Adult and Higher Education

Master of Science Degree (MS) Major: Adult and Higher Education

A unique, interdisciplinary program with a singular focus - developing facilitators of lifelong learning!

This degree prepares individuals to teach or train adult learners in any context, develop college students or work in an entry level administrative positions in higher education. Our curriculum is focused on skills and knowledge the practitioner needs: Teaching or training, program planning, designing workshops, communicating, facilitating learning, assessing educational needs for staff development, and strategically planning for long-term organizational performance. Our graduates are prepared to work in:

  • Business/industry
  • Federal or state agencies with a training function
  • Literacy/Adult Basic Education
  • Religious organizations
  • Community Colleges
  • Community/Civic offices where adult learning programs are needed

Using the list of prescribed electives, students may tailor their program of instruction to a more specific field of application, such as higher education, workforce training and development, instructional technology, adult literacy or GED, or even take courses in a discipline for undergraduate teaching (Instruction Track). 

The core curriculum of 21 semester credit hours provides fundamental knowledge and skills any adult educator needs to possess. 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). 

AHED is a low-residency program; it is not delivered completely on-line but all coursework is delivered in the evening, or in combinations of on-line, or hybrid evening/Saturday formats. The program is designed to be completed in two years if one takes 6 SCH per term. 

Final Components required for graduation:

  1. Passing score on the Graduate comprehensive examination taken during final term
  2. Successful completion of the graduate capstone course AHED 588, also taken in the final term. 

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

  • Small class sizes
  • Practitioner-based skills
  • Four Focus areas to choose from
  • Delivered to meet needs of working or non-working students - always blended between on-site evening classes/web, Saturday/web, or entirely on-line - we following a philosophy of building practical competence, not just theoretical knowledge
  • An Instructional Focus area for students desiring to teach at the undergraduate level (note: Most institutions require a minimum of 18 SCH in the discipline to teach at the undergraduate level)
  • Program can be completed in two years or less

What Careers are Available for our Graduates?

  • Training specialists in the for-profit or non-profit sector, such as manufacturing or healthcare
  • Staff positions or Leadership roles in the Community College or other higher education settings
  • Instructional Technologists
  • Curriculum designers or program planners
  • Literacy Instructors or Program Administrators
  • County Extension Agents
  • Military Trainers
  • Law Enforcement Trainers
  • Instructors for Adult Basic Education or English as Second Language

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Minimum of cumulative 2.50 GPA or 2.50 GPA in last 60 hours of undergraduate degree program
  • Three recommendation letters from faculty and/or employers
  • Essay on life and professional and/or academic background
  • Interview with Program Coordinator
  • Letter of interest
  • Resume
  • Extemporaneous writing sample conducted on-site
  • Official scores on the GRE or MAT

Requirements must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office 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 Methodology3
Instructional Technology (ITED) Elective3
AHED 588Graduate Capstone: Teaching/Training Symposium3
Professional Focus Area
Select one of the following options:12
Higher Education:
12 semester credit hours in AHED
Adult Education/Human Resource Development:
12 semester credit hours in HRD
12 semester credit hours of Graduate Courses in a Single Discipline
Total Minimum Hours33

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. 3 Hours.

This course examines the principles and 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, learning needs and styles, motivational factors, and creating materials for a variety of contexts. Traditional methods, as well as innovative approaches, for education/training will be addressed.

AHED 588. Graduate Capstone: Teaching/Training Symposium. 3 Hours.

As the program captstone course, students perform all aspects of designing and teaching adults in a field-based venue on two different occasions. Students are expected to apply the adult learning theories, concepts, and teaching methodology they have learned throughout the program and are assessed on several dimensions per an evaluation rubric. An internship may also be used for the practicum within an educational setting such as university/community college or for-profit or non-profit organization with an educational function.

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