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Developmental Education (Master's)

student studying

The program offers students the opportunity to research with nationally and internationally recognized, award-winning faculty in beautiful Central Texas. Students learn to think critically about theory, research, and practice in multiple areas of college readiness and developmental education including developmental literacy, learning support, and developmental mathematics.

A comprehensive, broad-based degree that prepares students to address the needs of developmental learners in postsecondary education.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Taylor Acee
Academic Services Building North (ASBN), Room 401C

Advisor Support
Dena Guerrero
Academic Services Building North (ASBN), Room 401

“The developmental education master’s program has given me the opportunity to work alongside nationally recognized scholars and advance my own knowledge and skills as a researcher and educator. This program and its many opportunities situate you in the current conversation within developmental education and provide the tools necessary to succeed when working in research and education.”

— Stephanie M. Jarrett, M.A. ’18, current Developmental Education Ph.D. student

Course Work

A common core of courses within the 36-hour degree provide a broad-based understanding of the field. Students will select an area of concentration based on their goals and career expectations:

  • learning support: prepares students to lead instruction and academic support programs for postsecondary students seeking academic assistance in an array of disciplines
  • literacy (reading and writing): prepares students with theoretical and practical literacy knowledge and skills to be successful teachers
  • developmental mathematics: prepares students with theoretical and practical mathematical knowledge and skills to be successful teachers
Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.A. Developmental Mathematics 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. Learning Support 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. Literacy 36 Non-Thesis No minor
Education building

  Online Availability
The majority of the Developmental Mathematics and Learning Support concentrations may be offered online while the Literacy concentration is offered completely online. If you are not a Texas resident and will not relocate, please visit the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. International applicants will not be eligible to receive a Form I-20 or DS-2019 for an F-1 or J-1 visa from Texas State and may review the eligibility requirements of enrolling in online programs and contact the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) with questions.

The master’s program in developmental education prepares future educators, leaders, program developers and administrators to enhance the learning and educational experiences of postsecondary students in a variety of contexts.

Program Mission

Housed within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the program prepares scholars, researchers, leaders, administrators, instructors, and practitioners to work in developmental education programs in two- and four-year colleges and universities. As a multidisciplinary program, the faculty, staff, and students work collaboratively across various academic disciplines, diverse communities, and geographic boundaries. Both rigorous and supportive, the program advances theory, research, and practice in multiple areas of developmental education — including literacy, learning support, and developmental mathematics — by actively engaging students in teaching, scholarship, and professional service.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Faculty research interests include:

  • theoretical and applied issues of student motivation, emotion, learning strategies, and self-regulation
  • integrated reading and writing theory and practice, and co-requisite curricular structures in postsecondary education
  • postsecondary student success courses, interventions for students with learning disabilities, and demographic changes in higher education
  • college transitional readers’ deliberate and non-deliberate responses to texts and conceptualizations of literacy
  • the impact of professional development on instruction in the adult student transition to postsecondary literacy
  • educational equity for youth and the intersections of formal and informal cultures in education
  • strategic learning and motivation in postsecondary science and mathematics

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Graduates are prepared to pursue careers at two- and four-year colleges and universities in the following areas:

  • learning assistance centers and tutorial programs
  • developmental instruction programs in writing, mathematics, reading, and learning strategy development
  • pre-college-to-college transition programs, such as the federal TRIO programs, which include Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services
  • non-governmental programs

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I - Priority February 1 February 1
Summer I - Standard April 15 March 15
Summer II - Priority February 1 No Admission
Summer II - Standard April 15 No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • statement of purpose (approximately 500 words) describing your background and professional goals, including your rationale for pursuing the chosen professional degree program, how your goals tie into the mission of the graduate program, and your philosophy of teaching and learning
  • three letters of recommendation from individuals who know you as a student or as a professional

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.