The Montessori method is a child-centered educational approach that considers the whole child and thus, covers all aspects of development: social, intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual. A teacher trained in the Montessori philosophy incorporates self-directed activities, hands-on learning, and collaborative play so that children can make creative choices among guided activities. When getting a master’s in education with a Montessori concentration, you will gain proficiency in the Montessori’s philosophy of education and explore the integrative ways to implement it in the modern classroom. Graduates will be able to effectively manage a classroom or a school and assume positions of leadership in the field of Montessori education. Whether in a public, private, or special needs education setting, any student can benefit from the Montessori insight.
A master’s degree in Montessori Education is designed mainly for students with a background in education wanting to deepen their knowledge and advance their career. A master’s degree in the field will enhance qualifications for individuals incorporating the Montessori approach in classroom teaching. More specifically, programs are designed to develop a high level of professional competence in teaching children age two-and-a half to twelve using the philosophical foundations of the Montessori approach. The curriculum offers both a conceptual understanding of Montessori education as well as applied teaching techniques in the field. Further, an emphasis on classroom leadership skills helps students prepare for a practicum by providing the tools developed through the philosophical foundations of the Montessori approach. Special attention is given to discipline, observation, and communication. Notably, many of the programs reviewed have very specific admissions requirements and some do not offer state licensure. For your convenience, we ranked some of the best online programs according to the factors of affordability, flexibility, and prestige.
- Affordability (1/3): Combined analysis of overall tuition of the program, financial aid or scholarship assistance programs, and estimated cost per credit hour for out-of-state students.
- Flexibility (1/3): The number of flexibility-enhancing elements specific to the degree program including teaching philosophy concentrations, degree specialties, prior learning or life experience crediting options, accelerated or self-paced courses, personalized student advisement/guidance, and competency-based credit options.
- Academic Prestige (1/3): The academic prestige of the parent institution operationally defined through the score of combined rankings and/or reviews of prominent education review entities such as US News & World Report and The Princeton Review.
1. Xavier University
Xavier University, started in 1831, is a co-ed, Jesuit Catholic institution with a 97% placement rate. The school sits on an urban 175-acre campus with historic buildings and state-of-the-art facilities in Cincinnati, OH–which surprisingly hosts more fortune 500 companies per capita than Los Angeles, NYC, or Chicago. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission–the accreditation arm of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools–Xavier is currently ranked #4 Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. Xavier University registers approximately 4,500 undergraduate students, promises a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, and 40.3% of classes cater to less than 20 students.
Xavier University’s Online Master of Education with a Montessori focus was the first program in the country to offer a graduate-level education degree. The program is designed for current Montessori-credentialed teachers looking for a deeper knowledge of the field, and for general and special education teachers looking to add Montessori philosophy to their skillsets, but also for social workers and other professionals working with children. It is important to note that this program does not provide licensure in any state and it has an estimated completion time of 18 months (over 3 semesters). The 33-credit-hour curriculum requires 11 core courses; some of the coursework will be on, but not limited to, philosophy and the history of education, writing an education research paper, methods of observation of children, special aid education methods, and, of course, an in-depth study of Dr. Montessori’s pedagogical philosophy. The program promises affordability with a $540 credit-hour cost and it offers flexibility because students with MACTE-approved credentials may be able to apply up to 12 credit-hours toward the degree.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $540
- Flexibility-enhancing components: Credit for prior learning
2. Endicott College
Endicott College, founded in 1939, is a private, co-ed institution that requires all students to complete yearly internships in order to integrate theory and practice through experiential learning. The school can be found on a beautiful 235-acre campus that hosts a retreat center with walking trails in historic Beverly, Massachusetts Bay–a suburb only 20 miles away from Boston. Accredited by the New England Association Of Schools And Colleges (NEASC)–the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness–Endicott currently ranks #51 Regional Universities North and #29 Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report. Endicott College enrolls approximately 3,258 undergraduate students, promises a student-faculty ratio of 14:1, and 55.4% of classes cater to fewer than 20 students.
Endicott College’s online Master of Education with a concentration in Montessori Integrative Learning (MEMIL) promotes an integrative environment uniquely designed for online education where collaboration and communication are fundamental. For example, all classes are accessible through state-of-the-art conferencing software. In essence, the program’s structure follows the Montessori method by offering a prepared environment at different levels. Students can choose from 4 program options tailored for practitioners, school leadership, joint enrollment with partnership programs, and working with children ages 6-12. The 36-credit-hour program requires 11 core courses presented through a series of online seminars. Furthermore, integrative seminars and coursework are divided into three sections: context, Montessori theory, and experiential learning/practicum. Finally, a culminating project, which is an integrated compilation of your work throughout the program, and a 200-hour practicum are required. The program is highly affordable because of a $596 credit-hour cost.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $596
- Flexibility-enhancing components: Concentration Areas
3. William Howard Taft University
William Howard Taft University (WHT), founded in 1976, is a private, for-profit, online-only institution with unique and innovative distance learning educational programs. WHT has made a name for itself particularly by offering affordable degrees designed for mature students with time and/or financial constraints. Notably, the Taft Law School was the first in the country to offer a nationally accredited distance learning law school. The school is headquartered in Denver, Colorado and accredited by the Distance Education And Training Council (DETC).
