The Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies offers a master’s program for educators, community leaders, and those working in community-based organizations. Students deepen their knowledge base around issues relating to urban education and the contexts of urban communities. The program of study enhances participants’ ability to critically analyze education and processes of community change.
Our courses are offered in the evenings, online, and on weekends to serve working students. All in-department courses required for the degree are offered online, and students are able to complete all of their departmental courses online over a two year cycle as space permits.
A core of four courses provides a foundation in sociology, history, philosophy and research.
Students are encouraged to develop and understand their own frameworks of values and theoretical perspectives as applied to the realities of urban education and urban communities. A faculty advisor will assist the student through the program, balancing flexibility and structure according to professional needs. Common focus areas include the following:
- Alternative Education/At-Risk Students
- Child Care
- Community Organizing for Social Change
- Community Engagement and Partnerships
- Educational Policy
- Race Relations
- Urban Education
- Youth Work
Because our program is very flexible, allowing 6 credits of electives within the department as well as 9 credits that can be chosen from across the university, students often create their own unique informal focus areas, which have included: Latino Studies, Working-Class Studies, Educating Hmong Students, Global Education, Comparative Education, Race and the Police, Education and the Homeless, and more.
Students are encouraged to develop and understand their own values and theoretical perspectives as applied to the realities of urban education and community change. A faculty advisor will assist the student through the program, balancing flexibility and structure according to professional needs.
A wide variety of professionals seeking to understand the urban context of education and community change have found this program useful. Graduates work in a range of fields: directors of non-profit and community-based agencies; teachers and principals in public, private, and alternative schools; administrators of child care centers; directors of social action organizations; managers of programs serving youth; administrators in health service facilities; community organizers; elected government officials; police officers; administrators of group homes; doctoral students; professors; and more.
An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:
- Submission of two letters of recommendation from individuals who can testify to the applicant’s academic potential.
- Written statement of educational and professional goals with desired area of concentration.
Credits and Courses
The program in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits, divided among the following: required core courses (15); focus work (minimum 9 graduate credits), electives (minimum 6 graduate credits).
|Core Courses 1|
|ED POL 702||Cultural Foundations of Education Graduate Seminar 2||3|
|ED POL 705||Sociology of Education and Community Engagement||3|
|ED POL 710||Research Methods for Education and Community Engagement||3|
|ED POL 740||Modern Philosophies of Education and Community||3|
|ED POL 750||History of Education in American Communities||3|
|Focus Work in Cultural Foundations|
|Select 9 credits in the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies 3||9|
|Select a maximum of 6 graduate credits of electives 4||6|
Capstone Practicum Option
For the Capstone Practicum option, students take three credits of ED POL 791. Working with the instructor of this course, students conduct a project that relates to their core interests in the program and write a final paper related to their capstone project. More details are given in the syllabus for the ED POL 791 course. This course is generally taken in the last or close to last semester of a student’s program
Each of these required courses has a set of major questions that guide the instructor and the students.
ED POL 702 must be taken in the first two semesters after a student enrolls in the program.
May be focused in the following areas:
They will select this focus with the help of an advisor.
In order to individualize the program, a maximum of 6 graduate credits of electives is selected in consultation with the advisor to enhance the specific professional goals of the student. These credits may be selected from courses within the Department, courses in other departments in the School of Education, or courses outside of the School of Education. A maximum of 3 credits of Independent Reading and 3 credits of fieldwork may be included in the program.
Major Professor as Advisor
The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. A student who is not assigned to an advisor at time of admission should immediately contact the Department Chair.
Capstone Paper/Project or Thesis
All students in the Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education program must complete either a capstone practicum, final paper, or thesis as part of their degree requirements. This choice should be made by the student in consultation with his/her advisor. Each option is completed under the direction of a faculty
Final Paper Option
The final paper option generally begins with a research paper written in one of the student’s classes, and then this paper is brought to a more complete form with the support of a faculty advisor. This option is designed for students who are planning to go on to further graduate study, and provides an opportunity to generate a writing sample for applications as well as to hone one’s research abilities. Students do not generally take extra credits to complete this option. Note that this is NOT a thesis, which is a much more intensive and formalized research effort.
A thesis represents a much more substantial research project that is submitted formally to the Graduate School. Students pursuing the thesis option may take up to 6 credits of Ed Pol 990 Research or Thesis.
Students completing any of the above options will also end with a final exit interview with two faculty members from the program.
The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.