MA in Sociology of Education

Program Overview

The MA program in the Sociology of Education gives students a strong disciplinary grounding that allows them to approach education questions with a sociological lens. Students choose an area of concentration when they enter the program:

  • Education Policy, or
  • Social and Cultural Studies of Education

Sociology of Education students take a common core of courses in qualitative and quantitative sociological research methods, sociological theory, and the sociology of education. Faculty research and core courses primarily focus on US education, often with a focus on urban education, higher education, and US educational equity issues. Students also tailor course selection and thesis research to their chosen topics of interest, taking advantage of the course offerings from across the university. Flexibility is an important asset of the program.

The program consists of a total of 40 credits, which full-time students generally complete in three semesters plus a summer or four semesters.

The thesis is the central component of the program. All students spend about two semesters working closely with a faculty advisor to write a substantial thesis. The thesis could include original research that employs quantitative or qualitative methodology or could be a critical and synthetic review of research in an area of the student's interest.

The program makes extensive use of course offerings beyond Steinhardt, particularly those of NYU's nationally ranked Department of Sociology (Graduate School of Arts and Science) and of the Wagner School of Public Service. Additionally, students can incorporate global opportunities into their course sequence to gain comparative perspectives on the US education system. See sample course schedules.

Graduates of the master's program are well-equipped to pursue careers in research and evaluation, education policy, government agencies, and youth and community service organizations. Many are also well-equipped to pursue and succeed in doctoral-level work in the sociology of education or a related field.

Program Goals and Mission

The master’s program in Sociology of Education is designed to provide students with strong analytical and methodological training in a sociological approach to education-related questions and problems. The program prepares students to pursue careers in research evaluation, education policy, government agencies, and youth and community service organizations. It also prepares many of our students for doctoral-level work in the sociology of education or a related field.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Identify the larger social and cultural contexts that shape educational institutions
  • Analyze educational problems and issues using the knowledge, concepts, and research methodology of sociology
  • Demonstrate an expertise in an area of specialization in the sociology of education through the production of a high-quality MA thesis
  • Acquire habits of critical thinking and systematic investigation to critique the role of education in society
  • Develop effective written and oral communication skills by applying the conventions of the discipline of sociology
Other Study Options

In addition to the MA in Sociology of Education, the Steinhardt School offers students two other options to study education and policy and to prepare for a career in this field. We encourage you to explore these options further to find the program that best matches your personal interests and career goals.