Education graduate programs

Designed for early, middle and secondary teachers, the graduate programs in education offer students fresh perspectives on teaching and learning. Through personalized courses of study, students strengthen their classroom teaching, expand their knowledge of relevant content areas and experience dynamic professional growth.

The graduate education program at Bluffton University is composed of four possible programs: curriculum and instruction , intervention specialist (K-12 mild/moderate educational needs), reading endorsement and leadership endorsement. 
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Program characteristics

The graduate programs in education courses enjoy these unique characteristics:

  • Grounded in the historic peace church tradition of Bluffton University, instructors assist students to investigate issues of peace and justice.
  • Involvement with The Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center fosters a deeper appreciation of the arts and literature.
  • A liberal arts core with specialized content area electives expands and strengthens classroom teaching.
  • Students undertake classroom-relevant research projects.
  • Both content and methodology receive substantial attention.
  • Students can complete Ohio Department of Education credential programs to expand their teaching opportunities.
  • Coursework delivered in multiple modes, including traditional classroom, hybrid or online.


Program options


Curriculum and Instruction
(15 semester hours)

SED 600 Students with Disabilities in a Diverse Society (3)
EDU 628 Educational Collaboration and Consultation (3)
EDU 635 Nurturing Respectful Classrooms   (3)
EDU 655 Instructional Design  (3)
EDU 627 Curriculum and Instruction (3)


  Intervention Specialist License (K-12)
(23 semester hours)

This is an initial licensure program and is not appropriate for teachers who already hold a current K-12 Mild/Moderate Education Needs License. 

Introduction to Students with Disabilities
PSY 110 Introduction to Psychology (3)

Required Courses:
SED 600 Students with Disabilities in a Diverse Society (3)
SED 601 Instructional Strategies: Young Children with Mild/Moderate Educational Needs (2)
SED 602 Instructional Strategies: Young Adolescents with Mild/Moderate Educational Needs (2)
SED 603 Classroom Organization: IS (3)
SED 604 Advanced Diagnosis and Educational Planning (3)
SED 605 Reading and Language Arts for Diverse Learners (3)
SED 606 Issues in Special Education (1)
SED 607 Collaboration (3)
SED 608 Practicum (3)

Additional requirements for Ohio Department of Education licensure: 12 credits of teaching reading, including a 3 credit course in Teaching Phonics.


Reading endorsement

Bluffton University's graduate programs in education offers all courses for the reading endorsement on-line. Candidates for the endorsement may take classes in the fall, spring and/or summer sessions.

The K-12 Ohio Reading Endorsement provides teachers with knowledge and skills to identify the reading needs of students and apply knowledge for instructional decision making. The endorsement fulfills the requirements for teacher qualification under the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee.

ECE/IS/MC majors—12 credit undergraduate reading core including 3 credits in Phonics
AYA/Multiage—9 credits of undergraduate/graduate reading including 3 credits of phonics

Required Courses: 

EDU 285 Phonics and Word Identification (3) (bring in from undergraduate work)
EDU 627 Curriculum and Instruction: Reading & Writing (3)
EDU 642 Teaching Students with Reading Difficulties (3)
EDU 655 Instructional Design: Literacy across the Curriculum
EDU 665 Advanced Reading Assessment, Diagnosis & Evaluation (3)

Field requirement:
ODE/OBR requires 100 hours of field work across the grade bands. Bluffton embeds field hours into the coursework.

Additional requirements:
Passing scores on OEA Reading - Subtests I (038) and II (039).


Leadership Endorsement

Veteran teachers may earn the credential to move to the highest level of licensure in the state system and become building leaders in instructional design and curriculum development. This endorsement is a result of the new configuration of teacher licensure options introduced in fall 2011.

It is not designed for teachers to become administrators, rather, it is for those teachers who have experiences in classroom teaching and want to add to their credentials for curricular design and implementation. The prerequisite for the Leadership Endorsement is an earned master's degree.

Required Courses:
EDU 761 Instructional Leadership (3)
EDU 762 Evidence Based Practices (3)
EDU 764 Advanced Practicum (3)


Education courses

EDU 627 Curriculum and Instruction: Reading and Writing   (3)
This course provides candidates knowledge of a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials to support reading and writing instruction. This course meets Standard Two: Curriculum, Instructional Strategies, and Materials for the Literacy Specialist Endorsement and Standard Four: Creating a Literate Environment. 20 field hours embedded in the course.

