Master of Arts in Education Policy

Become an education policy expert and gain the tools you need to work toward equitable change in society with the Master of Arts in Education Policy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Our 36-credit program is distinctive because of its focus on equity-driven education policy analysis and transformation. As a student, you will explore how the (re)design of educational systems can improve learning opportunities for students of all ages. You will also learn how policy and systems can be used to improve your own organizations. 

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: 2 years
  • Time Commitment: Full-time or Part-time
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall, Spring, or Summer 
  • Course Requirements: 36 credits 
  • Format: In-person
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions;priority given to applications received by March 1
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE exam not required
     

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Program Details

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education Policy is a 36-credit degree program that provides students with a foundational grounding in equity-driven education policy analysis. Core content areas include education policy systems and implementation, the social contexts of education, policy analysis methods, disciplinary study, and electives exploring specific policy topics and issues. Our program is designed to accommodate part-time and full-time students. Full-time students can complete the program in as little as three semesters. 

Flexible Curriculum

Students have the flexibility to choose courses that match their interests. Many options for customization exist within the curriculum and through the students’ choice between electives or the Area of Concentration (ARCO) option. 

Specialization Options

To satisfy the elective requirement, students have the option of completing an Area of Concentration (ARCO) as part of the degree. An ARCO is a University of Pittsburgh credential that provides additional specialization within a specific discipline of education policy. The ARCO pathway is 9 credits and does not result in any added cost, time, or credit hours. 

Curriculum Overview

For expanded class descriptions, visit the University of Pittsburgh Graduate and Professional Studies catalog.

Minimum of 36 credits required 

Policy Foundations (6 credits)

Students are required to complete both courses:

  • EFOP 2010 - EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS, MACRO POLICY, AND POLITICS, MA (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2011 - EDUCATION POLICY IMPLEMENTATION: STUDENTS, FAMILIES, EDUCATORS, AND POLICYMAKERS, MA SEMINAR (3 credits)
Social Contexts of Education (3 credits)

Students select one course from the following options:

  • EFOP 2133 - GENDER AND EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2305 - SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2306 - HISTORY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2307 - POLITICS AND HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2310 - CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2343 - EDUCATION AND CULTURE (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2352 - ANTHROPOLOGY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2398 - ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3003 - THEORIES OF EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY (3 credits)
  • EDUC 2100 - EDUCATION AND SOCIETY (3 credits)
Psychological Perspectives on Education (3 credits)

Students select one course from the following options:

  • EDUC 2000 - PSYCHOLOGY OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT FOR EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EDUC 2007 - HUMAN LEARNING (3 credits)
  • EDUC 2008 - CONCEPTION TO EARLY CHILDHOOD (3 credits)
  • EDUC 2009 - DEVELOPMENT: MIDDLE CHILDHOOD/ADOLESCENCE (3 credits)
  • TLL 3021 - LEARNING SCIENCES AND EDUCATIONAL CHANGE (3 credits)
Methods Sequence (9 credits)

Students select three courses from the following options: 

  • EDUC 3100 - INTRODUCTION TO QUAN METHODS: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2001 - INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODOLOGY (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2018 - STATISTICS 1: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2019 - STATISTICS 2: ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2030 - EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2410 - APPLIED REGRESSION ANALYSIS (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3012 - QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3201 - INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3208 - CASE STUDY METHODS IN EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3311 - WAYS OF KNOWING (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3408 - HIERARCHICAL LINEAR MODELING (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3471 - CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONNAIRES AND CONDUCTING SURVEYS (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3472 - CAUSAL INFERENCE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH (3 credits)
  • EDUC 3501 - CRITICAL POLICY ANALYSIS (3 credits)
  • EDUC 3505 - RESEARCH-PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS: APPROACHES TO COLLABORATIVE DESIGN, INQUIRY & CHANGE (3 credits)
  • EDUC 3103 - QUANTITATIVE METHODS 2 (3 credits)
  • EDUC 3104 - INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2353 - APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • TLL 3003 - RESEARCH INTERVIEWING (3 credits)
  • TLL 3001 - ADVANCED APPLIED QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS (3 credits)
Electives (9 credits) or optional Area of Concentration (9 credits)

Students can either take 3 courses from an approved list of electives or complete 3 courses in the Higher Education Policy ARCO or Comparative and International Education ARCO

Electives (9 credits)

Students take 3 courses from the following electives or an ARCO to satisfy their elective requirement:

