Male student in class

About Adult Education

Adult education encompasses everything from teaching basic literacy skills to inspiring adults to complete degrees and find fulfilling careers. It also means working with lifelong learners in community agencies and workplaces.

Buffalo State’s graduate program in adult education teaches best practices for improving the way adults live and work through advanced learning and prepares individuals to serve in leadership roles in both adult education and human resource development fields.

Students enrolled in our program enjoy the flexibility of online classes and can choose from a 30-hour master of science (M.S.) degree, which is completed through entirely online-based study in two years or the accelerated M.S., which can be completed in 12 months by taking January term and summer courses.

Degree Information

The need for formally trained adult educators has expanded greatly in recent years. 

The job growth for post-secondary instructors is projected to grow by 11 percent between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Meanwhile, the job growth during the same time period for human resource specialists is 5 percent and human resource managers is 7 percent.

Our graduates teach in various arenas, including: 

  • Community groups
  • Continuing education 
  • Corporations 
  • Government agencies
  • Grassroots community organizations 
  • Law enforcement 
  • Grassroots community organizations 
  • Military
  • Professional associations
  • Sales and marketing firms
  • Social service agencies


Adult education students have the option of participating in a supervised teaching practicum and internship, both in face-to-face and virtual platforms. Examples of adult education internships include: 

  • Writing and/or conducting a training program
  • Counseling adult learners
  • Conducting a conference
  • Teaching a community college course
  • Administering a community education program
  • Evaluating an adult learning program

Specifically, students have recently interned in Buffalo State’s Professional Development Center and in the annual international Adult Education Research Conference (AERC). Some students elect to complete research projects as part of their internship opportunity or as an independent study course.

"I now possess the tools and strategies needed to be the best possible teacher, adviser, cheerleader, and friend to my adult learners.”

- Mary Ellen K. Clasgens, '13 Writing Instructor/Tutor, Monroe Community College

“Much like Buffalo State, the adult education field is focused on transforming lives and communities through education.” 

- Andrea B. Nikischer Associate Professor, Adult Education Department

We're in the Top 10

The department has been listed by Campus Explorer as one of the Top 10 Graduate Schools for Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching.

Online, Flexible

Enjoy the flexibility of entirely online-based study and choose from a 30-hour master of science degree, completed in two years, or the accelerated M.S., which can be completed in 12 months by taking January term and summer courses.

Personalized Mentoring

Our students receive intensive one-on-one mentoring from professors and faculty advisers so that students are well-prepared for the job market when they graduate.


Choose an area of specialization, based on your career interest. Human resource development is a popular choice, but there are many others, including healthcare promotion, adulty literacy, vocational education, and student personnel administration. 

Small Class Size

Most classes within the program have between 16 and 20 students, most of whom are working professionals.

Credit for Previous Coursework

Up to 12 hours of coursework from SUNY institutions and six hours from other institutions may be approved for transfer for a specialization area. 

Maryanell Agosto
"The program helped me look at adult education as a two-way street. It is not mine to give. It is ours to give and receive as teachers and students through the exchange of ideas and concepts."
Maryanell Agosto, '11 Director of Site Educational Services, Lehigh Carbon Community College
Reva M. Fish Associate Professor
Douglas L. Hoston Jr. Assistant Professor
P. Rudy Mattai Professor
Andrea B. Nikischer Chair + Associate Professor
Thomas R. Scheira Lecturer
Gehan Senthinathan Assistant Professor
Angela C. Thering Lecturer