Master of Science-Adult and Higher Education

The curriculum of the program addresses a broad, but focused set of foundational competencies any adult educator needs: Teaching or workforce training, program planning, instructional design, assessing individual learning and evaluating program outcomes, communicating, facilitating change, assessing educational needs for staff development, and leading programs designed for long-term organizational performance. Sectors or types of employers in which our graduates can obtain careers are: 

  • Workforce Development for Business/industry
  • Federal  or state agencies with a staff development/training function
  • Literacy Programs or Adult Basic Education
  • Agricultural Extension services
  • Faith-Based organizations
  • Community Colleges
  • Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement
  • Life-Coaching
  • Community/Civic sector (non-profit) or social programs where adult learning is incorporated
  • Higher Education - College teaching, Student Services, Academic Advising, Institutional Advancement or Campus Life services
  • Instructional Technology - Course design for on-line delivery, E-learning

The program is comprised of a total of 36 SCH; the program focuses on Workforce Development/Human Resource Development, but students may tailor their assignments and projects to a specific field of practice, such as industry,  instructional technology, adult literacy/ GED, community education or a faith-based context. If a student should desire an emphasis in the Higher Education context, nine SCH of coursework may be taken in Higher Education administration through our cross-enrollment arrangement with Texas A&M University-Commerce.  A substitution form is required from the program coordinator; 9 SCH in Higher Education may be taken in lieu of the general elective (3 SCH), AHED 513 (3-SCH) and AHED 514 (3-SCH) on the degree plan.

Each course challenges students to intellectually consider the intersections of theory, research and practice but supplies practical skills and personal competencies needed for success. The core curriculum is based on the curricular guidelines of the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE). 

Special Feature:  Articulation of Prior Learning (3 SCH)

This program allows 3 SCH of graduate credit for a student’s prior learning, attained from formal, structured courses, workshops, or training programs offered in the private sector, military (via ACE transcript), federal/state, or the community sector. The knowledge to be articulated into graduate credit must be directly related to the overall content of the AHED degree and/or field of teaching/training adult learners or higher education. The knowledge/skills must be equivalent to the graduate course level.  To apply for prior learning assessment (PLA) credit, a student must be fully admitted to the AHED program and present a dossier/portfolio to the Program Coordinator, containing the credentials/certificate attained from the course, documentation of workshop hours and the program’s content, and a discussion of competencies and knowledge the student obtained; application of the knowledge through a strong level of analytical reflection is a significant aspect of this assessment.  A rubric is provided for the assessment process. A presentation of the content and reflection on learning may also be required of the student before the knowledge is accredited and noted on the transcript for 3 SCH in AHED 589.  An assessment fee is charged to the student if credit is awarded.

Program Delivery Format

AHED is a low-residency program; while not delivered completely on-line, courses are delivered on  weekday evenings, on-line, hybrid or selected Saturday/hybrid

Final Components required for graduation:

  1. Passing score on the Graduate comprehensive examination taken during final term
  2. Satisfactory score on the culminating capstone portfolio. 

Unique Features of This Program at Texas A&M University-Texarkana Campus

  • Small class sizes
  • Faculty are personable and very approachable
  • Emphasis in Workforce Development/Human Resource Development/General Adult Education, or Higher Education (courses available on-line through cross-enrollment program with Texas A&M University-Commerce)
  • Students gain skills and competencies, in addition to theory
  • Incorporates project-based learning and other high-impact practices that build marketable competencies
  • Students produce a portfolio throughout the program, a valuable marketing tool for students!
  • Low-residency, hybrid/evening/selected Saturday delivery for all courses

Time to Degree Completion: Can be completed in two years (based on a student taking 6 SCH per term)  or slightly less if student is full-time

Cost for Planning Purposes:  Approximately $ 12,000 including textbooks (tuition and fee costs are locked in for two years upon entrance to the program)     

What Specific Careers are Available for our Graduates?

  • Training specialists in the for-profit or non-profit sector, such as manufacturing, healthcare, or any context where staff and employee development takes place
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Education and Development Manager
  • Training and Development Coordinator
  • Technical Trainer
  • Instructor for Career and Technical fields at Community Colleges or Proprietary schools
  • Staff positions or Leadership roles in the Community College or other higher education settings
  • Curriculum designers or program planners
  • Director of Adult Basic Education or a Literacy Council
  • County Extension Agents
  • Military Trainers
  • Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice Trainers
  • Staff in Civic, Social and Non-Profit Organizations
  • Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) to Adults

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 or 2.90 GPA in last 60 hours of undergraduate degree program
  • Three recommendation letters from faculty and/or employers
  • Cover letter of interest, citing professional goals and why the student believes this program is suitable for him/her; cite some academic background information as well
  • Advising session with Program Coordinator prior to entering the program – can be accomplished in person or by telephone
  • Resume
  • Extemporaneous writing sample conducted on-site
  • Official scores on the GRE or MAT

Requirements must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office in the College of Arts and Sciences and Education (CASE) by the designated deadline of first semester of enrollment.

Degree Requirements

Students should refer to their DegreeWorks degree audit in their Web for Students account for more information regarding their degree requirements.

