Apr 17, 2024  

Graduate Education

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Graduate degree and certificate programs in the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences are designed for teachers, administrators, counselors, and other specialists desiring advanced degrees or certifications beyond the bachelor’s degree. The Heritage University Master of Education, Master of Arts, Master in Teaching degree programs, specializations, and certifications develop a professional’s knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for success in specialized fields. The following goals are common to all Heritage graduate degree programs.

Graduate student Learning Outcomes:

1.     Knowledge of the Physical World and of Human Cultures

a.     Students possess the knowledge of the physical world and scientific methodology necessary to engage in informed discussions regarding currently relevant issues in science and society.

b.     Students explain contributions and impacts of, as well as the connections among, history, the arts, social sciences, and cultural elements such as religion, philosophy, and literature.

2.     Intellectual and Practical Skills

a.     Students employ the appropriate methods to find, evaluate, produce, share, and use information.

b.     Students ask questions, demonstrate their ability to think systematically, and answer their questions by analyzing literature or conducting investigations.

c.     Students demonstrate communication skills in one or more areas including reading, writing, speaking, listening, and use of visual media in a variety of contexts.

d.     Students construct valid and sound arguments.

e.     Students demonstrate the mathematical and technological knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their disciplines and to contribute to their communities and to society.

f.      Students express themselves creatively through experience in the arts.

3.     Personal and Social Responsibility

a.     Students demonstrate increasing emotional competence, self-awareness, and resilience to maintain a sense of well-being.

b.     Students interpret and explain issues impacting society, including issues of sustainability and justice.

c.     Students demonstrate knowledge of the interconnections among ecological, social, and economic systems.

d.     Students respect, with dignity, the similarities and differences among people with whom they live and work.

4.     Integrative and Applied Learning

a.     Students synthesize and apply the knowledge and skills gained through their university experience in the contexts of their fields [to be achieved by the time the baccalaureate is completed].

b.     Students apply personal and social responsibility outside the campus community.

c.     Students exhibit personal, professional, and academic ethics.


The degree programs generally are taught in both an intensive weekend and/or blended virtual classroom model. Two-credit traditional courses are normally taught on two weekends, consisting of 30 contact hours per course. Blended online programs are usually taught over an eight week period with 3-4 three hour virtual classroom sessions using Blackboard Collaborate. Pre- and/or post-assignments require at least 15 hours of additional outside work/research per credit.

Teacher Leadership

Teacher Leadership is not a new concept in education or in schools. Over the last decade concerted efforts have been made to recognize and validate the formal and/or informal leadership roles teachers have in and out of their classrooms. The Master of Education in Teacher Leadership is designed for professionals with a teaching certificate who are interested in advancing their leadership skills and knowledge without taking on administrative obligations. Curriculum for the master of education in teacher leadership is divided into three subtopics: Teacher Leadership, Specialization, and Action Research. Goal of the degree is for candidates to further develop their understanding of the teaching and learning process with the enhanced focus of professional voice and shared leadership. Experience in the teaching profession is ideal but not absolutely necessary in all of the specialization areas.

Graduate courses at Heritage University are offered following the semester format meaning one credit equals 15 hours of instruction/coursework plus time students spend completing assignments.  Most courses are 2 credits. Timeline for completion of the degree, start to end, is usually 5 semesters: fall, spring, summer, fall, and spring. Delivery of course content is done in a manner that best fits the course content, convenience for meeting time/place, and students’ learning styles. Therefore, you will find some courses offered on weekends face-to-face at specific locations, blended format with a combination of face-to-face and online instruction, or the course may be offered entirely online using both asynchronous and synchronous platforms.

Teacher Leadership Foundation

The Master of Education in Teacher Leadership has three teacher leadership courses which set the foundation for the degree. Content covered in the foundational courses include defining teacher leadership, distinction between teacher leadership and school administration, teacher leader as a resource to students and colleagues, legal and ethical expectations/responsibilities of teachers in leadership positions such as program resource, learning coach, content area specialist. Teacher Leadership standards are discussed throughout the degree.

Action Research

The mark of a graduate program is the intentional focus on learning about, developing the ability to understand, interpret and conduct research for the betterment of the profession. In our program, graduates should aspire to delve deeper into the teaching and learning process in their interested area of specialization. The research sequence in the Master of Education programs is designed to gradually lead students to ponder about issues area areas of need that need to be looked at through the lens of research. The sequence consists of four courses which scaffold upon each other allowing students to assimilate course content and apply the concepts to design an original research project reflective of their teaching assignment.

Areas of Specialization

Candidates interested in the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership can select from five areas of specialization within the Teacher Leadership framework. All areas of specialization require students to possess a valid teaching license. Students will complete coursework designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform within the parameters of the specializations and to request from the state of WA the addition of the endorsement to their teaching certificate.

