UCDS College for School Culture

About the Graduate Program


The UCDS College for School Culture engages educators to develop, extend, and deepen their practice and passion for learning and leading.

Through a professional cohort, immersive practicum, and action research,  graduates gain tools to contribute to the field of education and inspire future teacher leaders. Graduates offer their school communities a foundational culture marked by communication, collaboration, reflection, inquiry, and innovation. These core values spark enthusiasm to transform education.

About the Graduate Program
I have come away with a deeper sense of purpose for my teaching. Our school has always emphasized the journey of childhood and the joy in learning, but I have more ideas now about what I want to do—that is, teach children to think more deeply about their world, themselves and ideas.
UCDS Institute Student

Why culture?

UCDS is designed to promote innovation and excellence in education. After 40 years of honing and evolving our programs, we’ve learned that culture is at the heart of a school’s success. In Creating Cultures of Thinking, Ron Ritchhart affirms this belief stating that “culture is the hidden tool for transforming our schools and offering our students the best learning possible.” The UCDS College for School Culture, Master of Education program is designed to give educators the skills and dispositions to affect school culture in a meaningful and lasting way.

Each component of the UCDS College for School Culture is designed to construct the student’s understanding of how school culture impacts student success.  The Master of Education program deepens teachers’ skills to elevate their educational practices. UCDS College for School Culture graduates understand, design, and transform schools to support cultures of learning, thinking, and community.

UCDS College for School Culture At-A-Glance


Whether new to education or an experienced professional, the UCDS College for School Culture will help you elevate your practice. The program is designed to meet your professional goals and allows for work outside the program. Graduate students will experience schools in action through practicum work during the day, in a setting that suits your goals. A practicum focus means Master of Education candidates will spend meaningful time interfacing with their cohort, with program faculty, and in classrooms working with students.


The UCDS College for School Culture is located in Seattle, WA. Master’s degree students attend courses in-person. The UCDS College for School Culture building is one mile from the University of Washington in Seattle’s University District neighborhood – a fast-growing urban neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city.

Program length and credits required

The M.Ed. program is designed as a two-year long experience. 55 credits are required to earn a degree. Courses are offered only once per year, and students progress through the course of study as a cohort.


The 2022-2023 academic calendar extends from August 8, 2022 – June 10, 2023.


Courses are scheduled from 4:00 to 8:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Practicum hours are flexible and will be completed during the teaching work day, generally between 8:00am and 5:00pm. Students can expect to spend up to 24 hours per week in class, engaging in practicum, and completing coursework. The schedule is designed to allow for work and teaching outside the program.


The UCDS College for School Culture enrolls two small cohorts of students, both focused on the art of teaching. Second year students are working to complete the requirements of the Master’s program including a personalized capstone project rooted in their practicum setting. The cohort of first year students focuses on developing an understanding of institutional culture as well as reflective practice. Both cohorts pair graduate school studies with practicum experience throughout the program


For enrollment in the 2022-2023 school year, tuition will be $14,085.

Tuition Assistance

UCDS is excited to offer need-based scholarship funds for students enrolled in the Master of Education degree program. Detailed information about applying for scholarship funds can be found here.

For Washington State residents seeking information and resources about student loan repayment or seeking to submit a complaint relating to your student loans or student loan servicer, please visit www.wsac.wa.gov/loan-advocacy or contact the Student Loan Advocate at loanadvocate@wsac.wa.gov.


The UCDS College for School Culture is small by design. Advising and student support services are highly personalized. The faculty dedicates significant time and attention to every student in the program. Advising and guidance are built into the course of study through Cohort during year one and Capstone during year two. Weekly Cohort and Capstone meetings focus on practicum experiences, program synthesis across courses, project planning, and goal setting.


Completing a Capstone project is a degree requirement for the M.Ed. program. Successful Capstone projects demonstrate evidence of inquiry, collaboration, innovation, communication, and reflection. Students design Capstone projects in collaboration with UCDS College for School Culture faculty. Each project is designed around the student’s educational questions and interests and conducted as a type of action research. 

Action research is a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. Action research allows graduate students to define the questions and goals for their own practice. The goal of action research is for the student or “actor” to evaluate, reflect, refine, and improve her or his own practice. The Capstone project gives Master’s candidates in-depth experience that will provide essential tools for educational leaders.


To support educational and research needs, UCDS College for School Culture Master’s degree candidates have access to two libraries: the UCDS College for School Culture Library and the University of Washington Libraries.


University Child Development School is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act. This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes University Child Development School to offer specific degree programs. The Council may be contacted for a list of currently authorized programs. Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council of the institution or its programs. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430 or by email at degreeauthorization@wsac.wa.gov.


The transferability of credits earned at University Child Development School is at the discretion of the receiving college, university, or other educational institution. Students considering transferring to any institution should not assume that credits earned in any program of study at University Child Development School will be accepted by the receiving institution. Similarly, the ability of a degree, certificate, diploma, or other academic credential earned at University Child Development School to satisfy an admission requirement of another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Accreditation does not guarantee credentials or credits earned at University Child Development School will be accepted by or transferred to another institution. To minimize the risk of having to repeat coursework, students should contact the receiving institution in advance for evaluation and determination of transferability of credits and/or acceptability of degrees, diplomas, or certificates earned.


This program is not intended to lead to educator certification. Educators are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

The courses develop a feeling of community and involve you in the learning process. There is a balance of listening, speaking, doing, presenting, trying, and learning from mistakes. The facilitators are educators who are passionate about their work.
UCDS Institute Student