Master of Education in Environmental Literacy

Master of Education in Environmental Literacy

“Instructors are actually working in the field of Environmental Literacy and possess expertise and knowledge, rather than making baseless assumptions.”

-Jermaine Reece, M.Ed. Environmental Literacy Student.
TCSJ’s Master of Education in Environmental Literacy Program is designed for you if you are looking to:
  • Develop integrated curricula and learning opportunities that nurture their students' understanding of the natural world outside the classroom, expand critical thinking skills, and prepare engaged citizens
  • Gain expertise in developing, implementing, and sustaining capacity building plans for an Environmental Literacy program within an organization, such as a school district
  • Explore innovative teaching and leadership practices
  • Become a master in your research area and be an informed agent to lead change within your school community/place of practice


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university to apply for TCSJ’s Master of Education Program.

M.Ed. Environmental Literacy Coursework (32 units):

CURR301 Foundations (1 unit) – As a result of this foundational course, students understand how the elements of the masters program will contribute to their development as a transformational leader. Students will gain the preliminary skills needed to successfully navigate all courses and be prepared for scholarly research and writing.

CURR302 Big Picture: Preparing Students for College, Career, and Community (3 units) – Exploration of equitable learning environments are researched, observed, and discussed. Students examine reforms and innovations in PK-12 education, especially focusing on college and career readiness initiatives and its implications to teaching and learning. Students utilize the Design Thinking model to reimagine solutions to complex educational issues and invent innovative models of schools and classrooms. What would a truly innovative, reform-oriented classroom look like? What changes are needed in the school system? How does an educational leader change the system? What are the implications to teachers who need to prepare students to be engaged in their community through civics and global awareness? These issues are among the topics and questions considered in this course.

CURR303 Innovative Curriculum Development and Assessment (3 units) – Students extend their understanding of how to transition from conventional teaching practices to identifying strategies necessary to design innovative research-based learning environments that will best prepare students for their future. Students will create a Project Based learning unit that incorporates authentic assessments, universal design for learning, real-life applications, and opportunities for reflection. Over the duration of the course, students are challenged to critically reflect on current assessment practices and establish equitable and accurate progress monitoring methods.

CURR304 Applied Research Methodology (5 units) – Students enrolled in this course will deepen their understanding of research design techniques including, but not limited to, empirical research constructs, review of evaluation research and policy analysis, how to read quantitative and qualitative research reports, descriptive and inferential statistics, and basic understandings of the scientific method (problem, hypothesis, data collection, and data analysis). Students will develop, implement, and analyze a teacher action research project that includes the essential elements of effective research methodologies. The focus of the action research project will be defined by the student and will follow guidelines related to the teaching and learning process, be within an appropriate scope of influence, and with a purpose of initiating action to understand or solve a problem.

CURR305 Writing a Literature Review (2 units) – Analysis and synthesis of relevant scholarly research will be employed by the student regarding their topics for the development of the literature review. Specific attention will be paid to topic development, adequate sources, writing style, creation of an outline, and correct citing of research in accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual for the completion of a final literature review.

STEM344 Lesson Study Environmental Principles and Concepts (2) – The purpose of this course is to build knowledge and expertise related to the theory and components of effective lesson design. Educators work with peers to co-design, teach, and reflect upon an integrated lesson designed to address Environmental Principles and Concepts, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Pathways to Sustainable Development, and/or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Sustainable Development Goals.

STEM351 Environmental Phenomenology (3) – Place-based investigations to discover and model local environmental phenomena provide opportunities to build capacity and non-deficit thinking. The Environmental Principles and Concepts (EPCs) are introduced and used to help design inquiry-based activities that take students outside the classroom. Useful community and everyday resources are identified which enhance the quality of environmental education, with emphasis placed on opportunities to participate in community science and impact local and global environments.

STEM370 History: Environmental and Human Impacts (3) – This course highlights the active role nature has played in influencing human affairs, underscores the impacts humans have had on the environment over time, and examines people’s shifting views of nature. Environmental Principles and Concepts (EPCs) and the K-12 California History and Social Science framework inform the study of the relationship between humans and the natural environment.

