Master of Arts in Education: Concentration in Special Interest Area

Graduate Advisors: Dr. Deborah Curtis, Dr. Helen Hyun

The Master of Arts in Education with a Special Interest Concentration is a highly flexible program that gives graduate students the freedom to design their own individualized M.A. degree in education. Each graduate student in this program works closely with an advisor to design a 30-unit M.A. degree that focuses on the student’s educational area of interest. Graduate students have considerable independence in identifying appropriate courses that will comprise their special interest area.

For this Master of Arts degree, at least half of the graduate student’s coursework is taken in the ELSIT Department in areas such as equity and social justice, adult education, educational leadership, and instructional technologies.  The remaining coursework can be taken in any department at SF State, including Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Recreation, Parks and Tourism, Human Sexuality Studies, Anthropology, English, History, Art, and Public Administration.

Teaching Credential + Special Interest M.A. Degree Option

Former SF State credential students can apply up to 15 units of post-baccalaureate SF State teacher credential coursework towards the M.A. Special Interest degree, provided that these courses have been taken in the past 5 years.  For the Teaching Credential + Special Interest M.A. degree option, students take at least 6 units of elective professional education courses in the ELSIT Department in one or more of the following areas: Equity and Social Justice (courses with an “ISED” prefix), Instructional Technologies (courses with an “ITEC” prefix), and Educational Leadership (courses with an “EDAD” prefix).

Admission to Program

Applicants to the program must specify an area of interest and meet with a program advisor about objectives, study plans, and procedures prior to admission. Entry into the master’s program is open to applicants with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 units of college coursework. Prospective students must submit a CSU Graduate Application, including two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and transcripts from outside universities. A faculty committee reviews applications for admission. Students are admitted in both the fall and spring semesters.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

During the first semester in a program and before filing Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form, each student must demonstrate graduate-level English writing ability. If remedial work is necessary, the student shall be expected to complete prescribed courses in English, or other corrective work, at a level acceptable to the department.

Level Two

The second assessment occurs within the Culminating Experience course (i.e., either ISED 895 or ISED 898) and by the time an ATC is approved and filed.

Enrollment Requirement

Graduate students have the semester they enroll in the culminating experience course and the following semester to complete their degree requirements. Those who need time beyond the two semesters to complete the culminating experience requirement must enroll in a zero-unit designated College of Professional & Global Education course every subsequent semester until the requirement is completed.


For more information, please contact the ELSIT Department at (415) 338-1653, visit us at Burk Hall 239, and email us at

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand and analyze key historical events, legal decisions, and education policies directly related to equity and social justice issues in U. S. education, focusing on history, law, and education policy.
  2. Analyze and discuss educational equity and social justice issues in their own educational contexts by using a variety of theoretical frameworks, including, but not limited to, critical theory, critical race theory, feminist theories, queer theory, and culturally responsive pedagogies.
  3. Analyze, interpret, and discuss scholarly research related to issues of educational equity and social justice.
  4. Critically examine and evaluate curricula theories and pedagogical strategies through an equity and social justice lens to develop culturally responsive curriculum to facilitate student empowerment and transformation.
  5. Develop and describe their visions as educators, to develop instructional strategies and advocacy skills related to issues of educational equity and social justice.
  6. Analyze, interpret, and discuss their own cultural biases, values, beliefs and their roles as educators in shaping students’ educational experiences.

Education (M.A.): Concentration in Special Interest Area — Minimum 30 Units

Core Requirements (6 Units)

ISED 747Culture, Language, and Society in Education3
ISED 797Seminar in Educational Research3

Professional Education Courses

Units selected on advisement (6 units must be ISED, ITEC, or EDAD courses) Recommended ELSIT Elective Courses (6–9 Units)

ISED 706Principles and Methods of Adult and Vocational Education3
ISED 707Planning and Funding Education and Community Programs3
ISED 715Race, Class, and Gender in Education Policy3
ISED 716The Intersection of Race and Language in Education3
ISED 717Foundations of Social Justice Education3
ISED 735The Adult Learner: From Theory to Practice3
ISED 736Leadership and Policy for Community and Non-Formal Education3
ISED 738Critical Theories and Pedagogies3
ISED 739Education and Community Development: Equity and Diversity3
ISED 740Education & Globalization: Issues in Comparative and International Education3
ISED 745Practicum in a Multicultural Educational Setting3
ISED 748Culture, Cognition, and Power Issues in Education3
ISED 781Educational Praxis: Curriculum Development and Pedagogies3
ISED 782Practicum in Adult Learning3
ISED 899Independent Study3

Area of Specialization (12–15 Units)

Can include up to 12 units of SF State teaching credential coursework.

Units selected in an area of specialization.

Culminating Experience (3 Units)

(Prerequisite: ISED 797 and completion of 24 units of M.A. coursework)

ISED 895Field Study Project3
or ISED 898 Master's Thesis