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  • What is required for Admission into the SOE Master of Arts in Education General Option?

    There are four parts of the admission process:

    1. Preliminary meeting with Faculty Program Director, Dr. Anne Rene Elsbree
    2. CSUSM Graduate Application through CSU Apply
    3. School of Education Supplemental Application
    4. Interview and Program Orientation

  • What is required for the School of Education Supplemental Application?

    There are five parts of the application:

    1. Supplemental Application Form
    2. Official Transcripts - CSUSM Transcripts are not required 
    3. Proof of Valid Teaching Credential
    4. Statement of Purpose
    5. 2 Letters of Recommendation - Waived if applicant completed a credential preparation program at CSUSM
  • How do I apply?

    Please visit our How to Apply page for application instructions.
  • What is involved in the interview?

    The interview will take place on the CSUSM campus and the process may include an individual interview or group interview. Interview panels include program coordinators, faculty, public school teachers, and public school administrators. 
  • Are International students eligible for this program?

    F-1 visa International students, please note: The Master of Arts in Education 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
  • How long is the program?

    The length of time will depend on how many units each student takes per semester. The program requires a minimum of 30 graduate level units, of which 21 units must be taken in residence at CSUSM. 
  • What is a culminating experience?

    Part of the MA in Education Program includes a culminating experience that represents your learning, such as a research thesis, curriculum project, exam or National Board Portfolio. 
    For more information, visit: EDUS 698: Culminating Experience Seminar community cougar course
  • Who are the committee members for a culminating experience committee?

    A culminating experience committee consists of 2-3 faculty members with a doctorate. MA Candidates must have one faculty member from the School of Education. It is recommended that candidates choose a chairperson for their committee first. Other terms for this role include Thesis/Project/Exam Advisor and Committee Chair. Once a chairperson for the committee is selected, the candidate and the chairperson can discuss who would best serve as a second reader, the second committee member. If a student and their committee prefer a third committee member can be included.
  • How do I choose a culminating experience committee?

    Candidates should consider the faculty they have developed relationships with through coursework and consider if the faculty member has similar philosophies, educational practices, or research interests?

    It is suggested that candidates approach faculty by sharing information about:

    • Culminating Experience Topic and Format
      For example,
      • Use action research to determine the academic effects of Co-Teaching, Thesis
      • Analyze student writing after using the Writing Workshop process, Thesis
      • 12-Week Integrated Thematic Humanities Unit on Twentieth Century History, Culture and Literature, Project
      • Develop a High School Service Learning Program, Project
    • Sample Writing (Draft or Outline of Chapter 1-3)
    • Graduation Timeline


  • Can I ask someone to be on my committee before I have secured a Chairperson?

    It is recommended that the chair be consulted on who makes up the full committee. The chairperson can help identify a second reader that will support the candidate’s culminating experience and be a productive addition to the committee.
  • What time frame should I expect for completing my culminating experience?

    Every experience activity is unique. The committee chair is the best person to consult with to determine a timeline. In the meantime, here are a few guidelines to consider in regards to writing and internal review board approval process.

    The Thesis and Project Papers consist of 5 Chapters. We offer two courses in the fall and spring to assist candidates with their culminating experience.


    • EDUC 622: Research Methods in Education
    • EDUC 650: Culminating Experience Proposal Development


    • EDUC 622: Research Methods in Education
    • EDUC 628: Teaching as Inquiry and Applied Research Methods

    The EDUC 622: Research Methods in Education course helps candidates draft a Chapter 2: Literature Review and draft an outline of Chapter 1: Statement of Problem and Chapter 3: Methodology.

    The EDUC 650: Culminating Experience Proposal Development and EDUC 628: Teaching as Inquiry and Applied Research Methods courses provide curriculum development, research data collection/analysis and writing supports.

    Most candidates take one - two semesters to revise the first three chapters with their committee chair. Most candidates take another semester or two to write their Chapter 4: Data/Project Presentation and Chapter 5: Recommendations.

    The sooner a candidate starts their culminating experience and chooses a chairperson for their committee, the quicker they are likely to meet all the requirements.

    If a candidate plans to conduct research (thesis) with research participants, approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Committee is required to provide safeguards for all the participants. The approval process for the IRB Proposal can take up to a semester depending on how complicated the risks may be for the participants. It is suggested to be submit the IRB Proposal the semester before the candidate plans to begin conducting the research and collecting evidence. Candidates should plan to take a semester to collect and analyze the data and another semester to complete writing their chapters. 

  • When can I register for EDUC 698: Master’s Thesis / Project?

    Prior to receiving the course code to register for EDUC 698 candidates must complete a minimum of 24 units of coursework and submit the School of Education Advancement to Candidacy Form and your Program of Study Planning Sheet.

    The School of Education Advancement to Candidacy Form requires signatures from: the Graduate Student, Thesis/Project/Exam Advisor (Committee Chair), Second (Reader) Committee Member, and the General Option MA Coordinator.
  • Do I need to apply for graduation?

    Yes, all graduate students must apply for graduation with the university.  
  • Can I take a leave of absence once I begin taking my EDUC 698: Master’s Thesis/Project?

    No. Once a candidate takes EDUC 698, the candidate must stay concurrently enrolled until the culminating experience is complete. Concurrently enrollment means fall and spring semesters, candidates do not need to be enrolled in summer session to be concurrently enrolled.
  • What are the Student Appeal and Grievance Policy and Procedures?

    Student Appeals and Grievance Policy