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Elementary Education

Teacher with two students

Texas State began as a normal school and has continued for over 100 years as a top school for educators. Texas State is the ideal choice for teachers seeking to improve their performance and for career changers looking for certification with a master’s degree.

The elementary education programs offer advanced studies in curriculum, teaching, and learning at the levels of early childhood through middle grades education.

Our master’s programs with an emphasis on talent development are unique in the nation. Students are exposed to ways that open talent development and creativity beyond dominant perspectives and historical categories and places. Students are able to enhance their teaching, creative practices, and engagement with the world.

Students in talent development studies enhance their creative practices, their skillful and responsive actions, and their engagement with the world.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
(Grades EC-6)

Dr. Katie Peterson
Education Building (ED), Room 3028

Graduate Advisor
(Early Childhood Education)

Dr. Tim Kinard
Education Building (ED), Room 3067

Graduate Advisor
(Grades 4-8)

Dr. Gwynne Ash
Education Building (ED), Room 3019

Graduate Advisor
(Talent Development)

Dr. Susan Waite
Education Building (ED), Room 3016

Graduate Advisor
(EC-6 Generalist Bilingual)
Dr. Patrick Smith
Education Building (ED), Room 3017

“As recruiters literally pulled me to their booths when they saw I was a graduate student, the power of a graduate degree was made clear. Not only did the elementary education program help me land my dream job, but it also created lasting relationships that I will keep for a lifetime.”

— Jacqui Nickell, M.Ed. ’16

“The knowledge and experiences I gained from the talent development program have been absolutely priceless. The faculty deepened my passion for teaching and learning and gave me all the confidence I needed to move forward as an educator.ˮ

– Kristen Freeman, M.Ed. ’15, Reading Specialist

Course Work

For currently certified teachers, the 36-credit-hour master of education (M.Ed.) in elementary education program requires students to complete elementary education course work and an approved minor area of study.

The 36-credit-hour master of arts (M.A.) degree requires students to complete elementary education course work, including a minor and a written thesis. The course work is geared for teachers with several years of experience who have a clear research focus.

The certification with master of education degree (CMED) program combines initial teaching certification (EC-6 ESL or bilingual or 4-8 generalist, English LA/RDG/SS, math, or science) with the M.Ed. degree.

Talent Development Concentration: Students engage in course work that relates both to their professional contexts with children or adults and to their own lives. Students think critically and imaginatively about educational practices, policies, and trends, as they work with others who also are concerned with educational equity and new possibilities.

Texas State offers an M.Ed. degree and an M.A. degree in elementary education with a concentration in talent development.

The non-thesis, 36-credit-hour M.Ed. programs include a minor of nine or more hours. The 30-credit-hour M.A. in elementary education includes a written thesis related to talent development or creativity.

Master's Degree Programs

  These programs do not offer initial teacher's certification in conjunction with the master's degree. If you are looking for a master's program that offers a teacher's certification plan in conjunction with the degree, please see below.

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.Ed. No concentration 30 Non-Thesis Minor required
M.A. No concentration 30 Thesis Minor required
M.Ed. Early Childhood Education 30 Non-Thesis Minor required
M.A. Early Childhood Education 30 Thesis Minor required
M.Ed. Talent Development 36 Non-Thesis Minor required
M.A. Talent Development 30 Thesis No minor

Master's Degree + Initial Teacher Certification (CMED) Programs

Degree Master's Program Certification Program Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.Ed. Elementary Education 4–8 English Language Arts/Reading/Social Studies 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education 4–8 English Language Arts and Reading 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education 4–8 Science 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education 4–8 Social Studies 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education 4–8 Math 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education 4–8 Generalist 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education EC–6 Generalist Bilingual 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education EC–6 Generalist ESL 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. Elementary Education – Teacher Recruitment Program* EC–6 Core Subjects ESL 30 Non-Thesis No minor

*Please note the deadlines and requirements for this program are different than what is listed for the Elementary Education program. Visit the Elementary Education – Teacher Recruitment Program page to learn more.

Eligibility Requirements for Teacher Certification
According to the Texas Education Agency, there are specific requirements for becoming a classroom teacher. In addition to the application requirements for the master’s degree, you must also meet the eligibility requirements posted by the Educator Preparation Program.

Certification Plan Information
If you are admitted to one of the CMED programs, please request a certification plan from the Office of Educator Preparation. If you are seeking teacher certification without a master's degree, please review the stand-alone teacher certification information.

Education building

  Online Availability
Part of this program may be offered online. If you are not a Texas resident and will not relocate, please visit the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. International students, please visit the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) regarding additional considerations in taking online courses.

The community of students enrolled in the master’s degree programs in elementary education at Texas State are passionate about teaching, learning and making a difference.

Make a life, not just a living, with talent development studies.

Program Mission

The graduate elementary education program at Texas State offers advanced studies in curriculum, teaching, and learning for educators who are certified to teach at the levels of early childhood through middle grades (EC-8). Texas State also offers the concentrations below that allow students to focus on a particular area of interest while interacting within a larger community of intellectual inquiry in education. Course work may be completed on the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses.

Through school, community, and professional partnerships, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction advances scholarship and pedagogy that influence educational practice and policy. Faculty and graduate students in the talent development concentration:

  • encourage the creative actions of youth, adults, and communities
  • support the development of skillful practice and of responsive and responsible actions
  • increase equity in education
  • enhance well-being and engagement

Visit program website ›

Related Programs

Program Faculty

The faculty come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and have moved into teacher preparation. Faculty actively engage in research that is at the forefront of the changes and development in elementary education and publish and present locally, nationally, and internationally in their fields.

The talent development faculty are passionate about both their teaching and research. Students benefit directly as faculty integrate their cutting-edge research into their courses. Faculty also are experienced teachers, with a variety of practical teaching experiences in P-12 schools, universities, and communities, with students across the life span. Small class sizes in the talent development concentration allow opportunities for students to receive individual attention from caring and supportive faculty.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

A master’s in elementary education offers graduates options to teach in a variety of settings. Graduates are qualified to teach in their area of specialty and become grade level or content team leaders, mentor teachers, instructional coaches, or writers of textbooks. This degree also prepares graduates interested in working in academia to pursue a Ph.D. or work at the collegiate level.

Talent development graduates pursue careers in school settings and in nontraditional educational settings. The knowledge, skills, and creativity developed through the program may be applied in a wide variety of careers. Graduates include classroom teachers, district curriculum specialists, campus instructional coaches, reading specialists, athletic coaches, university instructors, and self-employed artists and web designers. Some students have completed Ph.D. degrees after graduation.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I April 15 March 15
Summer II June 1 No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee(s)

  • $35 nonrefundable Texas Education Agency technology fee (if offered admission to the master's + certification program)
    and either
  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


M.A. and M.Ed. applicants applying to programs with no concentrations OR with concentrations in Early Childhood Education and CMED:

  • one page statement of purpose on why you wish to teach 
  • three letters of recommendation 

For M.A. and M.Ed. applicants applying to the Elementary Education program with a concentration in Talent Development: 

  • additional documents not required

  Review important information about documents.

*Effective Spring 2023

  • resume/CV, including contact information for two references who are familiar with your scholarly work and/or relevant work experience
  • statement of purpose (one to two double-spaced pages) that includes your rationale for pursuing graduate study in this particular program

TOEFL scores for all certification applicants

Applicants are required to submit TOEFL scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores with minimum individual scores of
    • 22 listening
    • 22 reading
    • 24 speaking
    • 21 writing

This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Scores for non-certification applicants

Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.