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Master of Arts in Education - Adult Education

Master of Arts in Education - Adult Education FlyerThis program is designed for instructors, trainers, administrators, and others who teach adults or plan educational programs for adults in a variety of settings. Emphasis is on developing the theoretical and practical foundation for critical thinking and effective practice that are needed by professional adult educators.

The mission of the adult education program is to develop professional adult educators who are reflective practitioners. The program provides students with the theoretical, philosophical, historical, and research foundations of best practice in the education of adults. Core courses address program development, instructional processes or strategies, the nature of adult learning and development, the organization and administration of adult education programs, and an introduction to the field of adult education. The Research Problems in Education course provides students with foundational knowledge of how to use, plan, and conduct research. Elective courses in adult education address the diverse areas of practice as well as the diversity of adult learners.

Course work assists adult educators in becoming reflective practitioners and in developing the skills and abilities necessary to initiate, design and develop, organize, implement, and evaluate effective educational programs for adults.

Students come from a variety of work areas, such as community colleges and higher education, adult literacy, health care, law enforcement, business and industry, government and military, and community-based organizations.

The majority of students are part-time and classes are offered entirely online.

Master of Arts in Education - Adult Education Flyer

Expand the sections below to learn more about this program.

 Apply Today

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Steven W. Schmidt
Ragsdale 221 B

Graduate School Admission

Application for admission to the Graduate School is made either online or on forms furnished by the Graduate School. All applicants for admissions pay a nondeductible, nonrefundable fee of $70. The application form and all supporting documents should be received by the Graduate School, Ragsdale Building, (252) 328-6012 at least thirty days prior to the beginning of any semester or summer term.

Applicants are asked to furnish two official transcripts from each institution attended since high school, test scores from the MAT or GRE, and at least three letters of recommendation. Once the application is complete and has been forwarded to the Coordinator of the Adult Education program, the applicant will be contacted about completing the writing sample and interview.

General Admission Requirements

  1. Academic Achievement - Applicants must first meet the requirements for the admission to the Graduate School. The junior and senior years of undergraduate study are particularly crucial. It is recognized, however, that some applicants have finished their undergraduate study some time ago and that work experience and motivation are also factors in success in graduate study.
  2. Standardized Test- Either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is required. The GRE and the MAT are administered on the ECU campus through the Testing Center (252) 328-6811.
  3. Writing Sample - All applicants to the Adult Education program will be required to provide a short spontaneous writing sample completed under conditions provided by the Program Coordinator. The general subject of the writing sample will be the applicants' career goals or another relevant topic of general nature.
  4. Letters of Recommendation - Applicants will be asked to present three letters of reference which can speak to their ability to perform graduate level academic work as well as their interest and experience in adult education.
  5. Statement of Intent- All applicants to the program will be required to include a Statement of Intent with application materials. This statement should highlight applicants' reasons for applying to the Adult Education program.
  6. Interview/Review- Candidates are interviewed and reviewed by adult education faculty as part of their admission and continued progression through the program.

Certificate in Community College Instruction

The Adult Education program also offers a 15-hour certificate in Community College Instruction. The Certificate is endorsed by the North Carolina Community College system and is offered online. Application is made through the Graduate School and requires undergraduate transcripts, two letters of reference, and a goal or purpose statement regarding teaching at the community college level. No GRE or MAT is required.

Non-degree Admission

Students who wish to take resident course work for purposes other than a master's degree may be admitted by presenting an application supported by a transcript showing the awarding of a bachelor's degree. However, graduate courses taken under this admission may not necessarily be used to fulfill requirements for any master's program. There are no prerequisite courses for graduate work in adult education since the interdisciplinary nature of the profession is its strength.
The Master of Arts in Education in Adult Education requires a minimum of 36 semester hours. A thesis is optional, however, any student planning to continue into a doctoral program is strongly encouraged to take the thesis option. If a student does not have direct work experience in an adult education setting, an internship is recommended. To graduate, students must complete and present a cumulative portfolio. The coursework is as follows:

