Masters of Science in Education in Social & Cultural Studies in Education

The Master's degree in Social and Cultural Studies in Education offered at the University of Kansas School of Education provides graduate students a 30 (or 36) credit hour program, with both a non-thesis or thesis option.  The program permits students to complete a variety of courses, focusing on foundational questions and applications such as:

  • How has the present educational system developed, in the U.S. and worldwide?
  • How does poverty and inequality affect the school performance of children?
  • What knowledge should schools aim to impart?
  • How can education help achieve a more just, democratic and multicultural society?
  • What are the ethical responsibilities of teachers and other educators in an unequal and changing society?
  • What are the competing purposes of education, and how do we make choices among them?

As a field of study, Social & Cultural Studies in Education is also known as Social Foundations of Education at some institutions.  At KU, this Master’s level degree program offers an individualized student experience that addresses big questions in education, such as inequality, multiculturalism and social justice – and can be completed in less than two calendar years.  The program is designed for full-time and part-time graduate students.  Graduate students enrolled in the program can expect to:

  • Increase their knowledge and ability to assess problems in contemporary education, particularly concerning questions of inequity, multiculturalism and social justice.
  • Apply knowledge from a diverse array of courses and departmental perspectives including: sociology, philosophy, history, political science, and more.
  • Examine problems in curriculum and learning, especially around questions of language and culture.
  • Enlarge understanding of schooling & develop an appreciation of the political, economic and social forces that influence the decisions of educational leaders.
  • Share in-depth analyses and discussions of theory for application to real-world experiences in classes and other settings.
  • Complete a thesis or project, or a comprehensive exam during their final semester demonstrating your competencies in social and cultural dimensions of education.

Graduate Admission to the School of Education

Graduate programs in education are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate and graduate degrees whose academic records indicate that they can do successful work at the graduate level. Regular admission requires a grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Individual departments may require additional information and may have more stringent admission and retention requirements.

Some departments may offer special provisional admission categories to students who may not qualify under traditional admission criteria. Departments that offer provisional admission require a grade-point average of at least 2.5.  Applicants must provide evidence of ability to work successfully at the graduate level, including experience in and commitment to the profession. Exceptions to established policies must be sought individually by petition to the Graduate Division of the School of Education.

See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for more information.

Each department in the School of Education sets its own application deadlines.  Prospective graduate students should contact their departments for more information.

Graduate Admission

Applicants for all programs must submit the following materials:

  1. Graduate application.
  2. 1 official transcript from each degree-granting collegiate institution attended.
  3. Original Graduate Record Examination general test scores for all doctoral applicants (Ed.D. and Ph.D.). The GRE is not required for master’s applicants in educational administration, higher education, social and cultural studies in education, or educational technology.
  4. Statement of purpose/relevance of degree to career aspirations.
  5. 3 letters of recommendation evaluating the applicant’s capacity for rigorous graduate study and qualifications for leadership positions in education and related fields.
  6. A vita or resume.

Individual program concentrations may require additional application materials. Please consult the appropriate program advisor. The following application deadlines apply:

Educational Administration

SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Higher Education

FallMaster’s applicants who intend to enroll full-time and seek graduate assistantshipsearly January
FallMaster’s applicants who intend to enroll full time and seek graduate assistantships in housing onlyearly March
FallMaster's applicants who are working professionalsAugust 1
SpringMaster's applicants who are working professionalsJanuary 1
SummerMaster's applicants who are working professionalsMay 15
FallDoctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringDoctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerDoctoral applicantsMarch 1

Social and Cultural Studies in Education

FallMaster’s and doctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringMaster’s and doctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Educational Technology

FallMaster’s applicants interested in program on Lawrence CampusJune 1
FallMaster's applicants interested in program on Edwards CampusJuly 15
FallDoctoral applicantsJune 1
SpringMaster’s and doctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Policy Studies

FallDoctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringDoctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerDoctoral applicantsApril 1

Submit your graduate application online. Supporting materials, such as the résumé, statement of purpose, writing sample, and letters of reference may be uploaded to the application. Original transcripts from degree-granting institutions and official test scores should be sent directly to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
1122 W. Campus Road, Room 421
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101

Social and Cultural Studies in Education

The master's in Social and Cultural Studies in Education is a 30 or 36 credit-hour degree.

  1. Students in the SCSE Master’s Program can choose between two courses of study: 1) a thesis (or project) option that requires a total of 30 graduate credit hours; or a non-thesis option that requires a total of 36 graduate credit hours.
  2. Students take a major concentration of courses related to the history, philosophy and sociology of education, with the advice of a faculty advisor and an advisory committee. Such courses should offer an opportunity for students to focus on a variety of theoretical and research-based questions. A minimum of 10 hours of coursework is required in the major concentration for the thesis option, and 12 hours in the non-thesis option.
  3. Other aspects of the program are flexible. A minimum of 6 credit hours must be taken outside of the ELPS Department, although students typically take more than this. In particular students are urged to take coursework outside of the school of education, in conjunction with the principal SCSE field (history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political science or economics) that they are interested in. A course in educational research (EPSY 715) is also required. Each student in the non-thesis/project option must pass a comprehensive examination at the end of coursework, supervised by the student’s committee.
  4. A typical master’s program in Social and Cultural Studies in Education thus will entail approximately 8 graduate courses, apart from thesis or project work (or additional coursework in the non-thesis option). Depending on the configuration of credit hours in the coursework and the student's prior record (up to 6 hours of appropriate graduate coursework may be transferred). Upon successful completion of coursework in the thesis (or project) option, focused thesis or project work begins.
  5. For students choosing the thesis/project option, School of Education and Graduate Studies rules regarding the master's thesis or project, an advisory committee, preparation of the thesis or project, and a defense are observed in the Social and Cultural Studies in Education program. The student's thesis or project committee will include the major advisor and at least two other faculty members, with one member usually representing the non-ELPS coursework.
  6. Summary of principal program elements:
  7. Social and Cultural Studies in Education Coursework—At least 10 credit hours (typically 12 hours or 4 courses)
  8. Additional Coursework—typically at least 9 credit hours (3 courses, at least one of which is outside of ELPS)
  9. Education Research Methods Coursework—3 credit hours (EPSY 715 is required of all master's students and can count as one of the courses outside of ELPS)
  10. Thesis or project research—6 (or 4 for a project) credit hours (for those selecting the thesis/project option)
  11. Thesis/project Defense, or comprehensive exam for non-thesis option.