Elementary Education

Graduate Programs

The Department of Elementary Education offers a variety of options at the Master's and Doctoral levels. We offer both on-campus programs and online instruction in some of our programs, designed to accommodate the lifestyles of working professionals.

Visit Admissions and Deadlines for more information.

On this page:

Master of Education - On-Campus

The Master of Education program is an advanced degree for educators who are concerned with professional matters of curriculum, teaching, and pedagogy. This program prepares educators for positions as master teachers, consultants, supervisors, clinicians and other school and school district personnel.

This program is for students who are able to take courses on campus and is especially suited for professionals who want to expand their knowledge base in relation to their current practices, leadership roles, and future responsibilities.

Our graduate program should include opportunity for course work and experiences both within and outside the Department of Elementary Education. We provide the opportunity for the integration of theoretical and practical experiences. We strive to develop a strong community of scholars by fostering critical understandings of a range of research paradigms.

  • Program Routes

    All master's applicants are admitted to the course-based route. Once admitted, students will meet with their assigned Program Advisor to begin planning their coursework and overall program of study. There are two routes to the master degree: course-based and thesis-based. Students may request to change to the thesis route after completing EDEL 567 and one graduate course in their area of study.

    Students who are interested in the thesis route should discuss this with their Program Advisor and plan to take EDEL 567 early in their program.

    Students normally complete *21 credits of course work (the equivalent of 7 3-credit courses) and a *9 credit thesis. No residence period is required but a one year residency is recommended. Thesis-based master's students must register in both Fall and Winter sessions (September to April) in coursework, thesis, or continuous registration in order to keep their programs active. Time to complete degree: 4 years.

Please note: Students from outside of Alberta should be sure check with their local teacher qualification services to determine program eligibility for salary or other purposes.

Master of Education - Online

The University of Alberta's fully online Master of Education degree offers the convenience and flexibility you need as a busy early childhood, elementary or middle school classroom teacher. The degree provides opportunities for professionals to engage in conversations about diversity in teaching, learning and curricula in a global context.

As you move forward into your Master of Education in Curriculum and Pedagogy degree, you will also explore the processes of curriculum development to better help you situate your own practices within the broader context of curriculum in Canada. To help you be better able to read and critique educational research, you will also take a course that provides an introduction to educational research. Here you will be able to continue your inquiry into problems of practice by finding, reading, evaluating and summarizing current research on your topic.

Courses will allow you the flexibility to select options that meet your learning needs as well as providing you with more in-depth study into different curricular areas. Through your connections to your peers and instructors, you will develop a network of colleagues who can support your learning during your studies and beyond. Technology will be thoughtfully infused into all courses and you will be able to explore multiple ways of presenting and sharing new understandings.

When applying, please select "Curriculum & Pedagogy" from the drop down menu on the online application form.

Master of Education - Cohort

As part of the Curriculum and Pedagogy MEd, the Department of Elementary Education periodically runs cohorts for interested graduate students. The cohort model allows for increased specialization in subject areas, a clearly defined educational path (timelines and course structure) and the creation of communities of practice.

See current and future cohort offerings below.

  • Health and Physical Education MEd Cohort 2018

    The Health and Physical Education MEd cohort is designed for teachers who want to complete their degree part-time in a structured program. If you are interested in an MEd that features a core of desirable courses such as health literacy, physical literacy and more, then this cohort is for you!

    The program consists of 10 courses and a capping presentation taken over a two year period. Courses are taught by leaders in the field and are delivered on-campus in the summer and online during the school year. Thesis options are available.

    Proposed Schedule

    Year One

    Summer: on-campus (2 weeks)
    • Foundations of HPE
    • Physical Literacy Praxis
    Fall: online
    • Intro to Educational Research
    Winter: online
    • Introduction to Curriculum Studies
    Spring: online
    • Reflective Practice in Education

    Year Two

    Summer: on-campus (2 weeks)
    • Assessment in HPE
    • Inclusion in HPE
    Fall: online
    • Health Literacy
    Winter: online
    • Leadership & Advocacy
    Spring: online
    • Comprehensive School Health

    Courses may vary due to scheduling and instructor availability.

    Visit https://goo.gl/forms/oJJbGinas5sY04hu1 for more information and to join the mailing list.

  • Teacher-Librarian MEd Cohort 2018

    The Teacher-Librarian cohort provides education for those who want to be teacher-librarians. This online MEd degree stream is offered part-time for teachers already working in schools and school libraries.

