5 Best Master’s Programs in Adult Education and Learning

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Grad School Hub’s 5 Best Master’s Programs in Adult Education and Learning features one of the fastest growing industries in society today.

Whether it’s in the classroom or workplace, adults are everywhere – who knew? Adult educators empower, inspire, and teach other adults advanced skills they’ll need to succeed.

Students who earn a degree in adult education go on to work as employee relation specialists, e-learning specialists, or community organization administrators. If teaching in the classroom is your end goal, you can always find a job as a high school equivalency educator, or an adult literacy teacher.

The following list of 5 Best Adult Education programs offers MA degrees that can help you achieve your goals in.

Best Master’s Programs in Adult Education and Learning


The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 5 Best Master’s Programs in Adult Education and Learning 2019 for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20%
  • Continued Enrollment: 20%
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.

Accredited Online College Programs

#5 – North Carolina State University

MS in Adult Education/Human Resource Development

Raleigh, North Carolina


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,066

North Carolina State University‘s College of Education offers an MA of Education in addition to an MS with a specialization in Adult and Continuing Professional Education. NCSU’s MS degree is a thesis-based program completed residentially, online, or both. Required courses include The Adult Learner, Instructional Strategies, and Teaching in an Online Environment.

NCSU is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 32nd Top Public University in the United States in addition to ranking among the Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Value Schools, and Most Innovative Schools in the Country.

#4 – University of South Florida

MA in Adult Education

Tampa, Florida


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,398

The University of South Florida offers students an MA in Adult Education through a 36-credit program offering 600-level courses such as The Adult Learner, Methods of Teaching Adults, and Adult Learning and Cognitive Styles.

USF’s Adult Education program is intended for students who hold a non-education BA and who wish to work in health care delivery, business and industry, professional associations, or other non-school based working environments.

#3 – Florida International University

MS in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

Miami, Florida


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,966

Florida International is a public research university offering an MS in Adult Education and Human Resource Development through it’s Department of Leadership and Professional Studies. Prospective students can apply during the fall, spring, and summer semesters and unlike many other graduate programs, the GRE is not required for admission.

Students who graduate from FIU will meet the requirements for Florida’s certified program in Adult Education Administration after completing a minimum of 36 credit hours. Required courses include Adult Teaching Methods, Perspectives on Adults with Disabilities, Instructional Analysis and Design, and Computer Based Training. FIU is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public schools in the U.S.

#2 – James Madison University

MS in Adult Education & Human Resource Development

Harrisonburg, Virginia


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,252

James Madison University’s Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education is now home to a comprehensive MS in Adult Education & Human Resource Development. JMU’s unique degree program can be completed either online or through classroom instruction.

Required courses include Diversity and Ethics, Learning Theories and Practice, Learning in Adulthood, and Organizational Behavior. Students may choose between completing a research paper or a thesis project. Students of JMU’s MS program have a 100 percent rate of employment within three months after graduation and boast an average annual salary of $60,000.

#1 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania

MA in Adult Education and Communications Technology

Indiana, Pennsylvania


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,264

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education through two unlikely sources: IUP’s Department of Adult and Community Education and the Department of Communications Media.

While students have the option to complete their entire two-year degree online, residential IUP students have access to a radio station, graphics lab, and animation studio on campus. Required courses include The Adult Learner, Issues in Distance Education, Program Planning in ACE, and Community-Based Education. Students also choose between completing a thesis or non-thesis option.

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