing research, which are linked together by critical reflection. Action research practitioners reflect upon the consequences of their own questions, beliefs, assumptions, and practices with the goal of understanding, developing, and improving social practices. This action is simultaneously directed towards self-change and towards restructuring the organization or institution within which the practitioner works.

The nature of action research places the researcher in the middle of the inquiry and not on the outside as an observer and/or experimenter. Action researchers do not claim ‘neutrality’ but rather account for their position in the action and inquiry. A strength of action research is that the researcher studies what she or he does in concert with others. Therefore, the knowledge created through action research is inevitably dialogical in nature and is thus always a negotiated and co-created knowledge. This knowledge is not inert but serves to improve the quality of life by engaging participants in a quest for deeper understandings that lead to improvement.

Action researchers are often guided by questions of this kind, ‘How do I improve my practice?’ Action research takes time, energy, commitment, and courage because it is about changing oneself, which means changing one’s thinking, and recognizing that, once changed, there is no going back. However, action researchers are also engaged in a process of authentic collaboration with participants who seek to improve their practices. The focus is on the actors (participants) within their local social contexts. These participants are often coresearchers (but not always). The four key processes of an action research cycle include planning, implementing the plan, gathering and analyzing data as the plan is implemented, and reflecting on these results. The choice of specific data collection and analysis methods (practices) occurs in alignment with the action researcher’s personal and professional epistemological and ontological belief systems, while also reflecting the discourses of the larger organization and society within which the action research is being conducted. Further, the choice of research methods in action research is dependent upon the question, problem, dilemma or dissonance to be examined, and the nature of the practice situation. The cycles of action research represent iterative problem solving linked by reflection. Critical reflection on action and reflexive writing are key and central processes of action research.

Making decisions about involvement in action research carries certain risks. It involves interrogating one’s thinking and deciding actively to change established self-perception and personal and professional habits to move into the future, recognizing that action researchers are responsible for their decisions and the consequences of these decisions. Specific action research practices are informed by researchers’ values that carry hope for the future including the procedural principle of democracy and insights from the most advanced social theories of the day.

The action researcher, like all researchers, is expected to share research findings as part of the process of knowledge creation. Action researchers also expect to have those findings scrutinized by other professionals, including professionals whose knowledge and belief systems may vary markedly from those of the action researchers.

Rowell, L. Polush, E. Riel, M, & Bruewer, A. (2015) Action researchers’ perspectives about the distinguishing characteristics of action research: a Delphi and learning circles mixed methods study. Access online at http://www.tandfonline.com/ doi/abs/10.1080/09650792.2014.990987#.VPlW0IH-Oxw



Plan of Study and Graduate Advisory Committee Forms

Student Learning Outcomes

SLO 1: Devise educational practices according to individual differences by understanding how students develop and learn. 

SLO 2: Assess all students equitably despite their differences.

SLO 3: Deduce the multiple ways in which content knowledge is created, organized, and linked to other disciplines.

SLO 4: Convey specialized knowledge to students by generating multiple pedagogical paths.

SLO 5: Appraise student learning by calling on multiple methods to meet their goals, orchestrating learning in group settings; placing a premium on student engagement; assessing student progress regularly; and being mindful of objectives in planning instruction.

SLO 6: Debate systematically about their practices and learn from experience by making difficult choices that test their judgment, seeking the advice of others, and drawing on education research and scholarship.

SLO 7: Perform as members of their learning communities by contributing to school effectiveness through collaborating with other professionals; working cooperatively with parents; and taking advantage of community resources.

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