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Educational Ethics and Social Justice

Rising awareness of social justice issues in education requires that current and future professionals understand the ethical issues currently faced in schools – and those that will become more widespread in the future.

A new certificate in Educational Ethics and Social Justice will prepare you to understand and evaluate thorny ethical issues such as student privacy, classroom punishment, access, equity, and achievement gaps among marginalized groups.

This 12-credit-hour certificate program focuses on the historical contexts, theories, values, and aims of ethical conduct in education, exploring what it means to be ethical and justice-minded educators.

Students in our program want to acquire, discover, and apply expert knowledge to address and resolve pressing problems in schooling in just and humane ways. Thus, this certificate draws upon the humanities and social science disciplines to develop students’ interpretive, normative, and critical perspectives on education.

Learning Goals

Ethical decision making in education requires not only an understanding of moral deliberation, but also a keen appreciation of the social context of schools. At the completion of this certificate, you will be able to:

  • recognize and resolve ethical conflicts in educational settings
  • justify and defend a set of aims and purposes of education in democratic societies
  • explain the historical experience and specific needs of diverse student populations, and apply that understanding to contemporary schooling,
  • advocate for ethical sensitivity in matters related to educational policy

Opportunities for graduates

For students in education programs, this certificate will help to supplement their degrees with additional expertise. Students will be able to confidently engage the spectrum of ethical questions that drive abiding and contemporary discussions of education.

For other students, this will enable the pursuit of additional academic work (in education or beyond), and/or professional opportunities in educational consulting, policymaking, analyses of non/governmental and social institutions/systems, etc.


Minimum Program Hours: 
12 credit hours

Required course

ESPHE 4403-Ethics and the Professional Context of Education (3 credits)

Elective Courses (choose 3)

ESPHE 3410 - Philosophy of Education (3 credits)
ESPHE 4280 - History of Modern Education (3 credits)
ESPHE 5440–Philosophical Perspectives on Race, Education, and Citizenship (3 credits)
ESPOL 3312–Conflict, Power, and Voice in Public Education (3 credits)
ESPHE 3206–School and Society (3 credits)

View the Curriculum Sheet


Bryan Warnick, Professor

Winston Thompson, Associate Professor