College of Education

Department of Education and Leadership

Choosing the right track

Two CSUMB students talking and walking together

Curriculum & instruction track

The program is designed to empower teacher-leaders who are well grounded in teaching strategies, theory, and research related to teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. The faculty has extensive experience teaching in culturally diverse settings, and is well versed in the most recent scholarly work related to teaching in a culturally and linguistically diverse society. The program attempts to challenge you to think, create, reflect, examine your own work, and collaborate with colleagues in pursuit of pedagogical practices that empower the diverse children of tomorrow's schools.
- Dr. Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita

Why is this emphasis important?

Communities, schools, and children need exemplary teachers who are able to promote the learning, living, and growth of all learners, while acting on their commitments to equity and social justice. A Master of Arts in Education with Emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction affords greater opportunities for teachers to serve as strong professionals through leadership roles. An advanced degree also qualifies a teacher to serve as a mentor for new teachers or contribute to the development of future teachers by working as a part-time instructor at the college level. This program also provides a collegial, supportive, and informed environment for those educators working toward their National Board Certification.

What will I gain by choosing this emphasis?

This program is designed for teachers who want to become strong professionals who actively work for excellence and justice in schools. More specifically, the coursework and educational experiences are intentionally structured to help certified teachers become outstanding and effective teachers of the culturally and linguistically diverse students in the schools of this region. The program also develops your technological sophistication, including your skill in applying technology to educational environments as well as your ability to critique uses of technology. An emphasis is also placed on theoretical and conceptual perspectives of curriculum and instruction, because one of our goals is to help you achieve excellence in classroom instruction.

An important aspect of this program is the completion of an action thesis. By action, we mean that your thesis should be aimed toward improving or transforming something in your own environment. It should be useful. It should not simply be data you gather, write up, and then put away. For example, your thesis may involve creating something new to use in your classroom or direct attention to troubling school policies or practices. By thesis, we mean that you use a research process to inform your work. This will involve finding out how other people have approached a concern similar to yours, and finding tools or conceptual frameworks that can help you. It may also involve gathering primary data.

See the required courses.

Special education track

This program prepares strong professionals who have an informed understanding of what constitutes true learning, the knowledge and skills to promote such learning, and the disposition to actively work toward change when policies or practices negatively impact the learning, living, or growth of students-especially those students with special needs who bring cultural or linguistic diversity to schools. As such, the MAE with an emphasis in special education affords you an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the field of special education. Through applied research on a topic of particular interest, you will expand your skill and knowledge base. Students and faculty explore, analyze, and discuss the latest trends and theories in the field in a scholarly environment that honors the free exchange of ideas, thoughts, and insights.

See the required courses.

For SPED credential graduates

We accept 12 units of coursework completed during our Preliminary Credential Programs towards the 30 units required for the MAE.

To learn more about the MAE Program and getting help in deciding the best track for you, contact Jene Harris at