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Master's in Critical Studies in Educational Foundations

Program Code: ME6227


Student in front of McCracken

The Critical Studies in Educational Foundations (CSE) Master’s Program focuses on the ways that culture, knowledge, and power shape education. This multidisciplinary program examines education, both formal and informal, through the philosophical, historical, sociological, political, and cultural perspectives.

Critical Studies in Educational Foundations promotes a deep understanding of education and its interactive relationships with teaching, learning and inquiry, as well as communities and cultures. The Cultural Studies in Education program construes education as encompassing the varied forms that education takes in a society: systems of education embedded within communities, business, government, non-governmental agencies and the media, as well as post-secondary higher education opportunities. With this in mind, our program attracts students most interested in these informal or higher education sites of education as they are most often the socio-political sites where social justice work can be accomplished and/or the lack thereof critiqued.


The intent and goal of the Critical Studies masters' program is to have students engage in a deep and thorough understanding of the relationship between the socio-political context of education through an analysis from the lens of applicable social sciences and humanities. Matching our academic program with other disciplines demonstrates how broadly we envision and define "education"as we acknowledge that education as a process occurs throughout society. (Note: The CSE Master's program is not directed towards students desiring a licensure in P-12 public school teaching.)


CSE students learn that education has implications for social justice. The CSE program is beneficial to individuals pursuing a variety of careers in fields such as:

  • Teaching in college, technical and private settings
  • Communications
  • Media Education
  • Community Organizing and Education
  • Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Education
  • Local and International Development
  • Diversity and Pluralism Initiatives
  • Preparation for doctoral programs

The goal of the program is to prepare graduates with the aim of developing a community of practitioners, scholars, and researchers committed to working for lasting social justice changes across their communities, nations, and the world through education.

CSE students bring a broad spectrum of prior academic preparation and various professional goals. Some students are interested in enriching their understanding of democratic education, critical pedagogy, diversity and co-culturalism. Others are interested in alternative forms of education, such as expeditionary learning.

In addition, CSE students include those who are interested in issues of diversity and education as they may relate to work in communications, the media, human resource and equity departments, community organizing, social justice non-profit organizations focusing on topics such as the environment, human rights, and feminist work, and community and international development work, often related to the United Nations and other organizations.

CSE students, both international and domestic, are assured that the CSE program upholds and maintains a commitment to multiple perspectives and a multi-vocal spirit. Our aim is to foster an intellectually nurturing foundation where students can experience a learning community within our program, the Department of Educational Studies, The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, and Ohio University.

Critical Studies in Educational Foundations Credits
Fall EDCS 5100 Introduction to Critical Studies in Education 4
Fall EDCS 5110 Colloquium in Critical Studies in Education  2
Fall EDCS 5040 Sociology & Politics of Education 4
Spring EDCS 5010 History & Philosophy of Education 4
Spring EDCS 6010 Education & Cultural Diversity 4
  2-3 Elective Courses 8
  1 Research Course 3-4
  *Capstone Requirement: Choose 1 
EDCS 6941 Master's Comprehensive Exam
EDCS 6941 Master's Research Project
EDCS 6941 Master's Research Paper
EDCS 6950 Master's Research Thesis

*Capstone Requirement Option


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For more information, contact:

Mike Hess
Assistant Professor, Educational Studies
Program Coordinator, Critical Studies
McCracken Hall 302R