Graduate Studies

From its founding in 1918, the Boston University School of Education has been committed to both the preparation of educators and the advancement of research and scholarship. Our graduate programs reflect this dual commitment. We offer programs leading to initial licensure as a teacher, counselor, or administrator, as well as programs of advanced studies for practitioners and scholars. This dual commitment is also reflected in our faculty, who combine practical classroom expertise and scholarly attainments. We see these two aspects of our work as a natural and necessary combination: Either would be diminished by the absence of the other. The scholarly work deepens and enriches the preparation of educators; and the preparation of educators tethers scholarship to the realities of practice. The connection of theory and practice is a defining characteristic of the School of Education and Boston University.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs at the School of Education offer specialized work to individuals in many areas of education including early childhood education; higher education; special education; counseling; and policy, planning, and administration. (For specific programs, see the Programs section.) The flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the School’s more than 20 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 Education (EdM)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

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 2014-2015 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 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.

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.

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, departmental, and specialization requirements. Each program establishes requirements for dissertation research and dissertation advisement credit hours. Successful completion of a written comprehensive examination (or equivalent) and an approved doctoral dissertation are required, as is a period of full-time residency consisting of two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment. Students entering the doctoral program with advanced standing—where that option is available (example: two master’s degrees or a master’s and a CAGS)—will be required to complete a minimum of 32 graduate-level (500 level or higher) credits. Specific requirements relative to the selection of courses, seminars, and research or independent study are determined by the student’s department of concentration. Departments generally require credits beyond the 32 school-wide minimum.

Each EdD candidate must complete a school-wide core requirement of one 4-credit course (SED ED 700 series) in the first academic year of matriculation. Every doctoral candidate must complete at least four research courses (16 credits). SED RS 654 is a required first-year doctoral course. SED RS 652 and SED RS 653 or their equivalents must also be completed. Students should take one advanced research elective in consultation with their advisor. SED RS 750 is recommended to be taken after a doctoral student has passed comprehensive exams. 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.) Other options are found in the note at the end of this section. A formal application for a comprehensive examination or alternative requirement set by the candidate’s department must be filed with the department chair and faculty advisor. The required work must be completed successfully. Each candidate must demonstrate the ability to make a significant contribution in his or her field and to report this contribution successfully in a doctoral dissertation.

Note: 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, contact your academic advisor.

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.

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. On October 1, 2001, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began to issue licenses in lieu of the advanced provisional and standard certificates in place prior to that date. 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.

Please note, there is a limit to the number of credits that can be transferred into a graduate degree program. 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.

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.