Adult Education Core Courses (15 hrs. required)

  • ADED 6445 Introduction to Adult and Community Education
  • ADED 6453 The Adult Learner
  • ADED 6481 Development of Adult Education Programs
  • ADED 6484 Organization & Administration of Adult Education
  • ADED 6487 Instructional Strategies in Adult Education

Research (3 hrs. required)

  • ADED 6491 Research Problems in Adult Education (or alternative approved by an advisor)

Electives in Adult Education (9 hrs. to be selected with an advisor)

  • *ADED 6001, 6002, 6003 Special Topics in Adult Education
  • ADED 6240 Effective College Teaching
  • ADED 6307 Proposal Writing for Grants and Contracts
  • ADED 6379 Issues and Strategies in Adult Literacy A
  • ADED 6446 Community Education and Community Development
  • ADED 6450 Community, Junior, and Technical Colleges
  • ADED 6454 Educational Gerontology
  • ADED 6461 Introduction to Training and Development
  • ADED 6462 Seminar in Training and Development
  • ADED 6490 Issues and Trends in Adult Education
  • ADED 6491 Research Problems in Adult Education
  • *ADED 6492/6493 - Directed Reading in Adult Education
  • ADED 6495 Educational Program Evaluation
  • ADED 6550 Leadership & Communication Skills in Education
  • ADED 6600 Introduction to International Higher Education Administration
  • ADED 6690 Current Topics in International Higher Education Administration
  • *ADED 6989/6990 Internship in Adult Education
  • ADED 7000 Thesis (1-6)
  • ADED 7001 Thesis: Summer Research (1)

*Prior approval by instructor must be obtained and approved by the department chair before registering for Special Topics, Directed Readings, or Internship hours.

Other Electives

Nine additional elective hours may be taken in adult education or in related disciplines outside of adult education. These can be from within education or from other areas such as psychology, business or allied health. They are to be selected with an advisor and should complement prior experience and future career goals.

ADEd Focus Areas

Click on the link above to see the many different specific areas of study possible in our Masters in Adult Education


Up to 20% of a program of study may be accepted by transfer or extension on approval of the Coordinator of the adult education program, the Department Chair and the Graduate School. All credits including transfer and extension, are covered by a six year limitation. No transfer courses will be accepted without approval of an advisor prior to registration.

Portfolio Requirements

Use the link above to view the requirements for the MAEd in Adult Education portfolio.

For a full listing of all of the names and descriptions of the courses within this program, please visit the Adult Education section of the Graduate Catalog

Fall/Spring Required Course Rotation Schedule

  • ADED 6445 – Introduction to Adult & Community College
  • ADED 6481 – Development of Adult Education Programs
  • ADED 6484 – Organization & Administration of Adult/Continuing Education
  • ADED 6453 – The Adult Learner
  • ADED 6487 – Instructional Strategies
  • ADED 6491 – Research Problems in Higher Education
  • Electives to be determined.

Adult Education Handbook for the MAEd and certificates.

Adult Education, MAEd

The College of Education offers an online master's degree program in adult education, which is designed to assist teachers, instructional designers, administrators, trainers, and other persons working with adult learners to develop those skills necessary to initiate, design, administer, and implement effective educational programs. The mission of the degree program is to prepare adult educators who are knowledgeable and reflective in their practice and critical in their thinking. Admission to this program does not require an initial teaching license. The program requires a minimum of 36 s.h. with 24 s.h. in adult education and 3 s.h. in educational research and a culminating reflective portfolio. A maximum of 9 s.h. may be taken as electives in related areas. An interview and writing sample may be required for admission.
Required courses:
  • ADED 6445 - Introduction to Adult and Community Education
  • ADED 6453 - The Adult Learner
  • ADED 6481 - Development of Adult Education Programs
  • ADED 6484 - Organization and Administration of Adult Education
  • ADED 6487 - Instructional Strategies in Adult Education
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