Skip to main content

 Register today for fall courses

Teacher in front of class of children

Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Schooling: Urban Education (MS)

About The Program

The Curriculum, Pedagogy and Schooling concentration in the Urban Education M.S. degree is for pK–12 teachers and others interested in urban education who are seeking professional development only; it is not a licensure program. The required and elective coursework in this graduate program is designed to examine the racial, socioeconomic, cultural, historical, structural and systemic contexts and conditions of urban education. An asset orientation toward urban learners, families, schools, and communities is emphasized. Research on promising efforts to close gaps and create equitable learning opportunities and achievement for E–12 students is analyzed. Urban Education master’s degree courses provide students opportunities to integrate theory, practice, critical reflection and research within a school or community setting to improve E–12 student learning.

In addition to the elective EDU courses, students may also request to take graduate courses in other departments that relate to their interests. A total of 12 credits outside of the School of Urban Education may be approved, including graduate courses taken at other regionally accredited institutions.

Urban Education master’s degree student outcomes

Urban Education M.S. students in this graduate program will:

  • Examine principles of urban education and effective teaching of diverse youth from various racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Critically reflect upon the context and conditions of urban schooling, racial and cultural identity, pedagogical practices, curriculum, and the role of urban educators in closing opportunity and achievement gaps
  • Deepen understanding of the assets urban learners, families and communities to help nurture resilience, self-determination, empowerment, equity, and social justice
  • Gain knowledge of relevant research literature and conduct research or implement a project to address a particular question or issue in urban education

How to enroll

Program eligibility requirements

Earned Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution with a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Application instructions

Metro State University is participating in the common application for graduate programs (GradCAS). Applications are only accepted via the CAS website.

CAS steps

  1. Select the term for which you are seeking admission (below), and navigate to the CAS website. Open applications include:
  2. Create or log in to your account and select the Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Schooling: Urban Education (MS) program.
  3. Carefully review all instructions and complete all four sections of the application.

Specific application requirements for individual programs can be found on each program page in CAS. Carefully read the instructions that appear throughout the application pages. You can only submit your application once. If you need to update information you have submitted, please notify

Application fee

A nonrefundable $38 fee is required for each application.
Applications will not be processed until this fee is received.

Active-duty military, veterans, and Metro State alumni can receive an application fee waiver. Contact

Courses and Requirements


In addition to the course requirements, to earn this degree students are required to complete a capstone project demonstrating significant mastery in understanding related to a central question on a particular topic of the student’s choice related to urban education. The capstone project may be a traditional, formal written thesis, or a 30 minute presentation. However, if a student decides to do a presentation option for their capstone project, then an additional 3 credit elective must be completed.

Research options for a traditional, formal written thesis include: An extensive literature review, action research or empirical research (qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods). Non-thesis, presentation options for the capstone include: an extensive literature review, an action research project, or an equity proposal/plan. Questions about these options should be directed to the M.S. Urban Education program coordinator.

Requirements (34-37 credits)

+ Core (7 credits)

Metropolitan State graduates who have completed the undergraduate versions of these courses may substitute additional electives for these credits.

This course is designed for graduate level study and conducted in seminar format. The purpose is to explore the impact of successful teaching of diverse students in urban classrooms. Students in the seminar will examine issues related to urban education mirrored in research, theory, and practice while looking at instructional approaches as reflected in the Standards of Effective Practice. Topics will include but not exclusive to multicultural competencies, curriculum transformation, and teacher dispositions. In addition, students will come to understand the role of the students' family, culture, social class, and ethnicity. The seminar is designed to meet several Standards of Effective Practice for the State of Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) (State Statute 8700.2000) for all teacher licensing programs.

Full course description for Principles of Urban Education

This course explores advanced theory and practice to support academic literacy among urban learners in secondary classrooms. First, through readings, discursive presentations, and applied exercises, participants in this course will acquire techniques to assist struggling readers and writers. Alongside these skills, course participants will learn how to engage secondary urban learners in assuming responsibility for literacy self-development. Third, the course will include review and development of a variety of materials to teach diverse middle and high school students whose reading and developmental levels vary widely.

