Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
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School of Education

Master of Arts: Curriculum and Instruction

  • Overview
  • Program Description
  • Admission Requirements
  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards


The Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction degree program provides an essential opportunity for practicing teachers in Northern and Upper Michigan as well as in Northern Ontario, to enrich their understanding of, and improve their skills in, pedagogy, curriculum design, and assessment within the context of their discipline specific content knowledge.  The degree provides a framework for securing a rigorous plan of study focused on the professional development needs of practicing teachers.  The degree program allows both elementary and secondary masters degree candidates the opportunity to develop a graduate plan of study that strengthens their teaching practices and address student learning in their classrooms.

Candidates in this program complete core requirements aligned with the professional competencies of accomplished teachers as identified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and electives from the fields their academic disciplines and/or educational foundations.  The candidates demonstrate competencies in the design, implementation and assessment of student learning through a culminating curricular project.  Graduates may qualify for an additional endorsement when the plan of study incorporates the required coursework of an approved major/minor.  School of Education advisors will work closely with each candidate to develop individualized plans of study designed to address specific professional development needs.  The program requires a total of 32 hours of graduate credit (a limited number of undergraduate credits may qualify when part of an approved plan of study). 

Program Description

 The Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction (MA-C & I) program has as its goal to deliver a high quality, focused graduate program that meets the ongoing professional development needs of practicing teachers, and other educational professionals, at all levels.  The LSSU MA-C & I program is comprised of a core in educational research, curriculum and instruction: electives in the areas of learning theory, special education, and reading; and discipline specific coursework to increase breadth and depth of candidates content knowledge.  A capstone research project with public presentation is required for graduation, as is an exit oral examination with the candidate’s committee.  Each candidate works with a graduate advisor from the School of Education to develop an individualized program of study designed to complement the student’s past educational experiences, and address his or her individual professional development and educational needs.  Each candidate must also chose two SOE faculty to serve on his/her committee and a member of the University committee from outside the SOE will be chosen to complete the committee.

Admission Requirements

 The minimum requirements for admission into the MA-C & I program:

 *Baccalaureate degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited university

 *Any one of the following:

  •  a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 semester hours attempted accruing to the undergraduate degree; or
  •  a combined score of 1000 or higher on the quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE exam; or
  •  a 50 or higher on the Miller Analogy Test; or
  • a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution


All applicants must submit GPA and graduate admission (GRE or MAT) test scores regardless of which criteria are met for admissions.  Provisional admission may be granted without test scores, but these scores must be submitted within one year of admission and prior to graduation.  Candidates may be required to take specific undergraduate course(s) if they do not have the necessary prerequisites for the graduate level of course or program.

The MA-C & I programs limits the transfer of graduate coursework to 9 semester credits.  To be considered for transfer, courses must have been completed with a minimum grade of B and no more than seven years prior to the date of entry into the graduate program and no more than ten years prior to graduation form the graduate program.  Decisions concerning transfer of coursework are made at the time of admission.  Candidates must complete a minimum of 18 semester credits at LSSU after admission.

An approved plan of study will be developed in coordination with program advisors and/or faculty.  If the number of applicants to a program exceeds the capacity, preference will be given to candidates who, after review of the entire graduate application, demonstrate the strongest potential for success in the chosen field.  Candidates who have not achieved minimum test scores or the minimum GPA but who meet all other requirements may, under special circumstances, be considered for admission into the program.

Candidates must complete a minimum of 24 credits after admission to the graduate program, this ensures that courses selected are aligned with the professional development plans for each candidate.  Submission of a portfolio, comprised in part of satisfactory teaching units, research projects, or papers developed by each teacher in their content classes, is required for graduation.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has worked with committees of teachers and other experts to identify standards for the assessment of teacher excellence.  National Board Certification is a symbol of teaching excellence measured against these standards that recognizes teachers who effectively enhance student learning and demonstrate a high level of knowledge, skills, abilities, and commitment.  The MA-C & I degree program is aligned with the five core principles that serve as the basis of the NBPTS certification.  The required courses in the program core and foundations courses address these standards and provide the foundation for the balance of the program.

 The NBPTS core propositions identify the five domains in which accomplished teachers are proficient. 

  1. Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
  2. Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
  3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
  4. Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
  5. Teachers are members of learning committees.
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