2018-2019 General Catalog 
    Apr 21, 2018  
2018-2019 General Catalog

Education, Culture, and Society

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College of Education
Department Office: SAEC 3280
Phone: 801-587-7814
Website: education.utah.edu

Department Chair: Edward Buendia, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies: Wanda Pillow Ph.D.

The Department of Education, Culture, and Society (ECS) seeks to promote exemplary teaching, scholarship, and service as crucial components in the achievement of social justice in education. To help foster this goal, the Department has a vital part of its mission, the creation of an environment devoted to the study of questions about the social, economic, political, and cultural context of past and contemporary educational policy and practice and supportive of pedagogical, research, policy, and service commitments to national organizations, educational institutions, and local communities concerned with the pursuit of equity and social justice in and through education. Our research, teaching, and service shares a common interest in examining the sources of educational inequality and in exploring educational approaches and strategies intended to counter these social and historical inequities and to offer working class students and students of color more equal educational opportunities.

Graduate Program

Please see the Education, Culture and Society M.A., M.Ed., M.S., M.Phil, and Ph.D. listed in the Program and Course Offerings section.

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) program is a 30 credit-hour program of study, designed primarily for those who want to develop an interdisciplinary framework for understanding contemporary questions of educational policy and practice in primary, secondary, and postsecondary settings. It considers education in its social, cultural, and institutional context, inclusive of districts, schools, teachers, administrators, parents, students, community organizations, community leaders, tribes and nations.

The M.Ed. program in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society seeks individuals with an interest in equity and diversity issues in educational settings inside and outside of schools at the primary, secondary, or postsecondary levels. This includes students who plan to pursue doctoral studies as well as practicing teachers and administrators. The ESL Endorsement through this degree program is intended for students who already have their teaching certification or plan to obtain it. This is because this degree does not include a teaching certification which is required to teach in K-12 settings.

The M.Ed. with Secondary Licensure is a joint program between ECS and the Urban Institute of Teacher Education, designed to prepare and work with teachers to be effective educators for the increasingly diverse classrooms of the Salt Lake region. The required coursework in the program focuses on areas such as family and community partnerships, the meaning and art of teaching and learning in urban contexts, and linguistically diverse classrooms and communities. The goal of this joint program is to provide practical and conceptual frameworks that teachers can use in the classroom to create equitable and academically challenging learning spaces.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) programs are 30-credit hour thesis degrees aimed more toward the acquisition of research skills. “Research” covers a broad range of activities in various kinds of study, including experimental methodology, qualitative or ethnographic methodology, and/or including conceptual or theoretical natures.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in education is a 66 credit-hour academic degree designed primarily to provide students with the intellectual background and research skills of a scholar. It emphasizes disciplinary training and research methodology, culminating in a dissertation, and is a degree that connotes advanced study in theoretical and research issues.

Admission Requirements

These criteria represent minimal requirements. The committee does not merely look for candidates for the program to meet the requirements, but looks for evidence that the student will bring strong learning skills to the department, is interested in learning from the department and participating in the department’s mission, will work well with faculty and students, and will be well served by the department.

  • GPA: 3.0 for undergraduate work, 3.5 for master’s work (if the GPA is lower, but the most recent two years are at this level or above, the department does not need to write a letter to University admissions requesting that an exception be made).
  • TOEFL score (if applicable) should be 650 or above.
  • Strong writing skills, as evidenced by the personal statement. In addition to being well written, the statement should clarify the fit between the student’s goals and interests and the department’s offerings.
  • Research interests that are compatible with the strengths and emphasis of the faculty.
  • For students planning to write a thesis: evidence of theoretical sophistication, good research skills, and a relevant educational background (that is, a background that helps prepare the student for the kind of scholarly work that ECS does, especially with regard to studies in disciplines relevant to ECS courses. Work in the schools and social justice work may also be relevant).
  • For students planning to write a thesis: reason to believe that two or more faculty would be interested in working closely with the student.
  • For students planning to write a dissertation: a writing sample that provides evidence of the student’s ability to conduct research at an advanced level (usually, a master’s thesis is assumed to provide the best evidence of this, but if the student did her or his thesis in a language other than English, or if the thesis was not particularly theoretical, a class or conference paper can be submitted. It should be as recent as possible).
  • Three strong letters of recommendation (for Master’s applicants from at least one, preferably two, college-level instructors; for Ph.D. applicants from at least two college level instructors) that do not merely say positive things about the student but provide the committee with specific and detailed reasons to think that the student would be a good fit with the department and would do well in the department.

Program and Course Offerings





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