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College of Education

Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Education (M.Ed.) Guide

Applying for a Master’s degree shows a commitment to in-depth study in a specific area. All Master’s programs require courses in research, as well as courses that focus on the subject area.  

Career goals for students in the College of Education Master’s programs can include teaching in a community college, teaching in P-12 schools, becoming a P-12 school administrator, working in higher education administrative positions, engaging in informal learning settings or other educational industries, or attaining an additional certification in order to work with a specialized population.


Certifications and Credentials

Many of our programs are designed for students seeking specific professional credentials or new areas of educator certification. The M.S. and M.Ed. are not initial teacher certification programs. Students seeking their first teacher certification should consider one of our M.A.T. or M.T. degrees. Below are the various credentials and certifications associated with the M.S. and M.Ed. degree programs:

The M.S. in Adapted Physical Education may meet the course work needed for add-on certifications in some states. If you amass 200 hours of contact time teaching physical education to children with disabilities, you can sit for the Certified Adapted Physical Educator exam (a requirement in certain states). Check with your state’s department of education to determine applicability for certification in that state.

The M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis meets the course and supervised experience requirements to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) exam.

The M.Ed. in Language and Literacy meets the current course requirements for the Literacy Teacher and Literacy Coach add-on certification in South Carolina. With only one additional course, you will also meet the Literacy Specialist add-on course requirements.

The M.Ed. in Education Administration leads to South Carolina principalship certification after program completion and passing the appropriate certification exam. If you are seeking principal certification in another state, check with that state’s department of education for applicability.

The M.Ed. in Teaching with a specialization in Project-based Learning meets the current course requirements for the South Carolina add-on endorsement in Project-based Learning.

Current teachers seeking to meet the in-service R2S Literacy Teacher Endorsement or R2S Literacy Requirement Endorsement can simply take the appropriate course work or complete the M.Ed. in Teaching with a specialization in Literacy and Reading.

Through the M.Ed. in Special Education, you can meet the current South Carolina add-on certification course requirements for early childhood special education, emotional disabilities, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, or severe disabilities.

The information posted here relates specifically to the listed M.S. and M.Ed. programs in the College of Education and is not designed to reflect any other Master’s programs at the University of South Carolina.


More Information

The Gamecock EdQuarters staff will assist you as you complete your study in the College of Education. You can contact our office at 803-777-6732. Meet our staff and view their contact information:

We believe that every student wants to be successful, but circumstances can make achieving success difficult sometimes. We will offer a few tips to help your time at USC be productive and positive:

  • Use (and check) your USC email account frequently (at least once daily). Communications from the Bursar, Registrar, and your graduate advisor will be sent to your USC email account. Do not miss an important message (like applying to graduate) because you did not check your email. Do not forward this account to another account. Emails often go to your junk or spam folder if they are forwarded.

  • Communicate often and clearly. We love to talk with students on the phone, but we have found that email communications allow us the ability to clearly communicate whether it is a policy being discussed or next steps that are required in a process.

  • Ask questions of your graduate and faculty advisor if you are unsure of next steps, have difficulty in your program, or think you need to take a break from courses for a while. We want you to be successful and earn the degree you want, and we know that success looks different for everyone.

USC publishes the academic calendar online. Important dates such as start dates, holidays, and scheduled breaks can be found on the academic calendar. There are instructions for applying to graduate with important deadline information there, too.

Each state has its own education board and sets its own certification requirements. Students seeking certification in other states should contact the appropriate office in that state to determine requirements. Even with fully accredited programs that are South Carolina State approved programs for certification, we cannot confirm that those programs meet the requirements for certification in another state. For more information visit the USC Office of the Provost’s Professional Licensure Information website. The USC College of Education Certification Officer can assist students with certification processes and answer questions. The Certification Officer is located in Gamecock EdQuarters in Wardlaw College, room 113 and can be reached at 803- 777-6732.

Chalk and Wire is a data collection tool used by the College of Education. It is required in courses that have a key assessment and is distributed by the Assessment and Accreditation office.

In addition to regular USC tuition and fees, students will be responsible for fees as follows:

  • College of Education program fee of $528 per semester or $44 per credit hour for part time registration (fall and spring semesters only)

  • Praxis certification exams which require registration fees as set by ETS, if applicable

  • All other appropriate fees as outlined by the University Bursar (

Note: All fees are subject to change.

To apply to a Master’s program, applicants submit a complete application to the Graduate School in their desired major and are recommended for admission to the Graduate School after a faculty review of their application materials.

The Graduate School has requirements for progression, and each college or school can identify additional progression requirements. The College of Education requirement is that 12 hours of credit below a grade of B on graduate work while admitted to a College of Education graduate degree or certificate program will disqualify a student from continuation in and completion of that program.

The expectation is that graduate students in the College of Education are completing their course work with grades of A or B. If you make a C, contact your graduate advisor.

