The Cultural Foundations of Education doctoral program requires a minimum of 90 graduate credits beyond the undergraduate degree (45 of them in your concentration area), and 9-24 credits of dissertation work. Full-time coursework will take a minimum of 2.5 years of study, and students typically complete the degree in 5 years. Part-time study is also an option; please contact the department to discuss.
Anthropology of Education
Students interested in this area of study will draw from fundamental anthropological concepts to make sense of educational realities. This field explores how practices, processes, and sites of education shape and are shaped by the social and cultural worlds in which they exist. You will be encouraged to think about question of education locally, globally, and transnationally. Potential areas of interest are (though not limited to):
By approaching the study of education through an anthropological lens, this area of study allows students to interrogate the ways in which education is part of the cultural imagination.
In this area, you will explore the meaning of disability in culture and public policy. Disability Studies applies social, legal, cultural, historical, and philosophical perspectives to the study of disability in society. Coursework areas often include:
Dissertations in this area have focused on representations of students with disabilities in special education texts, the experiences of mothers caring for children with disabilities, the perspectives of people with disabilities involved in self-advocacy groups, the intersection of ethnicity, class, and gender with disability in an educational setting, and the experiences of deaf people in medical settings. Those with backgrounds in the social sciences, public policy, rehabilitation, special education, and human services are encouraged to consider this concentration.
Gender and Education
Students can approach this multidisciplinary field in two ways:
Coursework and research in gender and education gives students opportunities to examine different theoretical perspectives. Students look at how gender is constructed through institutions, texts, research methods, and relationships and how it is represented in these areas. You may also study questions of the history, policy, and practice of education in relation to gender. Students who have concentrated in gender and education, have researched single-sex education, how adolescent women experience pregnancy, cheerleading, representation of Arab women in National Geographic, perspectives of African American students in higher education, and experiences of urban women in the community gardening movement. We also offer a 12-credit concentration in gender and education that awards a certificate upon completion.
History of Education
Students pursue two goals in building a program in this area:
Research projects in this area have included a study of schooling for African Americans in a New York state community prior to the Civil War; an historical appraisal of former U.S. presidents as public educators, an analysis of Emma Willard’s ideas of community, and work on rural schooling, civic education, and community.
Philosophy of Education
In this program, students will acquire competence in the following areas:
Dissertation projects in this area have included work on equity issues in school finance, a study of the role of teachers’ cultural and racial identity in their teaching across cultures, and an analysis of conceptions of self-esteem in relation to education. We encourage you to gain an understanding of relevant perspectives in the history and sociology of education, and work closely with the department of Philosophy.
The focus of this program is on how individuals and groups make meanings in their popular culture practices. You will become grounded in qualitative research methods and cultural studies, and use these methods to study cultural products, activities, sites, and practices. Through this work, faculty and students struggle to uncover how power relations are enmeshed in American popular culture, particularly in relation to gender, race, class and ability including:
Dissertations in this area have examined such topics as adolescents’ popular culture practices in a weekly early morning discussion group, college women’s practices of preparing their bodies for social display, and multiple perspectives on educational travel.
Race, Racism, and Education
This area uses multidisciplinary foundational resources to critically analyze how race and racism impact educational practices, curriculum, policies and research. Students take courses in sociology, philosophy and history to gain tools of description and analysis. Coursework areas may include:
Dissertation projects students investigate have included a critical analysis of diversity workshops in higher education, the shift in college students’ ideas about race between freshman and sophomore years, teaching about white privilege in predominantly white elementary school, and the alternative forms of cultural capital of African-American women bring to their college education.
Sociology of Education
This area concerns the complex relationship between society and schools. Deeper areas of concentration may include:
Students also might pursue relevant coursework in sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, and other areas in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Student projects in this area have included work on high school and university reform efforts, sex education in high schools; teachers’ perspectives on change, and mentoring in teaching, architecture, and medicine.
More information on academic requirements available in the Syracuse University Course Catalog.