  • EDUC 2003 - RESEARCH METHODS IN EDUCATION POLICY AND PRACTICE
  • EDUC 3013 - EDUCATION LAW, POLICY & SCHOOL REFORM
  • EDUC 3016 - URBAN SCHOOLS AND SOCIAL POLICY
  • EDUC 3114 - BLACK EDUCATIONAL THOUGHT
  • EDUC 3501 - CRITICAL POLICY ANALYSIS
  • EDUC 3505 - RESEARCH-PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS: APPROACHES TO COLLABORATIVE DESIGN, INQUIRY & CHANGE
  • EFOP 2001 - INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
  • EFOP 2004 - THEORIES OF EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
  • EFOP 2018 - STATISTICS 1: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS
  • EFOP 2019 - STATISTICS 2: ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE
  • EFOP 2030 - EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN
  • EFOP 2055 - STUDENT DEVELOPMENT THEORY
  • EFOP 2096 - INTERNSHIP IN EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS & POLICY
  • EFOP 2106 - INTERNATIONAL AND GLOBAL EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2129 - SOCIAL JUSTICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION SETTINGS
  • EFOP 2305 - SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2306 - HISTORY OF EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2307 - POLITICS AND HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2310 - CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2343 - EDUCATION AND CULTURE
  • EFOP 2352 - ANTHROPOLOGY OF EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2356 - FIELD METHODS
  • EFOP 2398 - ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2410 - APPLIED REGRESSION ANALYSIS
  • EFOP 2416 - APPLIED MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS
  • EFOP 3003 - THEORIES OF EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
  • EFOP 3012 - QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
  • EFOP 3131 - STUDENT, CAMPUS, AND SOCIETY
  • EFOP 3136 - COMPARATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3141 - POLICY STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3150 - FOUNDATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3201 - INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION
  • EFOP 3208 - CASE STUDY METHODS IN EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3311 - WAYS OF KNOWING
  • EFOP 3408 - HIERARCHICAL LINEAR MODELING
  • EFOP 3471 - CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONNAIRES AND CONDUCTING SURVEYS
  • EFOP 3472 - CAUSAL INFERENCE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
  • EDUC 3100 - INTRODUCTION TO QUAN METHODS: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS
  • TLL 3001 - ADVANCED APPLIED QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
  • TLL 3021 - LEARNING SCIENCES AND EDUCATIONAL CHANGE
  • TLL 3008 - EDUCATIONAL POLICY
  • TLL 3095 - ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT
  • TLL 3540 - DESIGN OF EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS

Area of Concentration (ARCO) Option (9 credits)

Students can satisfy their elective requirement by selecting three courses from the following options:

Comparative and International Education ARCO Option

  • EFOP 2106 - INTERNATIONAL AND GLOBAL EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3136 - COMPARATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3343 - COMPARATIVE EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3006 - SOCIAL THEORIES & EDUCATION IN GLOBAL CONTEXT
  • EFOP 3007 - EDUCATION AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Education Policy ARCO Option

  • EFOP 2129 - SOCIAL JUSTICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION SETTINGS
  • EFOP 3015 - ETHICAL ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3131 - STUDENT, CAMPUS, AND SOCIETY
  • EFOP 3141 - POLICY STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3150 - FOUNDATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Capstone (6 credits)

Students complete either the Research Seminar course (if completing an applied policy project) or the Guidance of Master’s degree course (if pursuing the thesis option).

  • EFOP 2090 - RESEARCH SEMINAR (6 credits)

    OR
     
  • EFOP 2099 - GUIDANCE IN THE MASTER’S DEGREE (6 credits)

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of all coursework 
  • Literature-based policy brief that serves as a comprehensive exam
  • Capstone experience through either an applied policy project or a thesis

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • Interest in a career related to education policy and in exploring how policy can contribute to more just and equitable education systems

Core and Affiliated Faculty

Our excellent faculty offer training in diverse expertise and perspectives that prepare students for careers in education policy. Core faculty, who advise students in our Ed Policy programs, are marked with an asterik.

 

Career Pathways

The program prepares students for many different opportunities for career advancement, including:  

  • Change agents in PreK-12, higher education, or informal education organizations

  • Evaluators in nonprofits and in research firms
     
  • Legislative staff at the municipal, state, or federal level
     
  • Policy analysts in coordinating and/or governing bodies such as state departments of education, state higher education coordinating bodies, local school districts, ministries of education in other countries, and other intermediary organizations with a topical focus
     
  • Research and policy analysts in higher education institutions