Skip to main content
Decorative Header Image

Secondary Education (M.Ed. and B.A.)

Department of Teaching and Learning

Peabody College Secondary Education Program's Mission and Vision

As a secondary education program, our mission is to engage teacher candidates in justice-oriented, disciplinary pedagogies. We work to understand the systemic inequities in our schools and society. We care deeply that teacher candidates bring their humanity to this work, in a way that develops and sustains their cultural identities.

Our vision is to prepare teachers to teach toward a more just society, to build teachers who embrace their students' humanity as they:

  • • bridge theoretical and practical models for teaching,
  • • implement curricula focused on rigor, joy, and socio-political consciousness,
  • • develop a commitment to work toward educational equity and access, and
  • • envision their role in working toward productive system-level change.

Our vision embraces the notion that our students are both honoring their own positionally and seeking to understand and embrace the same in their students.

Program Overview

Through the master's in Secondary Education, you will engage in rich coursework focused on critical perspectives and goals connected to the use of education for the creation of a more equitable society. You’ll have opportunities to collaborate with faculty on current research and gain invaluable experience teaching at the middle and high school levels.

The master’s degree in Secondary Education will prepare you to teach in grades 612 across all curriculum areas.

You will deepen your understanding of subject matter for teaching through this program, focusing on eliciting students’ ideas about subject matter and connecting students’ ideas to that subject matter, all while partnering with schools as a member of a teaching team.

Our Secondary Education program attracts students who want to take on the challenges and rewards of teaching diverse, historically marginalized learners, however, you will be prepared to work in any school and with any student population.


You’ll be able to specialize in the area you plan to teach and can select either a 1-year or 2-year program that includes licensure. Specializations are offered in the following areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies with an endorsement in History, Political Science (Government), Economics, Psychology, or Sociology
  • Science with an endorsement in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, or Physics

Specific program opportunities (and funding) may be available depending on your concentration (e.g., Noyce Program for STEM undergraduate majors  wanting to pursue an M.Ed., Patterson RAPS internships for English Language Arts specialists).

Teacher Licensure

Successful completion of the master’s degree in Secondary Education leads to a recommendation to the state for a teaching license in your selected area of concentration.

The Office of Teacher Licensure coordinates teacher licensure policies and procedures for the secondary education program so you’ll be prepared to meet Tennessee and other accreditation standards for teacher licensing.

Peabody College graduates who become licensed in Tennessee can also become licensed in other states. However, the completion of licensure requirements for other states may require work beyond the normal degree requirements, especially if your undergraduate program was missing certain liberal education categories or if you did not major in the academic subject area for which you are seeking licensure.

Program at a Glance

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Secondary Education

Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Director: Heather Johnson, Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Angie Saylor
Admission Term: Summer (1-year program) and Fall (2-year program)
Credit Hours: 3032
Priority Application Deadline: December 31* for fall entrance

* We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships as space and funds are available .

Our Commitment

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Secondary education seeks to engage teacher candidates in justice-oriented, disciplinary pedagogies. We work to understand the systemic inequities in our schools and society. We care deeply that teacher candidates bring their humanity to this work, in a way that develops and sustains their cultural identities. Our vision embraces the notion that our students are both honoring their own positions and seeking to understand and embrace those of their students.

Selected Courses Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

SCED 3320/7330: Introduction to Literacies in the Science Classroom – This course examines what it means to know science, how we know people know, and how we support learning across gender, race, class, religion, and sexual identities.

MTED 3320: Introduction to Literacies in the Mathematics Classroom – This course provides an equity-oriented and anti-racist focus in learning about the teaching and learning of mathematics at the secondary level.

EDUC 3310: Classroom Ecology - This course examines what critical care means in the landscape of the classroom, expanding on traditional notions of classroom management to consider issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in middle and high school classrooms.

Selected Faculty Research Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Teresa Dunleavy, assistant professor of the practice of mathematics education
Professor Dunleavy analyzes equitable mathematics teaching practices to understand students’ perspectives on their mathematics learning. She also investigates justice-oriented pedagogies that support classes to move toward equitable teaching.

Andy Hostetler, associate professor of the practice of social studies education
Professor Hostetler’s research focuses on how social studies learning can engage people in their community and stimulate action for social change. His projects include exploring how high school students used archival materials and maps to tell (under)told stories of local neighborhood histories, and investigating how novice social studies teachers navigate classroom discourses around relevant social issues.

Heather Johnson, associate professor of the practice of science education
Professor Johnson is exploring a critical framework for ambitious science teaching that introduces culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogies to preservice teachers during their professional year; she is also examining how to support novice teachers in noticing and responding to moments of epistemic injustice in the secondary science classroom.

Alumni Spotlight

Secondary Education graduates hold teaching positions in the United States and around the world. They find teaching jobs in public, private, and charter schools—typically the jobs they want, in the places they prefer.

Most Secondary Education graduates eventually move into positions as teacher-leaders, enabling them to mentor others and advocate for students and the profession. Some graduates are affiliated with nonprofit institutes.

91% of job-seeking Secondary Education graduates were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation.

Click here to see a list of recent career placements:

Recent graduates with an M.Ed. in Secondary Education have gone on to the following positions, among others:
  • 6th Grade Science Teacher, The Bishop’s School, San Diego, CA
  • 9th and 10th Grade English Teacher, Leman Manhattan Preparatory School, New York. NY
  • 10th Grade History Teacher, Park Slope Collegiate, Brooklyn, NY
  • English Teacher, Hamilton Middle School, Denver, CO
  • Geography & U.S. History Teacher, Edgewood Middle School, Mounds View, MN
  • History Teacher, IB School, Quito Ecuador
  • Integrated Math Teacher, Hume Fogg Magnet High School, Nashville, TN
  • Math Teacher, Mandarin High School, Jacksonville, FL
  • Physics Teacher, Xinhe Middle School, Shanghai, China
  • Social Studies Teacher, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA

Practicum Experience

Learning to teach occurs through practice. Lessons are learned in interactions over time, requiring both the opportunity to act and space to reflect.

