FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION PROGRAM IN THE GRADUATE CENTER FOR EDUCATION AT THE AMERICAN JEWISH UNIVERSITY
1. What degree(s) will I earn from this program?
You will earn a Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.).
2. What will this program enable me to do?
By graduation, you will be prepared to embark upon a variety of career paths. Recent graduates have entered careers as day school and religious school principals, summer camp and youth group directors, day school teachers, Hillel and JCC professionals, environmental and community educators, synagogue educational directors, Jewish Federation executives, curriculum writers, higher education administrators, and Jewish TV network and museum professionals.
3. How long will it take me to complete the program?
Ordinarily, the program is completed in two academic years, including part of the intervening summer, or a total of five semesters. There is also the possibility of a three year or part-time option.
4. How much does the program cost? Is there financial aid?
In 2011-2012, the tuition of the M.A.Ed. program is $12,372 per semester, plus student fees. Generous financial aid is available to qualified applicants. All financial aid information can be found on our website at: http://currentstudents.aju.edu/Default.aspx?id=6039. For additional information, contact Larisa Zadoyen, Director of Financial Aid at (310)440-1252), at AJU.
5. How many people will be in my cohort?
The Graduate School of Education generally has approximately 10 members in each year’s class.
6. Is the program affiliated with a particular Jewish denomination?
No. The Graduate School of Education is a transdenominational program that embraces and promotes pluralism. Each year, we welcome students from every denomination, as well as students who do not affiliate with any denomination. We pride ourselves on being a community that encourages the personal and professional growth that comes from studying with others of different backgrounds.
7. Is there a Hebrew requirement for this program?
Students must take up to two years of Hebrew, or until they place out of the advanced level Hebrew (Hebrew IV), whichever comes first. Students are strongly encouraged to enter the program with competency at a minimum of Hebrew II. (The Hebrew placement criteria are available on the Hebrew Department website.) Students who place into Hebrew I will be counseled individually and encouraged to deepen their Hebrew skills beyond Hebrew II as is appropriate for their career goals; for students on a three-year track this may include taking a third year of Hebrew. Students entering at beginner’s level Hebrew are strongly advised to take AJU’s Hebrew Ulpan the summer before they enter the program.
8. Must I take the GRE and/or TOEFL exam?
All applicants must take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam). This test involves verbal and quantitative sections, as well as two written essays. The test can be taken anytime at testing centers everywhere, and review and practice books are available at all major bookstores. Rest assured, the GRE is not the only part of your application in which we are interested. More important are your essays, letters of recommendation, your transcript, and your interview.
All applicants who are non-native speakers of English must take both the GRE and the TOEFL exams, unless they have successfully completed accredited college programs in North America. Those who have done so do not need to take the TOEFL exam, even if they are non-native speakers of English, but still need to take the GRE.
9. Does A.J.U. accept transfer credits?
Graduate level coursework from another institution may count towards your A.J.U. degree, but only under the following conditions:
a) A maximum of 9 units of graduate and undergraduate work may be transferred in from an accredited institution.
b) The course/s taken at the other institution must be equivalent to the course/s listed for the M.A.Ed. For example, an Educational Psychology (Ed. Psych.) course can exempt you from the M.A.Ed.’s equivalent and required course. However, a course in Adolescent Psychology is not comprehensive enough to exempt you from Ed. Psych. Note that, in some cases, even courses with identical titles might not be allowed to transfer in. For example, the M.A.Ed. required Sociology of Education course is more specialized than a parallel course at most other institutions as it focuses primarily on the sociology of American Jewish education. A course in the Sociology of Education at another institution, therefore, may not exempt you from this course.
c) All requests for course transfer will be fielded by the dean and must include official transcripts, titles, and syllabi for the courses in question.
d) Coursework completed ten or more years ago is considered outdated for transfer purposes and cannot, therefore, exempt you from any of the courses at A.J.U.
Note that transferring units does not impact the cost of the program.
10. I have taken some A.J.U. classes already. Will they count toward the degree?
If a course you have already taken at A.J.U. is equivalent to a course in the M.A.Ed. Program, then you do not have to take that course again. Decisions about counting previous courses will be made at the discretion of the dean.
11. Can some of my undergraduate courses count toward the M.A.Ed. degree?
Undergraduate courses in Judaica may be transferred in, but only under the conditions listed above (see question 9). Since the education courses in the M.A.Ed. Program are all graduate level courses, undergraduate courses in education may not be transferred in for credit.
12. What will my schedule look like?
The school day is generally Monday through Friday, beginning between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. and ending by 3:00 p.m., with breaks throughout the day. In addition, you will engage in teaching fieldwork in your first year, and teaching fieldwork plus administrative fieldwork in your second year. Students can expect to have some mornings and/or afternoons free.
13. What is teaching fieldwork and how is it arranged? Will I be paid for teaching fieldwork?
M.A.Ed. students are required to teach five hours per week in a Jewish setting during both of their years in the program. Fieldwork provides an opportunity for you to apply some of your classroom learning in the field. Students are responsible for negotiating salary and benefits with their employer.
Students may work in a supplementary school, day school, or other Jewish educational setting. You may seek a job in the field on your own and get approval for the work to be counted as fieldwork, or you can work with Graduate Center For Education staff to secure a position that is a good match. If you enter the program with little or no teaching background, you may determine that the best match is an unpaid position in a supportive school that will allow you to gain valuable experience.
In addition to your on-site supervisor, students will be assigned a clinical faculty member to serve as a mentor. Your mentor will observe you teach and work with you as you grow as an educator.
14. What is administrative fieldwork and how is it arranged? Will I be paid for administrative fieldwork?
Administrative fieldwork is an opportunity for you to apply your learning to the area of educational leadership. You will work alongside administrators five hours per week in a Jewish educational organization during your second year in the program. Students have worked in synagogues, day schools, camps, museums, and other settings. Salary range varies widely and students are responsible for negotiating with their employers. In the spring of the first year, Graduate Center For Education staff will assist students in securing administrative fieldwork for the upcoming year.
15. Is there a Prayer/Tefillah requirement?
Currently, the Tefillah requirement includes a list of elements of prayer services with which you will become familiar -- and be able to lead with proficiency -- prior to graduation. If you do not know how to perform them already, you will learn the requisite skills in a once-a-week Tefillah Lab, which also offers background and suggestions for teaching Tefillot.
16. What is the Program in Jewish Experiential Education?
Theories of experiential education are woven through all of our coursework. In addition, if you are passionate about the arts, camping, environmental education, or community education, you may participate in our cutting-edge Program in Experiential Education, a module of our M.A.Ed. Program. You will combine courses in education and Jewish texts with experiential learning techniques, hands-on training, field work, and mentored internships.
If you have any further questions, please contact Millie Wexler, Director of Recruitment and Outreach, at (310) 440-1249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.