As jobless claims rose more and more during 2009 and 2010, more students than ever decided to stay in school or return to school. Record numbers saw advanced degrees as a way of gaining a rung up in the employment hierarchy.
In the field of education, this type of thinking often results in educators seeking a Master of Education degree from a reputable university. The U.S. boasts many of the top universities, attracting students from all over the world who, too, are seeking out the top Master of Education degree programs available.
A List of the Top Ten Master of Education Degree Programs Ultimately Depends Upon Individual Needs
What many top lists fail to point out is that people must be rational. Paying upwards of $25,000 per year, uprooting the family and moving cross country is not for most individuals.
When I was seeking my own Master of Education in English degree, I was already teaching. During the day I taught five high school English classes, including yearbook and a homeroom. Earning a master’s degree would qualify me for an additional $35 bucks per month in my paycheck, or $350 a year as a 10-month employee. It didn’t take a math whiz to figure out that Harvard, Stanford or even Vanderbilt (closer geographically) were out of the spectrum of what was “best” for me.
I needed a university close by. I taught in the day and drove at night and during summer school and return to my family when I was not at work or at school. Quitting work or leaving home was not an option. Still, I longed to have that master’s degree.
Master of Education Degree Programs–My Choices Worked for Me
In short, I went back to school. I earned my Master of Education degree in English. The diploma never went into a frame and never appeared on a wall, but I received a top-notch education from some of the best professors I could have asked for. What was best for me ended up being tops in my book. The choices I made are not on many top-ten lists. However, these master of education degree programs made it to the top for me:
1. East Carolina University in Greenville, NC: Reason: It took an hour to drive there once a week, many nights in rain, sleet and sometimes snow. Co-workers and friends car-pooled with me. In summer, I could handle the five-day-a-week drive alone as I planned the high school yearbook and junior-senior prom in my head. Many of my best ideas came to me during those drives to graduate school. Like me, teachers and principals from all over eastern North Carolina drove to ECU to earn their masters of education degrees.
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC: Reason: Mortimer Adler founded the National Paideia Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988 to “focus on issues of pedagogy, educational leadership and school reform.” The Paideia method, with its focus upon the development of communication skills, critical thinking collaborative learning and problem-solving was for me. Anything evolving out of Socratic thinking appealed to me.
3. University of Connecticut at Storrs, CT: Reason: I was fortunate in having a superintendent who believed in giving his teachers the best in education. He paved the way for teachers to study under Dr. Joseph Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis at Confratute, which attracted the best and brightest educators from all over the world to teach at summer workshops. Again, anything associated with these two professors, I wanted more of. They were beyond tops in education, and remain so.
These educational programs proved tops for my own experience, but in this global Internet age, most people figure to read about colleges and universities throughout the United States, so for those top ten master of education degree programs, I’ll turn to a more authoritative source.
Top Ten Master of Education Degree Programs Grow out of the Top Education Schools in America
In its August 2, 2010 online edition, U.S. News & World Report published the results of its study of over 12,000 graduate programs. They presented the top-ranked graduate schools in a variety of disciplines, including what they considered the best education schools in the United States.
The U.S. News website allows the viewer to sort rankings based upon various options. This article lists the results of their category, “Best Education Programs,” as ranked in 2010. These programs fall under a larger category entitled “Graduate Schools” and will have corresponding Master of Education programs within each institution.
Top Education Schools According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 Survey
1. Vanderbilt University (Peabody) in Nashville, TN: A full-time student here pays $1,568 per credit. The school has a graduate enrollment of 779 students and received a score of 100 out of 100 points.
2. Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, NY: A full-time student pays $1,127 per credit. The school has a graduate enrollment of 5,102 students and received a score of 91 out of 100 points.
3. Harvard University in Cambridge, MA: Full-time students pay $34,208 per year to attend. It has 993 students in its total graduate education enrollment and received 90 out of 100 points.
4. Stanford University in Stanford, CA: Full-time students pay $37,380 per year. Stanford has a total graduation enrollment of 381 students and received 90 out of 100 points.
5. University of Oregon in Eugene, OR: In-state, full-time students pay $12,697 per year while out-of-state, full-time students fork over $17,989 per year. It has a total graduate education enrollment of 797 students and a score of 88 out of 100 points.
6. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD: Full-time students pay $477 per credit. It has a total graduate education enrollment of 1,935 students and a score of 87 out of 100 points.
7. University of California at Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA: In-state, full-time students pay $0 per year while out-of-state, full-time students pay $14,694 per year. It has a total graduate education enrollment of 836 students and received 87 out of 100 points.
8. Northwestern University in Evanston, IL: Full-time students pay $38,088 per year. It has a total graduate education enrollment of 836 students. It received a score of 85 out of 100 points.
9. University of Wisconsin at Madison in Madison, WI: In-state, full-time students pay $10,518 per year. Out-of-state, full-time students shell out $25,072 per year. It has a total graduate education enrollment of 1026 and received a score of 82 out of 100 points.
10. University of California at Berkeley in Berkeley, CA: In-state, full-time students pay $0. per year while full-time, out-of-state students pay $14,694 per year. It has a total graduation education enrollment of 402 and received score of 81 out of 100 points.
U.S. News and World Report. August 2, 2010.