The NSU master's degree in educational studies, available online, allows you the flexibility to design a program focusing on areas of unique interest and need.

    About The Program

    Format: Online or On Campus


    This online master's program prepares educators and aspiring educators to tap their leadership potential and deepen their impact through education. Northern also offers you the option to personalize your experience by selecting from two specialized tracks:



    Educational Studies: Secondary Education Track

    Already have a bachelor's degree in a non-education field - but would like to teach? No matter what your stage of life, if you'd like to become a teacher as a graduate student, the Millicent Atkins School of Education is ready to support you. Through this program, you can earn a master’s degree and become certified at the secondary school level in South Dakota.


    The Educational Studies: Secondary Education program is for people who have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and wish to enter the teaching profession. Qualifying bachelor's degree areas are language arts, mathematics, science, biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, physical science, science composite, social studies, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology, social studies composite, agriculture, business, family and consumer sciences, industrial technology, art, computer science, physical education/health, physical education, health, music, world languages, French, German or Spanish.


    On this track, you'll learn to:

    • Apply knowledge of content standards and pedagogy to set goals and objectives for learning
    • Develop relevant, rigorous, and developmentally appropriate curricula for secondary students
    • Foster a safe, engaging, and inclusive classroom environment
    • Demonstrate professional dispositions in varied educational settings with regard for diversity and all members of a school community
    • Use assessment of students’ learning and their own teaching to inform future planning and teaching
    • Deliver meaningful learning experiences for all students as evidenced by a successful student teaching practicum and internship

    MSEd Educational Studies: Secondary Education Handbook



    Educational Studies: Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies Track

    This track allows you to follow a flexible and varied learning pathway that best fits your objectives, interests, and needs. Students on this track will not earn initial certification, but will explore their potential for educational field careers such as instructional designer, community outreach coordinator, academic advisor, athletic director or education publisher. In addition to taking foundation courses, you'll will work closely with faculty to choose from specialization courses that match your career aspirations. Specialization courses include education, English as a second language, leadership and administration, special education, sports performance and leadership, e-learning, English, and music.


    On this track, you will:

    • Develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of education
    • Improve the critical thinking skills needed to apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout the program
    • Develop the knowledge, skills, and perspective to examine and act upon the ethical and social justice dimensions of education
    • Research educational issues and challenges

    MSEd Educational Studies: Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies Handbook



    Because you will customize your program to fit your unique needs, the sky is the limit in terms of career options.


    Inquire about internship possibilities within the program.

    Program Success/Outcomes

    NSU logo next to student's picture

    Abby Woytassek Nelson always intended to pursue teaching, and Northern’s Educational Studies Secondary Education program provided the perfect opportunity. 


    The program is specifically designed for students like Nelson – candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue certification to teach in South Dakota while also earning a master’s degree.


    “As someone with a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, I was attracted to the program because it seemed like a perfect fit for my situation,” said Nelson.


    Read Abby's story!

    Ph.D. University of Minnesota
    M.M.E. University of Northern Colorado-Greeley
    B.M.E. South Dakota State University
    Dr. Terry Beckler, NSU professor of percussion and associate director of bands, previously was director of bands at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minn., and at Huron University. He also has 10 years of public school experience as band director for the Red Rock Central (Lamberton, Minn.) and Sioux Valley (Volga, S.D.) school districts. 
    Dr. Beckler was a member of the 147th Army Band based in Mitchell, S.D., for 36 years, retiring as Chief Warrant Officer 5. He enlisted in 1986 as a percussionist, took over command in 1998 and completed his career as Chief, Army National Guard Bands. In January of 2006, the 147th Army Band was awarded the Howard Citation of Musical Excellence from the John Philip…

    B.S. North Dakota State University

    M.M., G.P.D. Peabody Conservatory of Music

    D.M.A. North Dakota State University

    A captivating and compelling performer, soprano Dr. Darci Bultema has performed on the operatic stage in a variety of roles, such as La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, The Female Chorus in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, and Lavinia in Bononcini's Camilla. Originally from North Dakota, she has brought talent and versatility to opera companies across the United States via Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Washington Opera, Baltimore Opera, Natchez Opera, Peabody Opera, and the Fargo Moorhead Opera.

    In addition to her operatic repertoire, Dr. Bultema has appeared as a soloist in an assortment of orchestral works with The Florida Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Miami Chamber Symphony, Peabody Symphony…

    Maturita, Conservatory, Prague, Czech Republic

    Absolutorium, Academy of Musical Arts (terminal degree) Prague, Czech Republic

    A native of the Czech Republic, Dr. Marcela Faflak has taught in the music schools in Prague and at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. She is active as a performer, accompanist, and adjudicator in the upper Midwest. She has been a member of Northern's music faculty since 1996.

