Master of Education in Educational Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How is the MES program different from traditional graduate programs?
  2. Can I do this program while working full-time?
  3. How long does it take to complete the program?
  4. What do I need to qualify for admission?
  5. What if my GPA is less than 3.0?
  6. What if I need to take time off from my program?
  7. How will a break in my studies affect my fees? My graduation date?
  8. What is the cohort model?
  9. If we all take the same courses, how can I specialize in my area of interest?
  10. How are distance education courses delivered?
  11. What are the computer requirements for full participation in the program?
  12. How do summer residencies work?
  13. I don't live in Edmonton. Where can I stay during the summer residency?
  14. I'm an international student. Do I need a study visa for this program?
  15. When do I take my electives?
  16. How much do elective courses cost?
  17. What if I have already completed some graduate level courses?
  18. How will an MEd degree affect my TQS?
  19. What grading system does the program use?
  20. What if I’m thinking of doing a PhD or EdD program after the MES?

How is the MES program different from other graduate programs?  
The Master of Education in Educational Studies degree is designed for working professionals. You can finish the program in two years without taking a leave from your teaching career. The program delivery is as follows:

  1. Two, full-time, 3-week summer residencies. One is taken in year one; the second is taken in year two. You will complete 12 of the required 30 credits during these residencies.
  2. Online courses. You will take eight 3-credit core courses, one per semester, sequentially with your cohort.
  3. Two approved 3-credit electives that are MES program-relevant. Usually, these are University of Alberta courses, but may be graduate courses taken from any accredited university.

Another difference is the MES cohort model: you will move through the two-year program with a single group of peers, providing you with the opportunity to optimize your learning experience through collaboration and networking. 

Can I do this program while working full-time?  
Yes. The MES program is designed so that you can complete it in two years without taking time off from work. Summer residencies are scheduled during breaks from the school year. These 3-week summer residencies are the only time periods during which you are expected to commit full-time hours to your studies.

However, you should carefully consider the demands and the rigours this program will place on your schedule: a graduate level course typically requires up to 10 hours a week of your time. We suggest that you discuss the demands of the program with your school and your family; strong personal and professional support coupled with effective time management skills help to optimize the learning experience.

How long does it take to complete the program?  
The program takes two years to complete.

What do I need to qualify for admission?  
All University of Alberta masters programs require a bachelor degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (6.5 on the old 9 point scale) on the last 60 credits of graded course work. The MES program also requires two years of in full-time teaching experience.

What if my GPA is less than 3.0?  
If your average is less than 3.0, please contact the MES Graduate Secretary to discuss your options.

What if I need to take time off from my program?  
If you need to interrupt your studies, we will do our best to accommodate. Typically, you would resume your studies with the next year's cohort. During your break from the core program, you may complete your approved electives, if you have not already done so. Please contact the MES Graduate Secretary to discuss your options.

How will a break in my studies affect my fees? My graduation date?  
You must be enrolled in one course within a school year (September-August) in order to keep your program active or your program will lapse. If you intend to interrupt your program, please contact the MES Graduate Secretary immediately so that we can work out any registration considerations to ensure that your program status remains active.

What is the cohort model?  
A cohort model means that you and your peer (cohort) group (typically about 20 people) will follow the same course of studies over the same schedule. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know one another during the first summer residency. The cohort model supports building a robust learning community, where high levels of student engagement optimize both the face-to-face and online learning experiences.

If we all take the same courses, how can I specialize in my area of interest?  
Teachers bring many personal interests to graduate studies: for example, administration, Aboriginal studies: special education, and subject area specializations such as mathematics or literacy instruction, to name a few. You will choose an area of educational research that is of particular interest to you as the topic for your research assignment.

Although everyone takes the same courses, the program is designed to help you conduct research in your own area of interest, draw conclusions from that research, and share your insights on professional practice with your cohort. Course structure will be the same for every graduate student; however, how you apply the course content will differ depending upon personal interests. Program faculty and your peers will also provide you with support and leadership in your area of interest.

How are distance education courses delivered?  
Except for the summer residencies, all MES program core courses are delivered over the Internet using the University of Alberta's eClass course interface. You can expect most aspects of your web-based courses to be:

  • Paced
    • You will have regular due dates for your assignments, and all students in the course have the same deadlines for their assignments.
  • Asynchronous
    • With rare exceptions, you will not be required to "meet" at certain times online. You will be able to work on the course during the hours that are best for you.
  • Collaborative
    • Although you will complete many assignments on your own and pursue your own area of interest, you can expect some group assignments. Courses will encourage you to draw on the wisdom, resources and support of your classmates as you work.
  • Built for teachers and schools
    • Course assignments will be constructed around a typical school year calendar.

What are the computer requirements for full participation in the program?  
A Mac or PC computer with reliable Internet access is required. We recommend a high-speed Internet connection: this will make it much easier for you to conduct Internet research and download the course documents that are required for your course work. At minimum, you should be comfortable using:

  • An Internet browser
  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • A word-processing program like Word
  • Search engines

How do summer residencies work?  
Summer residencies are intensive full-time, three-week study periods during which you will work with an instructor and your cohort to complete 6 course credits.

Summer residencies include course work, discourse, lectures, and opportunities—both formal and informal—to get to know your cohort peers. You can expect to spend much of your non-class time studying and working with your classmates.

I don't live in Edmonton. Where can I stay during the summer residency?  
Some students stay with friends or family members over the three-week period. If you require paid accommodation, a number of options are available, including nearby hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, and the University of Alberta Residence Services.

I'm an international student. Do I need a study permit (visa) for this program?  
Yes. Anyone who studies in Canada for a program that lasts longer than 6 months needs a study permit. Once you are accepted into the program and receive your letter of admission, you can begin the application process. For more information about obtaining your study permit, visit the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website. The University of Alberta also has advisors available at the office of International Student Services who can help you with the study permit process. You can contact them at arriving@international.ualberta.ca.

When do I take my electives? 
Given the program schedule, it is assumed that students will pursue approved electives during the Spring and/or Summer sessions. Many students complete their electives before applying to the program: up to two 3-credit courses taken outside of the MES program may be accepted toward meeting program requirements, providing they are program-relevant and are approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR).

How much do elective courses cost? 
Generally, the "going rate" for a graduate-level course ranges from $700 to $1,800, depending on the institution and the mode of delivery.  It is your responsibility to identify the courses that best meet your needs and to have these courses approved for the MES program. However, we will make every effort to provide support, advice, and recommendations to help you determine the best options for your program. Please contact the MES Graduate Secretary to discuss proposed electives.

What if I have already completed some graduate level courses?
Up to two courses may be admitted as program electives. Approval depends upon several factors, so they must be assessed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, approved options for transfer into the MES program:

  • are graduate-level courses completed at an accredited university
  • have been completed within the last 3-4 years
  • are relevant to the MES program

Please contact the MES Graduate Secretary to discuss the process for approval.

How will this MEd degree affect my TQS?  
The ATA has informed us that a graduate degree of 30 units of course weight can be applied as 1.25 years of education toward your TQS. This is a standard assessment for course-based graduate degree programs.

What grading system does the program use?  
The program uses the University of Alberta's 4-point scale grading system. For more information about the University of Alberta grading system, see the grading system at the Office of the Registrar.

What if I’m thinking of doing a PhD or EdD program after the MES?  
Typically, any course-based master’s degree will need to be supplemented with a few extra courses before entering into a PhD or EdD program; usually, these courses will need to be research related and/or content-related to your research interest. Please check the admission requirements for the doctoral program you may be interested in before applying to the MES program. If you think there's a PhD in your future, please be advised to select electives that reflect your area of interest.