Graduate Studies

Curriculum and Instruction

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Profile

Director: James LaPrad
Graduate Program Coordinator: Sebastian Szyjka
Office: Horrabin Hall 115
Telephone: (309) 298-1183
Program Coordinator Email:
Program Coordinator Phone: (309) 255-2221
Location of Program Offering:

Graduate Faculty


  • Christine Anderson, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Marie Cheak, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Andrea Hyde, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • Carla Paciotto, Ed.D., Northern Arizona University
  • Abha Singh, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Melissa Stinnett, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Sebastian Szyjka, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Associate Professors

  • Barry Birnbaum, Ed.D., Nova Southeastern University
  • Boh Young Lee, Ph.D., University of Georgia

Associate Graduate Faculty

Assistant Professor

  • Jose Pavez, Ph.D., University of Georgia

Learning Outcomes

For student learning outcomes, please see

 Program Description

The School of Education offers coursework leading to a Master of Science in Education with a major in Curriculum and Instruction. The degree program enables candidates to develop an area of specialization in literacy education, science, mathematics, social studies, early childhood education, or elementary/middle school curriculum (a combination of courses from three other specializations). This program does not lead to teacher certification, licensure or any endorsement.

 Admission Requirements

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 OR 3.0 or higher GPA for the last two years (60 s.h.) of undergraduate work
  • Acceptance by the Departmental Graduate Committee.
  • All persons applying for entry into the master’s degree program must have a degree in education or related field with a minimum of 15 hours in the field of education. Undergraduate and/or graduate credits will be accepted.

 Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework. In addition to a capstone course, candidates will complete nine semester hours in core requirements, 12 semester hours in an area of specialization, and 6-7 semester hours of elective coursework.

I. Core Requirements: 9 s.h.

A. EDS 500 Methods of Research (3)

B. Two of the following, with approval of the advisor:

C&I 574 Assessment and Differentiation of Instruction (3)
C&I 566 Current Issues and Trends in Education (3)

or the following two courses for those specializing in early childhood education:

ECH 474G Early Childhood Assessment (3)
ECH 539 Curriculum in Early Childhood Education (3)

II. Area of Specialization: 12 s.h.

The areas of specialization are literacy education, social studies, science, early childhood education, mathematics, and elementary curriculum. Courses for the specialization and electives will be chosen with the approval of an advisor. ECH 565, Seminar in Early Childhood Education is a required course for the early childhood area of specialization.

III. Electives: 6 - 7 s.h.

IV. Select one of the following exit options: 3 s.h.

C&I 600 Graduate Seminar (3)
MATH 607 Practicum in Mathematics Education (3)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 30 - 31 s.h.

 Course Descriptions

Curriculum and Instruction (C&I)

403G Middle Level Education. (3) The middle school concept will be examined from multiple perspectives relative to the role of the teacher. Topics include advisory, thematic instruction across core content areas, exploratories, and instructional considerations for social, cognitive, and psychosocial development of adolescent students. A minimum grade of C is required of education majors. Prerequisite: EDS 301 or 306; Fully accepted into Teacher Education Program.

566 Current Issues and Trends in Education. (3) A review and appraisal of recent trends and practices in elementary education. An examination of recent research done in elementary education and related fields. In addition, course content will directly address the importance of practicing teachers assuming leadership roles in various settings. School leadership research and developments with national and state standards will be examined. Students are expected to read widely and critically in professional books and journals.

574 Assessment and Differentiation of Instruction. (3) This course focuses on the characteristics and needs of diverse populations in heterogeneous classrooms and techniques for differentiating instruction that enable all children to learn. The use of assessment to inform instructional decisions is emphasized.

576 Family and Community Engagement. (3) A course preparing school personnel for leadership and advocacy roles as they engage families and community members in positive partnerships. Students will utilize a variety of technological tools for increasing home-school communication, parent education, parent engagement, and community awareness. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

599 Independent Study. (1–4, repeatable to 4) An investigation of problems related to the student's major area. A substantial written report, as well as an informal oral report, will be required. Students will meet regularly with an instructor during the course on a period arranged basis. Enrollment by permission only.

600 Graduate Seminar. (3) Primarily a research‑writing course. Each student will be expected to identify an appropriate research topic, investigate and present the issue in an in-depth paper. Prerequisites: 24 semester hours in graduate work to include EDS 500, C&I 566 and 574; and permission of the Graduate Coordinator.

Early Childhood Education (ECH)

474G Early Childhood Assessment. (3) Intensive investigation of informal and formal assessment strategies including basic principles of measurement and evaluation, to plan educational experiences, communicate with parents, identify children in need of specialized services, and evaluate programs for young children from birth through eight years of age. The administration of some assessment instruments is required.

524 Instructional Methods and Intervention Techniques in Early Childhood. (3) Emphasis on curriculum adaptations and instructional and assessment methods to promote independence and meet the developmental and educational goals of young children, especially pre-primary age, with special needs. Focus on history and evolution of early childhood special education, early intervention, service and program coordination, and inclusive education.

539 Curriculum in Early Childhood Education. (3) Application of the principles of the administration and organization of curriculum development to programs for young children, with emphasis on integration of curriculum to maximize the effectiveness of experiences. The student will develop curriculum plans in selected content areas.

549 Practicum in Early Childhood Education. (1-4) Students will work with young children in selected early childhood settings under supervision of a "master teacher," with emphasis on bridging the gap between theory and practice. Actual experiences will be provided along with philosophical and/or psychological foundations for the basic practices within the various early childhood education programs and activities. Credit will be arranged according to the experiential background of the student. Prerequisite: Permission of the advisor.

