Graduate Edition 2021-2023

Program Description

Elizabeth City State University provides a challenging and supportive environment that prepares its students for knowledgeable, responsible participation and leadership in an ever-changing, technologically advanced society. ECSU continues to promote excellence in teaching as its primary responsibility to meet the needs of the students and citizens of the state, nation, and world.

The Department of Education offers the fully online Master of Education degree in Elementary Education with a choice of two tracks, Teacher Leader and Initial Certification in Elementary Education K-6. Both tracks offer traditional and accelerated options. The Teacher Leader track prepares candidates for National Board Certification while infusing knowledge for strong teacher leaders. The initial certification track prepares candidates for the role of lead teacher. Students seeking North Carolina Residency may also apply to the program. The primary goal is to ensure that teachers, through continuous decision making, become effective collaborators and leaders. The program’s focus is to fully implement national standards for teachers, including the North Carolina Standards for Graduate Teacher Candidates. Merging these standards results in high quality education for P-12 students.

The Conceptual Framework of the Department of Education represents the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are essential for the development of professional educational leaders as 21st Century Professional Educators. The knowledge, skills, and dispositions identified in the conceptual framework are attained through a collaborative relationship between the University, the Local Education Agency, the community, and the family. The conceptual framework identifies three types of knowledge: content knowledge, professional knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge, that candidates in the program will attain. In addition, successful candidates are expected to demonstrate the six dispositions, which are global competitors, advocates for diversity, healthy and responsible citizens, crucial thinkers and innovators, embedded technology users, and effective communicators and collaborators. The conceptual framework also directs the Master of Education in Elementary Education program by informing the decisions that faculty make regarding teaching and evaluation. Students are expected to engage in action research prior to exiting the program.


The Master of Education in Elementary Education program seeks to fulfill its mission by preparing 21st Century Professional Educators to:

  1. Respond effectively to children’s differences resulting from development, diversity, and exceptionalities;
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the content and pedagogy of the elementary curriculum as it relates to preparing students with 21st century skills;
  3. Improve educational practice through reflection, self-evaluation, and applied research;
  4. Direct their own personal and professional growth as educators.

Transfer Credits

A total of 40 credit hours is required to complete the Master’s Degree Program for the Initial Certification track with a minimum of 34 credit hours earned at Elizabeth City State University. For the Master’s Degree Program in the Teacher Leader track, 37 credit hours are required with a minimum of 31 hours earned at Elizabeth City State University.  No more than 6 credit hours may be transferred from other institutions. Courses numbered 500 or higher can be counted toward completion of the graduate degree. Graduate students who seek and obtain permission to take courses at other institutions for subsequent transfer to the degree program at ECSU may obtain credit only with permission from the student’s advisor, the Director of Graduate Education, and the Chairperson of the Department of Education.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements are:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution;
  • North Carolina "A" license in Elementary Education or the equivalent from another state if applying to the Teacher Leader track;
  • Two official transcripts from all institutions attended;
  • Completed ECSU Health Form;
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university;
  • A minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) or a 3.0 average for the last four semesters (60 credit hours) of study for the bachelor's degree.  Applicants may be admitted without reference to their baccalaureate record if they earned at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA in a master's degree program completed at an accredited college or university or if they earned at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA for at least 12 credit hours of a master's or doctoral degree program;
    • The M. Ed. must have a cohort average of at least a 3.0 in order to meet accreditation requirements. If a student’s GPA from their most recent degree is under a 3.0, the student may be provisionally admitted or admitted as a special student until the 3.0 GPA requirement is met.
    • Interview Requirements: M. Ed. applicants may be asked to interview it they have a GPA blow 3.0 or if the candidate is new to the field of Education.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) recommended, but not required;
  • $30 non-refundable application fee
  • Interview with Department of Education, Psychology and Health Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Faculty;
  • Typewritten two-page essay on a provided educational topic; and
  • Recommendations from three professional educators who can document work performance or relevant experience.

The requirements described above are minimum requirements and do not guarantee acceptance. Students are selected and admission decisions are based on consideration of educational factors (i.e. interview, performance, communication skills). A limited number of students who do not meet the minimum standards may be allowed to enroll with special permission. We encourage you to apply.

