Teaching and Learning

Degree: Master of Arts in Educational Studies

Vilma Mesa

Mesa studies undergraduate mathematics education, focusing on the day-to-day, even minute-to-minute components of teaching. She studies what makes it easier or more difficult for math instructors to implement new methods of classroom instruction. She concentrates on the interactions between students and instructors while they learn mathematical content.

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The Teaching and Learning thread focuses on classroom practices, the development of classroom materials, and ways in which teaching occurs in classrooms.

If you enroll in this concentration, you will learn about theory and research relating to sound curricular and instructional practices; you'll gain the knowledge necessary to assess theory and research with a critical eye towards improving teaching and learning.

You will apply theory and research to practice through an internship in a range of teaching and learning settings, including classrooms or other educational settings.

The program can be completed in 10 months of full-time study.


The program offers:

Teaching and Learning is one of four related threads leading to a master of arts in educational studies. Each of these threads combines training and knowledge in emerging areas with expertise and hands-on professional experience. The threads represent broad areas reflecting both expertise at the School of Education and areas that are emerging and important for twenty-first-century career expectations. The programs are flexible and you can, in consultation with an advisor, switch from one thread to another during the course of the program or otherwise customize your experience. The other threads are:

In addition, you must select two electives within the School of Education and two cognates (courses outside the School of Education) to develop disciplinary expertise.

As a bridge to future employment, you will participate in a one-semester internship in a professional setting.

Menu-style course options support customization towards expertise in both disciplines and key areas:

Plan of Study

Please view the Course Planning Guide for details on course and credit requirements, including information about electives and the internship. We also invite you to review this list of Course Descriptions to become familiar with the types of master's-level courses offered in Educational Studies. It is important to note that course availability varies from year to year. This list is intended as a starting point for working with your faculty advisor to develop your program.

Professional Roles

The University of Michigan takes a strong pride in producing the leaders and best in all professions--people who are adaptive, transformational, and informed about contemporary issues in practice, policy, and research. In the professional roles of our master's programs, the experiences you select should help you understand how to strongly influence both the processes and outcomes of education in a variety of arenas: organizational structures, decision-making, human relations, and curricular and policy matters.

Each student will declare an intended future professional role that provides guidance or a bridge to their future direction. The role that students choose is not a formal programmatic designation, but rather a piece of information about a students career goals that is intended to help the student and advisor determine relevant electives, cognate courses, and practical experiences to round out the full degree plan.


Students who select a designer role are interested in creating learning environments and their components. As a designer, the courses and practical experiences you select should help you learn about the range of conceptual, analytical, and methodological design thinking practices and how they can be applied to different educational contexts (e.g., classrooms, museums, etc). You should learn how to apply these practices to observe, describe, and understand learners, educators, content areas, and educational contexts in order to create different aspects of a learning environment, including new curricula and instructional approaches, students materials, learner-centered digital technologies and media, etc.


Students who select an educator role are interested in educating others and are committed to active student learning that values diverse talents and ways of understanding. As an educator, the experiences you select should help you improve your understanding of the challenges of classrooms in academic and other professional settings (e.g., museums, schools, corporations, etc.). You should select experiences that help you enhance your skills to prepare and teach coherent, cohesive lessons; integrate current ideas from research, technology, or practice into your work; communicate effectively with parents, students, and other educators; and continue to reflect on and refine your educational practice. You should also learn how to create and maintain an exciting, engaging learning environment. Note: this role does not lead to teaching certification.


Students who select an entrepreneur role are interested in being the creator and leader of new enterprises that bring educational products and services to the public at large. As an entrepreneur, the experiences that you select should help you understand the work involved in developing educational products and services and the issues involved in educationally oriented enterprises. You should understand issues of fund raising and fiscal models and the development of school-community partnerships.

Policy Maker

Students who select a policy maker role are interested in influencing or writing district, state, and/or federal educational policy or policy initiatives. Policy makers can include those who work with school boards, state or federal departments of education, professional organizations, or non-profit foundations, etc. As a policy maker, the experiences that you select should help you understand how educational policies are created, implemented, and evaluated. You should also understand the evolution and history of educational policy and the impacts that different policies can have on national and international educational systems.

Practitioner/Instructional Leader

Students who select a practitioner role are interested in either developing or enhancing expertise as facilitators or advisors (e.g., superintendents, curriculum directors, museum educators, school principals, literacy coaches, consultants, staff developers, technology coordinators, etc.). Practitioners see themselves as supporting or leading other educators or professionals in a variety of educative contexts. As a practitioner, you should select experiences that will help you support educators in becoming more thoughtful and knowledgeable about their practice. You should also select experiences that help you translate theory into practice, enhance your knowledge in a given area, and develop mentoring and communication skills.


Students who select a researcher role are interested in being a discoverer of new knowledge and a constructor of innovative solutions to educational problems. As a researcher, the experiences that you select that should help you explore the type of work involved in academic research and give you a more detailed understand at the issues involved in educational research. Additionally, taking a researcher role can give you a taste of research work to help you decide whether you would like to pursue doctoral work or other research activity in the future.

If you are currently, or seek to become, a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, please read the section below for additional information.

Information for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Considering the Educational Studies MA: Teaching and Learning

Please note that the Teaching and Learning thread is typically not a good fit for students whose primary interest is in developing expertise in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

We believe aspiring professionals in this field will typically be better served by a program in TESOL or Applied Linguistics. Such programs offer a curriculum that is tailored to the needs and interests of teachers of English to speakers of other languages and offer a robust selection of courses outside the scope of the Teaching and Learning thread, including second language acquisition, language and culture, and English grammar.

We recommend that students with an interest in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) refer to TESOL International Association, a professional association with a mission to ensure excellence in English language teaching to speakers of other languages, for resources related to graduate education and professional development.

In certain situations, practicing teachers of English to speakers of other languages may have educational and professional goals that do fit the scope of the Teaching and Language program.

In this situation, strong candidates are likely to:

Explore Your Fit

To begin the process of exploring your fit with the program, please complete the short form here. You will receive a response that contains additional resources, including details on the application timeline and process, along with an invitation to schedule a one-on-one appointment with the Educational Studies MA Recruitment Coordinator.

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