Students in all master’s programs are assigned a graduate advisor and a faculty advisor. These advisors work together to ensure that students receive information about courses and progression information. Faculty advisors have several responsibilities such as teaching, conducting research, and writing. Graduate advisors assist students by answering questions about University processes, providing course registration information, and being a liaison with the faculty.

Faculty advisors are critical to students’ success in their programs. Faculty advisors are assigned by each program. While course information is communicated by the graduate advisors, the faculty program advisors are a critical step in the process since they are knowledgeable about the course rotation that the graduate advisors use.

Graduate advisors are College of Education staff housed in the Gamecock EdQuarters office. They are responsible for communicating with all newly admitted students regarding steps leading to registration and with all students regarding course registration for an upcoming semester. The graduate advisors work closely with faculty program coordinators and advisors to ensure that students have access to important information about program and university policies. Programs of study are approved by the faculty advisor and are filed with the graduate advisor. If students need to step out of a program due to health or family concerns, the graduate advisor assists with important paperwork.

Each student is required to complete a Masters Program of Study (MPOS). The MPOS shows the courses that you plan to take in your program. Your graduate advisor will provide a template MPOS that you and your faculty advisor will complete and sign. If you have taken previous graduate course work that is not part of a completed degree, you should talk with your graduate advisor about possible transfer of courses when you receive the template MPOS. There is a process for the approval of transfer courses. See the Transfer of course credit heading for more information. The faculty advisor will forward the MPOS to your graduate advisor who will ensure that it is filed with the Graduate School.

If you have taken graduate courses that are not part of a completed degree, you may transfer a limited number of hours if you meet requirements. View the transfer policy for master’s degrees.  If you do have a completed degree, your graduate advisor can share the process for appealing to the Graduate School to request up to 9 hours of transfer credit. Courses must be less than 6 years old at time of graduation to be approved.

Graduate students may take up to 15 graduate hours per semester. Your graduate advisor will make recommendations of courses to take each semester, and you will have course rotation information, so you will know the frequency of the course offerings. If you take 6 credit hours in a semester, you may qualify for financial aid. You must be enrolled in the semester that you graduate.

Graduate students may be enrolled in two master’s degrees (dual enrollment) or a master’s and a doctoral degree (concurrent enrollment) at the same time. Completion of two programs concurrently is subject to guidelines and formal declaration through the completion of certain forms. You may submit a request for  concurrent enrollment in the same discipline or for concurrent enrollment in different disciplines. Before completion of any forms, discuss concurrent or dual enrollment with your faculty and graduate advisor.


All College of Education master’s programs require comprehensive exams at a specified time in each program. Successful completion of the comprehensive exam indicates that students have learned, retain, and can practically use the content they have learned in their program, i.e., they have mastered the content. Comprehensive exams are typically administered near the end of the degree program and must be taken while you are enrolled in coursework. Students must be enrolled for at least 1 credit hour during the term of graduation.

When you receive the registration email from your graduate advisor each semester, it will have the courses listed or will contain the course rotation for you to select the next courses to take based on your program of study. Students register in the Spring for the upcoming Summer (if needed) and Fall courses and in the Fall for their Spring courses. When you have completed your Masters Program of Study, you can use it as a guide, but your graduate advisor is able to assist you if you have questions.

In order to view your registration time each semester, log in to Self Service Carolina and select the Student tile. Select the Registration tile, then select Registration Status. You should see any holds that may prevent registration, as well as the date and time that you will be able to register. Registration time tickets are not always available for viewing, but they are usually available by the midpoint of each semester.


All fully online programs use Blackboard to deliver course content. On-campus programs may use Blackboard in their courses, too. To access Blackboard, go to .

  • Find the Blackboard link on the left and select the Columbia campus in the dropdown options. Log in using your Network Username and Password. This is not your VIP ID. Your network username is a combination of letters from your first and last name. It is usually the portion of your name that is before the @ symbol in your USC email address. If you do not know your network username, go to and click on “View my IDs” under the Personal section.

  • When you are logged into Blackboard, you will see the courses in which you are enrolled.

  • Use the left side of the screen to navigate to different introductory and course material.

  • Books and/or materials required are in the syllabus.

Circumstances may require you to withdraw or not enroll in a Fall or Spring semester. (Summer attendance is not required in all programs. If your program requires summer enrollment to stay on track for faster program completion, not enrolling in a summer term may affect your graduation date.) Typically, taking a break in study does affect your planned graduation date and may render transfer courses out of date.

We know that unplanned events happen and we can assist you by providing the options if a major life event creates a need for you to take a break for a semester or withdraw from classes if the semester is already underway. Contact your graduate advisor if you need to investigate taking a break in study.

The College of Education has an academic petitions and appeals process for students who are requesting an exception to academic policy. Contact your graduate advisor for more information.


In order to successfully complete a program and graduate, you must complete all required course work with an appropriate grade, have an approved program of study on file with the Graduate School, pass comprehensive exams, and apply for graduation. While not required for graduation, completion of the College of Education exit survey provides important information for improving our services and program offerings for students.



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