Do you have a desire to teach adults in a variety of settings, including the workplace, the military, business or nonprofit organizations, or at the community college level? Do you have a desire to work with adult learners in higher education administration or leadership, including academic advising?

The MAEd in adult education is designed for instructors, trainers, administrators, and others who teach adults or plan educational programs for adults in a variety of settings, including business and industry, nonprofit organizations, community colleges, healthcare settings, and many more.

The program provides students the theoretical, philosophical, historical, and research foundations of best practice in the education of adults. Study addresses program development, instructional processes or strategies, the nature of adult learning and development, the organization and administration of adult education programs, and an introduction to the field of adult education. Students will learn about the diverse areas of practice as well as the diversity of adult learners.

ECU Advantage

For more than 35 years, East Carolina University’s adult education program has filled a great need for adult educators in eastern North Carolina, including community college instructors, workplace trainers, non-profit administrators and volunteer educators, health-care educators, and those who work in higher education administration in the community colleges, colleges, and universities.

Our program places emphasis on developing the theoretical and practical foundation for critical thinking and effective practice that are needed by professional adult educators. Students also have a good deal of flexibility to customize their programs of study to meet their personal and professional goals. As a result, our alumni enjoy successful careers in many different aspects of adult education.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Steven Schmidt (221-B Ragsdale Hall; 252-328-1118; schmidtst@ecu.edu)

The College of Education offers an online master's degree program in adult education, which is designed to assist teachers, instructional designers, administrators, trainers, and other persons working with adult learners to develop those skills necessary to initiate, design, administer, and implement effective educational programs. The mission of the degree program is to prepare adult educators who are knowledgeable and reflective in their practice and critical in their thinking. Admission to this program does not require an initial teaching license. The program requires a minimum of 36 s.h. with 24 s.h. in adult education and 3 s.h. in educational research and a culminating reflective portfolio. A maximum of 9 s.h. may be taken as electives in related areas. An interview and writing sample may be required for admission.

Required courses:
  • ADED 6445 - Introduction to Adult and Community Education
  • ADED 6453 - The Adult Learner
  • ADED 6481 - Development of Adult Education Programs
  • ADED 6484 - Organization and Administration of Adult Education
  • ADED 6487 - Instructional Strategies in Adult Education
  • educational research course approved by dept.
For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

Careers With This Degree

Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

  • Adult and Continuing Education Administration
  • Education Administrators
  • Adult and Continuing Education Administration

Career Opportunities

ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

NC Tower

This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

  • Self-employed;
  • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
  • Work outside of North Carolina.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

Degree-specific internships

For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.