Full course description for Literacy Education in Urban Schools - Advanced Theory and Practice

+ Electives (15 - 18 credits)

Up to 12 graduate credits may be transferred from other accredited institutions or taken in other relevant subjects (e.g. content courses in your licensure field, ADED, ETHS, PSYC, MAPL, MPNA courses, etc.) A minimum of 34 graduate credits total must be completed toward the degree. Discuss elective options with the Graduate Program Coordinator. (NOTE: If a student decides to complete a non-thesis option for their capstone project, then an additional 3 credit elective must be completed.)

This course provides advanced theory and practice regarding common methods of differentiating instruction for urban middle school and high school classrooms. Post-baccalaureate urban teacher candidates learn how to create developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant unit and lesson plans that attend to the various abilities, needs, cultures, experiences, and interests of urban 5-12 students while also meeting district and state standards for learning and making interdisciplinary connections. Foundational understanding of the diverse learning styles and developmental characteristics of young adolescent and adolescent learners forms the basis upon which appropriate plans are developed and methods are employed. The inter-relationships between standards, assessment, curriculum and instruction are examined in promoting high achievement for each urban learner. Teacher candidates examine current trends and research in urban middle school and high school education along with the…

Full course description for Urban Middle School and High School Methods -Advanced Theory and Practice

This course reviews advanced theory and practice to support the education of exceptional urban and diverse learners in grades 5-12. The course will address what teachers should know about exceptional learners, including students with disabilities and students with special gifts and talents. The responsibilities of general education teachers in service to students with special needs who are included in the mainstreamed classroom will also be examined, and practice will be provided for developing lesson plans and assessments that meet the needs of students with exceptionalities. Special education law and collaboration with special education staff will be discussed in the context of reviewing current research, issues and best practices for pre- and post-special education service needs of exceptional learners in urban public schools. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Teaching & Assessing Exceptional Urban Learners-Advanced Theory & Practice

This course examines current theory and research on the relationship between classroom management and academic achievement to prepare prospective urban teachers for facilitating student learning in a positive classroom environment. Participants in this course will examine teacher and student classroom behaviors from a cross-cultural perspective to recognize the effects of cultural/linguistic differences in the assessment, interpretation, and planning of the instructional and social environment in a class. Students will gain understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create learning environments that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation. Students will also gain understanding of how factors in students' environment outside of school may influence the classroom learning environment. A portion of this course will explore the influence of the use and misuse of drugs, and management strategies for atypical behaviors…

Full course description for Managing Learning in Urban 5-12 Classrooms-Advanced Theory and Practice

This course explores historical, cultural, sociological, and philosophical foundations of education in the United States with an express focus on urban education principles and practices. The metropolitan community is used as a resource for learning about the educational strengths and challenges faced by diverse groups. Students will gain understanding of the contributions and lifestyles of various racial, cultural, and economic groups in our society, including an emphasis on Minnesota-based American Indian culture, history, and tribal government. Core concepts include democracy and education, educational equity for all students, and historical as well as contemporary relationships between school and society. Emphasis is on issues of power and the educational segregation and attempted deculteruralization of historically marginalized groups. Resilience and persistent struggles for equal educational opportunity in the face of oppression are also emphasized from diverse cultural…

Full course description for Historical, Cultural, and Philosophical Foundations of Urban Education

This course explores advanced theory and practice to support the use of assessment as a tool to guide the planning, development and implementation of curriculum and instruction. Participants will examine theories and research related to principles of learning, motivation, and multiple knowledge and skill sets. Participants will gain practical experience designing short and long-term learner outcomes and the use of various assessment tools and approaches. Teacher candidates will gain skills at identifying areas of student mastery and indicating areas of future learning. Topics include standards-based instruction, formative and summative assessment, standardized testing, validity, reliability, bias, rubrics, portfolio-based assessment, performance-based assessment and communicating with families. State and national standards and performance criteria for the evaluation of teaching will also be reviewed. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Assessing Learning in Urban Grades 5-12 - Advanced Theory and Practice