EDU 628 Educational Collaboration and Consultation   (3)
This course provides candidates knowledge in collaboration and consultation to provide professional development to teachers for the purpose of high levels of student learning in reading, writing, and mathematics. Prerequisite: EDU 627

EDU 635 Nurturing Respectful Classrooms (3)
This course, part of the Instructional Leadership concentration, provides students research and practical application to a student centered classroom management approach using theories and techniques of conflict resolution. The course focuses on developing a model of classroom management that embraces a philosophy of discipline with dignity, including an understanding of peer mediation. Students will also be expected to attend training sessions on mediation. 

EDU 642 TEaching students with reading difficulties (3)
This course focuses on the dyslexia standards required by the state. It addresses multisensory strategies for reading, spelling and writing instruction. It provides the scientific definition of dyslexia, its common characteristics standardized by the International Dyslexia Association, and the most effective research-based methodologies to address the instructional needs of individuals with dyslexia. Multisensory structured language techniques based on the Orton-Gillingham approach for teaching the alphabetic principle, reading, spelling and writing will be the primary focus of the course, with a particular emphasis on phonological training/word-attack skills as well as systematic, explicit multisensory instruction relative to the structure of the English language. Mastery of sound/symbol correspondences is not an end in itself; the ultimate goal of instruction is the effective application of these skills for proficient reading and writing. 30 field hours embedded within the course.

EDU 655 Instructional Design  (3)
This course, part of the Instructional Leadership concentration, provides students with theoretical concepts and practical applications for designing strategies and skills in the development of effective classroom teaching techniques, focusing on discipline specific content. Curriculum mapping, alignment of content to ODE Academic Content Standards and the inclusion of specialty professional association thematic strands will also be covered. The course focuses on developing a research based series of units and lessons for the classroom.  20 field hours embedded in the course.

EDU 665 Advanced Reading Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation   (3)
This course focuses on the concepts and techniques of reading assessment with an emphasis on 1) Comparing/contrasting/using/interpreting/recommending a wide range of literacy assessment tools and practices including informal and standardized measures; 2) developing skills to support and train classroom teachers in using and interpreting appropriate assessments for individual pupils; 3) Using in-depth assessment information to plan individual instruction for struggling readers; 4) Collaborating with professionals to implement appropriate reading instruction; and 5) Communicating assessment information to various audiences for accountability and instructional purposes. This course meets the International Reading Association Standard Three: Assessment, Diagnosis and Evaluation outcomes at the Reading Specialist Level. 30 field hours embedded in the course. 

EDU 761 Instructional Leadership     (3)
This course will offer Teacher Leaders the chance to examine their own leadership styles and beliefs, while learning more about leadership in general, and school leadership, specifically. The culmination will be the use of developed skills and knowledge put to use as a team in developing real solutions to real world issues in schools.

EDU 762 Evidence Based Practices     (3)
This course of study in instructional leadership will introduce Teacher Leader candidates to the research on, application of and assessment of quality instruction. Consequently, as Teacher Leader candidates study and apply frameworks for quality teaching that lead to student learning, each will demonstrate proficiency in recognizing, modeling and assessing quality instructional practices with colleagues.

EDU 764 Advanced Practicum     (3)
This course focuses on demonstrating the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for Teacher Leaders in school settings and to provide high levels of effective mentoring focused on improving teaching practices and learning for all students.

Special education courses

SED 600 Students with Disabilities in a Diverse Society   (3)
This course is designed to enable educators to place students with exceptional learning needs (ELN) in the context of a diverse society. Prerequisites: Undergraduate or graduate level course in Introduction to Students with Disabilities (determined by transcript review).

