Getting an M.Ed in Korea

January 17, 2017

The experience of getting my Masters of Education was a bit of rollercoaster ride from start to finish. I recommend the program, but not without some words of caution. For a TL;DR, see the end of this post for my pros and cons.

The program, Masters of Education concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language, is run by Framingham State University which is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Be aware that there are 6 distinct graduate programs run by the International Education department at Framingham, and they all have very different course requirements.

The resulting degree is admissible for employment in most (if not all) universities in South Korea (along with whatever experience the particular school requires). The program in Korea is designed for those already employed in Korea and the courses are scheduled during times when most teachers have time off, such as long weekends and summer/winter vacation periods. Because professors visit from the US, scheduling and course details were often provided last minute which caused problems/frustration for those who wanted to schedule flights early for vacation periods.

For reference, my schedule looked like this:

May/June 2015 - 1 course; 5 weekend days (1 long weekend, 1 normal weekend), 9am-6pm
August 2015 - 2 courses; 10 weekdays, 9am-6pm (with 1 course being 9am-1pm and the other 2pm-6pm)
October 2015 - 1 course; online, 6 weeks
February 2016 - 2 courses; 10 weekdays, 9am-6pm
May/June 2016 - 1 course; 5 weekend days, 9am-6pm
August 2016 - 2 courses; 10 weekdays, 9am-6pm
October 2016 - 1 course; online, 6 weeks

From what I understand, cohorts are created in certain Korean cities depending on demand, and each cohort requires at least 20-25 students to operate. I heard about my cohort in December 2014, applied in March of 2015 and the first course was in May 2015. I'm not sure where to find exact details about upcoming cohorts, but some program sites are listed here. My best advice is to contact the International Education Center here to ask about existing/upcoming cohorts.

There are 10 required courses in the program. For each course (except the two online courses), American professors from Framingham University would visit a university here in Korea and conduct the classes:

EDUC 991 Philosophy of Education and Teaching Practice
EDUC 998 Language Development and Communication
EDUC 999 Research and Evaluation
TESL 901 Language Structure: Phonetics and Morphology
TESL 902 Language Structure: Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics
TESL 913 Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition
TESL 920 Technology in the Second Language Classroom
TESL 936 The Teaching of Second Language Skills
TESL 948 Teaching Reading and Writing in the English Immersion Classroom
TESL 966 Seminar in Applied Linguistics

One of the main grievances I had with the program was that they didn't accept convenient forms of payments, only cheques/money orders drawn on US banks (which, as a Canadian, I didn't have access to) or wire transfers (which cost an additional $20 per transfer). There are 10 courses at $620 USD each. The program is a "pay for each course as you go" process, so if you wire money separately each session, transfer fees could run you an extra $140. As the simple math shows, the basic tuition costs around $6200 USD for 10 courses. This doesn't include textbooks, although most of our professors were understanding of the fact that we live abroad and access to textbooks is not easy. Regardless, it is very affordable relative to other graduate programs that I've heard of. In addition to that, the scheduling flexibility and convenience were more than ideal. I was able to work full time, keep my visa, and complete the degree in under 2 years.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that there is a final portfolio instead of a thesis. For those hoping to pursue a Ph.D, this may not be ideal. The final portfolio includes a 1 page summary/reflection for each course, as well as a general introduction and conclusion page. The portfolio has to be mailed to Framingham State University and receives a pass/fail grade.

A final note on admission requirements: Applying to the program is pretty easy if you follow the instructions here, but be aware that those who did not acquire their undergraduate degree in the US may need to have their credentials (transcripts) evaluated. There are some Canadians who did not need to go through this annoying/expensive process, so I would apply to the program early and let Framingham tell you whether you need the evaluation or not. If you do need it, I've heard people recommend CED in Boston.

As I said, I would recommend this program but it doesn't come without some flaws.

Pros

• Cheap
• Relatively flexible scheduling
• Convenient
• Resulted in a legit M.Ed (not acquired online)

Cons

• No thesis
• Pain in the butt tuition payments
• Last minute scheduling
• Lack of communication at times


Image Copyright © Moyan Brenn

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