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Master of Education in Teaching Learning and Advocacy

Christine Finnan
Program Director

Program Description

The goals of the M.Ed. in Teaching, Learning and Advocacy (MTLA) are to advance the knowledge of professionals who are seeking to improve their effectiveness and to prepare them to serve as change agents in their classrooms, schools, and districts. The MTLA degree focuses on the needs of under-achieving children, especially those who live in poverty. Through the core courses, the program provides a base for all candidates to better:

  • understand and apply advanced theories that inform their teaching and work in diverse communities
  • use and critique multiple forms of research and inquiry
  • think systematically about their own practice, provide support for other professionals and communicate clearly with their students, other educators, and parents
  • advocate for students and the profession
  • understand the relationships among educational policies and practices, local context, and learners

Building from the core courses (21 credit hours), candidates choose an additional three (3) courses (9 credit hours) that focus on the instructional needs of diverse learners, and they complete the program of study with a capstone research project (3 credit hours). The core courses, the additional courses, and research project focus on developing a deep understanding of diverse children and youth and how the school, community, and societal context shape their engagement in learning and life. Additionally, the program explores teaching as both reflective practice and collaborative change making. It emphasizes using reflection and inquiry skills to improve practice and the profession.

The Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy M.Ed. program develops the skills, pedagogy and understanding of educators who either want to improve their own practice or who seek positions as teacher coaches, curriculum specialists, or lead teachers. In these roles, teachers are able to mentor and support colleagues who struggle to work effectively with children who are under-performing.

Program Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to the degree program, an applicant is required to have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the education major or minor. The applicant must also hold, or have held, initial teacher certification. Additional requirements include a $50 nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework, a fully completed graduate school application (including three letters of recommendation which indicate evidence of potential for success in graduate work), and an applicant essay. Applicants must submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores or passing scores on the Praxis II or an equivalent state licensure test approved by the South Carolina Department of Education.

Transfer Credit Policy

An applicant or student of the M.Ed. in Teaching, Learning and Advocacy (MTLA) program can seek approval from the Program Director to accept up to six transfer credit hours. These courses must have a grade of B or higher, and can count toward the M. Ed. in the MTLA degree requirements. Courses with a grade of “Pass” or “Satisfactory” will not be accepted. Also, note that the courses must be catalog courses and not professional development courses to count in a program. See description below for a description of the distinction between these courses.

Professional Development and Catalog Courses

Certified educators can enroll in professional development courses through the School of Education, Health and Human Performance Office of Professional Development in Education (OPDE). These courses, known as Professional Development Courses (EDPD) are used to modernize instructional strategies and offer content enrichment opportunities while leading to recertification points and pay scale advancements. These professional development credits although offered through the College of Charleston and OPDE do not count toward the completion of an advanced degree such as the Master of Education or Master of Arts in Teaching. For more information regarding professional development courses, contact the OPDE Office at 843.953.7651.

Please note that EDPD courses differ from catalog courses. Courses that appear in the College of Charleston graduate catalog are considered catalog courses and have been approved as part of a course of study in a graduate-level program. These courses are typically offered at the downtown or north campuses. In some cases, schools or districts contract with the College of Charleston to offer catalog courses that can lead to M.A.T. or M.Ed. degrees or to certificates (i.e., English for Speakers of Other Languages, Special Education, Gifted and Talented Education).

Degree Requirements

The M.Ed. in Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy is awarded to candidates who successfully complete an approved program of study consisting of 33 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 including an approved 3 credit hour capstone project. At least 27 of the 33 hours must be taken at the College of Charleston.

Core Courses (21 Credit Hours):

All candidates will complete 21 hours of core courses

MTLA 601

Class Race and Gender

MTLA 602

Critical Issues in Contemporary Education

MTLA 603

Family and Community Involvement

MTLA 607

Teachers as Advocates for Children and Youth

EDFS 632

Learning, Cognition and Motivation

EDFS 635

Educational Research

EDFS 705

Reflective Practice and Professional Development

Options (9 Credit Hours):

Candidates will select one course from each of the three options:

Option One (Choose one)

MTLA 604

Identifying and Sustaining Effective Learning Communities

EDEE 667

Curriculum Theory and Application

Option Two (Choose one)

EDFS 672

Linguistic/Cultural Diversity in Education

EDFS 711

Differentiating Instruction to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners

Option Three (Choose one)

MTLA 605

Literacy Development of Early Learners

EDEE 678

Success in Literacy for Older Readers

Capstone (3 Credit Hours):

MTLA 702 Research and Development Project


A number of graduate assistantships are available for full-time students. The awards are normally made by April 15 for the following academic year. Applications are available through The Graduate School.