Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

Explore the Program

MA in Cultural & Educational Policy Studies

  • Examine education policy and practice through a multidisciplinary approach, with an overarching emphasis on social justice.
  • Study with students from around the world and experience rich culturally diversity.
  • Learn to conduct original research that can inform educational policy and practice.
  • Balance work and graduate study with courses offered in the late afternoons and evenings.
  • Apply disciplinary (humanities, social science) perspectives to issues and questions in educational policy and practice.
  • Develop expertise in a focused discipline of study (history of education, international comparative education, philosophy of education, sociology of education) including specific skills and competencies needed to carry out research in that discipline.
  • Critically assess the methodological, epistemological and ethical foundations of research.
  • Recognize education’s cultural dimensions and leverage cultural analyses in their work to improve educational experiences and institutions.
  • Bring educational research to bear on forming and implementing educational policy and practice.
  • Conduct independent research as the basis for writing a master’s thesis.
  • Alumni have been admitted to nationally prominent doctoral programs including those at UCLA, University of Wisconsin, Columbia University Teachers College, University of Washington, and University of California, Riverside, and have worked at research organizations including American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

Completion of the MA degree program requires 24 semester hours, a thesis and an oral defense of the thesis.


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
  • ELPS 446 Historical Foundations of Western Education*

* Available as a foundation option for those admitted prior to Spring 2008.


Major Area (9 semester hours)
Students should consult with their academic advisor for course selection in one of the following areas: Comparative and International Education, History of Education, Sociology of Education, or Philosophy of Education.


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


Length of the Program: 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 the completion of the thesis depends both on the research project and the diligence of the student, the standard time to completion is two years.


Continuous Enrollments: Master's students in cultural and educational policy studies are required to maintain the status of continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must do one of the following:

  • Enroll in one of the following: At least one course OR ELPS 605: Master's Studies OR ELPS 595: Thesis Supervision
  • A formal  may be granted upon request and the approval of the Graduate School's Associate Dean.


Thesis and Oral Defense: Students select a topic with their academic advisor for a culminating research paper/project.‌ See the program handbook for thesis guidelines.


Degree Conferral: While the commencement ceremony is every May, degrees can be conferred May, August, and December. Students must apply for graduation/degree conferral. Students should apply for graduation in the semester they anticipate completing all degree requirements. Failure to meet application deadlines may result in a delay of the conferral of the degree to the following semester.  are due:

  • August 1 for December conferral
  • December 1 for May conferral
  • February 1 for August conferral*


*Students having their degrees conferred in August are eligible to participate in the proceeding May Commencement.


Please note the degree conferral application is valid for only one semester. If the degree is not conferred for the semester requested, a new application is required for a subsequent semester.

Autumn 2019

  • ELPS 405: Introduction to Educational Policy (Thursday, 4:15-6:45)(Dr. Jules)
  • ELPS 410: Sociology of Education (Wednesday, 7-9:30)(Dr. Phillippo)
  • ELPS 420: Philosophy of Education (Tuesday, 7-9:30)(Dr. Shuffelton)
  • ELPS 512: Sociology of Teaching Seminar (Wednesday, 4:15-6:45)(Dr. Phillippo)
  • ELPS 520: Seminar in the Philosophy of Education: Justice (Tuesday, 4:15-6:45)(Dr. Shuffelton)

Spring 2020

  • ELPS 412: Urban Education Policy Seminar (Tuesday, 4:15-6:45)(Dr. Phillippo)
  • ELPS 444: American Schooling and Social Policy: A Historical Perspective (Monday, 4:15-6:45)(Dr. Deane)
  • ELPS 455: Comparative Education (Thursday, 4:15-6:45)(Dr. Jules)
  • ELPS 520: Seminar in the Philosophy of Education: Violence in Schools (Thursday, 7-9:30)(Dr. Deane)

Priority Application Deadlines: 
Fall: April 1
Spring: November 1

Applications after the deadlines are considered when space for additional students is available.


JD/MA and JD/MEd Dual Degree: June 1 (You must also separately apply for JD admission.  Please follow the Law School application guidelines for early notification and priority deadlines.  Applications accepted across the year for accepted JD students who wish to transfer to the JD/MEd dual degree.)


A Completed Application Form 
You may submit your application form online


Official Transcripts
Applicants must submit official transcripts for all undergraduate and any graduate work. To be eligible for admission, your transcript must show an earned bachelor's degree or a bachelor’s degree in progress. Certified copies of transcripts are acceptable; faxed copies of transcripts are not considered official. If you attended Loyola University Chicago previously, you do not need to request transcripts; we have them on record.


Transcripts must show a GPA of at least a 3.0. In exceptional cases, applicants whose undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 may be admitted. Each program area gives meaningful consideration to the applicant's graduate GPA, recommendations, professional experience and reasons for pursuing a graduate program, as well as to the diversity of the student body.


Two Letters of Recommendation
If you supply your recommender’s email address as part of your completed online application form, then your recommendation letters may be submitted online. Or, your recommenders may choose to mail them to:


Graduate & Professional Enrollment Management
820 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60611


We ask that you submit only two letters, no more, no less. Recommenders may be academic or professional in nature.


A Personal Statement
Your statement should be 1-3 pages, and you should describe your:

  1. Academic and research interests, as well as professional goals
  2. Life experiences that have influenced your view of social justice

For detailed information, visit the Office of the Bursar's Tution & Fees page for the Graduate School of Education.

For additional information on billing, payment, and policies, please visit the Office of the Bursar. For information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities, visit Loyola's Financial Aid Office and through the School of Education.

Faculty Profiles

Related Faculty