The Department of Education at Washington University in St. Louis is an interdisciplinary community that bridges the theoretical and research foundations of education, traditional academic disciplines (e.g., sociology, psychology, history), and the professional practice of education. Our academic programs span a variety of disciplinary perspectives, methodological approaches (e.g., quantitative, qualitative), and levels of analysis ranging from the individual to complex systems. Each of us works from a disciplinary perspective, but we embrace and utilize other perspectives because such disciplinary synergies are critical to understanding and impacting the complex world of education. Individually and as a community, we are working to change education and other systems that perpetuate inequity and inequality. Further, our departmental theme of “Equalizing Educational Opportunity: Equity, Inclusion, and Success in Classrooms, Schools, and Communities” encapsulates this work.
The Department of Education offers full-time programs for graduates who desire a Master of Arts in Teaching (Grades 5-9, 9-12, or K-12), a Master of Arts in Education (Grades 1-6), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education. In addition, the department offers a Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education (GCPHE) for current Washington University doctoral students.
The teacher certification master programs are ideal for those who want to become public school teachers. Our master programs leading to teacher certification are designed for students who do not have a background in a teacher education program leading to certification. The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is for students seeking secondary teacher certification in a specific subject area; the Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) is for students seeking elementary teacher certification. In addition, we offer a 4/1 Accelerated AB/MAT Degree Program for undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis.
In partnership with the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, the Department of Education offers three tracks for the MSW/MAEd joint degree program. After completing one year in the Brown School toward the MSW, students will spend three semesters in the Department of Education completing one of three tracks: Elementary Teacher Certification, Educational Studies, or Higher Education. Students will then finish their MSW during their final spring semester for a total of 3 years in the joint degree program. See the Bulletin page for the MSW/MAEd program and the Brown School website to learn more about the MSW/MAEd program.
The PhD in Education is aimed at strengthening and deepening the student's analytical understanding of education in both research and practice. Students working toward a PhD in Education are expected to acquire an understanding of education as a complex social, cultural, moral, and political activity undergirded by a commitment to advancing educational equity and countering the status quo. Students further engage with education as a field of study with rich literature bases and strong ties to disciplinary knowledge, classroom practice, and a variety of technologies. Through the PhD in Education, students work closely with our faculty who bring special interests and expertise to the examination of educational interactions in such contexts as schools, families, and other cultural institutions. Students are expected to acquire theoretical and empirical expertise in an area of concentration — Educational Policy Studies or Educational Psychology — even as they demonstrate their broader understanding of educational processes and problems. Moreover, students are expected to acquire methodological competence in empirical inquiry and to pursue research questions that are of interest and import for the student individually as well as for a larger educational community. Graduates of the PhD program will be prepared to join the community of professional scholars and educators who contribute to our understanding of the complexity of education.
The Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education (GCPHE) is designed to provide an overview of historical and contemporary issues in higher education for doctoral students who wish to gain a greater understanding of higher education research, policy, assessment, and/or administrative practices. Current Washington University doctoral students who are interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education may begin taking courses pursuant to the certificate upon entry into the university.