MA and PhD Programs

About Our MA and PhD

Earning a Master’s of Arts degree (MA) or doctorate (PhD) from Berkeley’s School of Education often leads to a career as an educational scholar and researcher in schools, colleges, and universities; non-profits and think tanks; and corporations.

In your application, we encourage you to describe your research interests as well as your desire to study with particular faculty in their application materials. If you wish to study educational topics outside those framed in the list below, we still encourage you to apply to earn your MA or PhD because we want innovative thinkers among us.

During the first semester, all students build a plan of study in consultation with their advisor(s). This plan is revisited, updated, and revised yearly thereafter.

What Doctoral Students Can Expect

During the first two years of study, the Berkeley PhD in Education introduces you to research on current issues in education, theories of learning, human development, and inequality, educational policy, and research methods. Students proceed through the program during the first two years in a cohort, taking core courses together.

The degree program’s structure ensures that you have a broad understanding of important topics in education and that you begin developing the research expertise needed to carry out independent research projects. You will also begin to take elective courses within and outside the BSE in your expected areas of expertise.

By the third and fourth years of study, you are expected to develop greater expertise in your research specialties in close consultation with your faculty advisors. You also take advanced seminars; engage in independent studies and research apprenticeships; and complete an oral exam.

The concluding part of your doctoral studies is preparation of your dissertation proposal and the research and writing of your dissertation.

What Master's Students Can Expect

As a Master’s student, you join the Berkeley community for one academic year, affiliating with a cluster of specialization. MA students often complete courses and their Masters projects during the summer. You are required to complete 24 semester units, which equals seven to eight classes, depending on how many units are awarded for each class.

You will have access to your faculty advisors, an MA Coordinator, and Student Services staff within the School of Education.

Learn more about the core requirements for earning a Master's in Education.

Our faculty’s interests span a range of critical topics and issues that are crucial for the attainment of educational equity and greater impact in schools and communities. The broad clusters of our faculty’s expertise are listed below. Click on any of the titles to see faculty who are engaged in this research.

Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender
  • Critical Social and Cultural Theories
  • Globalization, Immigration, and Migration
  • Race & Social Inequality in Urban Education
  • Domination and Resistance across Educational Settings
  • Social Identities in Educational Contexts
  • Language, Literacy, and Digital Media
Language, Literacy, and Culture
  • Sociocultural aspects of language use and development across the lifespan
  • Linguistic and cultural diversity in language and literacy education
  • Intersections of disability and language and literacy learning
  • Race and inequality in language and literacy education
  • Bi/multilingualism and translanguaging in schools and communities
  • Indigenous language maintenance and education in local and global contexts
  • Literacy in a Digital Age
  • Literacy in and out of School
Learning Sciences and Human Development
  • Cognitive, Human, and Social Development 
  • Mathematics and Science Education
  • Teacher Learning and Education
  • Technology and Digital Media
Policy, Politics, and Leadership
  • Leadership in Educational Organizations
  • Policy Analysis and Program Implementation
  • Politics of Education Advocacy
  • School Improvement
Social Research Methodologies
  • Data Science
  • Design-Based Research
  • Evaluation
  • Measurement
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Statistics and Econometrics
School Psychology

    •    Program Aims and Training Goals
    •    Faculty
    •    Sequence
    •    How to Apply
    •    Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data
    •    Student Handbook
    •    Publications and Presentations
    •    School Psychology-Resources