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School of Education

M.Ed. student engaged in discussion at their desks

School of Education

Program Structure

Through the study and critical analysis of current issues in education and the application of research-based approaches, students will acquire intellectual independence. The objectives of the program will be achieved through a combination of course work, teaching and research seminars, and individual reading and research.

Students will complete the program on a part- or full-time basis over a minimum of three terms for full time, and five terms for part time students, with a maximum of five years allowed for program completion. For full time students requiring ethics approval for projects or thesis the minimum time expected is five terms.

In the Summer term we run intensive on-site courses. These can either run over a 2 week period (9am-1pm for 9 days), or over 6 consecutive days (9am – 3pm for 6 days).  We will normally run 3 or 4 different courses during the summer.

Courses in the Fall and Winter terms take place on-site, in the evenings. Each course runs 1 evening a week, over a 12 week period, plus an additional reading week. Generally, one online course is offered in each of the fall and winter terms.

Additionally, you may choose to complete a course in another Trent department or take an independent reading and research course (IRR). IRR’s offer a range of flexible options to help meet the specific needs of M.Ed. students: The first is for the student to define the research topic and find a faculty member to oversee the course and evaluation of the student work; the second option is for a group of students with common interests to work with a faculty member to devise a course; the third option is for students to request a course that has been run previously, but is not in the current schedule.

With the approval of the program director and dean of Graduate Studies, you also have the option to take one course at another university in Ontario. This may be an online course taken at a university of your choice. Please e-mail educgradamin@trentu.ca for information on pursuing this option. 

The Masters in Educational Studies offers three pathways:

A. Course-only
This program pathway is a course-only format. In addition to the three mandatory courses, students must also complete a further seven elective courses. The course-only structure will suit professionals seeking a Masters qualification for professional advancement. Research practice and experience will be embedded in each of the courses, ensuring that students gain a good understanding of the nature of educational research. The Masters in Educational Studies course stream synthesis will require students to demonstrate their ability to access, critically read, and apply research literature to an area of interest. Subject to program requirements, a student may be permitted to take up to two graduate courses in another department/program.

» Sample Course Descriptions (PDF)

B. Major Research Paper
Students may choose to complete a major research paper. Their program of study would include the three mandatory courses for all students, five elective courses and a major research paper in lieu of two elective courses. Subject to program requirements, a student may be permitted to take graduate courses in another department/program. Major research paper requirements and supervisory responsibilities follow those guidelines set by Graduate Studies. 

The major research paper pathway is especially suited to professionals working in the field who want to expand their knowledge base in relation to their current practices, leadership roles, and future responsibilities. The goal is to create opportunities for combining scholarly reflection with practical involvement and self-initiated fieldwork. The major research paper will emphasize practice-based modes of investigation, such as action research of classroom practice, leadership initiatives, and curriculum development. The paper will be equal to a thesis in academic quality but be more limited in scope and/or originality. The major research paper will be reviewed by two faculty in the M.Ed. program.

» Guidelines for Starting a Research Project (DOC)

C. Research Thesis
A thesis option will be available for students. A student selected/approved to complete a research thesis will take the three mandatory courses, three elective courses, and complete a research thesis in lieu of four elective courses. Subject to program requirements, a student may be permitted to take up to two graduate courses in another department/program. Thesis paper requirements and supervisory responsibilities follow guidelines set by Graduate Studies.

The thesis component of the degree emphasizes a theory-based mode of original inquiry, geared towards developing scholarly knowledge and strong research skills, leading to a contribution in the student’s field of specialization. The thesis is a major component of the degree and a thesis supervisor will assist with the program planning and, with other committee members, will supervise the student’s research. This route is particularly suited to those students with the desire and the potential to have a long-term engagement with academic research following completion of the program.

» Guidelines for Thesis Proposal (DOC)
» Guidelines for Thesis Format (DOC)
» Copyright, Authorship and Publication of Thesis Material (DOC)
» Steps Toward the Thesis Defence (DOC)

» Estimated Graduation Date Template (EXL)