    D.M.A., Michigan State University

    M.M., Wichita State University

    B.M., Concordia College


    Dr. Marla Fogderud, a native of North Dakota, is an active stage performer and recitalist throughout the United States and Europe. She was an apprentice artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera and has performed roles with Opera Kansas, Wichita State University Opera, Fargo Moorhead Opera, and Michigan State University Opera. She has been a soloist with the Cincinnati International Chorale, Wichita Symphony, Wichita State University Orchestra, Greater Grand Forks Symphony, Michigan State University (MSU) Concert Band, MSU Philharmonic and MSU Symphony. 


    Dr. Fogderud has appeared on the Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., faculty recital series; Minnesota Public Radio Regional Artist broadcasts; North Dakota Museum of Art Summer Concert Series; Plymouth…

    B.M. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    M.M. University of Cincinnati
    D.M. Indiana University
    Dr. Grant Manhart holds a doctor of music degree in trumpet literature and performance with minors in music history and jazz studies from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance with a minor in jazz studies from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Wisconsin. 
    His extensive performing experience includes classical, jazz and popular music. Before his arrival at NSU in 1998, he toured with the famed Buddy Rich Band and Broadway’s "Dreamgirls;" lived in Puerto Rico and performed with the Latin Jazz group Picante; and performed with many other luminaries including Carol Channing, Herb Jeffries, Rita Moreno, June…
    D.M.A., Arizona State University
    M.M., Florida State University
    B.M., Western Washington University
    Dr. Audrey Miller is an associate professor of clarinet at Northern State University in Aberdeen. At Northern, Dr. Miller teaches applied clarinet, music theory and concert band. She regularly participates in community outreach, teaching clarinet workshops to young, aspiring musicians.
    Before coming to Northern, Dr. Miller lived in Phoenix, Ariz., where she was an active chamber musician and clarinet teacher to students of all ages. She performed throughout Phoenix area as part of Classical Revolution PHX, Clarinets for Conservation, Kaleidoscope Winds reed quintet, Paradise Winds, and many more.
    Dr. Miller had her international debut in Belgium in 2011 and spent the summer of 2013 teaching and performing in Tanzania…

    Doctor of Education, School Administration, University of South Dakota

    Master of Education, Valley City State University, Teaching English Learners

    Bachelor of Arts, South Dakota State University, English & Spanish


    Dr. Anna Schwan joined Northern’s faculty in 2018 after 16 years in public K-12 education, where she was a high school teacher and secondary school administrator. She currently serves as interim dean of the Millicent Atkins School of Education. Previously, she was department chair of teacher education and graduate faculty coordinator of the Educational Studies and Leadership and Administration programs. 


    Professional Work Experience

    Middle school/high school principal

    6-12 English as a second language teacher

    7-12 language arts teacher

    K-12 Spanish teacher


    Research Interests

    Student motivation

    Teacher retention

    Principal effectiveness

    Ph.D., Physical Education, University of South Carolina

    At the University of South Carolina, Dr. Shortt studied physical literacy, K-12 sport and physical activity (PA) policy, and child/adolescent PA behaviors in and out of educational settings. The publication of Dr. Shortt’s dissertation, "Conceptualizing Physical Literacy for Assessment of High School Students in the United States," can be found at University of South Carolina Scholar Commons.

    Dr. Shortt is Northern's SPL graduate coordinator, chair of the Sports Sciences Department, and faculty athletic representative. She is a member of the International Physical Literacy Association and serves as a country lead. 


    Dr. Shortt is dedicated to enhancing undergraduate and graduate research and providing advanced hands-on learning opportunities at Northern. 


    Ph.D. Northwestern University

    M.A. University of Minnesota

    B.A. Valley City State College



    Bill Wieland, a native of North Dakota, is an educator, composer and pianist. His compositions have received numerous awards and performances and he is often featured as a piano accompanist in the region. Dr. Wieland earned a bachelor of arts in composite music (piano) from Valley City State College in 1986, a master of arts in theory and composition from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 1988 and a doctor of music in composition from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., in 1991. He has taught at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, De Paul University and Northwestern University.


    He began teaching music…

    Ph.D., University of North Dakota
    M.S.Ed., Northern Illinois University
    B.S.Ed., Northern State University
    Dr. Cheryl Wold joined NSU's faculty in 2013. She received a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, her M.S.Ed. degree in Special Education/Learning Disabilities from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill., and B.S.Ed. degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education from NSU. Dr. Wold was a special education teacher for 17 years; Title I reading and math teacher for seven years; and a director of special education for eight years.
    Dr. Wold is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), and the Teacher Education Division of CEC (TED). She has served as South Dakota CEC president and past president and is currently the membership chair. At the national level of CEC, she…
    A.B. Harvard University
    M.M., DMA University of Arizona
    In addition to conducting the Collegiate Choir, Chamber Singers, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Dr. Timothy Woods teaches music history, vocal pedagogy, choral conducting, and applied voice. He holds a doctor of music degree in choral conducting with a minor in vocal performance as well as a masters in conducting from the University of Arizona.
    Dr. Woods is a member of ACDA, NATS, and the Center for Black Music Research. He is a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, and has performed tenor solos with the Arizona Opera, Tucson Symphony and Denver Symphony Orchestra.