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M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction

The M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction is designed for K-12 credentialed educators who wish to broaden their understandings of education as well as deepen their knowledge and skills as teachers. The program provides opportunities for students to develop advanced understandings and capacities related to curriculum development, to interrogate the many ways in which students and their families experience marginalization and exclusion in schools, and to conduct original research to address inequities in schooling. It is recommended that educators begin this program after clearing their CA credential and/or after gaining at least 2 years of full-time classroom teaching experience.

This program requires a minimum of 30 graduate level units. Under a new pilot program, individuals with a recent credential from CSUSM (within the last five years) can apply twelve (12) units toward the M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction and complete the degree in two semesters by attending full time. Students who wish to transfer in courses from other institutions may do so if the program faculty assesses that the course content is aligned with the program student learning outcomes. Up to nine (9) units of graduate-level education coursework successfully completed at another institution will be considered as transfer units.

  • Admission Requirements


    1. Initial teaching credential.
    2. Completion of the Graduate/Post-baccalaureate University Application.
    3. Interview with appropriate School of Education Admissions Committee (scheduled after receipt of application).
    4. Two (2) letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the candidate’s work in the field of education.
    5. Statement of purpose (typed, single-spaced, 1-2 pages) that includes:
      1. A succinct description of your reasons for applying to CSUSM’s Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction program, including why the program is a good fit for you, as well as your future career and educational plans.
      2. A description of your personal and professional experiences with injustice and inequity in schooling. What do you hope to learn within the Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction program to address the issues raised through these experiences?
    6. GPA according to the university admission policy.
    7. Official transcripts.

    All materials will be evaluated to assess an applicant’s qualifications for admission; however, no one indicator shall determine acceptance of an applicant.

    Students who wish to transfer in courses from other institutions may do so if the program faculty assesses that the course content is aligned with the program student learning outcomes. Program faculty will consider up to 9 units of graduate-level coursework successfully completed at another institution.

    Under a new pilot program, individuals with a recent credential from CSUSM (within the last five years) may have up to twelve (12) units from their credential program applied toward the M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction degree.

  • International Students
    F-1 visa International students, please note: The Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction does not meet F-1 visa full-time status requirements. Therefore, California State University San Marcos will not be able to issue an I-20 to sponsor international students for this program. For additional questions, please contact Colleen Manthey at
  • Required Core Coursework (18 units)

    EDUC 603: Equity & Access Practicum (Fall)

    EDUC 604: Knowledge Construction & Accomplished Teaching (Fall)

    EDUC 611: Research in Curriculum & Instruction I (Fall)

    EDUC 620: Innovative Curriculum & Application (Spring)

    EDUC 628: Research in Curriculum & Instruction II (Spring)

    EDUC 698: MA Seminar (Spring)

  • Elective Coursework (12+ units)

    Elective courses provide opportunities for focused learning in an area of interest related to curriculum and instruction (e.g., literacy, bilingual education, special education). Up to twelve (12) units earned through CSUSM credential courses may be applied toward these electives within 5 years of the completion of the credential. Up to nine (9) units of relevant graduate study completed at other institutions will be considered for transfer and application toward elective units. Elective courses are chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor and must be completed prior to beginning the required core coursework.

  • Part Time

    Those who wish to attend part-time can complete the program over 4-6 semesters, depending upon the number of completed units transferred/applied toward the elective courses. Students will establish a program of study with their faculty advisor upon admission.

    For individuals wishing to complete the program part-time, note that EDUC 603 & EDUC 611 (Fall), as well as EDUC 628 & EDUC 698 (Spring), must be taken together in sequence during a single academic year.

  • Faculty

    Anne Rene Elsbree

    Dr. Anne Rene Elsbree teaches in the Single Subject Credential Program and Master of Arts in Education Program. She earned her doctorate in Multicultural Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught students in special education in the Grossmont Union High School District, San Diego County Court and Community Schools and Madison Metropolitan School District. Dr. Anne Rene Elsbree is dedicated to making schools socially just, where all students are valued and provided the educational services to succeed. Her work focuses on universally designed instruction with effective strategies to differentiate curriculum at the secondary level for English language learners and students with disabilities.Her research areas not only address inclusion and differentiation, but also how to disrupt homophobia in schools. Dr. Elsbree is an out lesbian. She researches and writes about how schools can avoid the perpetuation of homophobic oppression by building communities where all differences are valued and supported.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-4384

    Joni Kolman

    Dr. Joni Kolman is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and the coordinator of the MA in Curriculum & Instruction program. Her research and teaching focuses on teaching and teacher quality within low-resource, high-accountability schools and is situated at the intersections of education policy, inclusive classroom practice, and teacher education. Dr. Kolman's most recent studies attend to how context influences the work of experienced teachers, teacher candidates' mentoring within clinical placements, and the preparation of teachers within Minority Serving Institutions. Her research has been published in book chapters and refereed journals including Teacher Education Quarterly, Action in Teacher Education, and Education Policy Analysis Archives, and has been presented at numerous national conferences. Prior to her appointment at CSUSM, Dr. Kolman was an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at City College of New York, CUNY. Her research and teaching interests are rooted in her experiences as a general and special education teacher in urban schools in Toronto, Denver, and Boston, and through her work as a doctoral research fellow in an urban teacher residency program. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.

    E-mail: | Phone:(760) 750-8236

    Anthony Matranga

    Dr. Anthony Matranga is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Educational Technology. He teaches mathematics education, technology education, and research methods courses in various programs such as the single subject program, middle level program, and master’s in curriculum and instruction program. His research and practice aims to increase all students’ access to and success in STEM majors and careers. Dr. Matranga is the co-PI of a National Science Foundation project focused on supporting mathematics teacher development of ambitious instructional practices through participation in online professional development courses. He is also the Director of the Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI), which is a project focused on STEM teacher recruitment and preparation that is funded by the CSU Chancellor’s office. Before coming to CSUSM, Dr. Matranga was a high school mathematics teacher in an urban school district in New Jersey. He completed his doctoral studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.

    E-mail: | Phone: (760) 750-8523