University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Master of Education (MEd)

Social and Comparative Analysis in Education - Master of Education (MEd)

The Master of Education (MEd) is a professional degree for the graduate student who wishes to pursue applied study in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education.

The Social and Comparative Analysis in Education (SCAE) program applies disciplinary perspectives from sociology, economics, anthropology, and philosophy to the study of educational problems and solutions. We apply social science theories and methods to understanding how organizations, processes, and actors interact within educational systems. We also focus on understanding how contemporary educational policies, trends, and reforms affect educational productivity and inequality, with a special emphasis on comparative, international, and development education.

Specialization Options

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. Both options include coursework in research methods and allow the student to develop deep expertise by taking multiple courses in their areas of interest within and beyond the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies.

Specialization option in Social Context of Education

The Social Context of Education specialization emphasizes how social context, including the family, neighborhood, and wider social and cultural forces affect educational processes and outcomes. This specialization emphasizes that schools are not only sites of learning and instruction, but workplaces for teachers and school leaders. Moreover, schools operate within a larger system of context and policy. Thematic interests within this specialization include the role of social identities in schooling, including gender, race, and class in education; historical developments in educational context, policy, and practice; the political economy of educational systems; and the contested moral and political purposes of education.

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. Our graduates apply a diverse repertoire of social science theories and methods to professional fields including educational policy analysis, comparative education, teacher education and professional development, and higher 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. Prospective students are also encouraged to view the area course listings and the interests and expertise of the area faculty in preparing application materials.

The MEd degree program culminates in a research paper or project wherein students apply the methods and theoretical frameworks of disciplinary or cross-disciplinary study to a problem, question, issue, or initiative 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 encouraged to view the area course listings and the interests and expertise of the area faculty.

The MEd degree culminates in a research paper or project wherein students apply relevant methods and theoretical frameworks to a problem, question, issue, or initiative regarding international and comparative education.

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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Department Contact

Sean Kelly
University of Pittsburgh
School of Education
5527 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
PHONE: 412-648-7165