Academic programs
M.Ed. in adult learning

The M.Ed. in adult learning provides in-depth knowledge and understanding of adult learning theory and practice, specifically in the fields of human resource development, adult literacy, and exploring technology in learning in today’s digital environment.

Our graduates and current students work in business and industry, healthcare, government, non-profit, higher education, and community and human service agencies.

Admission to this 33-hour program is predicated on the “whole person” concept, taking into account life experience, academic record, references and the reasons for the student’s interest in the program. Successful applicants will have sufficient prior work experience with adults as learners to enable them to bring relevant work experience into the classroom learning environment. An interview with the program adviser is recommended prior to admission.

Why choose the adult learning master’s at VCU?

  • Nationally-recognized program
  • Convenient format designed for working professionals
  • Faculty with real-world experience working in adult learning environments
  • May be completed in two years
  • Small class size
  • In lieu of a thesis and comprehensive exam, students create an e-portfolio and undertake an action learning project that focuses on real problems of strategic importance to an organization
  • Focus is on learning and development, where working on projects relevant to your job is emphasized
  • Gain hands-on experience in adult learning and development in today’s environment

Program concentrations

Adult literacy

The adult literacy concentration is designed to prepare adult literacy leaders and advocates for a world in great need of both. It builds on a foundation of core courses, as well as a strong grounding in cognitive, sociocultural and critical approaches to learning. The three elective concentration courses augment these learnings with rigorous training in assessment and instruction, extensive reading, writing and dialogue on the application of theory to practice, and networking with adult learning leaders and colleagues in Virginia and beyond.

Our comprehensive program provides foundation courses in adult education and learning, along with targeted classes focused in each of our three concentration areas: human resource development, adult literacy, and teaching and learning with technology. The program also provides practical experience through hands-on projects that address real-life issues facing organizations. These projects allow students to focus on issues within their own organizations or areas of interest.

A unique feature of the program is the learning portfolio, maintained in an online journal (blog) format. The learning portfolio, in combination with the capstone seminar, replaces a comprehensive examination and thesis requirement. The capstone seminar in action learning reunites students from all three concentrations for a comprehensive synthesis experience as they work in action learning teams to solve a real problem of strategic importance to an organization in the community.

Degree requirements for the adult literacy concentration »

Please keep in mind, however, that the exact course requirements may vary depending on when you matriculated into the program, so please consult your adviser or the program coordinator with any additional questions.

Human resource development concentration

The human resource development concentration prepares students to take on roles of increasing responsibility in the learning and development of employees in a variety of organizational settings. The focus of this concentration is for students to gain the skills and knowledge required to support the strategies, mission and goals of the enterprise through employee training and organizational development.

Previous graduates from this concentration hold positions as chief learning officers, vice presidents of workforce development, managers and directors of training and development and other upper-level management positions.

Degree requirements for the human resource development concentration »

Please keep in mind, however, that the exact course requirements may vary depending on when you matriculated into the program, so please consult your adviser or the program coordinator with any additional questions.

Teaching and learning with technology concentration

The teaching and learning with technology concentration offers a unique opportunity to explore the ways in which technologies are changing how and where learning happens for adults. The three-course sequence begins with an examination of the theory and practice that informs e-learning, builds on that experience through a broad exploration of digital media tools and concludes with a solutions-based approach to instructional design challenges in e-learning for adults.

A central emphasis throughout the concentration is considering the nature of self-directed learning in an age when we have access to the vast storehouse of human knowledge at our fingertips and the ability to publish in every major media format on the web — all within a context of networked digital communication and collaboration.

Degree requirements for the teaching and learning with technology concentration »

Please keep in mind, however, that the exact course requirements may vary depending on when you matriculated into the program, so please consult your adviser or the program coordinator with any additional questions.

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

Robin R. Hurst, Ed.D.
Adult learning program coordinator
Phone: (804) 828-8021
Email: rrhurst@vcu.edu