One aspect that makes our Secondary Education program stand out is our teacher candidates’ constant engagement in fieldwork and residencies with local schools, where you will observe, participate, and teach.

These practicums are under constant revision, designed to provide you with the optimal mix of theory and practice and to ensure you are always safe to practice and ready to learn.

Recent Partners for Practicum Locations

  • East Nashville Magnet High School
  • Hillsboro High School
  • Hume-Fogg High School
  • JT Moore Middle School
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet Middle and High School
  • McGavock High School
  • Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School
  • Nashville School of the Arts
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
  • Spring Station Middle School
  • West End Middle School

Program Curriculum

There are two coursework tracks to the Secondary Education degree, allowing you to complete the master’s degree in one year (June through May) or over four semesters in two years.

Making your choice for the 1-year or 2-year program depends upon your point of entry into the program, how many courses you want to take each semester, and whether you want to pursue opportunities that involve being in schools full time during your second year of the two-year program.

Core Courses

All Secondary Education students are required to take the following six hours of core courses:

  • EDUC 6300 Advanced Social and Philosophical Aspects of Education
  • EDUC 6310 Classroom Ecology

Subject-Specific Learning and Pedagogy

The M.A. in Secondary Education includes an in-depth experience in subject-specific courses. The total number of credit hours for subject-specific learning and pedagogy will be determined by the licensure you seek. The courses for the B.A. are listed after the backslash (/).

English: 16-18 hours
  • ENED 6340/3340 Reading and Learning with Print and New Media or ENED 6330 Social and Philosophical Foundations of Adolescent Literacies
  • ENED 6350/3357 Adolescent Readers
  • ENED 6360/3357 Literature, Pop Culture, and New Media
  • ENED 6370/3370 Teaching Literature and Media to Adolescents
  • ENED 6380/3380 Teaching Writing and Media Composition
  • ENED 7973/4973 Seminar in Teaching Secondary English
Mathematics: 12 hours
  • MTED 6370/3370 Advanced Teaching of Mathematics in Secondary Schools
  • MTED 6380/3360 Computers, Teaching, and Mathematical Visualization
  • MTED 7330/3320 Introduction to Mathematical Literacies
  • MTED 7973/4963 Seminar in Teaching Secondary Mathematics
Science: 12 hours
  • SCED 6370/3370 Advanced Teaching of Science in Secondary Schools
  • SCED 7330/3320 Introduction to Literacies in Science
  • SCED 7400/3400 Modeling in the Secondary Science Classroom
  • SCED 7973/4963 Seminar in Teaching Secondary Science
Social Studies: 12 hours
  • SSED 6240/3260 Human Geography
  • SSED 6370/3370 Advanced Teaching of Social Studies in Secondary Schools
  • SSED 7330/3320 Intro to Literacies in Social Studies
  • SSED 7973/4963 Seminar in Teaching Secondary Social Studies

Field-Based Practicum Work

All students also complete eight hours of field-based work.

  • ENED/MTED/SCED/SSED 6371/3371 Practicum in Secondary Education III
  • EDUC 7972/4953 Internship in Teaching: Secondary

Additional Programmatic Courses

  • EDUC 6300/3620: Social and Philosophical Aspects of Education
  • EDUC 6310/3310: Classroom Ecology
  • EDUC 1220: School, Society, and Teacher
  • EDUC 3871: Practicum I
  • EDUC 3872: Practicum II
  • PSY-PC 2550" Adolescent Development

Recommended Elective Courses

  • EDUC 7190/3280 Planning & Assessment Strategies for Teaching
  • ENED/MTED/SCED/SSED courses in other content areas
  • ENED Courses in Reading and Literacy
  • EDUC Courses focused on supporting English learners
  • EDUC Courses focusing in equity/diversity

Licensure Requirements

All students are required to complete four to six hours of coursework to meet the requirements for teacher licensure.

  • EDUC 6510/3720 Principles of English Language Learner Education or EDUC 6520 Foundations of English Language Learner Education
  • SPED 7000/1210 Education and Psychology of Exceptional Learners or EDUC 6330 Recognizing and Responding to Special Needs Learners

All students seeking licensure additionally will need first aid and CPR training within two years before licensure recommendation. Students seeking licensure in English will need to complete two semesters (or the equivalent) of college-level coursework in a foreign language.

Elective Courses

Depending on your specific licensure, you may need to complete up to five additional credit hours of coursework to complete your degree. Elective courses may be taken across Peabody College, as well as in other disciplines offered across Vanderbilt University upon consultation with your faculty advisor.

Program Curriculum


Department faculty work in research and teaching collaboratives that include both theory and practice-oriented scholars. They share an interest in the relationships between student learning and where the learning takes place, in addition to a commitment to mentoring your success.

Tucker Biddlecombe
  • Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, Secondary Education
Corey E. Brady
  • Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Robert Clark
  • Assistant Professor of Music Education, Secondary Education
Andrew Hostetler
  • Associate Professor of the Practice of Social Studies Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Melanie Hundley
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Professor of the Practice, English Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Heather Johnson
  • Associate Professor of the Practice of Science Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Director of Secondary Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Nicole M. Joseph
  • Associate Professor, Mathematics Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Rebecca Peterson
  • Lecturer, Department of Teaching and Learning
Jessica Watkins
  • Assistant Professor of Science Education, Department of Teaching and Learning