University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Social & Comparative Analysis in Education

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Social & Comparative Analysis in Education

Social and Comparative Analysis in Education (SCAE) is the scholarly study of fundamental problems and questions in education in the United States and around the world from a critical, global perspective. We look at education holistically, including formal and non-formal settings across the lifespan. We analyze the relationship between education and social justice in the complementary fields of social foundations, comparative, international, and development education.

The program is grounded in the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences (anthropology, economics, history, literature, philosophy, political science, and sociology) and in innovative, interdisciplinary fields such as business, cultural studies, global studies, and women's studies. In conjunction with their program of study, students have the option to earn a certificate from one or more of the area studies programs coordinated by the University Center for International Studies (African, Asian, Latin American, Russian and East European, and West European).

Our graduates apply a diverse repertoire of analytic skills to a broad range of academic and professional fields. Our graduates are prepared to teach and do research in the traditional social foundation disciplines, comparative education, teacher education, and other education areas at the university level. They are also well prepared to take on leadership roles in international and development organizations, education policy-making bodies, consulting and evaluation firms, non-profit organizations, and innovative schools.

The following sections highlight the distinguishing features of SCAE:

Individually Designed Program

The SCAE program offers highly motivated and capable students the opportunity to create an individually-tailored program at both the master's (MA or MEd) and doctoral (PhD) level, while meeting the requirements of their degree programs. Students work closely with faculty advisors to build on their strengths to select courses, to enhance their range of applied experiences, and to better hone their expertise. Students draw from the resources within and beyond the SCAE area and faculty to benefit from the rich scholarly and experiential resources offered by the University of Pittsburgh for the social and comparative student of education. As a result, our graduates are highly prepared for the diverse repertoire of skills that they can apply to a wide range of fields.

Diverse Student Body

We take pride in our heterogeneous and highly-qualified student body, which come from different regions of the US and virtually every part of the world. Our students come to SCAE from many different undergraduate majors and master's degree programs. Most have national, international, and intercultural interests. Some are teachers (especially in the field of social studies) or are school leaders. Others work in non-formal education such as after-school, community-based or museum settings. Many bring professional experience gained through such organizations as Jumpstart, the Peace Corps, City Year, JET, AmeriCorps, VISTA, or Bonner Scholars. Others have extensive leadership experience in domestic or international agencies involved in educational development and policy. Many have valuable teaching experiences in our schools. SCAE students enjoy a dynamic exchange of diverse perspectives and experiences in our classes.

Experiential, Research-based Preparation

In addition to a rigorous set of disciplinary core courses, SCAE students receive credit for original research, experiential learning, and other applied educational experiences. These include individualized directed studies with professors doing cutting-edge research, internships and field research conducted locally and abroad, and study groups on advanced topics. Many also take part in a well-established international service-learning sequence. All SCAE graduate students complete an original research paper, thesis, or dissertation. Additionally, all SCAE doctoral students complete a research apprenticeship to learn the methods, ethics, and standards of researching and generating products under the direct supervision of a graduate faculty member.

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Degree and Certification Options


  • Master of Education (MEd) - professional degree for the graduate student who wishes to pursue advanced study in at least one field of educational effort and to demonstrate a superior level of expertise and capacity for leadership in that field. 
  • Master of Arts (MA) - professional degree for the graduate student who wishes to pursue advanced study in education and to demonstrate through the master's thesis their capacity for planning and arranging original research related to professional practice.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - designed for those seeking a career in research and university teaching, the PhD degree offers methodological rigor in qualitative and quantitative research methods and close collaboration with faculty on ongoing research projects. 
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) – designed for those seeking to enhance their professional careers with scholarship, the EdD degree offers an intensive cohort experience and preparation for rigorous, applied research.

Contact Information

Admissions Inquiries and General Information

School of Education
Admissions and Enrollment Services
5500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
PHONE: 412-648-2230
FAX: 412-648-1899
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