Faculties of education may offer one or more of the following degrees at the master’s level: A master of education, master of arts in teaching, and/or master of arts in education. While all three degrees are offered at the master’s level and completed after the completion of an undergraduate degree (a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of fine arts or bachelor of education degree), each degree serves a different purpose.

Master of Education

Most people who complete a master of education are practicing teachers who wish to advance their career and move up the pay scale. Classroom teachers sometimes complete a master of education on the path to becoming a specialist or consultant, or in preparation to move into school administration, such as a vice-principal position.  In a nutshell, the master of education (also known as the MEd or EdM) is generally considered a practical degree designed to enhance the professional practice of working teachers.

Master of Arts in Teaching

A master of arts in teaching, or MAT, is a degree most often pursued by people who have completed a bachelor’s degree, and wish to pursue further studies in their area of specialization at the graduate level while becoming a certified teacher. In other words, the MAT essentially serves the same purpose as a bachelor of education, but in the case of the MAT, candidates can simultaneously complete graduate-level coursework in their field, for example: English, history or chemistry. Since a teacher’s salary is based on seniority and level of education, candidates who opt to complete a MAT, rather than BEd, are often considered more desirable candidates, and start their first job higher up the pay scale.

Master of Arts in Education

Finally, there is the option to complete a master of arts in education. In contrast to the master of education or master of arts in teaching, many people who choose to pursue a master of arts in education are not practicing teachers, but they are people with an interest in educational studies. People who complete a master of arts, or MA, in education may carry out research on topics as varied as eighteenth-century educational philosophy, anti-racist pedagogy, youth subcultures, or the impact of social media on contemporary education.  Upon completion of a master of arts in education, candidates may find work in the non-profit sector, with a government agency, or opt to continue their studies in education by completing a doctorate of philosophy in education.

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