Courses Integrative Studies

Master of Science in Higher Education



Six Required Courses



24 quarter credits

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Core courses:

Foundations of Master’s Studies in Education

This course provides learners with opportunities to acquire and use graduate-level skills, including the ability to critically examine and apply relevant educational theory to professional practice. Learners develop expertise in academic inquiry and scholarly writing as well as explore the importance of multicultural perspectives and diversity in professional contexts. Finally, learners articulate and examine their professional purpose and its alignment with their specialization and career aspirations.  Must be taken during the first quarter by learners who have been admitted to the MEd in Teaching and Learning, MS in Education, MS in Education Innovation and Technology, and MS in Higher Education degree programs and the Adult Education and Higher Education Leadership and Administration graduate certificate programs. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Survey of Research Methodology

This course is an overview of graduate research methodology. Learners examine fundamental research methodologies and their respective quantitative and qualitative approaches to rigorous scholarly inquiry.

4 quarter credits
ED5012 *
Overview of Higher Education

Learners in this course study the impact of higher education on individuals and society.  Learners also evaluate the history of higher education; examine the structure and scope of higher education institutions; and analyze the role of history, policy, and theory on current and future practices within the field. The course also includes a review of current higher education literature, issues, and trends. Learners continue to develop the Capella e-portfolio and career action plan.  Prerequisite(s): ED5010. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Foundations of Higher Education Assessment and Evaluation

This course guides learners through a planning process for developing and conducting effective learning outcomes assessment in both academic and non-academic settings in higher education. Learners examine the background, context, and practice of assessment and evaluation of student learning. They apply their knowledge to design an assessment plan that can be implemented at the program, course, department, or institutional level to promote improvement and accountability.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses:

ED5414 *
Introduction to Integrative Studies

This course provides a critical review of topics and theories that support learners’ professional growth and career development including self-efficacy, motivation, and retention. Learners engage in scholarly inquiry and critical and self-reflection resulting in an individualized program of study that supports professional growth and leadership in a variety of educational settings. Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent registration in ED5012. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
ED5490 *
Capstone in Integrative Studies

The capstone course is required for learners in the master’s Integrative Studies specialization and is taken after completing all required and elective coursework. Learners demonstrate proficiency in integrating learning from required and elective courses by completing a final project. For MS Integrative Studies learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s final quarter. Prerequisite(s): ED5006, ED5016, ED5414, completion of all elective coursework. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits



Six Elective Courses



24 quarter credits

Recommended elective courses:

ED5340 *
Theories and Principles of Adult Learning

This course focuses on learning theories, models, and principles and their application to instructional processes for adult learners. Learners analyze the instructor’s role in enhancing adult learning and evaluate their personal philosophy, dispositions, and ethics relative to teaching adult learners. Prerequisite(s): ED5012.

4 quarter credits
Multicultural Perspectives in Adult Education

In this course, learners focus on cultural diversity in adult education settings. Topics include cultural self-awareness, demographic changes and projections, problems and issues in intercultural educational settings, theoretical perspectives on multicultural adult education, and strategies for handling diversity in a variety of adult education settings.

4 quarter credits
ED5344 *
Strategies and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning

Learners in this course focus on effective ways to enhance adult learning in a variety of postsecondary settings. Topics include the theories and characteristics of adult growth and development, changes experienced in adulthood and their implications for adult instruction and learning, and issues and trends in adult teaching and learning. Prerequisite(s): ED5012.

4 quarter credits
The Delivery of Distance Education

In this course, learners gain an understanding of current distance education delivery systems, including print, recorded audio and video, and Internet technologies. Learners also examine the ways delivery technologies inform and constrain design decisions.

4 quarter credits
Leadership in Higher Education

Learners in this course examine the leadership philosophies, theories, and decision-making structures associated with higher education administration. Learners explore the nature and function of leadership; leadership roles; and institutional history, vision, culture, politics, and organizational structure. Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Critical Thinking in Adult Education

This course provides learners with a framework for critical inquiry and reflection. Learners examine models and best practices of thinking, reading, and acting critically in adult education. Learners apply key principles of critical thinking in personal and professional situations. Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Needs Assessment: Models and Procedures

This course is a survey of the needs assessment models and procedures used to diagnose the causes of organizational performance problems. Learners design and develop needs assessment instruments and collect and analyze data to differentiate organizationalperformance issues that require training solutions from those that require non-training interventions.  Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Educational Philosophy and Change

Learners in this course examine the philosophical foundations, ideologies, and theories that have influenced the development of educational philosophy and practices in the U.S. Learners examine, articulate, clarify, and refine basic assumptions and beliefs underlying their personal educational philosophy and practice. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
The Future of Teaching and Learning: Issues for the Educational Leader

In this course, learners explore and analyze the issues shaping teaching and learning. Learners use futuring methods to examine the ways history, technology, trends, and change affect the future of teaching and learning. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Coaching for High Performance

In this course, learners study theories and practices used to coach individuals to improved learning, decision making, and performance. Learners explore theoretical coaching approaches and models; client needs assessment; the coaching knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for supporting clients through personal and professional change; and the role of coaching in organizational performance systems. Learners focus on becoming confident and effective mediators of people seeking to improve the quality of their personal and professional lives. Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Curriculum Development and Teaching Strategies for Adult Learning

This course focuses on the evaluation and development of curriculum for adult learners. Learners in this course incorporate trends, theories, models, various instructional strategies, and technology as employed in designing 21st-century learning. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits


Choose any graduate course(s). 






48 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

This specialization does not lead to license, endorsement, or other professional credential. For more information, see the Licensure section for this program on Capella’s website ( Teachers are advised to contact their school district to determine whether a program may qualify for salary advancement.


Total program credits needed for graduation: 48

One academic quarter is three months. You will have a three-week break between each quarter.

What can I expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which may help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this specialization.

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Take an individual course

Whether you're completing additional credits for your own education, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure that the credits you earn now may be applicable to a Capella degree program.

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