There are a number of different options for students who are interested in pursuing a master's degree in education policy. In order for prospective students to make an informed choice about which program to enroll in, it is important that they consider a number of different factors. Below, we will look at these programs in greater detail by highlighting common courses, various types of education policy degrees, and admission requirements.
Information About Master's Degrees in Education Policy
Students who are interested in master's degrees in education policy can select from a Master of Arts in Education Policy degree, a Master's of Science in Education Policy degree, or a Master of Public Policy degree. Students can study education policy within any of these degree programs. While there are some differences between these programs in terms of structure which will be discussed later, these programs do share some common course requirements, including those highlighted below.
Child Development and Policy
Education policy programs may require students to take a course that focuses on the topic of child development and how educational policies affect children. In this course, students will study developmental science in order to better understand the effect of policies on early child development. They will also look at current issues affecting children in which a policy is needed.
Economics of Education
Programs in education policy also often require that students take a course that focuses on different economic aspects of education policy. In this course, students will learn about different economic principles in order to better understand how they apply to the world of education policy. Students will also study topics like cost analysis, the cost of education, and how to finance education.
Research Design and Methods
Any program in education policy will generally require that students take one or more courses in research design and methods. Students will likely learn about a wide variety of research methods, including ways to collect data, conduct surveys and interviews, and make observations. In addition, students will learn about different ways to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze data.
Education Policy Issues and Politics
Students will likely also take a course that focuses on current policy issues in education and the role that politics plays in these issues. A course like this will focus on how policies are set, implemented, and evaluated. It will also look at these policy issues and solutions through the lens of various policies science theories.
A course that focuses on education reform will expose students to a wide number of different topics related to the topic of reform. Students will study topics like equitable education, why some schools are underperforming, the role of public schools, and the challenge of how to minimize the achievement gap between different student groups and populations. The course will also focus on different methods of reform so that students can analyze which methods are most effective.
Differences in Master's Degree Programs in Education Policy
Students who enroll in a Master of Arts in Education Policy program will be prepared for careers as policy analysts, social scientists, and researchers upon graduating. M.A. degrees are typically comprised of around 30 credit hours, can be completed in a year, and require students to either take an exam or write a capstone paper to complete the program.
In a Master of Science in Education Policy program, students can also expect to spend around one year enrolled in the degree program. This program is very research-oriented and prepares students for careers in government and research organizations. Students in these programs must also write some sort of research paper to fulfill the program requirements.
A Master of Public Policy degree stands out most from the other two options in that it typically takes two years to complete. Students in these programs may be required to take more core curriculum cores in a broader range of topics like economics, budgeting, and public policy in general as well as more specialized courses in education policy. In addition, students in these programs must typically complete a field-based practicum to graduate.
Admission Requirements for Master's in Education Policy Programs
When applying to a master's degree program in education policy, it is very important to check with each school and program to see if they have any unique admission requirements. In general, however, students will need to supply schools with many of the same application elements when applying. These include undergraduate transcripts, an application form, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, a resume, and results from the GRE. Master of Public Policy programs may specify that applicants show a history of work in quantitative courses, as these programs may require students to take more courses that involve working with numbers and quantitative analysis.
Students have many options if they are interested in enrolling in a master's degree program in education policy. When choosing a program, they likely will want to consider what type of degree they wish to obtain, required courses, and admission requirements.