    Courses will help teachers develop school and professional leadership in inquiry, literacies, technology, and print and electronic resources through meaningful learning experiences. Students become part of a dynamic learning community with other teachers and teacher-librarians from across the country. We strongly believe that teacher-librarians are learning specialists in schools and that a Master of Education degree provides the research and leadership skills necessary to take on this exciting and multifaceted role.

    The program consists of 10 courses and a capping experience, scheduled over three and a half years. Scholarships may be available after completing four courses.

    Proposed Schedule

    Fall 2018
    • EDEL 540 - Introduction to Teacher-Librarianship
    Winter 2019
    • EDEL 544 - Introduction to Emerging Technologies
    Summer 2019
    • EDEL 543 - Introduction to Contemporary Literacies
    Fall 2019
    • EDEL 541 - Introduction to Resource Organization and Management
    Winter 2020
    • EDEL 595 - Teaching for Social Justice
    Summer 2020
    • EDEL 546 - The Leadership Role of the Teacher-Librarian
    Fall 2020
    • EDEL 542 - Introduction to Inquiry-Based Instruction
    Winter 2021
    • EDEL 567 - Introduction to Educational Research
    Summer 2021
    • EDEL 545 - Integration of Emerging Technologies
    Fall 2021
    • EDEL 549 - The Leadership Role of the Teacher-Librarian
    • EDEL 599 - Capstone Exercise

    Please contact Dr. Jennifer Branch-Mueller at jbranch@ualberta.ca for more information.

  • Early Learning Cohort 2018

    The Early Learning MEd cohort is designed for teachers to further their expertise in early childhood teaching and learning and complete their degree part-time in a predictable schedule. The program is designed to prepare leaders in the field to deliver, support, and promote education for young children. Such qualifications will prepare leaders in the field to meet young learners’ diverse needs including special needs, linguistic and cultural and religious,spiritual needs and needs based on the socio-economic circumstances in which they live.

    The program consists of 10 courses and a capping presentation taken over a two and a half year period. Courses are taught by leaders in the field and are delivered on-campus in the summer and online during the school year. Thesis options are available.

    Proposed Schedule

    Year One

    Summer: Blended
    • Mathematical Understanding of Young Children
    • Early Literacy
    Fall: Online (choose one)
    • Introduction to Educational Research
    • Processes of Curriculum Development
    Winter: Online (choose one)
    • Introduction to Educational Research
    • Processes of Curriculum Development

    Year Two

    Summer: Blended
    • Early Childhood Education: Home/School/Community Relations
    • Program Development in Early Childhood
    Fall: Online
    • Research in Program Development in Early Childhood Education
    Winter: Online
    • Principles of Curriculum Planning and Pedagogy in Early Childhood Settings

    Year Three

    Summer: Blended (choose one)
    • Music in the Early Years
    • Human Exceptionality and Inclusive Early Education
    Fall: Online
    • Contemporary Issues in Early Learning and Education

    Courses may vary due to scheduling and instructor availability.

    Contacts: Dr. Anna Kirova, Professor of Early Childhood Education Early Childhood Area Coordinator - anna.kirova@ualberta.ca or Dr. Larry Prochner, Professor of Early Childhood Education - larry.prochner@ualberta.ca.

Master of Education in Technology

The M.Ed. in Educational Technology is a graduate degree program for students who wish to take an academic degree but also desire the flexibility of choosing a stream that is most relevant to their teaching practices or educational research interests. This program is a cross-departmental faculty offering. The elementary education stream is for students who are interested in a K - 6 environment and who wish to focus on technology in a classroom integration context.

For more information regarding course selection and further information about the program, visit the Master in Educational Technology elementary education stream page.


The Doctoral program prepares individuals for academic research and teaching and for leadership positions in central offices, provincial departments of education, faculties of education and other educational institutions.

Doctoral programs are normally tailored for each individual student according to his/her interests, previous background and experience. Programs will be individually planned to focus on the subject areas of the elementary school and on more general areas such as early childhood education, curriculum studies, instructional studies and teacher education. The exact course requirements will be worked out on an individual basis in consultation with an advisor, and scholarly experiences beyond those offered in courses will be considered a significant part of the doctoral program.

PhD students have 6 years to complete their program. The average time to completion of doctoral students in Elementary Education is 4-5 years.