  • 18 credits in the specialization; Courses can be taken as a stand-alone in which case students do not earn a degree but could be recommended for the endorsement if all requirements are met
  • Course Curriculum aligned with state-mandated endorsement area competencies while using current research-based theory and instructional practices in education
  • Guided instruction and review preparing candidates to adequately pass state-mandated external assessments to receive supplementary endorsements
Program Goals
  1. Prepare Residency Certificated Teachers to develop and submit the ProTeach Portfolio to earn the Professional Certificate.
  2. Equip Teachers with knowledge skills and dispositions needed to become leaders in their building, district, and the profession.
  3. Refine pedagogical knowledge and skills to become instructional resources in their school, districts, and college instructors.
  4. Apply leadership skills in the demonstration of high standards of competence and integrity in the practice of the teaching profession.

Admission to Specialized Programs

Upon successful completion of the application process, a student is admitted to the university as a graduate student. Admission to the university is the first step required in order to be admitted to a degree or certification program; however, successful admission to the university does not guarantee that the student will be accepted to a graduate degree or certification program. Students may receive degree or certification application materials
from an admissions counselor or the chair of each specialized program.

There are several specialized programs, each with its own admission requirements:

Master of Education in Counseling: *Our M.Ed. in Counseling program and application materials are currently under review.*

Master of Education in Educational Administration:

  • Formal admittance to graduate school
  • Application to the Administrator Preparation Program
  • Three recommendations from administrators
  • Three years of teaching experience or ESA experience (does not include substitute experience)
  • Copy of valid Washington State teaching or ESA certificate
  • Written statement addressing educational and professional goals

Master in Teaching (M.I.T.):

  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Formal admittance to graduate school
  • Application to the M.I.T. Program, following program guidelines
  • Minimum GPA of 2.6 for the last 30 semester credits (or 45 quarter credits) of undergraduate course work
  • Successful completion of the Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B)

Master in Teaching (M.I.T.) -Accelerate Program:

  • Baccalaureate degree with minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work
  • Formal Admittance to graduate school
  • Formal Interview with College of Education
  • Formal Interview with School District that results in an offer to hire
  • Passing of all Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (West-B) Reading, Writing, and Mathematics Assessments
  • Passing of NES 102 and 103 Assessments

Master of Arts in Multicultural English Literature and Language:

  • Baccalaureate degree with minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work OR completion of six graduate semester credits with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Writing sample of at least five pages representative of the student’s previous work
  • Short essay (approximately two pages, double-spaced) explaining the student’s goals and reasons for entering the Master of Arts in English Program
  • Two letters of recommendation written by professors or others capable of assessing the student’s potential for success in a graduate program

Master of Arts in Medical Sciences:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with a minimum 3.0 GPA based on a 4.0 scale in all coursework attempted during the last 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate degree study
  • Provide test scores from one of the following: Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Medical College Admissions Tests (MCAT), Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), Dental Admissions Test (DAT), Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), or other professional program admissions test (may be initially waived and taken prior to graduation from the masters degree program)
  • Pass a Heritage University criminal background check
  • Sign a confidential release form to share information with PNWU
  • Submit three (3) letters of reference from professionals knowledgeable of the student’s ability to successfully complete a rigorous graduate program

Program Guidelines

The Academic Policies section of this catalog applies to both undergraduate and graduate students. The following additional policies apply to M.Ed. and M.I.T. students:

  1. Up to six semester credit hours of equivalent graduate-level coursework may be transferred from another regionally accredited college/university. Transfer credits must be:
    1. Approved for graduate credit at the institution from which the credit transfer is requested;
    2. Taken within the last eight years, based on the student’s admission date to the Heritage University Graduate Program and based on approval by each respective department chair;
    3. Awarded a letter grade of B (3.0) or better; and
    4. Verified by an official transcript in a sealed envelope from the institution where credit was granted.

When requesting graduate-level transfer credit, students are reminded that:

  • Heritage University operates on a semester system, and quarter credit hours transferred from other institutions are NOT equal to semester credit hours (e.g., 5 quarter credits equal only 3.33 semester credits)

  • Some 500 and 600 level courses offered at other institutions do not carry graduate credit at that college/university and will not be accepted by Heritage University

  • Continuing education, professional development, personal enrichment, in-services, clock hours, and correspondence courses are NOT acceptable for graduate transfer credit

  • Non-graded courses are generally unacceptable for graduate transfer credit

  • Approval of non-graded transfer credit will be assessed on an individual basis by the department chair

  • One-quarter credit graduate-level courses will NOT be accepted

Candidates for the master’s degree shall take responsibility for the following:

  • Initiating the transfer of credit process upon receiving an official transcript from another institution confirming satisfactory completion of course work

  • Completing the request for approval of graduate transfer or substitution credit to Heritage University form required for initiating the transfer process no later than one semester prior to graduating from Heritage University

  1. The minimum full-time semester credit load for graduate students is six semester credits in fall, spring, and summer terms.
  Candidates for a master’s degree must comply with the course load guidelines:
  • 6-8 semester credits (normal graduate load)
  • 10 semester credits (no permission required)
  • Over 10 semester credits (dean’s approval required)
  1. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) must be maintained in graduate work. Note: Educational Administration students can earn no lower than a B (3.0) in each course. Counseling, M.Ed., and M.A. in Multicultural English Literature students can earn no lower than a B- (2.7) in each course. Master in Teaching students can earn no lower than a C in each course.
  2. If the term grade point average is below 3.0 (B), the student is placed on program academic probation. Once on probation, the student must attain a grade point average of 3.0 (B) for the next six semester credits in order to continue in the program.
  3. Maintaining academic honesty is the responsibility of both students and faculty. The determination of ethical misconduct, including, but not limited to, cheating, invention of false data, or plagiarism, may result in probation, suspension, or dismissal from the university.
  4. Some specializations offer options for completion of the required comprehensive examination. The portfolio assessment, comprehensive review/exam, special project, and thesis options are available in some degree specialties. Students need to consult their advisor for more information.
    If the thesis option is taken, the following steps are required: 1) permission from an advisor, 2) thesis topic approved, 3) supervisory committee selected, 4) proposal approved by supervisory committee, 5) thesis completed under advisor’s supervision, 6) thesis reviewed by committee and revisions made, and 7) successful completion of thesis defense. Two approved and bound copies must be submitted to the program chair four weeks before the end of the semester in which the awarded degree is anticipated. One copy is maintained by the university library and one copy is returned to the student. Two electronic copies must also be submitted to the university library.
  5. Depending upon the level of human subject research, special projects and thesis proposals may need prior approval by the HU Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  6. Academic requirements, including course work and a comprehensive examination, where required, must be completed within eight years after the first applicable course is taken.
    To ensure relevancy, all courses and transfer credit applicable for the master’s degree and/or certifications will be valid for a period of eight calendar years from the actual date taken for each course. On recommendation of the department chair, the associate dean or dean can modify or waive this requirement.
  7. Professionalism expectations: All candidates for Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master in Teaching (M.I.T.) degrees in the areas of specialization under the jurisdiction of the Graduate and Psychology Program are required to demonstrate research and writing competency at the mastery level. Work should be well organized and written with clear focus and sufficient detail. Papers should be well written, using correct spelling and grammar. Grades reflect academic performance as related to the stated outcomes, as well as a student’s professionalism and program and class participation.
  8. Candidates should be aware that they must meet all current State of Washington certification requirements that are in place at the time of final application for certification. (These requirements may change from the time a candidate starts the program to the time of application for certification).

Students are reminded that they are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements for the academic degrees and certification programs described in this section and elsewhere in this catalog.

Second Master’s Degree

A second master’s degree for graduates who earned their first master’s degree at Heritage University requires that the student fulfill all the General University Course Requirements listed for the second degree. A minimum of 24 semester credits beyond the first master’s degree is required, and shall include a 3- or 4-credit special project/thesis in the specialty area, with approval of the topic by the department chair. All credits for the second degree must be taken at Heritage University, and requirements that fulfilled the first degree cannot be counted as credit toward the 24 credits required for the second master’s degree. A course of study must be approved by each respective department chair. Candidates who completed a first master’s degree at an institution other than Heritage University must complete all degree requirements for the second master’s degree.

Degrees and Programs Offered

The Graduate Department offers a course of study to complete the Master in Teaching (M.I.T.) degree for a Residency Teacher Certificate in Elementary Education (K-8). Both traditional and alternative degree programs are offered in the Yakima Valley region. Application procedures for programs vary slightly. Please contact the College of Education for specific information.

Washington State Certificates:

  1. Educational Administration Principal Credentials (candidate has an M.Ed.)
  2. Educational Administration Program Administrator Credentials (candidate has an M.Ed.)
  3. Professional Certification via ProTeach (for candidates issued a residency certificate from OSPI)
  4. Educational Staff Associate (ESA) — School Counselor Certification.

Information concerning university policies and regulations applicable to graduate programs, including admissions, grading practices, tuition, and fees, can be found in various sections of the university catalog. Consult the Table of Contents or catalog index for further information.

It is the responsibility of graduate students to familiarize themselves with procedures, policies, and expectations of the program in which they are enrolled.


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