Master of Arts in Education Focus in At Risk and Alternative Education – Online

MPath – Marian’s engaging online education platform

Online Master of Arts in Education

The traditional classroom setting often leaves students frustrated and vulnerable, particularly at-risk and special needs students. Research shows at-risk youth are much more likely to disengage from school, depriving them of the basic education they’ll need to successfully transition into adulthood. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The online Master of Arts in Education, Area of Focus: At-Risk and Alternative Education (ARAE) degree program at Marian University prepares students to effectively work with at-risk learners in any educational setting.

You’ll learn to:

  • Recognize risk factors for vulnerable youth
  • Quickly assess the needs of youth in your care
  • Design and implement alternative education methods and strategies

Earn your master’s in 14 months — 100% online!

Who Is the Online ARAE Degree Program For?

For licensed teachers and non-teachers alike, Marian University’s ARAE program is perfect for anyone involved in educating, counseling, coaching, or administering youth. Enrollment only requires a bachelor’s degree and a desire to make a difference.

Marian University’s ARAE program is ideal for:
● Licensed teachers
● Professionals working directly with youth

Licensed teachers and non-teachers all benefit from:
● An affordable master’s degree
● Completion in as few as 14 months
● 100 percent online flexibility
● No GRE required
● Learning the skills to reach and engage at-risk youth
● A concentrated 10-course program focused on at-risk youth and alternative education
● Creating a capstone project

For Licensed Teachers

In the classroom environment, licensed teachers learn how to better understand and clinically assess the many factors in play for vulnerable students at risk of falling behind in school or developing behavioral issues.

Teachers will have the training and knowledge to reach their most vulnerable students outside the confines of “teaching to the center” of the classroom. Using a holistic approach, educators can design and implement learning strategies that engage non-traditional learners, teaching to their strengths, talents, needs, abilities, aptitudes, and learning styles.

Alternative Education License in Wisconsin

Teachers licensed in Wisconsin completing the master’s program also earn an Alternative Education add-on license, granted under Wisconsin WPI code 1952.

For Non-Teachers

The program is also a great fit for non-teachers. Outside the traditional classroom, professionals not licensed as teachers earning their ARAE brings a higher level of knowledge, empathy, and understanding of the psychological, emotional, and socioeconomic circumstances of the at-risk youth in their care.

The Master of Arts in Education, Area of Focus: At-Risk and Alternative Education program helps all non-teaching professionals working with at-risk youth, including:

● Social workers
● Law enforcement officers
● Juvenile detention workers
● Youth counselors
● School psychologists
● Sunday school teachers

What You’ll Learn

Decades of research and experience lend a holistic approach to the program. Topic areas covered as you study online for your ARAE include:

● The methods for becoming more effective with at-risk youth in any educational setting.
● How to assess and implement alternative teaching methods, techniques, and programs.
● Develop a better understanding of the risk factors involved with vulnerable youth, particularly those from abusive or impoverished backgrounds.
● Incorporate a holistic view of the social and economic influence on all youth. Learn how to apply this broad view to specific contexts.
● How to clinically assess individual needs in order to develop and implement specific strategies based on the learner’s strengths, talents, and learning styles.
● Gain skills with digital tools to enhance learning.
● Study social justice issues, including dimensions of legal and adjudication issues.
● Instruction in differential instruction, response to intervention, and PBIS programming.
● Training in resilience, stress, and mental health issues.

Students learning from each other, sharing their hope, strengths, and experience is another important component of the program.

“My time in the At-Risk and Alternative Education Program at Marian has been profoundly impactful, both personally and professionally. I have grown tremendously in both arenas, and the result of my studies has set me on a new course. In fact, I would go as far as to say I am a fundamentally different person and better educator as a result of my time in Marian’s ARAE program.”

Benjamin J. Laarman
– 2020 Marian University Graduate, Alternative Education Teacher and Coach at Niagara High School, Niagara, Wisconsin

“Our goal at Marian is to offer a flagship program of excellence in at-risk education. Children deserve equal opportunity and to be prepared for success – not just in school, but also in life. Our graduates change the world and save lives.”

Dr. Anthony Dallmann-Jones
– Director of the At Risk and Alternative Education Program

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MPath Online Program Schedule: 7-Week Accelerated

The online program is one of the Marian University MPath graduate programs offered in a 7-Week Accelerated format. With 100% online classes and 6 possible starts per year, the 7-Week Accelerated program provides a high-quality online degree with the flexibility that today’s adult learners are seeking. The flexible coursework design and ability to focus on fewer topics at once is custom made for working teachers and other professionals who are ready to take their education and career to the next level.

Wisconsin Teachers
Start by Earning Your Alternative Education License

If you are not ready to commit to a master’s program, the add-on license can quickly boost your skills in reaching vulnerable learners. Just two 100% online summer courses, 6 graduate-level credits, are all it takes to earn your Alternative Education license through Wisconsin’s DPI. These credits can be applied later to the MAE At Risk and Alternative Education.


Master of Arts in Education Curriculum

The curriculum consists of ten courses, each seven weeks in length. One of the unique features of Marian’s ARAE program is that all ten courses are specifically focused on at-risk and education strategies. There are no filler courses.  The Summer Term is the only occurrence where two courses will overlap. If taken consecutively, the degree can be completed in 14 to 18 months, depending on your entry term.

Academic Bulletin
Core Courses
Master of Arts in Education in At Risk and Alternative Education majors will take courses covering topics such as:
  • Teaching Strategies for At Risk Education
  • Differentiated Instruction and Response to Intervention
  • Social Justice Education
  • Resiliency, Holistic Health, and Stress Management
  • Prevention, Intervention, and Community
  • Educational Psychology
  • Non-Traditional Learners

Teachers who do not wish to complete an MAE degree may choose to earn a Wisconsin alternative education license (WI DPI code 1952) by completing two master’s level courses.

Application Requirements
To be accepted into the Master of Arts in Education, you must have at least a 2.75 GPA from a regionally accredited college or university. Marian University does not require the GRE.

You will be required to complete an application and submit an official transcript showing that your degree was conferred.

Graduation Requirements
To receive the Master of Arts in Education degree, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of the coursework or its equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Grades below C (2.0) are not counted toward meeting degree requirements
  • Submission of an application for degree completion