School for New Learning > Academics > Graduate Programs > Programs > Educating Adults (MA)

Educating Adults (MA)

The Master of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) program  is designed for people who help adults learn in diverse settings.  Grounded in adult learning theories and best practices , the program integrates knowing and doing in: 
  • Facilitation
  • Design
  • Assessment/Evaluation
  • Field-based research

Real-World Experience

This program combines structured courses with professional activities, workshops and independent studies, culminating in a final applied project.

Focus Areas

MAEA students may choose  a focus area within Educating Adults:

Community-Engaged Learning

This focus area is designed to help adults effect change and growth within their local contexts. Students electing this focus area work with others to facilitate positive change for individuals, groups, and/or communities. Related areas include community development, community engagement, empowerment, social change, social impact, and social justice.​

Learning and Development

This focus area is designed to help adults develop their growth and performance potential in the workplace. Students electing this focus area center their work on assessment and evaluation, curriculum/program development, delivery/facilitation, and/or curriculum design. Related areas include employee engagement, human resources, instructional design, performance improvement, talent development, and training.​

Technology-Enhanced Learning

This focus area is designed to help adults learn using technology in various ways and for various purposes. Students electing this focus area use a range of platforms, strategies and tools for designing and delivering learning in on-line, on-ground, and/or hybrid environments. Related areas include E-learning, gamification, and social media.​​


This focus area is to-be-developed by the individual student in the event that none of the three designated areas (above) reflects the student?s interests and career aspirations. (If proposing one?s own individualized focus area, students are advised to consider the perspectives of external audiences such as employers and graduate schools.)

Program Highlights

The program provides you with the opportunity to expand your knowledge of key theories and best practices in adult learning — including the latest in instructional technology, course design, learning facilitation, Internet-based practices and emerging trends. In addition, you’ll be able to:
  • Further develop competencies as an adult educator and expand your repertoire
  • Study with other adult educators in a collaborative learning environment
  • Customize portions of your study to match your individual learning needs and goals
  • Carry out an applied project that contributes to adults’ learning in your particular area of practice
  • Receive coaching and mentoring from a team of university advisors
  • Engage in a brief/intensive series of “liberal learning” seminars designed to rekindle and/or deepen your practice in key domains of applied effectiveness (personal, interpersonal, organizational, values and inquiry).
  •  Earn an accredited graduate degree with competencies endorsed by DePaul

Program Structure

Students begin the MAEA program with a cohort of about 15 students and a faculty mentor. This cohort of students moves through the core curriculum together. The first course in the program — Developing Professional Identity (4 quarter credit hours) — is typically offered twice a year in the fall and spring quarters and taught by the faculty mentor. New students simultaneously take Finding and Managing Information (2 quarter credit hours). These two courses set the foundation for your graduate degree.

Program Length

To qualify for the MAEA, you must complete 57 quarter credit hours. The program has five components.
  • Professional Core (24 quarter credit hours)
  • Liberal Learning Seminars (18 quarter credit hours)
  • Reflective Practice (2 quarter credit hours)
  • Electives (8 quarter credit hours)
  • Applied Inquiry Project (5 quarter credit hours)

Certificate Options

The MAEA program may also be expanded to include two graduate certificates, Liberal Learning for Professionals and Educating Adults. Learn more.