Graduate Studies

From its founding in 1918, the School of Education at Boston University has been a diverse, scholarly community dedicated to serving education through teaching, scholarship, and outreach.

  • We prepare professionals to lead in education, to practice social responsibility, and to exemplify intellectual curiosity.
  • We conduct scholarship that advances knowledge and refines practice.
  • We collaborate with local and global partners using education to forge more caring, just, and sustainable societies.

We are dedicated to preparing outstanding professional educators, producing research that improves the practice of education, and providing excellent professional support to our partners in the field.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs at the School of Education offer specialized advanced learning opportunities for individuals in many areas of education including early childhood education; elementary and secondary education; higher education administration; special education; counseling; and policy, planning, and administration. (For specific programs, see the Programs section.) The flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the School’s programs reflects demands being placed on aspiring educators in all areas and responds to the realities of a changing educational environment. In any one term, approximately 650 graduate students enroll in SED courses. Many of our programs are flexible, allowing for full-time or part-time study. A number of programs offer late afternoon and evening courses to accommodate students completing fieldwork and working professionals.


The School of Education offers the following graduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT)
  • Master of Education (EdM)
  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)

Certificate Programs

The School of Education also offers 16-credit non-degree graduate certificate programs in the following areas:

  • Global Ecology Education
  • Instructional Technology*
  • Literacy Intervention in Grades 3–6: A Program for Literacy Leaders
  • Physical Education, Health Education & Coaching*
  • Program Planning, Management, Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: Pre-K–6
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

*Please note: This program is on a moratorium for the 2015–2016 academic year. We are not accepting new students into the program at this time.

Note: For requirements of degrees and certificate programs, see “Degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Requirements” below.

Students may take courses from a number of the 16 schools and colleges of Boston University, designing a course of study specific to his or her professional needs within the boundaries of the educational specialization. Also, Boston University belongs to an area consortium of institutions—which includes Boston College, Brandeis University, Hebrew College, and Tufts University—allowing cross-registration for graduate students with the approval of faculty advisors.

Degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Requirements

Minimum course requirements for all graduate programs must be met by graduate courses (500 level or higher).

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

A joint program with the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the MAT program is a one-calendar-year program designed for liberal arts majors who want to continue their graduate studies in an academic field and at the same time secure teacher licensure. Students may be admitted to programs in preparation for teaching English, Latin, and classical humanities, history, mathematics, modern foreign languages (French, Spanish), social studies, or science at the secondary level. The MAT program requires a minimum of 46 graduate-level credits. (Please note that the MAT in English requires 48 credits for graduation.) The MAT credit requirements include a supervised practicum for initial licensure.

Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT)

The MMT degree is designed for teachers who seek a content-rich experience of mathematics that will be relevant to their work in the classroom. The program helps students prepare for leadership roles in developing mathematics curriculum and teacher training. These courses stress depth over breadth and are designed around mathematics for teaching. The MMT is offered to applicants who hold an initial licensure for teaching mathematics and have taught a minimum of two years under that license. The MMT requires 38 credits, including 18 credits from the School of Education and 20 credits from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Master of Education (EdM)

If accepted, candidates must complete a minimum of eight graduate-level courses or the equivalent (32 credits), approved by the advisor. Departments may require graduate credits beyond the 32-credit minimum. One of the courses must be SED RS 600 Introduction to Research or equivalent. In addition, a supervised practicum may be required, depending on the program.

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

School-wide requirements for the CAGS include a minimum of 30 credit hours and successful completion of a treatise, project, or comprehensive examination. Again, some programs may require more than 30 credits.

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Candidates must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours of coursework beyond a master’s degree, but most programs require much more than 32 credit hours in order to meet school-wide and program specialization requirements. Most programs require approximately 60 credits, which includes coursework and dissertation advising.


Every doctoral candidate must spend a minimum of two consecutive semesters in residence at Boston University. Residence is defined as registration for a minimum of 12 credit hours at the University during each of two consecutive semesters. (Summer Terms may be considered one semester.) The residency requirement may be met by holding a research or teaching assistant position or being employed at Boston University 35 hours or more per week and registering for a minimum of 8 credit hours for two consecutive semesters. For additional information, students should contact their academic advisors.

