Master of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in EducationThere is a big difference between a Master of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Education. In a nutshell, a masters of science degree focuses on practical skills while a masters of arts degree focuses on theoretical research.

The Master of Science in Education

A Master of Science in Education is best for educators who want to work in the field, improve their pedagogical skills and possibly move into academic leadership roles. In fact, this degree prepares the student to move into educational system leadership positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A Master of Science in Education provides students with career opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Possible career paths include instruction, curriculum, leadership and special education. This degree focuses on practical, hands-on experiences that enable the student to evaluate education practices and create feasible solutions and strategies. Students will study advanced educational theories, perform in-depth research and explore educational psychology.

Sample Coursework for a Master of Science in Education

Students will learn groundbreaking teaching techniques, best practices and academic strategies. They will also learn advanced classroom management models and associated assessment tools for student behaviors and achievements. Curriculum coursework will prepare them to design, evaluate and personalize the education experience. Educational leadership teaches best practices for managing change and participating in collaborative decision-making. Student assessment training will empower the student to perform both formal and informal growth and achievement assessments. Specializations for a Master of Science in Education include Special Education and Teaching Literacy and Language. The first specialization provides tools and strategies for helping students with behavior disorders and learning disabilities. The second teachings advanced approaches to literacy.

The Master of Arts in Education

The Master of Arts in Education is focused on the scholarly aspects of the education system. Therefore, this academic degree centers on contemporary theories and research. The curriculum often emphasizes the fundamental theories related to learning, educational research, curriculum development and student testing and assessments. Graduates are prepared to become teachers in PK-12 schools and higher education institutions. Therefore, they may be required to obtain state licensure. Additionally, a Master of Arts in Education opens the door to becoming a curriculum designer or instructional coordinator. This degree also prepares the graduate to pursue a doctoral degree in education. It is the ideal choice for graduates who wish to pursue instructional or administrative careers in higher education. Clearly, the difference between a Master of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Education is a focus on practical skills over theories.

Sample Coursework for a Master of Arts in Education

Coursework will cover child development, language learning, community services, reading literacy and curriculum and instruction. For example, students will learn how culture and individuality affect a student’s learning experience. Students will explore different assessment tools and instructional strategies. They will be trained on how to take incorporate technology into classroom instruction. Specializations for a Master of Arts in Education include Child Development, Assessments and Diversity. For example, a development specialization would focus on the social, cognitive and linguistic development in young children. The assessment specialization would revolve around developmental concerns and intervention strategies. The diversity specialization would center on multiculturalism and inclusive educational methods.

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In the end, the difference between a Master of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Education comes down to two specific areas of focus: practical skills or abstract theories.