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Online Master’s in Education: Preliminary Education Specialist Credential

The Online M.A. Education: Preliminary Education Specialist Credential enables students to reach the next level in their professional journey by combining the convenience of online coursework in advanced study in education theory with hands-on practice.

2 1/2 years full-time or 4 1/2 years part-time

58 units required for completion

Offered completely online

Online M.A. Education: Preliminary Education Specialist Credential

This Master’s degree program builds on the foundation of the bachelor’s degree students bring with them as well as their previous or current professional experience.

Students enrolled in this online M.A. Education program will develop an understanding of all areas of child and human development, including social, political, and cultural contexts. In addition to meeting all of the academic requirements for California State Teaching Credentials, students who complete this program will be qualified to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in K-12 settings and adults to age 22. 

Sample Courses

Advanced English Learner Methodologies in a Diverse Classroom

This course focuses on the unique needs of English language learners and children with special needs. Candidates explore language, literacy, and content acquisitions for English learners through readings, discussions, activities, reflection and classroom observations. Instruction focuses on the historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of English Language Development (ELD) and Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) to elementary students in a diverse classroom. Emphasis is on incorporating state Frameworks and ELD standards into a program that also draws on children’s real-life experiences and knowledge about language and literacy. In an environment that parallels that of a dynamic elementary school classroom, students will explore language, literacy, and content acquisition for English learners through readings, discussions, activities, reflection, and classroom observations. The unique needs of English language learners and children with special needs will be addressed throughout the course. Key topics include primary and second language acquisition, the role of language in learning, SDAIE strategies, integrating language development into lesson planning, language learning, assessment, differentiation of instruction, analysis of classroom discourse and how first language literacy connects to second language development.

Advanced Cognitive Development and Mathematics

This course focuses on the advanced theoretical and practical aspects of teaching mathematics to students in a diverse classroom. In keeping with the cognitive theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, brain research, and Gardner, emphasis will be placed on the implications of a constructionist theory in terms of the role of the teacher, the classroom environment and student learning. This methodology course addresses the planning of content-specific instruction and delivery of content consistent with state adopted (K-8) mathematics standards and the language needs of all learners. The interrelated components of a balanced program of mathematics and the fostering of positive attitudes toward mathematics are stressed. This course includes instruction in how to model concepts and teach learners to solve problems using multiple strategies and to anticipate, recognize and clarify mathematical misunderstandings that are common among (K-8) learners. Modifications for diverse learners and learners with exceptionalities are researched and applied through 15 hours of fieldwork experience. Technology for teaching and learning is integrated in the course. It is through this course that each student completes the CalTPA task “Designing Instruction” as a performance- based measure of the knowledge and skills taught in this course.

Other M.A. in Education & Teaching Credentials

Admission Requirements

  • Completed Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Official CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) scores*

*Passing the CBEST exam is an admissions expectation. However, applicants in the M.A. Education with Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, or Preliminary Education Specialist Credential programs will be granted admission for 1 semester or 2 sessions if they have scheduled their CBEST exam at the time of application. Students without passing CBEST scores at the time of admission must participate in the CBEST workshop and support programs provided by the College. These students must pass the CBEST exam within 1 semester or 2 sessions to be allowed to progress in the program. Students who fail to pass the CBEST within this timeframe will be given the opportunity to change to the M.A. Human Development program, but must meet all admissions requirements for that program. Students who do not wish to change programs will be withdrawn. Students must request results of the exam be sent to Pacific Oaks College. The CBEST exam can be taken multiple times by the student, with a 45-day waiting period after each exam.


  • Requires three units of practicum, including observation in various age groups, abilities, and diversities
  • Practicum is available in over 25 local public schools
  • Requires 10 units of directed teaching
  • Fieldwork must be determined by Credentialing Analyist