This course explores advanced theory and practice to support the use of assessment as a tool to guide the planning, development and implementation of curriculum and instruction. Participants will examine theories and research related to principles of learning, motivation, and multiple knowledge and skill sets. Participants will gain practical experience designing short and long-term learner outcomes and the use of various assessment tools and approaches. Teacher candidates will gain skills at identifying areas of student mastery and indicating areas of future learning. Topics include standards-based instruction, formative and summative assessment, standardized testing, validity, reliability, bias, rubrics, portfolio-based assessment, performance-based assessment and communicating with families. State and national standards and performance criteria for the evaluation of teaching will also be reviewed. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Assessing Learning in Urban Grades 5-12 - Advanced Theory and Practice

This graduate-level independent study is offered to participants in the MN Humanities Center's week-long educator institute to increase student engagement through absent narratives. This course will provide participants an opportunity to reflect upon and develop authentic practices with tools that guide and increase instruction in four key learning areas. The four areas of focus will be on (1) building and strengthening relationships, (2) identifying strategies that support the power of student story, (3) creating engagements that help teacher and students learn from and with those representing diverse experiences/voices, and (4) how to connect with diverse communities in ways that amplify solutions that improve educational outcomes for students. The four key areas used to guide outcomes in this course are foundational and based on extensive research focusing on epistemology. Participants will learn to use the four key areas as essential strategies that allow for the assessment of a…

Full course description for Strategies for Transforming Education Through Absent Narratives

This course includes an examination of theory, research, and practice regarding the process of second language acquisition and various strategies for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) subject matter content in urban K-12 classrooms. Prospective and current urban teachers will learn how to modify mainstream course materials and instructional strategies so that ELL students can engage in course content while simultaneously developing their English language skills. Course activities and expectations include demonstrating teaching strategies; developing lesson modifications; evaluating textbooks and other materials and resources available in the field; and examining issues in testing students of limited English proficiency for placement, diagnosis, exit, and evaluation. There is a requirement of a 10-hour field experience in urban setting involving classroom participant-observations and working with an ELL student.

Full course description for Teaching Assessing ELL Students in Content-Advanced Theory and Practice

This course will cover the use of restorative practices in urban classrooms and schools at large. Restorative practices are often seen as alternative ways of engaging youth who are faced with personal and environmental challenges that impact their participation in the classroom and school. Research will be reviewed including that which shows the effectiveness of restorative practices in reducing suspensions and expulsions while increasing student engagement. The historical and cultural roots of restorative practices will be examined and applied to current educational environments.

Full course description for Restorative Practices in Urban Schools and Classrooms

This course examines the experience of students in grades K-12 who are immigrants or refugees (or their relatives) living in urban communities, particularly within the Twin Cities. The historical and contemporary push and/or pull factors that contributed to families from various countries and cultures recently coming to the United States will be examined. Important similarities and differences between the experiences and status of immigrants and refugees will also be studied. Particular challenges encountered within the U.S. will be explored, as well as examples of resiliency, achievement, and community resources. Students will gain the understanding of different cultural practices; benefits of bilingual education; how the larger community and the socio-cultural framework shape communication with parents; and how the urban environment conditions may influence learning. Critical issues in urban multilingual immigrant and refugee communities will be discussed. Graduate-level…

Full course description for Immigrants and Refugees in Urban Schools

This course starts with the fundamentals of the first and second language acquisition, and differences between child, adolescent, and adult language acquisition. Students will learn and demonstrate strategies to develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing across the K-12 curriculum. Other topics are: differences between literacy development in the first language and the second language and implications for teaching English learners; and communication techniques that enhance student learning. Students will become familiar with a variety of methods, approaches, techniques, and programs; and will investigate issues related to the full inclusion of English learners in the school setting; and that both language learning and subject matter learning are essential to student success. The teaching of reading and writing across the curriculum will be emphasized, as well as the use of technology. Urban field experience in grades K-12 is part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Theories and Methods of Language Learning

This course includes formal and informal second language assessment techniques to determine placement and to evaluate the progress of English learners in grades K-12. It also addresses criteria for determining the readiness to enter and exit English proficiency programs. Students will gain an understanding of the characteristics and limitations of second language assessment, including the ones for placement in gifted and special education programs; they will learn item and test construction methods appropriate for students with limited English proficiency; and how to administer, interpret, and explain test results to parents and colleagues; rubrics and standards alignment with district goals. Other topics are: curriculum development related to the English learners; program planning; connecting schooling experiences with everyday life, the workplace, and further education; involving the community; purpose of co-curricular and extracurricular activities; and best practices. Urban field…

Full course description for Assessment and Curriculum for English Learners in Urban Schools

This course expands discussions of culturally responsive pedagogy by focusing specifically on the tasks and challenges on implementation. This course examines practices, strategies, and dispositions that create an inclusive classroom environment relevant to diverse students and ways in which all students learn. Teachers engage in reflection on classroom practice that promote or obstruct equal access to academic success. This means communicating with students in culturally consistent ways, developing a caring classroom environment, and working with families and communities. Classroom reaching will be examined from a culturally responsive perspective. This course aligns with the State of Minnesota policies and approaches that education be culturally responsive.

Full course description for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Urban Schools

The course shall provide students with an overview of student exceptionality: students with disabilities and students with gifts and talents. Special emphasis will be placed on characteristics of exceptional children; the legal aspects of educating students with disabilities; and assessment, instructional, and collaborative strategies. An important outcome of this course is to foster participant dispositions toward appreciating the diverse talents of all learners with exceptionalities and to value flexibility and collaboration in adapting instruction for urban students with diverse needs. The content and skills learned and practiced in this course are designed to meet Minnesota standards of effective teaching practice in the area of special education. This course contributes to the mission, vision, and guiding principles of the Metropolitan State Urban Teacher Program. In addition the course is designed for students to integrate knowledge through content reflection and discussion and…

Full course description for Foundations of Teaching Urban Learners with Exceptionalities

This course is designed for special education professionals to build knowledge and skill in examining the characteristics and risk factors leading to chronic learning, behavioral, and mental health issues of diverse urban students with disabilities. Participants will learn mediating practices that support students with disabilities from an ecological perspective that examines, service integration, and individual social integration supports that promote lifelong social and academic learning. Students enrolled in this course fulfill requirements toward teacher certification in special education. Competence Statement: Participants in this course will develop content and skills well enough to meet Minnesota standards of effective teaching practice in the area of special education regarding knowledge and practice in federal and state law as well as pedagogy and professional responsibility in serving children and adolescents with disabilities.

Full course description for Applying Behavioral and Learning Principles in Urban Settings

Students in this course examine, discuss, and practice the elements of special education law, litigation, ethics of professional practice in special education and how these elements affect the identification, eligibility determination, planning, programming, and instruction of diverse student with disabilities. Attention is paid to the social and political issues and contexts affecting such services, especially regarding the differences and similarities that would facilitate the involvement of students with disabilities and their families from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, and social, gendered, and socio-economic backgrounds. Topics include the rights and responsibilities of students, parents, and educators, due process, data privacy safeguards, ethical practices, and effective communication strategies for working with diverse students with disabilities and their families.

Full course description for Legal, Political, and Ethical Issues in Urban Special Education

This course will familiarize students with the legal guidelines and required technology practices governing the use of technology devices and accommodations for individual with disabilities in school settings. Components include (a) current legislation governing uses of technology for students with disabilities (b) practices in the use of assistive technology and services in the classroom, (c) implications of technology use for students with various forms of disability, (d) assessment of student needs for "high" and "low¿ technology use in the classroom, and (e) methods for using computer-based planning and data recording in special education.

