The Master of Arts in Urban Education is ideal for high achieving liberal arts and sciences graduates who wish to teach in and lead schools in urban settings.  We strive to accept students who affirm our strong commitments to diversity, inclusion, and social justice. African American, LatinX, and first-generation students who meet the admissions requirements are especially encouraged to apply. Students in the program will make a significant contribution to the need for high impact, culturally-relevant teachers who can become leaders in schools, especially in the Memphis area. Memphis is at the heart of the education reform movement and an incubator for innovative teaching. Our program builds on a student’s liberal arts background and provides close learning in classrooms and rewarding hands-on experiences in local schools.


We welcome applications from students who meet our admissions criteria and are passionate about working for educational justice in Memphis and in our region.  Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree will need to formally apply to the program and meet the admission’s criteria, which are aligned with CAEP and TN state standards.

Successful applicants will be required to have a bachelor’s degree in the content area they wish to teach (for secondary candidates) or in a liberal arts or science field (for elementary candidates). It is preferred that applicants have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or higher. Applicants must submit:

  • A completed application
  • An entrance essay (500 to 700 words) that focuses on one’s skills, dispositions, knowledge of culturally relevant pedagogies, and commitments to working with students in urban schools.
  • College transcript(s) showing all coursework completed to date. Official undergraduate transcripts will be required prior to program start date.
  • Two letters of recommendation from college faculty who have worked closely with the applicant.
  • Qualifying PRAXIS I (Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators) and subject area PRAXIS scores (Praxis® Subject Assessments) as required. See Licensure Pathways.

Passing scores are determined by the Tennessee Board of Education and can be found on the ETS Tennessee requirements webpage.


Conditional admission to the Master of Arts in Urban Education program will be offered to students who are academically admissible based on their academic record and other admission requirements except for qualifying PRAXIS I (Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators) and subject area PRAXIS scores (Praxis® Subject Assessments).

Admission to the master’s degree program is conditional based upon submitting qualifying PRAXIS I (Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators) and subject area PRAXIS scores (Praxis® Subject Assessments). To be fully admitted, PRAXIS score reports must be received no later than one week prior to the start date of the summer term in which the student plans to matriculate. Failure to submit required PRAXIS test scores by the requested date will prohibit students from fully matriculating into the program.

If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for further information.

The M.A. in Urban Education curriculum is fully aligned to state and national standards for teacher education and has been approved by the Tennessee Department of Education.