Interdisciplinary Core Course
ED 520Education Research Literature and Techniques3
Major Courses
AHED 520Professions and Practices in Adult and Higher Education3
AHED 526Adult Learning and Development3
AHED 527Program Planning in Adult Education3
AHED 528Instructional Design and Methodology4
AHED 530Needs Assessment and Evaluation3
AHED 532Transformational Leadership and Human Relations3
AHED 513Overview of Human Resource Development3
AHED 514Workforce Training and Development3
AHED 588Practicum in Adult/Higher Education1
AHED 5901
Instructional Technology (ITED) Elective. Choose 1 from:3
Teaching with Emerging Technologies
Online Learning and Teaching
ITED 500 level course approved by advisor
Choose one 3sch course from:3
Career Development and Information
Counseling Diverse Populations
Organizational Communication
Intercultural Communication
Grant and Proposal Writing
Organizational Behavior
Ind Study in AHED
Special Topics
Instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs)
United States Hispanic Culture and Civilization
United States Ethnic Minority Studies
Total Minimum Hours36

Graduate Courses in Adult and Higher Education

AHED 505. Higher Education in the 21st Century. 3 Hours.

The course presents an overview of the status of American higher education, specifically examining the social, political, and economic forces challenging institutions. Finance, federal and state governance, student demographics, curricular changes and academic leadership are key points of study.

AHED 508. Student Services Administration in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

This course is designed as an introduction to the roles, functions, and skills necessary for college student personnel professionals. Students will learn the theory and practices relative to the three basic approaches to the profession: counseling, student development, and organizational leadership. A cursory history of the profession will also be included, as well as current trends and issues.

AHED 513. Overview of Human Resource Development. 3 Hours.

This course is an introduction and overview to the discipline of Human Resource Development. The course addresses the processes of planning and implementing organizational training systems, assessing educational and developmental needs of employees, and examines the various applications of the HRD field used to enhance employee performance.

AHED 514. Workforce Training and Development. 3 Hours.

This is an overview of training and development processes and methods used in organizations to improve individual and organizational performance. Specific topics include the role and competencies of the training specialist, methods of conducting needs assessment and task analysis, adult learning and course design principles, delivery methods, evaluating training, and other developmental activities appropriate for the contemporary for-profit and non-profit work organization.

AHED 515. Organization Development. 3 Hours.

The field of Organization Development is one of three primary functions of the discipline of Human Resource Development, which is a focus area for the AHED program. This course presents an overview of how planned behavioral and socio-technical interventions, at the macro and micro levels, can improve the effectiveness of an organization as a whole. The role of the HRD professional, acting as change agent or facilitator, will be emphasized. Theoretical foundations and practical change strategies used in an OD process will be studied. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

AHED 520. Professions and Practices in Adult and Higher Education. 3 Hours.

This course provides students a survey of the major dimensions of the field of adult education, an overview of its goals and purposes, constituencies, providers and agencies within the United States, and major figures that have contributed to the research and practice in the field. The course will explore the status of the profession in the United States, and the interrelationship of adult education and the contemporary higher education area.

AHED 526. Adult Learning and Development. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on adult learning theories and principles, characteristics of adults as learners, phases of the adult life and factors that influence the development of adults, particularly the cognitive and emotional. Various types of learning models are addressed, such as formal, incidental, informal and self-directed. Students also analyze learning styles, and the adult's motivation for learning. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

AHED 527. Program Planning in Adult Education. 3 Hours.

This course examines the principles and procedures in program planning for adult education forums, such as comprehensive training sessions, conferences, and symposiums. Students will be introduced to various models and theories for planning, current trends and issues, and skill areas including context analysis, budget planning, project management, ethical considerations, and program evaluation.

AHED 528. Instructional Design and Methodology. 4 Hours.

This course examines the principles and best practices of designing instruction for adult learners and methods to deliver content. Specific topics include lesson planning, content sequence, selection and use of methods, practices for the diverse classroom, platform skills for the teacher of adults, motivational techniques, and creating instructional materials for a variety of contexts. The course will cover traditional methods of instruction, as well as innovative approaches.

AHED 530. Needs Assessment and Evaluation. 3 Hours.

This course is segmented into two parts. Part I covers the models, theories and techniqus applied in assessing an organization's educational/developmental needs to promote effective planning of employee development. Part II addresses how program goals and objectives may be evaluated from the broad organizational perspective down to the individual assessment of learning and change. Prerequisite: graduate standing.

AHED 532. Transformational Leadership and Human Relations. 3 Hours.

The course facilitates development of self, organization, and community through enactment of adult learning theory as it relates to transformational leadership values. The scope of study includes analysis of classic and current transformational leadership theory and the development and implmentation of leadership and change projects: (1) self-study adn (2) site study. Human relations skills are included as foundation to effective leadership and facilitating change in organizations. Areas of impact include higher education, adult education, healthcare, non-profit, faith-based organizations, local and state government, civil service, and other public and private organizations and agencies that function within dynamic settings requiring effective engagement of human and technological resources. This course is cross-listed with ITED 532. Prerequisite: graduate standing.

AHED 588. Practicum in Adult/Higher Education. 1 Hour.

This graduate capstone is a project-based course in which students design, develop and deliver a significant educational/training session to adult learners in an authentic context. This course is entirely independent in nature and highly experiential. An internship may also be arranged as a practicum, wtih inclusion of design/delivery of one instructional session for an adult audience. The student is expected to synthesize connections between the teaching experience and academic field of study.

AHED 589. Ind Study in AHED. 3 Hours.

This course provides individual instruction. Students may repeat the course when topics vary.

AHED 597. Special Topics. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to teach students about interpersonal communication, application of theoretical concepts to the analysis of interpersonal interactions, become aware of individual strengths and weaknesses when functioning in interpersonal contexts, and to develop skills for more effective interpersonal relationships. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

ED 520. Education Research Literature and Techniques. 3 Hours.

This course addresses the process and tools to locate, read, understand, and critique education research. The fundamental techniques of planning, conducting, and reporting qualitative and quantitative research will also be considered. Prerequisite: Must be admitted into the Alternative Certification Program.


Dr. Gaynell Green

Associate Professor of Adult Education


Dr. Lisa Myers