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The Master of Arts program in Middle Grades Education includes thirty-three semester hours in five blended cohort classes, including 3 semester hours of capstone development. Each candidate shall present a final capstone of an action research project during the final class. Knowing, understanding and practicing core teaching standards requires that candidates must know and understand current expectations of teaching standards and exhibit them in class activities. This program builds upon the most current body of knowledge of best practice and practical expertise (theory and practice) relevant to teaching middle grades. In order to obtain graduate-level licensure, students must hold initial licensure in Middle Grades Education.


The Master of Arts program in Middle Grades Education includes thirty-three semester hours in five components. The primary focus of the program is to enhance middle level teachers’ understanding and knowledge of the theoretical base, research, and examplary practices of middle level education including, but not limited to, the nature of the yound adolescent, developmentally appropriate instruction and advanced content area knowledge.


The program leads to recommendation for graduate-level NC licensure for those who hold initial middle grades licensure.



Graduate courses for the Master’s Degree in Middle Grades Education are designed to assist in the advanced preparation of individuals who teach or desire to teach in a middle school. The Middle Grades Program allows learners to improve professional skills; “wrap theory in practice”; and enhance content area, pedagogical, and integration expertise. Students will benefit from a synthesis of current research and classroom applications. This program culminates in a capstone experience requiring an innovative project designed collaboratively by the student and the student’s committee.



The Master of Arts in Middle Grades Education is designed to meet the following program goals:


  1. Provide an analysis of the theoretical base, current research, and exemplary practices of middle grades education.
  2. Provide advanced preparation in young adolescent development within cultural and social contexts (family changes, health and safety, risk behaviors).
  3. Develop an extended understanding of the comparative history and philosophy of middle grades education, and theories about its future development, including organizational components, assessment, and evaluation in the middle school setting.
  4. Provide opportunities to analyze and design middle school curricula and evaluate the impact of current instructional practices and school policies on the learning of young adolescents.
  5. Provide advanced content expertise and curriculum integration in one or more fields of teaching.
  6. Provide opportunities to utilize current technologies and to integrate technology in the middle school classroom.
  7. Develop teachers as leaders who are agents of change.
  8. Provide an action research capstone synthesizing middle school theory, research, and practice.



EDUC 641 Philosophy, History, and the True Middle School (6 hrs.)

EDUC 697 (1 hr. capstone)

EDUC 642 Measurement, Assessment, and Action Research for 21st

Century Teachers (6 hrs.)

EDUC 643 Current Issues in Middle Grades Education (6 hrs.)

EDUC 697 (1 hr. capstone)

EDUC 644 Teaching Strategies for Diverse Populations (6 hrs.)

EDUC 645 Teaching Content Literacy in the Age at Accountability (6 hrs.)

EDUC 697 (1 hr. capstone)


EDUC 699 (1 hr. capstone continuation)


Degree Program


  1. Each course in the Middle Grades program includes assignments that lead to the final capstone project. One semester hour will be added to the first, third, and fifth cohort courses leading to the final capstone presentation in the last class. Action research will be utilized by the candidate in developing the capstone project.
  2. The capstone requirements will be outlined in the one hour classes and students will begin the process during the first class. The rubric utilized to evaluate the capstone includes teacher knowledge and leadership, respectful educational environment, content and curriculum expertise, student learning, and reflection.
  3. The final capstone will be presented during the final course in the cohort to education faculty and graduate students. The candidate’s faculty committee will determine his/her worthiness to be awarded the Master’s Degree in Middle Grades Education.
  4. If capstone is not successfully defended by the end of the program requirements, candidate will continue to take EDUC 699 (1 hr. credit) until all requirements are met.


Click here to view the courses for Middle Grades Education.