Research Requirements

Students entering the doctoral program in September 2014 and after are required to complete a minimum of four research courses, three from the second level and one from the third level. Enrollment in second-level courses is contingent upon completion of RS 600 Introduction to Research, or equivalent, or consent of the advisor. Enrollment in third-level courses is contingent upon completion of the second-level research courses. Specific SED programs may require an additional course or courses. For appropriate advanced courses in specific methodologies or content areas, doctoral candidates should consult with their advisors.

Students may seek a waiver of, or substitution for, a research requirement with consent of their advisor through petition. Petition forms are available from the Records office and on the SED website.

First-Level Course
  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr)
Second-Level Courses
  • SED RS 654 Educational Inquiry (4 cr)*
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods
  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods (4 cr)

*All doctoral students must take RS 654, and are encouraged to do so in their first semester of enrollment.

Third-Level Courses
  • SED AP 998 Proposal Development Seminar (variable cr)
  • SED RS 750 Advanced Research Seminar (4 cr)
  • SED RS 751 Program Evaluation (4 cr)

Comprehensive Examinations

Additionally, doctoral students must complete written comprehensive examinations (or equivalent). Note that comprehensive examination requirements vary by program; students should consult with their advisors to learn about the specific program requirements.

Doctoral Dissertation

An approved doctoral dissertation is required. Each program establishes requirements for dissertation research and dissertation advisement credit hours; consultation with program advisor is essential.

Joint and Dual Degree Programs

The School of Education participates in an interdisciplinary program in applied linguistics leading to the PhD degree, based in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Applicants apply to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. A dual degree program in special education (EdM or EdD) and social work (MSW) is offered by the School of Education and the School of Social Work. Please see the Special Education section.

Licensure of Educational Personnel

Many professions for which students prepare in the School of Education require certification/licensure by the state or commonwealth in which the student wishes to practice. Appropriate course selection to meet these standards and any additional requirements are the responsibility of the student. The initial license corresponds to the former advanced provisional certificate. The license equivalent to the former standard certificate is the professional license. For each program leading to a license in Massachusetts a specific sequence of courses is required. A description of each sequence and information about additional requirements are available in the office of the Program Director. Students completing a Massachusetts-approved teaching licensure program, and any additional Massachusetts Department of Education requirements, may also be eligible, through a reciprocal agreement, for initial teacher licensure in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. It is imperative that a student discuss his or her plans with an advisor at the initial conference and throughout the course of his or her academic program.


Boston University, including its School of Education, is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. The School of Education is fully accredited to offer programs leading to the Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Mathematics for Teaching, Doctor of Education, and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS). The University confers the degrees and CAGS on candidates recommended by the faculty of the School and approved by the Board of Trustees.


Applicants must apply and be admitted to a degree program in order to enroll as a degree candidate. A complete application for admission to a degree or CAGS program includes the following:

  • Application data forms
  • Transcripts
  • Two letters of reference
  • Standard test scores (GRE, MAT, TOEFL, or IELTS)
  • Statement of Qualifications and Objectives
  • Analytical essay (EdD applicants only)
  • Application fee
  • Resume/Curriculum vitae (optional)
  • Additional essay (optional)

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online. To request a paper application, please email or call 617-353-4237. Detailed information about the admissions process can be found online. Recommended deadlines for SED graduate programs are listed on the website. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by the recommended deadline. For specific programs such as Counseling and Education of the Deaf, applicants are required to apply by a particular deadline.

Applicants for the master’s degree must hold a bachelor’s degree or its international equivalent from an accredited institution. Applicants applying for the MAT degree must also meet subject area prerequisite requirements. Doctoral and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study candidates must hold a master’s degree or its international equivalent from an accredited institution.

Many School of Education graduate courses are open to students who wish to study on a non-degree basis. Non-degree students may register during regular registration periods for some graduate-level courses offered by the School of Education. For registration information, please contact the SED Student Records office at 617‑353-4235.

Transfer of Credits

Master’s and CAGS students may transfer up to 8 credits into the program. Doctoral students may transfer up to 16 external credits or 20 internal credits into the program. Credits must be applicable. Faculty advisors have final approval over which credits will be accepted and applied to a particular degree program. Graduate candidates who wish to have credits accepted must submit a petition to the SED Student Records office, room 127, after a formal offer of admission is made. Students exceeding the credit limit are assumed to be taking the work for purposes other than application toward a degree or CAGS.