Graduate Studies

From its founding in 1918, the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development at Boston University has been a diverse, scholarly community dedicated to serving education through teaching, scholarship, and outreach. In 2018, the School of Education (SED) merged with Wheelock College. This led to an expansion of academic programs in education and human development.

  • We prepare professionals to lead in education and human development, 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 the best practices in education and human development to forge more caring, just, and sustainable societies.

We are dedicated to preparing outstanding professional educators, counselors, child life specialists, educational leaders, and policy analysts producing research that improves the practice of education and human development, and providing excellent professional support to our partners in the field.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs at the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development 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, counselors, and human development specialists in all areas and responds to the realities of a changing educational environment. In any one term, approximately 650 graduate students enroll in Wheelock courses. Many of our programs allow 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. Selected programs are offered fully online.


The Wheelock College of Education & Human Development offers the following graduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Master of Education (EdM)
  • Master of Education (EdM) with Master of Social Work (MSW) Dual Degree
  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) with Master of Social Work (MSW) Dual Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Certificate Programs

The Wheelock College of Education & Human Development also offers nondegree graduate certificate programs in the following areas:

  • Global Ecology Education*
  • Instructional Technology*
  • Children’s and Young Adult Literature*
  • Creative Educational Leadership*
  • Literacy Intervention in Grades 3–6: A Program for Literacy Leaders
  • Program Planning, Management, Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: Pre-K–6*
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Elementary Education
  • English Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Physical Education
  • Science Education: Biology
  • Science Education: Chemistry
  • Science Education: General Science
  • Science Education: Physics
  • Social Studies Education
  • Special Education: Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K–8
  • Special Education: Moderate Disabilities, Grade 5–12
  • Special Education: Severe Disabilities

*Please note: This program is on a moratorium. 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 17 schools and colleges of Boston University, designing a course of study specific to their 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, history, mathematics, modern foreign languages (Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, 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 Education (EdM)

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

Master of Education with MSW in Social Work

Students must complete a minimum of 50 credits in Social Work, 24 credits in Education, and 9 credits from either Social Work or Education. Specific coursework varies depending upon specialization in Social Work and Education.

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) in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Candidates complete coursework, comprehensive qualifying tasks, and dissertation research as a part of their doctoral studies. Students must take a minimum of 32 credits of coursework including four research courses (although some programs require more). Twelve credits of dissertation are required by most programs as well.

Students in the EdD in Education and Master in Social Work meet all requirements for the EdD in Special Education and for the MSW.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development

The PhD in Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development requires between 82 and 90 credits, including five to seven research courses, depending on the specialization. In addition, students complete three comprehensive qualifying tasks and dissertation research, while registering for a minimum of 6 credits of dissertation advising.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Studies

BU Wheelock’s PhD in Educational Studies is designed for students who wish to contribute to the field’s understanding of teaching and learning through research. The program prepares students for careers as research-active faculty in R1 institutions, with a focus on research in one of four areas of specialization:

  • Educational Policy Studies
  • Language & Literacy Education
  • Math & Science Education
  • Special Education


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 by 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 EdD 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 Wheelock 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 Wheelock Data & Enrollment Management office and on the Wheelock website.

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

Students entering the PhD program must complete research requirements as specified below.

Counseling Psychology Research Methods Applied Human Development Research Methods
CAS MA 614 or SED RS 653 Quant Res Methods (4 cr) CAS MA 614 or SED RS 653 Quant Res Methods (4 cr)
CAS MA 684 Applied Multiple Regression (4 cr) CAS MA 684 Applied Multiple Regression (4 cr)
SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr) SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
SED RS 654 Ed. Inquiry & Proposal Writing (4 cr) SED RS 654 Ed. Inquiry & Proposal Writing (4 cr)
SED RS 750 Advanced Research Seminar (4 cr) SED RS 750 Advanced Research Seminar (4 cr)
Two additional advanced research courses (8 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 Wheelock College of Education & Human Development 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 Educational Policy & Leadership (EdM) or Special Education (EdM or EdD) and Social Work (MSW) is offered by the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and the School of Social Work. Please see the Special Education section.

Licensure of Educational Personnel

Many professions that students prepare for at the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development require certification/licensure by the state or commonwealth in which the student wishes to practice. The Professional Preparation office provides coordinated services for field education and supports students and alumni seeking professional licensure and certification. Appropriate course selection to meet these standards and any additional requirements are the responsibility of the student. 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 through academic programs. 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 their plans with an advisor at the initial conference and throughout the course of their academic program.


Boston University, including the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, is accredited by the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE). The Wheelock College of Education & Human Development is fully accredited to offer programs leading to the Master of Education, Master of Arts in 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.

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 Wheelock Data & Enrollment Management office, 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.