William Howard Taft University’s Master of Education (M.Ed.) is designed for teachers who are looking to improve their skills in leadership, management, and instruction in a variety of educational and public service settings. Montessori educators can choose a focused elective track that features a comprehensive understanding of Montessori educational theories and applications. The 34-credit-hour program requires 10 units per semester and each semester consists of a minimum of 16 weeks, so the program has an expected completion time of as little as 12 months. When selecting the Montessori educator elective track, 4 hours of electives on Montessori philosophy, Classroom Leadership, and Application of Montessori Philosophy at the Early Childhood and Elementary Level are required. The program promises affordability thanks to a $275 credit-hour cost–the cheapest program on our list. Additionally, the program promises flexibility thanks to the several available concentration areas.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $275
- Flexibility-enhancing components: N/A
4. Sarasota University
Sarasota University, established in 2012, is a private, not-for-profit institution with the goal of offering rigorous, relevant education to mature students. Sarasota University graduate programs are built on the science of strengths-based Psychology, an approach that prioritizes the development of personal strengths for personal and professional growth in educational and professional environments. This premise is reflected in the curriculum which is designed to help students maximize their strengths. Accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council For Teacher Education (MACTE)–a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency for Montessori education–Sarasota University provides a student-faculty ratio of 10:1.
Sarasota University’s Master of Arts in Montessori Education (MAME) is designed for current educators to teach in Montessori public, private, and charter schools. Furthermore, graduates may be eligible for professional certification through affiliations established with MACTE-accredited Montessori Teacher Education Programs. Course offerings are a blend of practical online courses and field-based opportunities with classroom-based residencies. Students seeking MACTE certification may participate in an internship. The 36-credit-hour program requires 6 core and 3 elective courses where students can choose a concentration among Early Childhood, Elementary I, or Elementary I & II, followed by a Montessori educator practicum worth 3 credits. The program guarantees affordability with a $300 credit-hour cost. Furthermore, the program provides flexibility because students who have earned a Montessori credential from a certified training program may apply up to 18 credit-hours toward the degree.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $300
- Flexibility-enhancing components: N/A
5. St. Catherine University
St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s), established in 1905, is a private, Catholic, women’s college (one of the country’s largest colleges for women). The establishment occupies a verdant 110-acre campus at its primary site in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, but St. Kate’s also has a campus in Minneapolis–the St. Paul campus is 5 miles from downtown St. Paul while the Minneapolis campus is only 2 miles from downtown Minneapolis. Also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, St. Kate’s is currently ranked #15 Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. St. Catherine University enrolls approximately 3,320 undergraduate students, promises a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, and 69.3% of classes cater to fewer than 20 students.
St. Catherine University’s Acknowledging Montessori for a Masters (AM2) is for Montessori-certified teachers who want to earn credit for prior experience and advance their career. After 3 days of orientation on campus, the format is entirely online and has an expected completion time of 12 months. The 31-credit-hour curriculum requires 10 core courses including Contemporary Issues, Action Research, Professional Growth, Integration Seminar, Classroom Leadership, and an Action Research Project. The program guarantees prestige thanks to a faculty that has been recognized nationally for their contributions toward the advancement of their fields of study; over 300 of them are internationally known for their research, publications, and as keynote speakers. Furthermore, the program is relatively affordable with a $662 credit-hour cost. Finally, the program offers flexibility due to a generous 15 credit-hour transfer policy for prior work experience.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $662
- Flexibility-enhancing components: N/A
6. Concordia College – New York
Concordia College, established in 1881, is a private, Lutheran, Christ-centered institution where 90% of students receive some form of financial aid (merit-based scholarships, Lutheran grants, awards, and need-based financial aid). The establishment can be found on a quaint, suburban 33-acre campus in the affluent village of Bronxville, New York–a little less than 30 minutes from Manhattan. Accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association Of Colleges And Schools, Concordia currently ranks #22 Best Colleges is Regional Colleges North by U.S. News & World Report. Concordia College enrolls roughly 960 undergraduate students, guarantees a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, and average class size is 18 students.
Concordia College’s Master of Science in Teacher Education (MSTE) is offered fully online and has an approximate completion time of 21 months. Montessori teachers in Early Childhood Education (birth through Grade 2) and Students with Disabilities (early childhood) are eligible. Students who have earned a Montessori credential from a MACTE-accredited program within ten years of admission are qualified to enter the program and earn a New York State Childhood Certification. The 46-credit-hour program requires 15 core courses but program graduates who have met all NY State certification requirements, will also be recommended for New York State certifications in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Students with Disabilities. The program promises prestige thanks to Concordia being honored as a College of Distinction for the 2016-2017 school year. Moreover, the program is relatively affordable thanks to a $625 credit-hour cost. Finally, the program promises flexibility thanks to an accelerated option and a transfer-credit policy for prior experience.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $625
- Flexibility-enhancing components: N/A