SED 601 Instructional Strategies: Young Children with M/M Educational Needs   (2)
This course is designed to develop educator competency, to analyze the young learner (ages 3 8) with exceptional learning needs (ELN), and to plan the least restrictive environment for the young child with ELN. Skills focus on designing, implementing and evaluating appropriate educational interventions in the areas of language, math, reading, social studies, science, the arts and movement. Fifteen field hours in an inclusive early childhood setting are required. Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 602 Instructional Strategies: Young Adolescents with M/M Educational Needs   (2)
This course is designed to develop educator competency, to analyze the young adolescent and AYA learner with exceptional learning needs (ELN), and to plan the least restrictive environment for the learner with ELN. Skills focus on designing, implementing, and evaluating appropriate educational interventions in the areas of language, math, reading, social studies, science, the arts and movement that are age and ability appropriate. Field experiences in a middle school and high school setting are required (21 hours total). Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 603 Advanced Classroom Organization: Intervention Specialist   (3)
This course is designed as an advanced course to assist prospective intervention specialists in understanding student and teacher behaviors as they apply to good classroom organization. Students explore techniques for maximizing learning in a variety of classroom settings, building students self concepts, and understanding the use and abuse of power. The focus is on building communities of respect that nurture and support high levels of student learning. Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 604 Advanced Diagnosis and Educational Planning  (3)
This course is designed as an advanced course and focuses on information and practical experiences relating to assessment and the development of academic and social planning for the learning of individuals with ELN. Fifteen hours of field experience required. Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 605 Reading and Language Arts for Diverse Learners   (3)
This course focuses on speech and language acquisition of the typically and atypically developing child. It also presents an overview of various disorders and their effects on receptive and expressive language functions and learning. Ten hours of field experience required. Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 606 Issues in Special Education   (3)
This course is designed to present current issues affecting the education of individuals with ELN. Students examine contemporary research, current federal and state regulations, and special education service delivery models. Students also reflect upon their role as a professional educator and life-long learner and how to access on-going professional development. Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 607 Collaboration   (3)
This course prepares the prospective special educator to work effectively with individuals with ELN, families, school and community personnel, and general educators to develop and implement individualized programs. Communication skills, methods to access support services, and team processes are covered with special emphasis on respect when working with individuals from differing cultural, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds. Prerequisite: SED 600.

SED 608 Practicum: Intervention Specialist (  3)
This practicum provides supervised experiences in applying the principles techniques learned in the professional courses to actual classroom situations under the guidance and direction of a cooperating teacher. Practicum students spend full days in their assigned classroom for 10 weeks. Prerequisite: All courses in the intervention specialist program.

Admissions process

The following are the criteria for admission to the GPE program:

  • Completed application materials.
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  • A 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in the last half of the bachelor's degree program.
  • Satisfactory letters of recommendation.
  • A satisfactory interview with the director of the GPE program (or a designee).
  • Approval for admission by the GPE committee.


Applicants should submit the following materials to the director of the GPE program:

  • Official transcripts from all previous college work.
  • Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional references.
  • An application (including a signed statement relative to the standards of campus conduct).
  • A statement of personal and professional goals, relative to the degree being sought.
  • A copy of current teaching license/ certificate and / or evidence of teaching experience.
  • Praxis I scores (Reading 173, Math 172, Writing 172) or a comparable assessment of basic skills are required for the intervention specialist concentration and the endorsement programs. The graduate faculty advisor will discuss the need for taking the Praxis I with applicants during the informational and advising meeting.
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $25.


Conditional admission
When an applicant fails to meet the regular admission requirements and there is cause for significant concern about the student's success in the program, the GPE faculty committee (or the director/designee and a subgroup of two GPE committee members during the summer) may choose to grant conditional admission to that applicant. A conditionally admitted student who fails to achieve a GPA of 3.0 during the first nine hours will be placed on academic suspension. At this point the regular suspension procedures apply.

Special student status
Special student status may be granted to applicants to permit them to complete nine semester hours of coursework prior to regular admission to the GPE program. During the first nine semester hours, special students must demonstrate an ability to maintain a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) to be considered for regular admission.

As space allows, special student status also may be granted to non-degree-seeking students who hold a bachelor s degree. Applicants should complete special student status forms as a part of the application process.

The GPE program is designed for classroom teachers with experience. As space allows, however, a limited number of teachers without classroom experience may be admitted to the program.

Transfer of graduate credit
If completed within five years of the application date, up to six semester hours (or nine quarter hours) of graduate credit may be transferred to the GPE program from another accredited institution. Credits transferred must be approved by a relevant GPE instructor (for core courses) or the director of the GPE program (for elective courses). Workshop credits are not transferable.

International students
International applicants are expected to have a minimum score of 565 on the TOEFL exam. This requirement can be waived at the discretion of the director and/or the admissions committee of the GPE, provided satisfactory English proficiency on an alternative evaluative measure can be demonstrated. In addition, all foreign language documents accompanying the application must include notarized translations.

Tuition and fees

The university reviews tuition and fees annually.

Application fee 
(non-refundable and waived for applicants
who previously attended Bluffton University)

per semester hour 

Technology Fee   
(per semester for 3 hours or more)  
SED 608 Clinical Experience Fee   $100

 Cost of books will depend on the course taken.

October 2015