Adult & Developmental Education (454F)

students doing group work with laptops at a table

The ASU Higher Education Program offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Higher Education, with a concentration in Adult and Developmental Education. The purpose of this concentration is to prepare individuals to teach in or administer developmental education and learning assistance programs; adult literacy, basic education, and GED programs; English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs; career-technical programs; or adult education/training programs offered by community agencies. Graduates are typically employed in the following types of positions:

  • basic skills/developmental education instructors
  • faculty in vocational/instructional programs
  • ESOL instructors
  • academic support specialists
  • tutorial coordinators
  • professional developers/trainers
  • program directors or coordinators
  • leaders in adult and developmental education


The Adult and Developmental Education concentration is offered off-campus only, through ASU's App State Online.

Current Cohorts

  • Cohort forming in Online for Fall 2019.
    • Application deadline: Preference given to submissions prior to April 1. Other applications may be accepted until July 1 or when the cohort fills.

Concentration Requirements

The M.A. degree in Higher Education requires coursework totaling 36 credit hours. The following courses are required for the concentration in Adult & Developmental Education and are available to download in our Concentration Course Checklist (DOCX, 112 KB).


  • HE 5635: Adult Development and Learning Theories
  • HE 5440: College & University Teaching
  • HE 6861: American Higher Education
  • RES 5000: Research Methods


  • HE 5090: Adult and Developmental Education (3)
  • HE 5640: College Access and Student Success (3)

Completion of one of the following two options:

    • 18 s.h. of advisor-approved graduate electives in a discipline such as English, reading, math, or ESL

    • HE 5650: Curriculum in Higher Education (3)
    • HE 5720: Program Development (3)
    • HE 5730: Assessment and Evaluation (3)
    • HE 5740: Learning Assistance in Higher Education (3)
    • Choice of Thesis or Non-Thesis Option:
      • HE 5999 Thesis (6)
      • OR 6 s.h of graduate electives chosen based on career interests with the advice and approval of the graduate advisor.

Other requirements for the degree include:

  • An Admission to Candidacy form needs to be submitted by the time the student has completed 12 hours of coursework.
  • Written Comprehensive Exam: Student must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination during their last semester of coursework.

students doing group work with laptops at a tableUnique to ASU

Appalachian State University also houses two centers celebrated for their contributions to national and state basic skills initiatives:

Applying to the Program

Applications are accepted for the *on-campus program on an on-going basis for Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Deadlines are:

  • Fall: April 15 (priority) / July 1 (final)
  • Spring: October (priority) / November 1 (final)
  • Summer: April 1

*See specific application deadlines for distance education cohorts.

To read about criteria for admission, click here.

To start an application, click here.

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