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Option in Social Foundations of Education

The PhD in Education, option in Social Foundations of Education, is an interdisciplinary degree that focuses on the diverse factors and social issues that shape education. You will explore how historical, philosophical, sociocultural, political, economic and international forces shape educational processes as well as how education shapes society. Our graduates strive for a more equitable, just, peaceful and democratic society and world and pursue careers as educators, leaders, community activists, policy makers and analysts and research scholars.


To ensure maximum flexibility, courses in this 69-hour program are offered in varied formats, such as online, face-to-face and hybrid. Degree completion includes 15 hours of doctoral dissertation as well as the following social foundations core curriculum:


Common Program Core: Knowledge base including foundations of inquiry and diversity and equity issues in education.

Social Foundations Core: Courses focused in history of education, philosophy of education, sociology of education and anthropology of education, including:

  • Educational Philosophy
  • Educational Sociology 
  • History of Education
  • Anthropology of Education
  • Culture, Society & Education
  • Popular Culture in Education 
  • Problems & Issues in Social Foundations 
  • Religion & Education
  • Comparative Education
  • Ethics & Moral Education
  • Transforming Pedagogies
  • Gender, Theory & Education
  • Seminar in Social Foundations

Cognate: Area of student’s specific interest (e.g, teaching, sociology, gender studies). 


Research and Inquiry: Systematic knowledge and skill sets in both qualitative and quantitative research and inquiry.


Course information


Research and Faculty

You will have opportunities to conduct, present and publish research with faculty and fellow students. Research interests of our experienced and internationally-known faculty include comparative and international education, diversity and equity issues, religions, gender, women’s and sexuality studies and education policy and practice.


Meet our faculty

College research initiatives



Students in the classroom with instructorApplications are accepted on a rolling basis each semester, with the following deadlines:

  • Fall Priority — Jan. 15 | Fall Final — July 1 
  • Spring Priority — Sep. 15  | Spring Final — Dec. 1

To apply for the PhD in Education, option in Social Foundations of Education program, complete the following:

  • Graduate College application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended institutions (3.5 minimum graduate GPA required)
  • Current resume/vita
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Professional goal statement (approximately two pages)
  • Academic or scholarly writing sample 
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (if required to establish English proficiency
  • In-person or virtual interview may be required as part of the admissions process 

Graduate student resources


Cost & Assistance

Currently enrolled students are eligible for scholarships offered through the College of Education and Human Sciences. 





Financing graduate school

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