The Master of Arts (MA) is a 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. The MA degree is distinct from the MEd degree in that the MA student is required to complete a master's thesis and to include coursework outside the School of Education in the plan of studies.
Common to all degree programs in the Administrative and Policy Studies department is the study of these central concepts, beliefs, and commitments:
- the integration of theory and practice in the form of praxis;
- the promotion of critical agency;
- the cultivation of a global cross-cultural perspective across the pre-K-20 spectrum of education; and
- the creative and meaningful use of research methods to address problems and questions in education.
The area of concentration of Social and Comparative Analysis in Education (SCAE) at the master's level provides study of fundamental or foundational problems and questions in education using the tools of the humanities and social sciences. Tied to the interrelated scholarly fields of Social Foundations and Comparative and International Education, SCAE encourages a global perspective in its curriculum, the interests of its students, and the work of its faculty.
The SCAE area of concentration offers two specialization options, Social Context of Education or Comparative and International Education Policy. Students select a specialization option when they submit their plan of studies for SCAE faculty approval. Students design a curriculum that suits their professional and academic goals using the curriculum framework associated with their chosen specialization option.
Specialization option in Social Context of Education
This specialization option is for educators in formal and non-formal settings who wish to study fundamental problems and questions in the social context of education. Education is construed broadly to include formal schooling, non-formal educational settings, and all forms of education that occur in societies. Students following this specialization option come from many different backgrounds, including educators in all levels of formal education; educators and administrators in non-formal educational settings, such as museums and community programs; and administrators of non-profit and advocacy organizations. Graduates who have studied the Social Context of Education have enriched their knowledge base for their current careers and/or gone on to pursue a diverse range of new career options in educational policy, research, teaching, and program development in various settings, including all forms of educational institutions, non-formal educational settings, and non-profit organizations. Our graduates also include scholars of education with the intention of eventually pursuing doctoral study and the professorate.
Students are encouraged to develop thematic interests within the broader field of the social context of education. It is always helpful for program faculty to know students' goals and interests as they enter the program, so that degree programs may be tailored to their specific needs. Examples of thematic interests include social and cultural influences on educational experiences; the internationalization of educational experiences; the educational experiences of particular populations of students; the historical development of the institution of education and schooling; the social constructions of gender, race, and class in education; the influence of power and politics on education; and the contested moral and political purposes of education. Prospective students are also encouraged to view the area course listings and the interests and expertise of the area faculty.
The required supporting field (drawn from coursework outside the School of Education and often done in conjunction with a University certificate) provides MA students the opportunity to deepen their disciplinary (and/or cross-disciplinary) knowledge and skills. The MA thesis is a work of original research wherein students apply the methods and theoretical frameworks of disciplinary or cross-disciplinary study to a problem or question regarding the social context of education.
Specialization option in Comparative and International Education Policy
This specialization option is for educators, researchers, and development specialists interested in the study and improvement of formal and non-formal educational settings throughout the world. Students following this degree option come from overlapping but also distinct areas from the Social Context option. They include educators in formal and non-formal settings, particularly those interested in working for bilateral and multilateral development agencies and nongovernmental organizations; pursuing careers within ministries of education at all levels; pursuing international study; developing global or international programs; or developing schools and school systems in international settings. The degree program also draws those intending to teach and research for United States and overseas higher education institutions and schools.
Students are encouraged to develop thematic interests within the complimentary areas of international, comparative, and development education, so that degree programs may be tailored to their specific needs and goals. Examples of thematic areas include policy reform and analysis, educational development trends and issues in particular countries or regions, economic and political trends as they affect education, the education of ethnic and linguistic minorities, HIV and AIDS education, and the enhancement and expansion of post-secondary education and teacher preparation, and further, many of the thematic areas named in the social context option, as applied comparatively and internationally. Prospective students are also encouraged to view the area course listings and the interests and expertise of the area faculty.
For MA students, the required supporting field (drawn from coursework outside the School of Education and often done in conjunction with a University certificate) provides the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills of disciplines, cross-disciplinary studies, and/or studies of specific regions of the world. The MA thesis is a work of original research wherein students apply the methods and theoretical frameworks of comparative and international education to a problem or question.