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Master of Arts in Educational Studies, Philosophy and History of Education

The master's program specializing in Philosophy and History of Education is for scholars who enjoy reading books, debating ideas, discovering artifacts and creating historical narratives, and formulating compelling visions of new educational possibilities generally do well in a philosophy and history of education program. Some experience with philosophy or history is recommended.


Philosophers of education ask: Who should be educated? What should be taught? Who gets to decide? The questions of philosophy of education involve issues of meaning and values, questions that are not fully answerable through scientific methods.

Common topics in philosophy of education concern the nature of knowledge, mind, culture, learning, justice, and democracy as these topics relate to education, schools, and human development.

The methods of philosophy involve the interpretive strategies often associated with humanistic inquiry: close reading of classical and contemporary texts, logical and ethical analysis, and historical contextualization. More generally, philosophers of education make connections among the different ideas circulating in the past and present intellectual worlds.

History of education is concerned with understanding and interpreting the origins, change, and continuity in the intellectual movements, institutions, and critical problems of education.

Historians of education study: the history of ideas as it informs educational processes and policy; the rise of mass schooling and higher education in the West and across the globe; the role of education in the construction of difference based upon race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality; and historical perspectives on contemporary educational issues and debates.

The methods of historical study are inductive, requiring close study of original records of particular situations. Hence, they are complementary to the methods of philosophical study.

It is important for students of history to understand the intellectual movements and ideas that have influenced educational processes and for students of philosophy to understand how philosophical questions and areas of inquiry have emerged within specific social and cultural contexts over time. Consequently, students receive a strong foundation in both the philosophy and history of education before pursuing further specialization in one or the other if they so choose.

Career Paths

Use your master's degree to pursue a career in curriculum design, education policy or as a leader in government, public and private school districts, higher education or non-profit organizations.


Deadline to Apply: 
December 1
Program Start: 
Autumn semester
Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: 
Bachelor's degree, minimum 3.0 G.P.A., academic writing sample
Minimum Program Hours: 
30, non-thesis; 33, thesis

Degree requirements: Foundations requirements (3 hours); Multicultural and Human Diversity requirement (3 hours); research (3 hours); Philosophy and History of Education Specialization (9 hours); electives (12 hours); thesis (3 hours)
Other requirements: Pre-candidacy residency; post-candidacy residency
Academic opportunities: Scholarships, American Education Research Association, History of Education Society, Philosophy of Education Society, Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society

View the Curriculum Sheet


Bruce Arnold, PhD, (Louisiana State University), Assistant Professor
Interests: Post-1860s U.S. cultural history and transnational ethnohistory with interests in Asian American, African American, consumer, family and educational histories

Jackie M. Blount, PhD, (Univ. of North Carolina), Professor
Interests: History of gender and sexuality in education; history of educational leadership; history of technology in education

Antoinette Errante, PhD, (Univ. of Minnesota), Associate Professor
Interests: History of education (colonial/post-colonial transitions, oral history); comparative education and community violence

Bruce A. Kimball, MDiv/EdD, (Harvard University), Professor
Interests: History and theory of liberal education, professional education, professions, legal education and finances in higher education

Miriam Shenkar, PhD, (The Ohio State University), Senior Lecturer
Interests: Education in Israel, global education and the history of modern education

Winston C. Thompson, PhD, (Teachers College, Columbia University), Assistant Professor
Interests: Philosophy of education; political philosophy; ethics; civic education; justice; race

Brian R. Warnick, PhD, (Univ. of Illinois), Professor
Interests: Philosophy of education, ethics; educational technology; American educational thought; and imitation studies

Affiliated Faculty

Ann Allen, PhD, (Michigan State University), Associate Professor
Interests: Politics of education as related to school governance, democratic practice and educational policy; changing relations between school and community

Michael Glassman, PhD, (The City University of New York), Professor
Interests: The role of the democratic classroom in the education process and the importance of maintaining a process-oriented curriculum; democratic community and decision making, child development and early childhood education

Tatiana Suspitsyna, PhD, (Univ. of Michigan), Associate Professor
Interests: Organization theory; intercultural travel of ideas; disciplines and organizational practices; gender in organization; international education