Graduate Program Information

Admission Requirements

All students seeking degree, endorsement, approval, license or certificate change must be formally admitted to graduate study. When completing the graduate application, be sure to check the box for "degree-seeking," even if you are applying for an endorsement, approval, license, or certificate change.

A maximum of six graduate credits earned prior to graduate admission may apply to degree requirements.

In addition to university admissions requirements in the GVSU Catalog, students must meet the Master of Education (M.Ed.) Admission Criteria.


Graduate Programs


Graduate Teaching Certification (GTC)

The Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) program is designed for individuals who completed a bachelor’s degree and are now interested in pursuing initial teacher certification. This full-time program is offered online for those seeking secondary certification and in-person for those seeking elementary certification.

Students completing the GTC program will only need to take a few additional courses to complete a full master’s degree.

Program Contact: 

Student Information and Services Center
Email: coeserve@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6650


Master of Education (M.Ed.) Programs

Educational Technology

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Technology prepares educators at all levels to integrate technology into teaching and learning, coordinate technology, manage technological resources, work in local or regional media centers, or explore the benefits of technology for instruction.

Program Contact:

Andrew Topper, Ph.D.
Email: toppera@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-7273


Higher Education

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Higher Education prepares educators to become effective practitioners in higher education administrative roles, facilitate student learning and promote student success, and shape inclusive higher education communities. The program offers two emphasis areas: 1) Adult and Higher Education and 2) College Student Affairs Leadership (CSAL).

Graduates of the M.Ed. in Higher Education will be equipped with the theoretical basis to serve in student affairs positions such as admissions, orientation, housing, campus recreation, and more.

Program Contact:

Karyn Rabourn, Ph.D.
Email: rabournk@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6591


Instruction and Curriculum

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Instruction and Curriculum offers four emphasis areas.

Early Childhood Education

Prepares educators to work with children from birth through age eight. The program is designed to further students’ understanding of developmentally appropriate instruction and assessment, as well as how to work with families and support children with special needs.

Program Contact:

Kathryn Ohle, Ph.D.
Email: ohlek@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6662

Educational Differentiation

Prepares educators to understand and adapt lessons to the needs of students with exceptional abilities in a mixed-ability classroom.

Program Contact:

Kelly Margot, Ph.D.
Email: margotk@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6247

Elementary Education

Prepares educators in advanced content area instructional methods for the elementary classroom, curriculum development, assessment practices, and building a positive classroom and school environment.

Program Contact:

Ellen Schiller, Ph.D.
Email: schillee@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-7126

Secondary Education

Prepares educators in curriculum development, assessment practices, and advanced instructional methods for the secondary classroom.

Program Contact:

Doug Busman, Ph.D.
Email: busmando@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6831


Educational Leadership

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Leadership offers two emphasis areas.

Educational Leadership

Focuses on theory, research, relevance, and practice to prepare graduates to serve in building-level leadership positions.

Program Contact:

Rick Vandermolen, Ed.D.
Email: vanderri@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6272

Special Education Administration

Prepares educators to work in K-12 special education administrative settings, including leadership theory, programs and services, law, curriculum and instruction, and evaluation.

Program Contact:

Cindi Smith, Ph.D.
Email: smithci@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6604


Literacy Studies

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Literacy Studies offers two emphasis areas.

Reading and Language Arts

Prepares educators to enhance classroom instruction through effective literacy practices with the following program options:

  • Elementary Reading and Secondary Reading for educators interested in facilitating student literacy learning with an emphasis on classroom instruction
  • K-12 Reading Specialist for educators interested in literacy coaching and administration/supervision of district-wide reading and literacy programs

Program Contact:

Elizabeth Stolle, Ph.D.
Email: stollee@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6242

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Provides educators with linguistics foundations and their applications in teaching and learning, theories of language acquisition, impacts of language and culture on classroom interactions, methodology and curriculum design, assessment of English language development and content learning, and critical issues in multilingual, multicultural education.

Program Contact:

Rui Niu-Cooper, Ph.D.
Email: niucoope@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6242


School Counseling

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling prepares educators for careers as school counselors in K-12 public, private, and charter schools. The program is approved by the Michigan Department of Education and guided by the American School Counselor Association National Model.  Coursework is designed to provide students with the skills needed to develop and manage a comprehensive school counseling program.

Program Contact:

Shawn Bultsma, Ph.D.
Email: bultsmas@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6648


Special Education

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education prepares educators to effectively teach students with disabilities in a variety of settings. The program receives the highest level of national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children.

This master's degree offers four emphasis areas:

  • Cognitive Impairment: Prepares educators to obtain a special education teaching endorsement in the area of cognitive impairment and instruct students with a cognitive impairment or severe multiple impairments in grades K-12 and up to age 26.
  • Emotional Impairment: Prepares educators to obtain a special education teaching endorsement in the area of emotional impairment and instruct students with an emotional impairment in grades K-12.
  • Learning Disabilities: Prepares educators to obtain a special education teaching endorsement in the area of learning disabilities and instruct students with learning disabilities in grades K-12.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: Prepares educators to obtain a special education teaching endorsement in autism spectrum disorder and instruct students with autism spectrum disorder in grades K-12 and up to age 26.

Program Contact:

Lucas Treadwell, M.Ed.
Email: treadwe1@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6211


Educational Specialist (Ed.S.)

The Educational Specialist in Leadership (Ed.S.) degree builds upon a master’s degree to prepare current and future leaders. This degree prepares educational leaders to serve in central office administration and also develops leaders in nonprofit and public sector settings.

Program Contact:

Gregory Warsen, Ph.D.
Email: warseng@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6272


Graduate Endorsements

The College of Education offers endorsements at the graduate level for students who already hold a Michigan Teaching Certificate. See PDF links below for the Planned Programs and the College of Education Course List page for full course descriptions. 

PDF Instructions:

To view the PDF Planned Program sheets, you will need to use Adobe Reader (using Adobe Reader prevents tab order errors and other inconveniences present in browser-based PDF readers).

Educational Leadership


Instruction and Curriculum


Literacy Studies


Special Education


Additional Endorsements

For additional content area endorsements that may be added to a current teaching certificate, visit the CLAS Academic Advising Center's Endorsements page.


Graduate Certificates (non-teaching)

Completion of a graduate certificate does not result in teaching certification or lead to an additional endorsement for students who already hold a Michigan Teaching Certificate.


Ph.D. Program in Educational Leadership

Grand Valley State University has partnered with other Michigan universities to provide pathways to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership. These programs are designed to develop leaders to demonstrate reflective thought and scholarship within the context of a culturally diverse society.

Program Contact:

Gregory Warsen, Ph.D.
Email: warseng@gvsu.edu
Phone: (616) 331-6209


Gainful Employment Disclosure

Grand Valley State University provides an environment that allows students to successfully complete their education and obtain thriving careers. The gainful employment regulation requires certificate programs to meet minimum thresholds with respect to the dept-to-income rates of their graduates. GVSU is engaged with the community to prepare the students for real-life experiences, which allow for gainful employment. 

Click here to read more about the Gainful Employment Disclosure information.