Master of Arts in Education

In Goddard’s Master of Arts in Education, you choose your topic of inquiry and design a program of study based on how you learn best and what your study can contribute most to you and your community. Goddard invites you to think about your topic by drawing in other pertinent fields of study, which in turn allows you to see a wider view of the practices and theories inherent in your topic of study. Such a view enables you to create a more holistic thesis project, and enables you to learn more in the process about your life, your challenges and your gifts.

The Master of Arts in Education offers study options in these areas:

Students may apply to transfer up to 12 graduate credits

The Faculty

The Education Faculty is deeply committed to offering a holistic, interdisciplinary and student-centered approach to learning that is personally and socially relevant. Faculty members work one-on-one with students as faculty advisors throughout the semester, as well as facilitating group studies, teaching workshops at residency, and acting as second readers to students’ final projects. Our faculty is comprised of national and international scholar practitioners with extensive experience supporting students taking charge of their learning. Faculty members’ work with students is focused, clear, and rigorous.

Study Options

The Master of Arts in Education offers study options in these areas:


Twice a year at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s main campus in Plainfield, Vermont or the program’s residency site in Seattle, Washington. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning. A residency is comprised of:

  • Individual and group advising sessions
  • New-student orientation
  • Presentations by graduation students and commencement
  • Faculty, student, and guest workshops/presentations, mini-courses, and panels,
  • Peer work groups
  • Information and planning sessions related to teacher licensure
  • Information sessions (financial aid; how to do research; how to access the College’s email and online resources; planning your final semester etc.)
  • Public readings, artistic presentations, panels, exhibitions
  • Co-curricular activities (support groups, recreational events, art shows, cabarets, film series, movement workshops, meditation space, art space, etc.)

Writing the semester study plan is an important focus of the residency for students. Working closely with your faculty advisor and supported by fellow learners, you articulate your educational and personal goals for your studies within the context of degree criteria and program requirements. The study plan is your detailed and individualized map and will address the following:

  • The semester’s learning goals
  • The resources the student plans to draw on (e.g., books, journals, conferences)
  • The methodology the student plans to use (e.g., library or field research, interviews, creative production)
  • The specific learning activities the student will undertake (e.g., creative and critical reading and writing, observations, field work, keeping a journal)
  • The academic work the student will produce (e.g. essays, visual art work, workshop reports, poems, interview transcriptions, annotations)
  • A bibliography of reading the student plans to do during the semester

The Plainfield, VT Campus offers the following MA Degree Options:

The Seattle, WA Site offers the following MA Degree Options:

Goddard College programs operating in the State of Washington are authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council. For more information, please refer to Accreditation and Approvals.

Low-Residency Model

At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont or Washington, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor and course mentor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.

Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.

Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.

This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor and course mentors.

Degree Requirements

The MA in Education degree criteria are the goals toward which your individualized graduate studies are aimed. Throughout your course of study, you are expected to deeply engage with the criteria, working toward a full and sustained demonstration of them by graduation. Students graduating with an MA in Education will have successfully accomplished the following:

  • Articulated a powerful autobiographical understanding of their relationship to society, culture, and education
  • Understood and actualized the essential concepts of progressive education, namely inquiry-based learning, reflection and critical thinking, and a student-focused curriculum
  • Prepared themselves to work toward the creation of a more just, humane, democratic, and sustainable world
  • Acquired the professional knowledge base to perform a leadership role in the field of education
  • Developed the capacities to critically analyze, interpret, organize, communicate, and apply knowledge relevant to education
  • Developed a clear sense of the relationship between theory and practice, and learned to apply progressive education principles and practices to real-world issues
  • Produced a masters’ thesis that includes the formulation of significant questions, application of methods of inquiry, identification and utilization of learning resources, analysis, crit​ical thinking, and the integration and application of theory into practice

Work of the Program

Following the on-site residency and over the course of 16 weeks of independent study and reflection, you will submit your work to your faculty advisor. Typically, there are 5 submissions for full-time students; 3 submissions for part-time students. Evidence of the work completed can include essays, critical and creative writing, sample curriculums, classroom materials, documentation of art practice/works, book annotations, and a cover letter in which you reflect on the learning process.

Your advisor responds promptly in writing to your materials with a detailed letter addressing the various components of your work and containing appraisal, feedback, and suggestions. Through the regular exchange of work and responses, a sustained, meaningful dialogue takes place centered on your learning and goals. Students often describe this dialogue as transformative and empowering. At the end of the semester, in lieu of grades, students and advisors write comprehensive evaluations of the student’s learning.

Educational resources vary from independent study to field experience. Many studies focus on a particular issue or problem. Creative engagement and the integration of theory and practice are emphasized. Within an individualized education focus, work may include studies in anti-racist education, alternative schooling, integrative arts, mediation, bilingual education, spirituality, and environmental sustainability, to name a few. At the end of each semester, in lieu of grades, you and your faculty advisor write narrative evaluations that describe your work in a practice of authentic assessment.

Credit Options


Goddard’s traditional 12-credit semester full-time study format includes attending an eight-day residency at the beginning of each semester, which occurs in July and January in Plainfield, VT or August and February in Seattle, WA. Full-time study requires a commitment of 26 hours or more a week after the residency.


Goddard’s three-quarter-time study option translates to nine credits each semester. The nine-semester credit option benefits students who can commit 19 hours a week to their academic work, but find the 26 hours required of the full-time option too challenging. The nine-semester credit option extends the time necessary to earn the degree by one semester. The cost per individual semester is reduced.