564 Language and Thought of the Child. (3) A detailed study of current theoretical issues and positions related to the young child's development and use of language and thought. Emphasis on current issues in language acquisition as well as systematic analysis of potential application of various practices for inclusion in early childhood programs.

565 Seminar in Early Childhood Education. (3) Advanced study of the historical, philosophical, and theoretical influences on the field of early childhood education, as well as exploration of current research, issues, and trends. Students will write an in-depth research paper as means of extending and developing knowledge and understanding of course content.

571 Theory and Function of Play. (3) Students will engage in a detailed study of theoretical and practical positions regarding development of young children, birth through age eight. The emphasis will be on play as a process for learning and for teaching. Observations of children and application of course content to teaching practices are required.

573 Infancy and Childhood Education. (3) An in-depth study of the developmental and theoretical basis of infancy and early childhood education for young children from birth through eight years of age. Typical and atypical development and the contributions of prenatal and home care, ethnicity, race, and other aspects of diversity to children’s learning and development will be explored. Emphasizes application of child development knowledge in early childhood settings.

603 Research in Early Childhood Education I. (3) In-depth documentation of knowledge gained through the graduate program leading to application to classroom teaching and the early childhood profession. Credit will be arranged with the instructor. Prerequisites: 24 semester hours in graduate work to include EDS 500, ECH 474G, ECH 539, ECH 565; and permission of the advisor.

Language Arts (LA)

567 Teaching Language Arts K-8. (3) Focuses on the major theories and current research relevant to language arts instruction in the elementary and middle level grades. Primary emphasis is placed on the appropriate skills, methods, and materials that support children’s literacy development.

577 Writing in the Elementary Schools. (3) Designed to give exposure to a variety of methods and materials for using a process approach to writing instruction in the elementary school.

578 Language Arts for Diverse Learners. (3) A course which focuses on language, learning, and the diagnostic and corrective techniques that can be used by the elementary classroom teacher in the areas of oral and written language, spelling, handwriting, and listening. Prerequisite: LA 567 or permission of the instructor.

Literature and Language Arts (LLA)

443G (cross-listed with ENG 443G) Creative Uses of Literature for Children and Young Adults. (3) Presents the development of effective programs in informal and formalized interpretive experiences for children and young adults, emphasizing individual creativity and sources for materials. Prerequisite: LLA 313 or permission of the instructor.

525 Literature and the Reader. (3) This course explores literature for readers, preschool through secondary. The focus on all genres includes recognition of the major awards in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Emphasis is placed on the evaluation and selection of quality fiction and nonfiction, together with the analysis of literary elements. Pedagogical aspects of the course emphasize the use of literature across content areas, varied responses to literature, strategies for connecting children with books, and motivating the reluctant reader.

Mathematics (See Mathematics)
Science Education (SCED)

509 Inquiry Into Science Assessment in the Elementary Classroom. (3) This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth study of the assessment of science in the elementary classroom. Topics include the nature of science assessment, types and purposes of assessment, assessment design, and use of assessment data. Through an inquiry approach, students will plan, develop, and implement science assessments in their own elementary classrooms to measure student performance, enhance student learning, and improve teaching practices.

511 Science Through Children’s Literature. (3) Using a constructive approach, this course integrates the use of fiction and nonfiction for teaching science content within the context of the Next Generation Science Standards. Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

562 Science Curriculum in the Elementary & Middle School. (3) Analysis of curriculum innovations in elementary and middle school science education, and application of learning theory. Emphasis placed on the development of a contemporary philosophy of elementary and middle school science and its contribution to the total science program.

564 Science Inquiry: Biological and Environmental Science. (3) This course is designed to enhance upper elementary and middle school teachers’ knowledge of the basic concepts of biological and environmental sciences and the use of inquiry and technology to teach those concepts.

602 Practicum in Science Education. (3) Direct internship experience in a science education program at the local district level under the guidance of a qualified field representative. Enrollment by permission only. Prerequisites: 24 semester hours in graduate work to include EDS 500, C&I 566 and 574; and permission of Graduate Coordinator.

Social Studies Education (SSED)

439G Methods of Teaching Middle Level and High School Social Studies. (3) Designed to aid the prospective middle and high school social studies teacher to develop objectives, to select and organize content, to use various techniques, and to evaluate learning. See other 439 listings under academic areas. These are special methods courses and carry education credit. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

449G Innovative Strategies for Teaching Social Studies. (3) Designed to aid the prospective secondary social studies teaching in planning for differentiated instruction; providing for inquire-based learning; using a variety of strategies that support comprehension of text, critical thinking, and problem solving; and analyzing student learning. A minimum grade of C- is required of teacher education majors. Prerequisites: EDS 303, EDS 305, SSED 439, and either ENG 366 or RDG 387; grade of C- or better in all prerequisites.

550 Workshop in Current Developments in Teaching Social Studies. (1-3, repeatable to 6) Explores current content, techniques, media, and information technology for teaching social studies in school settings. Students will adapt course topics for use in their own classrooms.

568 Innovations in Teaching Social Studies. (3) This course deals with current developments in techniques, materials and technology for teaching social studies. Explores ways to engage students in social science instruction.

572 Social Studies Curriculum. (3) This course deals with the nature of social studies and its role in the school curriculum. Emphasis is placed on current curriculum developments in social studies and the social sciences.