Students in the classroom meeting.

Secondary Education

A master’s degree program is available for secondary school personnel who are interested in gaining the knowledge and real-world experiences necessary for leadership roles in education.

Master Secondary Education Skills

Grow upon your past knowledge and skills and prepare for your future in a teaching or an administrative position in a Pre-K–12 setting. As a secondary education graduate student at USD, you will become a reflective leader and skilled educator whose practices and decisions draw upon the best available theory, research and experiential wisdom. Reflective decision-making engages administrators in cycles of thought and action based upon theoretical, ethical and professional knowledge. Aided by our expert professors, you can design an individualized plan of study that emphasizes the administrative context and meanings that are most important to you.

Become a reflective leader and explore new concepts of professional practice as a secondary education graduate student at USD.

Degrees & Offerings

Secondary Education (M.A.)


The M.A. in Secondary Education prepares and strengthens teaching skills and exposes you to a variety of materials and programs used in middle and high schools. This M.A. program is for those with a baccalaureate degree in secondary education who want to expand their knowledge of best teaching practices.

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Secondary Education Plus Certification (M.A)


In addition to earning your master's in secondary education, you will also earn a South Dakota teaching certificate. This M.A. program is for those with an earned bachelors degree in a subject that is taught in middle or high school (English language arts, math, sciences, or social sciences). Students with degrees in art, music, physical education, or world languages will satisfy the requirements for K-12 certification. Eligibility for this program is determined through a careful transcript review process. This M.A. program includes one semester of teacher residency where you will gain experience as a middle or high school teacher in your subject area.

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Secondary Education: STEM Education (M.A)


Now more than ever there is a need for STEM education in our schools.  As society has moved to an information age, secondary teachers must be able to provide meaningful experiences which integrate science, technology and math into their curriculum to prepare students for the world in which they live. The STM specialization option prepares teachers to use current evidence-based proven practices to design, carry out, and evaluate STEM education in middle and secondary schools.

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Secondary Education: Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach (M.A.)


Success in literacy is highly correlated to success in life. Reading specialists and literacy coaches work with teachers and students to ensure growth in literacy. This specialization prepares teachers to use research-proven practices and programs, to effectively teach students and adults, and to lead literacy efforts in schools. Students who complete the program also are eligible for an additional teaching certificate as a reading specialist. 

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Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

An Affordable Education

Gain valuable real-world, professional experience while enjoying paid employment and discounted tuition rates as a graduate student at USD. The affordability you gain through graduate assistantships and fellowships will equip you with valuable, professional-level skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments. If you do not receive an assistantship within your department, you are eligible for an assistantship outside of your academic program or within support offices (non-academic units) at USD. Further inquiries should be directed to the graduate director of the department.

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At USD, our graduate students are actively pursuing unique research and presenting at local and national conferences exploring innovative areas of interest to them. Additional research and grant opportunities include: 

Graduate Research

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the School of Education. You may be interested in joining a student organization to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Council for Exceptional Children

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a special education organization that works with children who have special needs. Members do various service projects for the community that serves individuals with special needs and their families.

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National Association for the Education of Young Children

The National Association for the Education of Young Children is a professional membership organization that promotes high-quality education and learning for young children by addressing policy, research and early childhood practice.

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National Education Association & South Dakota Education Association

The USD chapter of the South Dakota Education Association aims to acquaint students in teacher education programs with the history, ethics and programs of the education profession while also supporting and increasing their involvement in the community.

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School of Education Student Ambassadors

Communicate with prospective students, assist with recruitment events, give tours of the building and offer input during prospective students’ individual campus visits. This group exemplifies the spirit of the school and provides excellent opportunities for professional growth.

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SERVE - Adopt a School, Big Pal/Little Pal, H.E.R.O.E.S.

USD SERVE is focused on enriching the community of Vermillion. The group upholds the goal of supporting the educational mission of USD by providing service-based learning opportunities to students, as well as creating an environment that advocates for the importance of community service and helping others.

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USD Reading Council

The USD Reading Council is dedicated to enhancing reading instruction and promoting the love of literature. A professional organization, we are genuinely concerned with the improvement of reading programs and teaching procedures, both developmental and remedial, for children and adults.

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Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community.

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Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in teacher residency & education.
Teacher Sitting at a Table with Students.

Teacher Residency & Education

The Division of Teacher Residency & Education is focused on preparing effective, responsive teachers who can meet the needs of all students in today's schools. Through unique features such as a robust yearlong residency, an emphasis on technology and curriculum that recognizes a variety of learners, our division offers an enriching education for educators and leaders.

Exterior view of Delzell education building

Center for Student and Professional Services

The School of Education offers resources and support for you in the Center for Student and Professional Services (CSPS). Our faculty and staff are committed to preparing you with resources to help you excel personally, academically and professionally.

Faculty & staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Division of Teacher Residency & Education. Our faculty's K-12 experience informs their teaching; they know what it's like to manage a classroom, plan curriculum and teach a wide variety of learners, so they have the expertise necessary to prepare you for your future classroom.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Daniel Mourlam

Daniel Mourlam

Division Chair
Bio Image for Faculty Member Susan Gapp

Susan Gapp

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jing Williams

Jing Williams

Associate Professor


Social Studies Education
Bio Image for Faculty Member John Williams

John Williams

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Hazlett

Lisa Hazlett



Young adult literature; secondary ELA education
Bio Image for Faculty Member Nicki Carr

Nicki Carr

Bio Image for Faculty Member Danielle Davenport

Danielle Davenport

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kristen DeMuth

Kristen DeMuth

Bio Image for Faculty Member Jamie Hovden

Jamie Hovden

Bio Image for Faculty Member Monica Iverson

Monica Iverson

Senior Lecturer


Special Education
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelly Knutson

Kelly Knutson

Bio Image for Faculty Member Carla Kozak

Carla Kozak



K-12 Special Education
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kevin Reins

Kevin Reins

Associate Professor
A girl writing in her notebook.

Tailor the Program to Your Interests and Career Goals

Graduate with a degree that reflects your passions and sets you apart.

USD's graduate degrees in secondary education are unique in that you can craft the program to fit your interests and career goals. You'll learn from supportive and expert faculty and take classes from other departments across campus to expand your skillset and knowledge. This unique structure provides a versatile and supportive climate that prepares students for effective participation in an information-rich society.
A woman teaching children in a classroom.

Impact the Lives of Your Students

Master your leadership skills and study in greater depth all curriculum and instructional areas related to teaching in middle and high schools. Strengthen your teaching skills and expand your knowledge to include a variety of current materials and programs used in elementary schools. 
A woman teaching a class of children.

Discounted Tuition for South Dakota Teachers and Vocational Instructors

If you live in South Dakota, be sure and take advantage of the 50% reduced tuition program for currently contracted elementary/secondary teachers and vocational instructors.


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Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.


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