Jul 23, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 Previous Edition

Middle and Secondary Grades, Concentration in Middle Grades, M.Ed.

Master of Education in Middle and Secondary Grades

The Master of Education in Middle and Secondary Grades has been developed specifically for experienced licensed teachers in middle and secondary schools who desire advanced study in content and pedagogy, and seek an opportunity to integrate advanced study with their teaching experiences.  In addition, candidates acquire the skills, knowledge, dispositions, and abilities required to assume a leadership role.  For example, candidates are required to take Teacher Leadership within their final two semesters, a course that better prepares them to become content department chairs, interdisciplinary team leaders, or staff development specialists.  Furthermore, by admitting only experienced teachers, candidates serve as resources for one another and become active members in a community of professionals who are knowledgeable, effective, and committed practitioners.  At the conclusion of the program, graduates become teacher leaders who understand and establish respectful educational environments, demonstrate content and curriculum expertise, effectively support student learning through evidence-based research, and exhibit systematic, critical analysis of learning through purposeful and meaningful reflection.  Finally, because this degree focuses on a teacher’s professional growth, it requires completion of a comprehensive portfolio or capstone research project, which is determined by the individual program’s requirements.

Program Goals

Successful graduates possess a comprehensive pedagogical, conceptual, and reflective knowledge base that can be applied to their classrooms through effective instruction, responsivity, and collaboration. This developed and applied knowledge is, in turn, shared with other professionals through a variety of leadership opportunities. Both the College’s Conceptual Framework and the following goals provide structure for the entire program.

Program graduates are able to:

  1. Self-direct their personal and professional growth
  2. Respond effectively to adolescent differences, equity and diversity, and global learning communities
  3. Demonstrate advanced pedagogical content knowledge of the curriculum, as well as apply 21st knowledge, skills, and technical expertise
  4. Improve educational practice through critical self-reflection, self-assessment, and applied research
  5. Work collaboratively with colleagues, professionals, parents, guardians, families and individuals charged with the well-being of learners
  6. Assume a leadership role at the local, district, regional, state, or national level

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Connections

A unique feature of this program is its strategic alignment with core propositions, skill sets, academic language, and concepts from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Activities are designed to provide information and support to potential and current candidates. They also account for recent certification program changes by the NBPTS.

Admission Requirements

  1. A Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. A North Carolina “A” license (Standard Professional 1 [SP1] Professional Educator’s License) in Middle Grades (6-9) or Secondary Education (9-12), or the equivalent from another state in both the track and content field of the program to which the candidate is making application
  3. Teaching experience in a middle grades or secondary classroom
  4. An undergraduate GPA of 2.75 overall and 3.0 in the Junior/Senior years
  5. An acceptable score on the GRE or MAT
  6. A written narrative providing a statement of purpose for Master’s degree study
  7. Satisfactory recommendations from three professional educators

Degree Requirements

This degree requires a total of 33 hours of coursework in either middle grades or secondary education. Candidates must fulfill requirements in one of these two tracks.


There are two tracks within this degree. One focuses on middle grades education and the other on secondary education. Each requires a total of 33 hours as prescribed by program requirements. The selected track must match the candidate’s initial A license, as issued by the state of North Carolina.


Each track allows one three-hour advanced specialized pedagogy choice from selected coursework.

Capstone Experience

Candidates in both middle grades and secondary must complete a capstone experience. They complete either a comprehensive portfolio or research project, as assigned by their program advisor.


Each candidate will have an assigned advisor within the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education.


Graduates of the M.Ed. will be eligible to receive an Advanced Competency “M” license (Standard Professional 2 [SP2] Professional Educator’s License) in either middle grades (6-9) or secondary (9-12) from the state of North Carolina in addition to their Master’s Degree.

Note: Standard Profession al 2 (SP2) Professional Educator’s Licenses are intended for teachers with 3 or more years of teaching experience, and are valid for five years. Teachers who are fully licensed and “Highly Qualified” in another state who have three or more years of teaching experience in another state AND who meet NC’s Praxis testing requirements OR have National Board Certification are issued the SP2 Professional Educator’s license.

Qualifying Examination

Acceptable scores on either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT).


Candidates convene a committee of three graduate faculty members whom they select with assistance from their department advisor if a research project is required as the capstone experience. The primary role of this committee is to assess the research project. All other candidates complete the comprehensive portfolio which is guided by the course instructor for MDSK 6691 .

Research Opportunities and Experiences

There are many opportunities for candidates to participate in research studies on either an independent or collaborative basis. These opportunities are available with Department faculty members, through assigned coursework, and through the research project.


There are limited opportunities available within the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education. Contact the Department for more information.

Financial Aid/Financial Assistance

Information is available from the Office of Teacher Education Advising, Licensure, and Recruitment (TEALR). See tealr.uncc.edu for details. Additional information is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid at finaid.uncc.edu.

Program Certifications/Accreditation

Programs are accredited by both NCATE and NCDPI.

Middle Grades Education Concentration

Degree Requirements

The Concentration in Middle Grades Education consists of 33 credit hours.

Middle Grades Course (3 credit hours)

Content Specialization Requirements (6 credit hours)

Select one of the following areas:

  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • English

Including content specific program coursework: