Master of Arts in Gifted Education

Learn the skills you need to better identify gifted characteristics in students, develop effective curricula, and provide support throughout the learning process. The option to complete your degree entirely online puts you in control.

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Learn While You Work

Online coursework means you can learn on your own schedule, implementing your new skills and information into your classroom as you go.

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Schedule a Virtual Visit

Get an inside look at the online learning environment, meet your professors, and get all your questions answered during a virtual visit.

Why Truman?

  • An emphasis on current challenges and opportunities unique to gifted education
  • A combination of Truman Education faculty and active expert practitioners
  • Fully online coursework combined with practical field experience
  • A program designed for the working professional
  • Rated #1 in Missouri and #7 nationally for job placement


Your degree will be a mix of core coursework, two elective courses addressing pressing topics in gifted education, and an internship.

Explore the nature and needs of gifted learners as you investigate concepts of intelligence and giftedness, methods used to identify gifted learners, and issues related to special populations of gifted learners. You’ll link the philosophy of gifted education, learner characteristics, understandings about intelligence, identification procedures, and curriculum into coherent and defensible services for gifted learners.

Examine your rights and responsibilities in educating students with gifted and handicapped conditions; current philosophy and terminology in gifted and special education programs; and the programming implications of students from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Examine research methodologies, designs, collecting and analyzing data, and writing and presenting findings through completion of an action research project.

Learn about the processes and recommendations for identifying gifted students and study how culture, economics, and family roles impact identification. You’ll also become familiar with different identification tools and apply their knowledge of gifted learners to create an identification process for a school.

Learn how to develop, implement, and evaluate effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve learning for gifted students through discussion of gifted education theory, curriculum development theory, systems thinking, higher order thinking, questioning skills, creative thinking, technology use, differentiation, and assessment. Additionally, you’ll examine how curriculum design for gifted students can impact curriculum for all students.

Focus on the affective needs of gifted students by exploring research and material relevant to the social and emotional components of giftedness. You’ll examine the role(s) of the educator, motivational issues, relationships, perfectionism, common areas of psychological response, gifted children and youth with special needs, underachievement, and promising practices and interventions for meeting the affective needs of gifted children.

Learn to identify programming options for gifted learners including acceleration, enrichment, internships, mentoring, distance learning, etc. to enhance students’ learning while meeting their intellectual and affective needs. You’ll collaborate with others to create opportunities for diverse learners, as well as examine your school’s current system for gifted programming to create recommendations for improvement.

Study the theoretical aspects of creativity – what is creativity, and how do we develop it in ourselves and in our students? You’ll learn the major definitions, theories, and research related to the study of creativity and the creative individual, techniques for stimulating creative thinking, and creative problem-solving strategies to utilize with students.

Get acquainted with the core theories of argumentation and techniques of oral and written argument, and learn how to integrate argumentation and debate in the gifted classroom and in subjects across the curriculum.

Examine theory and application of multicultural competency and how it can help you become a better instructor. Concepts covered are the theory and application of multicultural knowledge and sensitivity, ethical treatment of individuals in a diverse society, demonstrated knowledge, skills and personal self-awareness relevant for helping professionals.

A minimum of one public school semester of full-time participation under the guidance of mentor teachers, administrators, and University representatives, with the end goal of providing extensive experience in all facets of your role as a teacher to gifted students.

Meet the Faculty

Beth Knoot

A graduate of Truman’s M.A.E. program, Beth Knoot has an M.A.E. in Elementary Education and a B.S. in Psychology from Truman State University. She also has an M.A. in Gifted Education, a Graduate Certificate in Global Awareness and Civic Literacy Education, and a Graduate Certificate in STEM Education from Maryville University in St. Louis. Beth is a National Board Certified Teacher and a National Geographic Certified Teacher and has an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Science Education from Washington University in St. Louis as well. She is currently a gifted education teacher at Reed Elementary in the Ladue School District in the St. Louis area where she leads FIRST LEGO League and other STEM projects and teaches kids about cool things such as the rainforest and archaeology.

Wendy Miner

Wendy Miner earned her B.A. from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in special education and elementary education. She earned her M.S. in curriculum and instruction from George Washington University and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in gifted. Wendy has teaching experience in multiple settings including a gifted pullout school and magnet school in Virginia Beach, Va. Through her work at the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, she worked with multiple school districts providing professional development on differentiation, assessment, and program evaluations with her colleagues. She was an assistant director and director for the Summer Institute on Academic Diversity. Wendy has served in various roles for the National Association of Gifted Children. She helped create the gifted certification courses at Truman State University and coordinates a science club at the primary level for local students.

Kathy Poole

Kathy Poole earned her certification in gifted education and her Master's in Teaching at Lindenwood University. She has completed post-graduate work at both Webster University and Lindenwood. Prior to teaching, she earned a B.S. in Food and Nutrition with an emphasis in Medical Dietetics. She functioned as the lead nutritionist for the Washington University Lung Transplant Team fostering local and worldwide networks for the advancement of pulmonary and thoracic patient care. With her passion for the sciences and teaching, she began teaching at the Center for Creative Learning in the Rockwood School District in the St. Louis area. She has facilitated authentic, high-level curriculum development through several roles, including Curriculum Committee Reviewer, Curriculum Support Planner, curriculum mentor, district Curriculum Advisory Council, Summer Program Coordinator, and many others. Her curriculum units have been recognized and awarded for their real-world problem-solving opportunities provided to students, including the President’s Environmental Youth Action Award, Missouri Department of Conservation, Global Ozone Project, Rockwood’s Gifted Education Award, and the Above and Beyond Award. She also leads the gifted program’s Gifted Resource Council's Academic Challenge Cup teams.


Sharon Slodounik's professional background includes being a gifted specialist, district gifted coordinator, trainer for gifted certification hours, library/media specialist for grades K-12, middle and high school social studies teacher, and middle school literacy, science, and math teacher. She has been involved in innovative programs in gifted education, the arts, aesthetic education, and special education. These work experiences include working in the School District of Clayton (St. Louis suburb) and various cities/towns in central Illinois, regional programs, and rural and urban schools, including Title I buildings. As a gifted teacher/coordinator, she has worked in pull-out programs and collaborative teaching arrangements with elementary classroom teachers in mathematics and literacy. She has also worked closely with building and district content specialists and coordinators. Working with students and collaborating with colleagues are her top passions. As a gifted coordinator in Clayton and Decatur Public Schools (Decatur, Illinois), she has developed and overseen transitions in gifted identification and developed gifted programs for all grade levels. In addition, she was active in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) for nearly two decades and served as chair of the NAGC Global Awareness Network.



Apply by April 1

Summer 2022 START:

Apply by February 1

Rolling Admission

Admission is made on a rolling basis and treated on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply early for priority consideration. If a given cohort is full, you may be asked to defer your admission to the following term.

Application Requirements

Application requirements: online application, transcripts, personal statement, 2 professional references

Gifted Certification

Also available is a certification credential in K-12 Gifted Education. This 25-credit certification program culminates in an endorsement from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education but does not bestow a master’s degree. If you’re interested, apply using our non-degree seeking application.

Financial Aid

Enrolled students taking at least six credit hours per semester are eligible for federal financial aid programs. For more information, see our Financial Aid Resources for Graduate Studies page or contact the Financial Aid Office at (660) 785-4130 or

We hope to introduce institutional scholarships and graduate assistantships as the program grows, but these are not currently available.