Using social justice-oriented inquiry to promote systemic equity and social justice in domestic and global educational systems

You've worked in education and can see that something is broken in our systems–too many students are underserved. You want to engage with and research education systems. Perhaps you are thinking about graduate education as a stepping stone to doctoral studies.  Loyola's MA program in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies will equip you with the tools to conduct change-making research and to launch or advance a research career. 

Our commitment to you

You'll join the ranks of alumni who have won Illinois' Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, a pastor advocating for foster children in her community, accomplished researchers, education policy leaders, and Fulbright Scholars making a difference in international nongovernmental organizations. Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty members are singularly focused on providing a social justice lens to education policy and practices to our students. CEPS students find research opportunities in Chicago organizations and communities, along with global communities and policy networks.

Upon graduation with an MA degree in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values necessary to address social inequity in education policies and to move on to further graduate study in education policy and related fields.


You will examine education policy and practice, past and present, at the local, national and global levels through an interdisciplinary approach, with an overarching emphasis on social justice. You'll develop expertise in a focused discipline or area of study (history of education, international comparative education, philosophy of education, or sociology of education), including specific skills and competencies needed to undertake and complete research in that discipline.


You'll develop expertise in the analysis and improvement of education policy and practice, and will also learn how to conduct original research. You'll facilitate educational research as the foundation for forming and implementing educational policy and practice oriented toward social justice.

Professional Values

You will demonstrate commitment to social justice by engaging with your peers, professors, and community to understand and engage with education policy and practice. Throughout your coursework, you will discuss the role of pluralism in democracies and other political systems, the effects and intersections of race, nationality, immigration status, class, religion, gender identity and presentation, sexuality, disability, veteran status, and other identities on educational aims, and issues of global citizenship or cosmopolitanism. You will be expected to critically engage with one another, texts, and ideas in an effort to address systemic inequality and to advance social justice.  

Program Faculty

Our dedicated Cultural and Educational Policy Studies Faculty are experts in their fields who will support students throughout each stage of the program.

Hear from our faculty!

Dr. Tavis Jules

Dr. Noah Sobe


Completion of the M.A. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies degree program requires 24 semester hours, a thesis, and an oral defense of the thesis.

More information about this program can be found in the CEPS Graduate Programs Handbook.

Program Length

For full-time students taking three courses in the Fall and three in the Spring, the required coursework can be completed in three semesters. While completion of the thesis varies with the research project’s topic and format, the standard time to complete the degree is two years.

Continuous Enrollments
MA students in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies are required to maintain continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must enroll in at least one course. A formal leave of absence may be granted upon request and with the approval of the Graduate School’s Associate Dean.

Degree Requirements

Research Methods Course (3 semester hours)

  • RMTD 400: Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Foundation Courses (6 semester hours)
Choose two from the following outside major area:

  • ELPS 410: Sociological Foundations
  • ELPS 420: Philosophy of Education
  • ELPS 444: American Schooling and Social Policy
  • ELPS 455: Comparative Education

Major Area (9 semester hours)
M.A. students choose a specialization that will form the basis of their thesis. Students should consult with their academic advisor for course selection in one of the following four areas of specialization:

  • Comparative and international education
  • History of education
  • Sociology of education
  • Philosophy of education

Elective (6 semester hours)
In consultation with an advisor, students choose two elective courses. MA students are strongly encouraged to take at least one additional research methodology course that will prepare them to design and conduct their thesis study.

Thesis and Oral Defense: Students select a topic with their academic advisor for a culminating research paper/project.‌

Admission Requirements

This program is currently not accepting applications

Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

The School of Education and Loyola's Financial Aid Office are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their education at Loyola affordable. You can learn more on the Financial Assistance page.

Alumni Voices

When you complete the MA in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies program, you will join a wide-network of alumni. Hear from some of our former participants about their experiences in the program.