STEM375 Actions for Change: Environmental Solutions (3)
“They wanted to bury us, but they didn’t know that we were seeds” Mexican Proverb.
Development of engaged citizens prepared to navigate and influence the local, national, and global landscape is the purpose of this course. Candidates will be challenged to learn how to engage their PK-12 students to act collectively for shared outcomes, analyze and use social media to examine science with a social justice perspective, and understand the impacts of individual beliefs about land. Educators learn to use Design Thinking with their PK-12 students as they engage with their community to create solutions to local environmental concerns. PK-12 students’ Environmental Literacy is fostered as they wrestle with questions such as: How do we assess the health of the environment? What is the capacity of our natural systems? How might we adjust to pollution?

STEM380 Building Capacity for Sustainability (3)
“It’s amazing what you can get done if you don’t care who gets the credit.” – H. Truman
Organizational and systems theories that identify structures needed for sustainability of initiatives within school districts provide a focus for this course. Students build a Plan of Action that addresses leadership strategies for rollout, establishes community support, includes strategies for dealing with local, state, and national political stressors, identifies grant opportunities, builds capacity throughout the district, and develops a shared vision statement. Ensuring that PK-12 students have access to equitable learning focused on local, relevant and actionable environmental concerns requires teachers who are empowered with resources, supported to take learning outside, and have access to local partnerships.

STEM387a Masters Project in Environmental Literacy – 1st Semester (1)
This is the capstone course for the Master’s degree. As such, candidates will work with their advisor to design and execute a project that demonstrates inquiry, incorporates content from coursework, contributes to the body of knowledge for their focus topic, and makes a real world difference to school, kids, and/or community. The project must be suitable for publication and presentation.

*Candidates are allotted two semesters to complete the project. STEM387a indicates completion of 1 unit of the project.

STEM387b Masters Project in Environmental Literacy – 2nd Semester (3)
This is the capstone course for the Master’s degree. As such, candidates will work with their advisor to design and execute a project that demonstrates inquiry, incorporates content from coursework, contributes to the body of knowledge for their focus topic, and makes a real world difference to school, kids, and/or community. The project must be suitable for publication and presentation.

*Candidates are allotted two semesters to complete the project. STEM387b indicates completion of 3 units of the project.

TCSJ’s Master of Education program offers students the flexibility to create their own schedule and learn at their own pace. Click on one of the buttons below to view upcoming M.Ed. courses.

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Current IMPACT Candidates

Coursework completed by students currently enrolled in the IMPACT Program are directly transferable to TCSJ for identical required coursework in the M.Ed. program. Courses have been aligned and carry the same course codes.

IMPACT Graduates

Students who have graduated from the IMPACT Program within the last five years will be awarded transfer credit as described for current candidates above. IMPACT students who graduated more than five years prior to enrollment in the graduate school must submit transcripts for evaluation. Equivalencies will be granted for coursework as appropriate to current standards.

Students Transferring from other Teacher/Administrator Preparation Programs

Coursework completed from a regionally accredited college or university is eligible to be evaluated for transfer credit work with the following restrictions:

  • Only 8 units or less can be transferred.
  • Only courses completed within the last 7 years will be considered.
  • Only courses that qualify for graduate credit by an accredited institution can be transferred. *Exception: Integrated credential coursework completed as an undergraduate may be considered pending review of transcripts and course descriptions.
  • Only courses in which a grade of C or better can be transferred.

Enrolled candidates must receive pre-approval prior to taking a course at another regionally accredited institution in order to have credits be considered as transferrable.

Candidates may submit transcripts and other requested documentation to the program director for review. Transfer credit will be granted on an individual basis and the program director will assign equivalencies (“E” grade, no units) for approved coursework only.

If needed, the program director shall consult with the President of TCSJ or an academic designee regarding granting equivalencies. The President has the authority to overrule policy.

Note: No transfer credit/equivalencies will be granted for any course in the Masters Core. All students must complete a minimum of 17 units at TCSJ to be eligible for a Masters in Education.

Students earning an M.Ed. in Environmental Literacy are required to complete a Masters Project as their capstone assignment for the program.

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