Full course description for Supporting Inclusive Education through Differentiation and Technology

This course will prepare urban special education teacher candidates in the development of individualized education programs, the management of teaching and learning for individualized instruction, and the implementation of models for collaboration with general educators, parents, and specialists including instructional assistants, cultural liaisons and language interpreters in urban settings. Participants will learn basic principles of group process, problem solving, decision making, collaboration, and teamwork for IEP development. Case management and collaboration processes will be integrated with computer-based systems for creating and managing IEPs including the potential for asynchronous electronic collaboration models. Students will create and differentiate between annual goals and learning objectives for instructional planning to promote educational achievement of students with high-incidence disabilities.

Full course description for Collaboration and Transition Practices in Special Education

This course will prepare educators and other professionals in advanced theory and practice to support the education of exceptional urban and diverse learners with mild to moderate forms of emotional or behavioral disorders, specific learning disabilities, developmental cognitive disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other health disabilities. The course will include characteristics of students from prevalent categories of mild to moderate exceptionality; the legal aspects of addressing students with mild/moderate disabilities, and assessment, instructional, and collaborative strategies in the knowledge and practice for managing the teaching and learning of culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional students in urban schools and other cross-cultural educational settings. Finally, students will learn models of culturally and linguistically responsive practices in the context of emerging models of special education and general education class-wide and school-wide systems.

Full course description for Characteristics of Diverse Urban Learners with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

This course will introduce students to the basic psychometric foundations of standardized and classroom-based assessment to inform data-based decision-making about exceptionality, eligibility, and educational programming for students with disabilities. Students in this course will learn models of educational assessment, practice methods of observation in classroom and clinical education settings, and administration of standardized assessments of academic achievement. Participants will be introduced to methods of providing and promoting assessment accommodations, adaptations, and modifications for a range of diverse learners including the use of interpreters and assistive technologies. Finally, this course will be technology-enhanced in the following areas: (1) incorporate knowledge about technology-based program planning solutions in special education (2) use of online methods and materials to enhance instruction between class times and to compensate for potential class period…

Full course description for Assessment in Urban Special Education

This course will prepare special education teacher candidates seeking special education licensure¿Academic & Behavior Specialists, Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities¿in academic interventions and practices for differentiating instruction of diverse urban educational settings. Participants will develop a working knowledge of instructional methods, curricula, materials, skills; and strategies from which to draw when designing and implementing reading/writing/math and content area instruction to meet the needs of individual students with disabilities for differentiated instruction in resource and general education settings including settings in bilingual education, English as a second language programs, and other general education configurations for supporting a diversity of students. Methods will include instruction in literacy across the curriculum, mathematics, social studies, science, and study skills. Students will also learn approaches to adapting evidence…

Full course description for Interventions: Mild Disabilities

+ Final core sequence for degree completion (12 credits)

These courses are to be taken at the end of the degree program. EDU 670 and EDU 688 are co-requisites typically offered in the summer, and EDU 698 is typically offered in the fall.

This course examines the important role of critical reflection for the professional development and effectiveness of urban teachers in their efforts to provide equitable educational opportunities and increase achievement of their diverse students. Various types of reflection will be practiced in critically thinking about the multiple and complex aspects of the teaching and learning process within a racial, socio-economic, cultural, historical, structural and systemic context. The role of urban educators as agents and leaders of change will be examined, in addition to how reflection can be used as a tool to foster change for educational equity. Reflection during the course will lead to identifying a central focus and question for thesis research.

Full course description for Advanced Reflective Practice for Urban Educators

The course engages students in the variety of educational research designs, analyses and conceptual frameworks appropriate for research in diverse and urban educational settings. The course examines approaches to research for improving classroom or school practices and/or connections with diverse urban or cross-cultural communities. Research methods learned include responsible conduct of research and human subjects protections, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods along with issues of sampling, measurement, and technical adequacy of observed research results in urban educational settings.

Full course description for Research Methods in Urban/Cross-Cultural Education

This course provides both an introduction to modes of research and scholarship useful in urban education or other diverse cross-cultural educational settings and an opportunity for applying principles learned to classrooms, schools, or communities. Students develop and complete a culminating project of research to improve an aspect of teaching, student learning, a school program/initiative or a community service and share their findings with others.

Full course description for Capstone: Conducting Research in Urban Classrooms, Schools and Communities