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AEE Master’s Degrees

Want to teach agriculture at the middle school, high school or post-secondary level? Do you desire to work with Cooperative Extension? Or, are you driven to pursue a doctoral degree in Agricultural and Extension Education in the future?

Then the master's programs in Agricultural and Extension Education are designed for you.

Through our programs, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the context and content of extension education or school-based agricultural education.

Teacher talking to students in a classroom.

Master of Science in Agricultural and Extension Education

In the M.S. program, students gain practical experience in conducting research.

Upon completion, students with a teaching emphasis may qualify for a master’s level (M) teaching license.

  • 36 semester hours (at least 27 hours must be completed on-campus; the remaining nine hours of courses can be taken via distance education)
  • 21 hours of core courses
  • 15 hours of electives
  • Complete and defend a thesis

Students conduct original research on a significant problem in agricultural or extension education and turn this research into a final thesis report. Each student will present the final results in a public seminar and to his or her graduate committee.

Students will form a graduate advisory committee that will help them develop a plan of study and will guide the thesis.

Become a Licensed Teacher in North Carolina

Students can apply for the master’s (M) teaching license from the state of North Carolina upon completion of the program. M license seekers must conduct an action research project (see below), which they can include in the thesis.
Note: Students must apply for the initial A teaching license before applying for the M license. Students may apply for the A license while enrolled in a graduate program. We recommend students do this by enrolling in the NC State LEAP program simultaneously.

Learn more about LEAP 
Ag Teacher teaching students

Master of Agricultural and Extension Education

The Master of Agricultural and Extension Education is designed primarily for those who currently teach agriculture at the middle school, high school and/or post-secondary level or who work (or desire to work) with Cooperative Extension.

  • 30 semester hours
  • 15 hours of core courses
  • 15 hours of electives
  • Complete a culminating project

Students must demonstrate a mastery of the theories, principles, and practice of agricultural and extension education through a self-directed creative or research project. 

Follow the process for the culminating project:

  • Register for AEE 693 or AEE 620.
  • Present the results of the project to the AEE 601 seminar class (enrollment is not required) or at a professional conference or extension meeting.

Distance education students can either use technology to present their projects or upload a video file to a file-sharing website to show to the class.

Below are examples of the types of self-directed creative or research projects students can create in the Master of Agricultural and Extension Education degree program.

Action Research

Teachers select an aspect of their teaching to investigate. They record data and consider theories from the research literature, drawing conclusions about how teaching is influencing learning and vice versa, and informing future instructional decisions. The intent is to improve the teachers’ immediate classroom teaching; secondarily, if applicable, the intent is to generalize it across other contexts in the school or beyond. Students seeking an M teaching licensure are required to complete this type of culminating project. See frequently asked questions about action research projects.

Course or Curriculum Development

Develop a teaching unit or course that includes lesson plans, instructional materials, group activities, and assessment instruments. Some or all of the materials/activities will be implemented in an actual setting and evaluated. The student will reflect on the process and outcomes of the project.

Research Inquiry

Conduct a small-scale research project that is either a descriptive or correlative research study focusing on areas of concern for the profession such as job satisfaction, teacher turnover, needs assessment, etc. Students must use standard research procedures and protocols.

Coaching or Mentoring

Formally coach or mentor a beginning teacher or agent. The student develops a plan for the mentoring/coaching activity. An instructional coach provides ongoing consistent follow-up by way of demonstrations, observations, and conversations with new professionals as they implement new strategies and knowledge.

Students who complete the Master of Agricultural and Extension Education do not automatically receive teacher certification. We offer the LEAP (Licensure in Education for Agricultural Professionals) program for those who desire to become certified to teach agriculture in public schools. Students may work on the master’s program and LEAP simultaneously.

Students will be assigned a temporary faculty advisor. After one semester, students select a permanent advisor. The advisor will help the student develop a plan of study and will guide the culminating project.