Schools, Society, and Culture

Sevan Terzian

Dr. Sevan Terzian, program coordinator

Contact me with any questions or concerns.

american education in popular media


Learn about our collaborative book project that emerged from our research seminars!

When you’re a Schools, Society, & Culture student, you’re searching for solutions to enduring problems in education.

Our shared assumption is that schools are shaped by larger societal forces like politics, culture, economics, and moral values.  In other words, schools are not situated in a societal vacuum.  So we enlist perspectives from history, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies to explore the inter-relationships between schools and society.  Our program is for people who want to acquire, discover, and apply expert knowledge from these disciplines to address and resolve pressing problems in schooling, and in education more broadly.

Graduate students specializing in Schools, Society, & Culture pursue one of three graduate degrees in Curriculum & Instruction:

  • Master of Arts in Education (MAE),
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

We are part of a vibrant community of students and faculty both in the Schools, Society, & Culture program and throughout the School of Teaching & Learning.

It’s the liberal arts wrapped into education

Students collaborate with faculty through coursework and research by understanding and resolving enduring problems in education.

Equip yourself to interpret these issues, both critically and constructively, by studying the various dimensions of our field, including:

  • History of education.  Trace the origins of current educational beliefs and practices.
  • Philosophy of education.  Question your assumptions the nature of knowledge and the purposes of education.  Think critically about what it means to be “educated,” to “learn,” and to “teach.”
  • Sociology and Anthropology of education.  Recognize that schools are products of society, and that American schools, as products of a democratic society, represent the degree to which our social, political, economic and cultural traditions are successful or just.
  • Comparative education.  Explore similarities and differences among educational systems and practices across societies and regions because of distinct cultural, political, historical, economic and religious traditions.

These branches of Schools, Society, & Culture overlap in multiple ways.  Taken together, they remind us that cultural contexts and societal priorities shape schools and vice versa. Our graduate programs offer students a thorough grounding in these areas to equip them for rapidly changing conditions in their educational careers – as teachers, scholars, school leaders & policymakers, and ultimately, as citizens.

Possible career paths:
  • Policy making
  • State or national government work
  • Leadership roles at educational foundations
  • Tenure-track faculty jobs
  • Influential positions at educational non-profits
  • Editorial jobs at education-related publications

See our Job Directories for listings in the field.