Oral Defense

The following actions will be implemented in reference to oral examinations:
In the semester that the Master’s level student is scheduled to graduate, the student will be required to defend and submit an electronic version of the Thesis/Product of Learning accompanied by all required forms and documentation of the Thesis/Product of Learning per specific program guidelines.

Course Load

A full load is nine (9) semester hours. The maximum number of hours in any semester is twelve (12).


Candidates in the Master of Education in Elementary Education program must meet the Elizabeth City State University residency requirements. No more than six credit hours may be transferred from other institutions. Thirty semester hours must be earned at ECSU.

Time Limitations

The Master of Education in Elementary Education degree must be completed within six successive calendar years. Programs remaining incomplete after this time period are subject to cancellations, provisions, or special examinations. A special appeal must be made, in writing, to the Chair of the Department of Education for appropriate action to be taken.


Advisors are assigned by the Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Program Coordinator submits the advisor assignments to the Office of Graduate Education, the Office of Teacher Education and the Department of Education.  The student will be notified of his or her advisor by the Program Coordinator and/or Department Chair.

Graduate Advisement Committee

The student selects his or her Graduate Advisement Committee. The Committee shall consist of the advisor and additional members to a total of three: One member should be a university faculty member from outside the student’s major department. The Graduate Advisement Committee shall be responsible for approval of the Product of Learning. Each committee member must sign the Graduate Advisement Committee Agreement Form indicating agreement to serve on the Committee. The Graduate Advisement Committee must be approved by the Chair of the Department of Education.


Upon admission to the program, the student is expected to assume the following responsibilities:

  1. Follow all policies of the Office of Graduate Education and the program area as specified in the Graduate Catalog;
  2. Consult with an assigned advisor before registering for courses in the degree program;
  3. Prepare a plan of study approved by the student, the advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, the Chair of the Department of Education, and the Director of Graduate Education; and
  4. Obtain permission from the advisor before making substitutions or altering the plan of study.

Retention Requirements

To gain approval to proceed with exit requirements, each student must:

  1. Complete a total of 12 but no more than 15 hours of graduate credit with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better (Advance to Candidacy).
  2. Receive no more than 2 grades of a C in any graduate coursework.

Exit Requirements

In order to be awarded the Master’s Degree, each student must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 40 semester hours of graduate credit applicable to the program;
  2. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0;
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit in courses offered at Elizabeth City State University;
  4. Submit an Admissions to Candidacy Application;
  5. Complete an Application for Graduation;
  6. Select Thesis/Product of Learning Defense Committee
  7. Meet with Office of Graduate Education to Schedule Oral Defense Examination
  8. Meeting passing score on Oral Defense as determined by committee member consensus.
  9. At the end of the Transformational Teaching Project (TTP), candidates will have the following artifacts: (A) an introductory report that identifies the problem, the team, the context process, and the content of the project; (B) a review of the literature; (C) documentary evidence; and (D) final reflection.
  10. The four artifacts will be submitted to the University in an electronic format (e.g. PowerPoint). All artifacts will be included in this product through links to word documents, video documentation, state standards, etc. The product will include an introductory description of how it meets all NC Standards for Graduate Teacher Candidates.

Oral Examinations

The following actions will be implemented in reference to oral examinations:

  1. In the semester that the Master’s level student is scheduled to graduate, the student will be required to submit an electronic version of the Thesis/Product of Learning. The deadline dates for the student to submit the Thesis/Product of Learning are listed below:

    Fall Semester – The Monday after the first Sunday in November.

    Spring Semester – The Monday after the first Sunday in April.

  2. Oral presentations will be scheduled during the week following the submission of the Thesis/Product of Learning during the months of November and April.
  3. The candidates will be expected to be prepared to defend their Thesis/Products of Learning before the Graduate Faculty and other parties interested in the students’ products.


Elizabeth City State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097: Telephone number is 404-679-4501) to award degrees at the Baccalaureate and Master’s levels.

The Teacher Education Educator Preparation Program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 210 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036-1023). Programs are approved by the and has North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).