Humane Education - M.A., M.Ed., MALS, Certificate

Humane Ed

What is Humane Education?

Humane Education is a unified course of study that explores the connections between human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection and provides learners with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to become conscientious and engaged citizens for a healthy, just, and humane world. Humane Educators foster creative and critical thinking, respect and responsibility, civic engagement, informed decision-making, and problem-solving in classrooms, workplaces, personal lives and the world.

An Online Program Taught by Top Visionaries in Humane Education

The graduate programs in Humane Education are the only programs of their kind in the United States. They represent a collaboration between Valparaiso University and the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), a non-profit leader and pioneer in the field of Humane Education. The coursework for these programs is offered in an online format, enabling students from the United States and abroad to complete the program remotely, with the exception of a one-week Humane Education residency held at the Institute for Humane Education’s headquarters in Surry, Maine (required for two of the programs). This hands-on, experiential training week is a very popular part of the program. For more information on IHE and the residency, see:


The Humane Education Programs

There are five programs offered. Humane Education may be taken as a 33 credit degree for a:

            1. Master of Education (M.Ed.)

            2. Master of Arts (M.A.) 

Or a student may take just the 15 credit Core Requirements as a:

            3. Concentration for the M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership (see Education programs)

            4. Concentration for the MALS degree (see Liberal Studies programs)

            5. Credit-bearing Graduate Certificate (either stand-alone or added to an existing degree)

Humane EdWhile the coursework is similar for both the M.Ed. and the M.A., courses differ in their assignments: for example, assignments for M.Ed. students focus on classroom applications whereas assignments for M.A. students allow projects that best fit the students’ personal/professional interests. In addition, M.A. students have greater flexibility in their curricula by having the option of taking two electives rather than one.

In general, the Humane Education program emphasizes introspection and self-inquiry, the importance of change-making and modeling humane education principles as defined by each student, participation in the online learning community that connects educators to each other worldwide, and student-faculty mentoring. Students submit all assignments electronically through Valparaiso University’s online course system. Throughout their studies, students have complete access to the extensive Valpo bibliographic databases as well as other services typically provided to online students.

Curriculum. The curriculum for the M.Ed. and M.A. degrees in Humane Education are similar, although course assignments are tailored to the needs of the respective groups. Students typically complete the program through a two-year, six semester sequence (fall, spring, summer each year) by taking about two courses each session. However, in consultation with the program adviser, students make accelerate their progression through the program, or they may take fewer than 6 credits each semester and extend their study over a longer period of time. Students are required to enroll in HEUD 501 Introduction to Humane Education during their first semester in the program and must complete HEUD 601/ED 612 Research Methods before beginning thesis work.  In addition, elective coursework should generally be taken after most of the core requirements have been fulfilled.

A set of core courses (15 cr) is required for both the M.Ed. and the M.A. degrees. Beyond these basic courses, M.Ed. students are required to take 15 credits of pre-specified coursework and may choose one 3-credit elective (this elective may be an online course or, for those living near Valparaiso, one offered on campus). M.A. students fill in with 12 credits of pre-specified coursework and may choose two (6 credits) free electives on any topics germane to Humane Education or their professional development.

Core Requirements (15 credits) for M.A. and M.Ed. degrees
HEUD 501 Introduction to Humane Education
3 Cr. 
HEUD 610 Environmental Ethics   
3 Cr. 
HEUD 620 Animal Protection 3 Cr. 
HEUD 630 Human Rights
3 Cr. 
HEUD 640 Culture and Change 3 Cr. 
Experiential Component (6 credits for M.Ed., 3-6 credits for M.A.)   
HEUD 650 Humane Education Residency 
3 Cr.
HEUD 685 Practicum in Humane Education (optional for MA students) 3 Cr.
Thesis Preparation and Project (9 credits)
HEUD 601 Research Methods 
3 Cr.
HEUD 692 Research Project
3 Cr.
HEUD 795 Master’s Thesis 3 Cr.
Electives (3 credits for M.Ed., 6 credits for M.A.)

With the approval of their academic adviser, students may choose from a wide
variety of courses offered through the Graduate School. A number of these
courses are regularly offered online.

To view course descriptions for the above courses, click here.

HuEd CanoeAdmissions

The standard admission requirements for the Graduate School apply, including a minimum 3.0 GPA (with exceptions considered on a case by case basis), two letters of reference or recommendations forms, official transcripts of all college coursework, and a personal statement of 2-3 pages. In addition, all applicants interview with one of the program faculty. International students from non-English language countries must provide evidence of English language proficiency by submitting a TOEFL score of 80 or higher or an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher.

Students applying to the M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership with a concentration in Humane Education need to follow the admissions guidelines for the Instructional Leadership program.  This includes submitting a copy of a current, valid teaching license.

Students may begin the program in either the fall or spring semester. Students wanting to begin the program in summer may do so by completing their one-week residency in Maine and then continuing in the fall with their coursework.

Thesis in Humane Education

A thesis may involve academic or applied research, or creative work. Research projects may be primarily analytical, critical, and synthetic in nature, or they may be primarily empirical. The thesis itself should represent a significant contribution to the field and be of publishable or exhibition/exposition quality. Upon completion, the thesis is reviewed by the faculty of the thesis committee and defended by the student. Thesis work is encouraged during summer sessions when both faculty and students typically have more time available for intense intellectual interaction.

Tuition. A special tuition rate of $500 per credit hour is available to students in the MA Humane Education or the MED Humane Education programs, with the entire degree costing approximately $16,500. Students in the stand-alone certificate program will pay $500 per credit. Federal loans are available through the Valparaiso University Financial Aid Office for students taking 5 credits or more. No scholarships are  available to students in this program.

Certificate in Humane Education

Students may take the certificate in Humane Education as a stand-alone program, or may add the certificate to an existing degree. The certificate requires completion of the 15-credit core requirements.


Click here to apply online!

Title IV Information for Certificate Programs

The Valparaiso University Graduate School and Department of Continuing Education, in compliance with the Gainful Employment Disclosure Act, presents this information to you on our Title IV Eligible certificate programs.

CIP Code:  38.0104
Number of Weeks Allowed for Completion:  72
Credit Hours:  15
Type:  Semester
Tuition Fees:  $8400
Book Fees:  $750
Additional Fees:  $100 per semester
Credits Transferable to Degree Program:  Yes
Students Completing Program in 2006-2011 in Time Allowed:  0 (New Program Fall 2011)
Total Students Enrolled in 2010 - 2011: 0
Median Loan Debt: 0
SOC Code: 25.1081
Classification: Education Teacher Postsecondary
Job Placement Rates:  Unavailable

For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor     O Net website at: